Category: Imports

Jessie J pipes up, gets America’s attention

The British singer with the firecracker voice is popping with listeners on both sides of the Atlantic.

JESSIE_J_300_ British upstart Jessie J means every word of her lyric “stomp, stomp I’ve arrived.” The line, taken from her debut single, “Do It Like a Dude,” aptly sums up her ferocious stateside introduction.

The pop/rock/hip-hop hybrid, released late last year, hit No. 2 on the British charts. But it was her follow-up, the Dr. Luke-produced “Price Tag,” that left enough people in the U.S. wondering just who this crotch-grabbing firecracker with pipes was.

Buzz surrounding the singer amplified in March when she was given the coveted performance spot on “Saturday Night Live” for her first American showing. More than a month before Tuesday’s U.S. release of her debut, “Who You Are,” the performance made her one of the first to appear on the show without an album on shelves — a fact that still boggles her mind.

“The producers were taking a risk. There was pressure,” she said over the phone while on a promo jaunt in Australia. “It was the scariest, most nerve-racking thing in the world. No one had any idea who I was. I'd done no promos. It was purely like, go out there and sing. I've always been someone who loved a challenge, and I don't like things given to me easily.”

Born Jessica Cornish, the 23-year-old built a fan base like most newcomers these days: She uploaded videos of herself singing (primarily shot in her bedroom) on YouTube. The clips of the songs — most of which went on to appear on the album — amassed millions of hits. She also penned the platinum-selling “Party in the U.S.A.” for Miley Cyrus.

The hype continued to build this side of the Atlantic as accolades poured in following the February release of the disc in Britain: She topped the BBC's Sound of 2011 list and received the Critics' Choice at the Brit Awards, joining a class that included Ellie Goulding, Adele and Florence + the Machine.

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Tinie Tempah plans to 'constantly be in people’s faces'

TTA Tinie Tempah’s strategy for making his U.S. debut match the success he found back home in England?

“To constantly be in people’s faces,” the 22-year-old rapper jokes.

Born Patrick Okogwu to Nigerian immigrants, the South London-bred MC –- like the long list of recent Brit imports before him –- is looking to break here.

His blend of hip-hop, dubstep and grime made his debut, “Disc-Overy,” a platinum hit in the U.K.

The disc racked up a handful of top five songs on the U.K. singles Chart and yielded two BRIT awards. A revamped version of the disc was released in U.S. stores on Tuesday with new tracks, including a collaboration with Wiz Khalifa.

Pop & Hiss was there when he made his U.S. debut to an intimate crowd of more than 100 fans and industry heads at Hollywood’s Cinespace in February and for his Coachella introduction, where after getting a late start he swept through an abbreviated set of hits from the disc, including “Pass Out,” “Written in the Stars” and “Miami 2 Ibiza," a collab with Swedish House Mafia.

Ahead of the album's American release, Tinie phoned into Pop & Hiss for a quick chat.

“Disc-overy” did rather well in the U.K., but it’s also been out for quite some time. Did that worry you when it came to releasing it here?

The album has added tracks, so it feels like a new, fresh album. I feel like that was very important. Obviously, the power of the Internet, you’re able to access anything. People knew a lot about the album. However, it came out in October in London so they can go on YouTube and listen to it. It was very important to add some more chapters to the album. [The track with Wiz Khalifa is one of three new ones on the album]. 

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Ellie Goulding hopes to duplicate U.K. success stateside

Ellie Ellie Goulding is fully aware that she needs to make as much noise in the United States as she did in her native United Kingdom.

Impacting the U.S. music scene is the rightful next step for any import artist, and she’s fine with it -- as long as it’s on her terms.

“There are always expectations of British artists to eventually go over and try to crack it here,” the singer-songwrtiter said. “I’ve built a little fan base back home, so I hope the same thing happens here. But I don’t want a big commercial push. I’d rather it happen kind of naturally, through word of mouth.”

So far, it seems the 24-year-old is getting her wish.

As the Hereford, England, native pushes her debut, “Lights,” on U.S. soil, she has rallied quite the buzz for herself,  mostly by playing a handful of smaller venues across the country, bookended by two major festivals: the recent South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas,  and last weekend’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio.

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Coachella 2011: Robyn not pressed for mainstream success: 'If it happens, it happens'

ROBYN

Avalon Hollywood is bustling with producers working to perfect Robyn’s two-song set during a recent afternoon rehearsal.

Though the Swedish pop chanteuse nailed a runthrough on the first shot of her hit single “Dancing on My Own,” she is now on her fourth take as she patiently waits for lighting and camera adjustments.

The pint-sized singer is teetering onstage at the nightclub -- thanks to platform construction boots -- as she semi-choreographs dance moves that she'll later spontaneously change. Later in the evening, the club would serve as host to Logo’s NewNowNext Awards, where she was performing.

“Let’s go guys,” she says to the crew -- her voice childlike, yet commanding as she shows the first sign of impatience.

Landing a plum slot on an awards show is key for Robyn, who despite releasing the critically acclaimed three-album series “Body Talk” last year, still isn’t a household name in America.

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