The last few weeks have seen U.S. celebrity blogger/pop music advocate extraordinaire Perez Hilton descend on the UK music scene.
Hilton’s been papped at Wireless, Madonna, The Gossip as well as his own One Night in…London show on Friday July 13 which saw the likes of Cher Lloyd, The Wanted and Backstreet Boys grace the stage at The Electric in Brixton.
Money raised from tickets for the One Night In… gig went to charity the Brit School Trust, a cause Hilton backs in its entirety: “Without The Brit School there would be no Adele there would have been no Amy Winehouse.
“A lot of young people probably don’t even pursue their dreams because they think they can’t or their told they are not good enough or they don’t know how, so the Trust is invaluable.“
As an advocate of new music Hilton’s blogging has often been a factor in breaking UK acts stateside (his backing of Mika helped spread the word): “I think sharing is caring and I love sharing my favourite artists with the world.”
Music Week caught up with Hilton to see what’s going down Stateside and apparently pop is making a comeback in a big way: “music in America for the last several years has skewed a lot more dance heavy, now the needle has shifted back to the middle to pure pop.”
So how are our artists faring over in the U.S. at the moment?
Cher Lloyd is getting a lot of traction in the U.S., she’s gotten a great response from radio which is key to breaking in America but its also not the end all and be all. Another example is Ed Sheeran who’s also finding a great response in America without as much radio play. Word of mouth with Ed is incredible.
Why’s Ed not getting as much radio airtime?
It’s going to be a little bit harder in America for Ed to get on the radio, I’m not saying it’s impossible...hopefully it will happen.
Because his songs aren’t upbeat enough?
Yeah. He might get played on Hot AC stations, adult contemporary or…I don’t know if rock stations would play him.
And I don’t think top 40 stations would play him so yeah thats why it’s harder in America.
What are the main differences for new acts breaking in the U.S. and UK market?
Radio, because you have national radio that is willing to take chances. In America there isn’t a BBC Radio 1 so it’s a lot harder to get that kind of traction. You might get some play from a very daring music programmer in the city but the rest of the country may not also be playing you, so because you can cover the whole country it’s easier for quirkier artists to be successful here.
Do you think the UK has a more level playing field?
Absolutely. I mean its still not easy, its never easy anywhere but it’s easier. Marina And The Diamonds she debuted at No. 1 in the UK, I love that! In America not so much because she hasn’t gotten the same radio play there but I love the fact that she topped the charts here.
Do you think the UK invasion of the US is going to carry on?
I don’t think it’s ever gone away. There’s been a lot of UK artists that have been successful throughout the years, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Adele...I mean Adele’s the biggest selling artist of the last 10 years, she’s selling albums and nobody does that anymore. And it's great you know, good music is good music regardless of where it comes from.
What makes a band/artist stand out to you?
Being good live is important and having good music. I mean the basics and it’s not necessarily about putting on its not like…I don’t need dancers or this or that. But seeing somebody live is a very different experience because somebody can have great songs and suck live.
When you do come over, how do you discover new music?
Word of mouth, people telling me, me hearing it on the radio I have a radio in my room I listen to the radio here, just randomly seeing bands open for other artists that I go see.
And if you could have signed anyone yourself, who would it have been?
Because of the money?
Yeah! Well also I think she’s so talented. At this point she’s established herself so well and what’s great for her is that a lot of the people that bought her album are older their people that still buy albums and don’t download them illegally. So when she releases her next album they’ll buy that as well and they are also buying it not just for the songs but also for her voice.