As you may be aware of by now, here at United By Pop we aim to bring you the best bits from the UK and the best bits from the US pop cultures scenes. That’s why, today, I will educate you in five acts from across the pond (and maybe even your own country) that you might not have heard of. US folk, you’ll be introduced to James TW, M.O, Dua Lipa, Fleur East, and Bailee McConnell. Brits, you’ll be meeting – virtually, of course – DNCE, Adore Delano, Alex Newell, and Cheat Codes, as well as Lauren Bennett who’s both British and American… you’ll see.
UK: James TW
James TW (that stands for Taylor-Watts, FYI) is currently being compared profusely to Canadian teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes, whom he’s just finished supporting on the UK leg of his tour. The comparisons ring true and that really comes across in James’ debut EP ‘First Impressions’, which includes a cover of
One Direction’s Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’, and lead single ‘When You Love Someone’, both of which have millions of streams on Spotify.
Surely you have to have been living under a rock for the past few months if you’ve never heard of DNCE. If you haven’t, then all you really need to know is that Joe Jonas has made a band, they’re REALLY good, and their debut single ‘Cake By The Ocean’ and latest release ‘Toothbrush’ are absolute tunes. Joe and the band are currently supporting fellow Disney legend Selena Gomez on her US Revival Tour but will be making an overseas trip in August to headline O2 Academy Islington in London.
No, this isn’t MØ… Anybody who knows who M.O are have been impatiently waiting for their career to rocket since they were exposed in 2014, supporting their real-life best friends Little Mix on their Salute Tour. The girls have been branded the UK’s very own Destiny’s Child and TLC in the past but have never achieved real breakthrough success. They’ve recently signed a deal with UK major label Polydor, a division of Universal Music, and released their new single ‘Who Do You Think Of?’ which is another addition to their growing list of certified bangers, which already includes ‘Preach’ and ‘Ain’t Got Time’.
US: Adore Delano
I am a huge fan of drag and religiously watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. However, I’ve never been able to fully appreciate original music released by drag queens, often finding it heavily auto-tuned and, frankly, sounding a bit cheap. That was until Adore Delano, runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, released her debut album ‘Till Death To Us Party’. Adore first appeared on American Idol in 2008 as Danny Noriega and ‘Till Death To Us Party’ and recent release ‘After Party’ really showcase the vocals featured on the reality show, rather than Adore letting herself hide behind the production like many of her RPDR competitors.
UK: Dua Lipa
What a popstar. Dua Lipa is currently climbing the ranks in the UK following the release of her breakthrough single ‘Be The One’ and her highest charting track to date, ‘Hotter Than Hell’. Dua was also nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2016 poll which was eventually won by Jack Garratt so all eyes will be set on her when her debut album is released this summer.
US: Alex Newell
Alex Newell is probably somebody that you’ve known about for a very long time, but haven’t realised it. Alex found fame on The Glee Project in 2011 before being introduced to the cast of Glee in 2012 as Unique Adams. In 2014, Alex featured as the vocalist on Sigma’s UK number one single ‘Nobody To Love’, which was followed up with featured vocals on Clean Bandit’s ‘Stronger’ and Blonde’s ‘All Cried Out’. Alex is now stepping out on his own with his debut EP ‘POWER’, which features the incredible club hit ‘Basically Over You (B.O.Y.)’.
UK: Fleur East
After wowing the judges and audiences of The X Factor UK in 2014 with her performance of ‘Uptown Funk’, Fleur East has gone from strength to strength. Since finishing in second place on the talent show, Fleur’s album ‘Love, Sax & Flashbacks’ has outsold that year’s winners’ album and her debut single ‘Sax’ hit the UK top 3. Fleur now hopes to emulate her success in the US, with a performance on the Dancing With The Stars live finale looming.
US: Cheat Codes
Cheat Codes describe their genre as ‘anthem house tropical house pop’. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I definitely like it. The LA trio are currently scaling the UK singles chart with their take on Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’, a collaboration with Dutch DJs Kris Kross Amsterdam. Cheat Codes aren’t limited to 90s remakes like ‘Sex’ though, with original tracks ‘Adventure’ and ‘Say Goodbye’ also translating to a sound that’s friendly towards the tweens of today.
UK: Bailey McConnell
Bailey McConnell first popped onto our screens in 2014, aged 14, as a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent. After some time out of the spotlight, puberty has hit Bailey like a truck and now he’s ready to steal the hearts of teenage girls and, more importantly, release music since his stint touring the US with IM5 last year. Bailey is gearing up to support The X Factor 2014’s Jake Quickenden on his upcoming tour and I’m really looking forward to hearing what he’s been working on.
UK/US: Lauren Bennett
Lauren Bennett was born in the UK but now resides in the US so she’s representing both teams. Lauren Bennett is the cat of pop music, in the sense that she seems to have nine lives in this game. I first became aware of Lauren when she was part of failed international girl group Paradiso Girls and have been rooting for her ever since. After her stint in Paradiso Girls, Lauren featured on LMFAO’s huge hit ‘Party Rock Anthem’ before releasing a flop solo single and joining a reboot of the Pussycat Dolls (fitting), which eventually became G.R.L. After moderate success with the incredible ‘Ugly Heart’, band member Simone Battle tragically passed away, leaving G.R.L. to disband shortly afterwards. Lauren has now released the beautiful ‘Hurricane’. I really hope she finds certified success this time around.