'We've hit the bullseye': Virgin EMI's Ted Cockle on Lewis Capaldi's debut LP

'We've hit the bullseye': Virgin EMI's Ted Cockle on Lewis Capaldi's debut LP

Virgin EMI boss Ted Cockle has told Music Week the label is hoping to achieve one of 2019's biggest debut albums with Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent.

The hotly-anticipated LP, which is released today (May 17), contains two Top 10 singles including the No.1 smash Someone You Loved and is already the most pre-added album on Apple Music in the UK ever.

The instant grat Hold Me While You Wait landed at No.4 in last week's chart and plans are afoot to give Capaldi's 2017 track Bruises a full single release later this year.

He deserves to be a frontrunner in terms of breakthrough artists this year

Ted Cockle

Virgin EMI

“As much as we’ve hit the bullseye with Someone You Loved, thankfully, all the data is telling us that people are listening to a lot of his other songs already,” said Cockle. “With the way the public is reacting and the fact we’ve got stuff to come, our opening week should be reasonable and I’d like to think we can match up to the debuts so far. We think that he deserves to be a frontrunner in terms of breakthrough artists this year.”

Capaldi signed to Virgin EMI (via Universal Music Germany) shortly after Bruises made him the fastest ever unsigned artist to reach 25 million plays on Spotify. It has since been streamed 128m times on the platform.

"We'll come back on to Bruises, which has been out for some time, but has never really played been at radio," said Cockle. "So we've got a good stretch of repertoire to come throughout the summer and into the back end of the year."

The singer, who is managed by Ryan Walter of Interlude Artists, recently sold out his 2020 UK and Ireland tour, comprising two nights each at The SSE Arena Wembley, Glasgow's SSE Hydro, 3Arena in Dublin and O2 Apollo Manchester and one at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff and TECA in Aberdeen.

“The ticket appetite certainly seems to be an indication of the depth of feeling and affection for him at the moment,” said Cockle. “The agent was struggling to know of anybody that has ever managed to achieve that level of success without an album in the market.

"I love the idea that the mission he is on is to be a working musician – that's the basis of his drive. He wants to play music for a living and he's increased his chances by becoming bloody good through years of playing in shit places. He tells stories of creeping into pubs when he was really young and hanging out in the toilets until they called him onstage, and they are some good learnings."

Cockle added: "When we took him on he was already building a pretty reasonable fanbase back home. He was on the cover of several Scottish publications in 2017 and promo people were being taken to see him at Saint Luke's [in Glasgow]. He was playing for all the local radio stations, trying to get the basis from which he could then grow into other regions and countries. So it's the old overnight success [story that] is never overnight."

Capaldi's social media following also continues to swell. He currently boasts 1.8m followers and Instagram and 411,000 on Twitter.

"Lewis is looking for the fun in life, pleasingly, and it's just a pleasure to be running in tandem," said Cockle. "He plays songs that are emotive, emotional and powerful and then the moment he stops you want to hear every little bit of minutia and trivia that he wants to tell you about the world – his world – and all the things that tickle him, because they properly tickle me. He's a pleasure to be around."

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