I've been trying to figure something out. What does it take for a UK band to break the US? Is there a secret formula?
There's no doubt about it. Some of the world's greatest musicians and bands have hailed from that little island called England. From the days of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, British music has come a long way over the years and has come to produce the likes of Oasis, Coldplay, James Blunt, Corinne Bailey-Rae, Lily Allen, Radiohead and of course, most recently the girl-of-the-moment Amy Winehouse. On one hand, hindsight is a wonderful thing but no one can honestly tell me that they 100% believed that Amy would come to the US and find more success here than she does back home. After all, even Amy had her doubts. On the other hand, when Robbie Williams (the UK's golden-boy) signed his record-breaking $80 million record deal to 'conquer America'- he came, he saw, and got sent back packing!
So what's the secret to success in the US? In my mind- there is no one thing that guarantees you success out here. Instead, it is more to do with having the perfect mix. Just the right amount of everything. Quality counts and attitude sells but having just one of the two is not enough. You need both. Like any simple math equation, the more you have of each - then the bigger the result. It works too. Look at Winehouse, she has both quality and attitude in abundance and she's the biggest artist in the US right now (currently staring at me from the covers of Rolling Stone and SPIN Magazine). Simple as that! Right now, the jury is still out on a whole bunch of artists including Paolo Nutini, M.I.A, Dizzee Rascal, Arctic Monkeys, Razorlight and Bloc Party. All these musicians have massive profiles in the UK regularly playing to audiences of over 30,000. They have massive fan bases. They sell tens of thousands of records and are hailed by some of the most respected magazines and publications the world over. However, one thing that all the acts, I just mentioned, have in common is that they are all still trying to kick the door even slightly ajar here in the US of A.
And I guess that's where I can help a little. For me, moving to the US and working for MTV out here was something that I had always wanted to do, ever since I first got into the game. But when the offer finally came to me- it wasn't as easy a decision as I had first thought. To pack your life up into suitcases and boxes and say bye to friends and family and a city that I have grown up and spent all my life in - was easily the biggest move I have ever had to make (so far). It never worried me that I was moving to a city that I didn't know, or that I knew only a handful of people out here…if anything the challenge excited me. After all, I have the MTV family behind me all the way. And slowly, I began seeing the opportunities that I could create with this new position. One of the many- is that we could now have a platform to introduce and break new music from some of the best bands from abroad to the US and beyond. Now I'm not saying that every artist we feature will become multi-platinum selling acts or that you have to like them or even like their music- but what I am saying is that this is an opportunity to hear new music and meet new artists from different parts of the world- artists that you may not get to even meet through mainstream radio or TV.
So that's the idea anyway. First came Amy Winehouse, and then Arctic Monkeys.
With a hit single called "America" and a bunch of great tracks (check them out online), alongside a commitment and upcoming performance at Live Earth (7/7/7) and the fact that the lead singer Johnny Borrell is dating Kirsten Dunst - ladies and gentleman meet Razorlight.