Lorne Thomson/Redferns – Lola Young
performs during Standon Calling 2021. The singer and songwriter is one of Ticketmaster’s “Breakthrough 2022” artists from the UK.
Ticketmaster has revealed its 10 choices for “Breakthrough 2022” artists from the UK. Pollstar reached out to their teams to find out about their respective game plans now that more countries are lifting coronavirus restrictions on social gatherings.
First up is Lola Young, a singer-songwriter from South London, whose specialty is heart-breaking, neo-jazz ballads. Her agent, Paradigm’s Tom Schroeder, first saw her perform circa 2017-18. He recalls, “I had to work hard to sign her – but every room she played to, she lit up – in fact, the tougher the gig the better, and the first ones with a bit of dull industry, her banter was incredible, and everyone knew she had it.”
Coronavirus has been particularly hard on artists that had a lot of momentum going at the start of 2020. Young is a prime example. “We were motoring, but COVID took the stuffing out of us, and everyone involved has worked so hard to get the momentum back,” said Schroeder, adding, “She is one of the most talented artists I have ever had the pleasure of working with – but it doesn’t always guarantee success. The total commitment of everyone involved means we have a great shot at getting her to where she deserves.”
Young has a UK tour coming up in March, followed by a performance at The Great Escape in May. The best thing about showcase performances like TGE, according to Schroeder, is “I can physically walk in the key European promoters to see her.” After two years without the famous Brighton-based talent festival, Schroeder thinks “TGE will be electric in 2022 – we have all missed it, and everyone will be over. There will stand outs, and I have no doubt she will be one of them.”
He admitted that routing tours and finding rooms was “a total mess” right now. “Everyone is having to guess three tours ahead, and that really isn’t ideal,” Schroeder explained, “but it is what it is, and we roll our sleeves up and get on with it. We need to get the system back up and running, and the public back in the habit of going to shows. We were in a great place pre-COVID, and we will get there – everyone involved just needs to be a bit understanding as we work through it all.”
Schroeder believes Lola Young is “a global act” through and through, which is why he’s closely following the ongoings in mainland Europe, where individual markets have begun lifting restrictions on social gatherings. “I am not interested in just being a big deal in the UK. The writing, music and performance is timeless – absolutely classic – and Europe will dig that,” Schroeder said, and concluded, “she is an inspiring young woman – talented, articulate, full of opinions – everything a modern day pop star should be – and as the rooms get bigger, more and more people will get the privilege of seeing who she is as a person and a performer.”
C Brandon/Redferns – Mimi Webb performs on stage during Reading Festival 2021.
Mimi Webb from Brighton is a vocal powerhouse, delivering her vulnerable songs over cleverly produced pop ballads. Bilge Morden at CAA first saw Webb at a show with one of his other clients in November 2019, before Webb had released any music. “We were all hanging out backstage and she mentioned she was an artist. She has such a fun and confident energy that I came away from the show thinking I really hope the music is good because she’s a star! I got sent five or six demos and was blown away. I was lucky enough to be appointed her agent just before the UK went into lockdown,” Morden recalls.
With hundreds of millions of streams, three top 20 singles and a Top 10 debut EP in the UK, strong support from radio, press and TV, Webb has a lot going for her. “There is huge momentum behind Mimi,” said Morden. “Her upcoming UK tour sold out in a matter of hours. Considering the level of success she has achieved so far, not many people have had a chance to see her live yet. There is a lot of pent-up demand. It’s a brilliant live show – her voice is incredible, she is a very comfortable performer, and every song is huge.”
Webb began releasing music after the pandemic started, and Morden is used to routing tours into congested periods. He did that during the past two years whenever things temporarily opened up.
“For the most part it’s worked out, maybe because venues are keen for her to play their venue so find a way to make it happen. But other than the odd venue that just wouldn’t clear, the lack of availability has not greatly impacted her touring so far,” he explained. According to Morden, “Mimi will be touring across Europe this May and June, then has a big summer of festivals across the continent and she will be in many more new markets as restrictions are loosened further afield.”
Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images – ArrDee and Stormzy during A Very Merky Christmas, the first Christmas party held by Stormzy’s charity, Merky Foundation, Dec. 3, 2021.
ArrDee is one of Ticketmaster’s choices for “Breakthrough 2022”
Ticketmaster’s “Breakthrough 2022”:
For fans of: Aitch, Unknown T
Listen to: “Oliver Twist”
Bad Boy Chiller Crew
For fans of: T2, The Streets
Listen to: “Messages”
For fans of: Tion Wayne, Digga D
Listen to: “Retail Therapy”
For fans of: Little Simz, Jorja Smith
Listen to: “Peng Black Girls”
For fans of: Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver
Listen to: “The Walls Are Way Too Thin”
For fans of: Amy Winehouse, Pip Millett
Listen to: “Fake”
For fans of: Griff, Becky Hill
Liste to: “Before I Go”
For fans of: Jungle, Summer Walker
Listen to: “Good Luck 2.0”
For fans of: Ayra Starr, WizKid
Listen to: “Crazy Tings”
For fans of: Pavement, Violent Femmes
Listen to: “Chaise Longue”