This week’s Music Week contains good news for everyone involved in the business of breaking new artists.
Our report from the frontline uncovers some encouraging green shoots of recovery after last year’s almost barren year for significant UK debut albums, with the likes of Tom Walker, Lewis Capaldi and Mabel shaping up for long-term success.
But what about last year’s standard-bearer? Anne-Marie was Music Week’s Breakthrough Artist Of The Year 2018, and her success has continued into 2019, with her debut album Speak Your Mind – the only UK debut to make the Top 100 biggest sellers of 2018 – now on 190,683 sales, according to the Official Charts Company.
Sophomore success can be even more elusive, of course, but Anne-Marie and her team at Asylum/Atlantic are putting everything in place to capitalise on her debut. And, while her team famously waited (and waited) for the right moment to unleash Speak Your Mind, the follow-up is likely to arrive rather more swiftly, with the singer telling Music Week early writing sessions for the album have already proved productive.
“I love the studio. I was able to get in there and have some sort of therapy with my own brain for a week and that’s going towards the next album,” she said. “The first album was made up of so many songs that people had heard for years and that’s amazing. But for me as a creative person, I’m writing something new all the time and all I want to do is put it out straight away. That wasn’t the way it happened with [the debut] album so, for this next one, I’m hoping to be more active on writing and put something out straight away that’s fresh and no one’s heard before.”
The star expects the album to appear this year, although she quips, “I think I was saying that in 2014 for my first album, so don’t get too high hopes!” This time, however, she’s not the only one.
“We’re already talking about next moves, more music, next album, as we absolutely should be,” said Asylum MD Ed Howard. “We’re deep into planning and writing and it’s going to be a very exciting year for her. The platform and the scale is there so, if we bring the right music and the right creative, we already know she’s going to deliver on every other level.”
Anne-Marie’s manager, Jazz Sherman of Hunger Mgmt, who is shortlisted for Manager Of The Year at the 2019 Music Week Awards, said: “We’re going to go to album two quite quickly. Anne-Marie is not patient and wants to release music as soon as possible and there’s a demand for it. The new album model is so different to the old album model. Before, you’d release an album and work loads of singles whereas now, you release loads of singles and then release an album. It comes out and everyone’s like, ‘OK, what’s next?’ So we’ll move onto it quite quickly.”
Anne-Marie tours Australia and Asia in March and April before returning to Europe for tour dates in May. The UK leg kicks off at O2 Academy Bournemouth on May 21 and includes two nights at London’s Eventim Apollo. She also plays Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Glastonbury Festival this summer.
* To read our report on 2019's breaking artists, see this week's print edition of Music Week, available now, or click here. To read our 2018 Anne-Marie Breakthrough Artist Of The Year feature, click here. To read the inside story of her debut album, click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.