2018 was an incredible year for many of BIMM’s performance students and alumni, with Grammy Award nominations, life-changing contracts, record releases and festival performances all among the many highlights. Let’s take a look at just a handful of our success stories who look set to take giant strides in the music industry this year.
Ex-BIMM London Vocals student Ella Mai immediately started making waves stateside when she was picked up by R’n’B producer and record label executive DJ Mustard, who first discovered Ella through cover versions on her Instagram page.
After relocating from London to L.A, Ella quickly gained traction as an R ‘n’ B artist in her own right, scoring a tour support slot with eleven-time Grammy award winner Bruno Mars and setting a new record as the first British artist to score a No.1 single on the US R&B chart in 26 years, with her multi-platinum single ‘Boo’d Up’.
After knocking Drake’s ‘Don’t Matter to Me’ off the top spot, the track soon received two Grammy Award nominations including ‘Song Of The Year 2018’, placing her alongside huge names such as Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Shawn Mendes, Drake, Brandy Carlile, Zedd & Maren Morris, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper and Childish Gambino.
Shortly after the release of her self-titled debut album in late 2018, Ella signed a global record deal with Sony/ATV, making her a major musical force to be reckoned with worldwide.
2018 was a fantastic year for BIMM Dublin graduates and post-punk quintet Fontaines DC. The band joined the ranks of the highly revered Partisan Record label before signing with the Paradigm Talent Agency shortly afterwards. The company’s roster includes incredible acts such as The Black Angels , Brian Jonestown Massacre, Blur, Beach House and IDLES to name just a few.
The band even stepped into industry legend and radio DJ Steve Lamaq’s shoes to present a one-off 6 Music Recommends show on BBC Radio 6 and garnered favour from numerous tastemakers and press outlets in 2018 such as DIY, Dork and So Young Magazine. They were even included in the latter’s Top Ten Tracks of the Year with their single ‘ Too Real’.
On the road, Fontaines DC are penned to perform at the upcoming SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, and supported south London post-punk outfit Shame on their UK and Dublin tour in 2018. The band will appear at Eurosonic festival in the Netherlands thanks to funding support from Ireland’s national television and radio broadcaster, RTE. The band are currently booked as main support with Bristol quintet IDLES during their U.S tour in Spring of 2019.
The Irish times recently voted for BIMM Dublin electronic producer and vocalist Wastefellow (AKA Diolmhain Ingram Roche) as an Irish contender ready to break through in 2019. Describing his delivery as as “tracing a line between Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke”, the article serves to highlight the significance of his live shows (complete with immersive audio-visuals) and anamorphic approach to Grime, Hip Hop, Dance and House music – Wastefellow is a true visionary in his field and we can’t wait to hear more from him in 2019.
BIMM Bristol graduate Jon Beavis was listed as one of Music Radar’s 13 best Rock drummers in the world for his incredible work with Bristol punk troupe IDLES. The rest of the band, which is completed by BIMM Bristol tutor Lee Kiernan on guitar, had a truly phenomenal 2018. They released not one but two critically acclaimed albums (Brutalism, Joy As An Act Of Resistance) with the latter peaking at #2 in the official UK album chart. During their almost entirely sold out UK tour, the band even found time to swing by numerous BIMM campuses for masterclasses, further cementing their reputation as approachable artists with an incredibly strong work ethic.
Working Men’s Club
BIMM Manchester new wave post-punk trio Working Men’s Club hit the ground running after their formation just over a year ago. The troupe racked up some impressive live dates including support slots with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Pip Blom and The Wedding Present along with festival appearances at Dot To Dot, When In Manchester and Sound City Liverpool. Their single ‘Bad Blood’ has also received support from BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and BBC Radio 6 host Steve Lamacq, both of whom have been giving the band high profile exposure. The cherry on the cake? WMC recently signed a deal with Melodic Records, one of the city’s most respected independents.
Aside from touring with Nothing But Thieves and jamming live on stage with Jack White, BIMM Brighton stoner-rock trio Demob Happy also featured on various music industry panels in 2018, including DIY Magazine’s ‘Do It Yourself’ event and the Great Escape Festival. The band also scooped the number two spot in YACK! Magazine’s ‘Artists Of The Year 2018‘ with their blisteringly impressive sophomore LP ‘Holy Doom‘, preceded by fellow Brightonians, Fur.
Brighton’s finest 60’s garage rock throwback quartet came third in YACK! Magazine’s ‘Artists Of The Year 2018‘. Not least for their incredibly impressive single, ‘What Would I Do?’. The band’s self-titled debut EP, is due for release in February 2019 on Nice Swan Records. We cannot wait to hear it!
Brighton’s premier math pop quartet had a busy year since signing to Oxford label Big Scary Monsters (Gnarwolves, We Were Promised Jetpacks) in 2018. The band released their debut album ‘Losers/Lovers’ to positive responses from fans and critics alike. Plus, the group’s guitarist Sam Rushton was shortlisted for Music Radar and Total Guitar Magazine’s ‘Best New Guitarist 2018’. Most recently, the band were included in BIMM ambassador and BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Huw Stephens’ ‘Ones To Watch 2019‘ shortlist and also announced they are set to play the main stage at 2000 Trees Festival 2019.
As one of BIMM Bristol’s most promising young talents, lo-fi electronic indie songwriter Harvey Causon has been making impressive waves on the UK’s live circuit, supporting the likes of Loyle Carner and Porches on tour as well as performing at festivals such as the Great Escape in Brighton. Causon also received high praise from Huw Stephens recently, who included the young songsmith’s latest single ‘London Stock’ in his top BBC Introducing artists to watch out for in 2019.
BIMM Dublin’s Æ MAK (AKA Aoife McCann) recently signed a contract with the Primary Talent International booking agency. There, she is be rubbing shoulders with some seriously impressive acts, including the likes of Lana Del Rey, Augustines, Bad Sounds, Basement Jaxx and Daft Punk. In addition, the young artist art pop chanteuse also signed a publishing deal with London-based independent publishers BDI. Looking ahead to 2019, Æ MAK has been funded by Culture Ireland to perform at Eurosonic showcase festival in Groningen, Netherlands. Æ MAK was also among the first wave of acts announced for Indiependance Festival this August, which sees her perform alongside the likes of Biffy Clyro, Bastille and Nothing But Thieves.
This shortlist exemplifies the calibre of musical talent which BIMM is proud to have played a part in producing. And it is just the tip of the iceberg, with many more success stories behind the scenes across all of our campuses in multiple areas of the music industry.
If you’re inspired by any of these stories, why not apply now, or attend one of our Open Days, and start your journey to a career in music today.