The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: March 2024

Blog by Louise Dodgson under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live, Media, Music Publishing, Music Training & Careers, Record Labels, Recording & Production, Selling & Distributing Your Music

Jetta - ‘Call Me When It’s Over (Dark Dhalia remix)’

Currently pushing the release of her debut album ‘relax, the house is on fire’, this stand-out track from Liverpool born, London dwelling artist Jetta pricked our ears. ‘Call Me When It’s Over’ is a hauntingly beautiful song about falling in and out of love, and it’s been given a magnificent drum & bass twist by Dark Dhalia. Hooking up with up-and-coming producer, artist and multi-instrumentalist Dark Dhalia has undoubtedly been a masterstroke for Jetta, and this remix allows her bold and exquisite vocals to shine.

Writing, creating and producing her own music from her bedroom, Jetta is the epitome of the DIY artist, even filming her own videos to accompany her releases.

Already landing success with her previous single ‘Livin’ which was crowned BBC Radio 1 Introducing’s ‘Track Of The Week,’ and BBC 1Xtra’s ‘Track Of The Week, as well as grabbing a spot on BBC Radio 6’s A-List playlist, Jetta has also graced the covers of Notion Magazine and Boyfriend Magazine, and scored some impressive reviews from the likes of CLASH, Line of Best Fit, The Independent, The Sunday Times and The Observer.

However, single-handedly crafting her album, from the music production through to the visuals, has to be Jetta’s proudest achievement to date, and proof she can put her mind to anything; “I set myself a big challenge and actually did it!”

As for her next mission, Jetta is busy putting together her live show, and as ever, it promises to be another feather in her cap; “I don’t wanna give too much away but it’s gonna be an elevated version of the album, with electric guitar and twists and turns.. a sensory spectacle if you will.”

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Hector Boys - ‘Two Left Feet’

Aberdeen four-piece Hector Boys are, by their own admission, “looking to make waves in 2024…or at least splash about a bit”, and we’re fairly sure their current single ‘Two Left Feet’ is just the ticket for catching industry attention and boosting their already blossoming fanbase.

The jaunty number is brimming with fresh indie pop influences, and despite it’s breezy nature the song was a long time in the making, as frontman Adam explains; “Two Left Feet was originally written about two years ago, under a completely different name and took a very long time to end up in its final form, I think there’s 4-5 different ‘final’ demos with one even being 6 minutes long. It was our producer Kyle Fummey that really helped cut it down and streamline the song. Two Left Feet is mainly about social anxiety on a night out and not quite summoning the courage to speak to someone you’ve had your eye on, but also acknowledging it’s not the end of the world. It takes major inspiration from bands like The Sundays, New Order and Inhaler.”

Having only been together for just over a year, Hector Boys started life “as just a bit of fun after a day of uni lectures”, but has culminated in having music featured on BBC Introducing Scotland, playing gigs galore in their native Scotland, as well as stretching their legs further afield to London, where they’ve attracted larger crowds than they’d anticipated.

With more gigs filling the band’s diary, they will also play their first proper hometown headline show at Spin on 30th March. The chaps hope to get on some festival stages this summer, and in the meantime new material will be coming our way, so lots of exciting stuff on the horizon for Hector Boys. Keep it locked on their socials for updates.

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Sonia Ahmed - ‘Mango’

Rapper and songwriter Sonia Ahmed is a self-confessed ‘genre-hopper’, creating a potent fusion of dance, electronic, house and hip-hop.

Still laying the foundations of her blossoming music career, ‘Mango’ is only Sonia’s second single, following up on her striking debut ‘Freedom’ which was unleashed last year. Both tracks ooze a fresh and vibrant confidence, which aligns with Sonia’s musical manifesto; “I’m all about being true to yourself and authentic, and mango has always been a fave fruit of mine which has been part of childhood growing up, so I wanted to incorporate that into something catchy and good vibes.”

Already stirring up attention with airplay on BBC Introducing’s Asian Network and BBC Introducing Wales with Adam Walton, plus blog coverage and a feature in Rolling Stone India, things are off to a flying start for Sonia.

That said, she’s all about building blocks for longevity as she discusses her future plans; “As an independent artist, I’m taking it day by day. My aim and goal for this year is to build and network which will lead into performing. I want to do a mini tour in 2025. It’s on the list and vision board so I’ll be creating a lot of music between now and then.”

So, with more infectious sounds confirmed for the coming year, we’re happy to sit back and watch Sonia’s artistic progression unfurl.

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Merrick Winter - ‘Stalemate’

Taken from his debut EP ‘Eve Of Disaster’ Merrick Winter’s stunning track ‘Stalemate’ beautifully showcases his lo-fi, indie folk style which has seen him on the receiving end of much deserved praise, including being lauded as “a songwriter and producer to watch” by NOTION.

A little while in the making, but absolutely worth the wait, British-American artist Merrick explains how the song was created;

“Stalemate” is a Beatlesque 70’s-revival track that I recorded live to tape with one of my best mates, Grammy-winning producer Matt Zara. We’d been working away at getting these sounds for a few years, experimenting with old mics, pre-amps, guitars and tape machines, and trying out different songs to see what translated well into the ‘70s analogue sound world. “Stalemate” was recorded directly onto an 8-track machine in the same room with no click. The accompanying live video is the actual take that we used for the record. I think I was trying encapsulate the breakdown of communication in a relationship - the feeling when you’ve tried everything to get through to someone, but they’ve already checked out. I like a lot of the imagery in there, but I’m most proud of the form - it’s still accessible as a pop song, in spite of its folk roots.”

The release of ‘Eve of Disaster’ in December 2023 marked the culmination of a remarkable year for Merrick, with the EP breaking 1 million streams and generating spectacular reviews. During the course of the past 12 months he has also played his first sold-out headline shows in London and Los Angeles with a full band, as well as making festival appearances at the Fête Da La Musique in Paris and Cambridge Folk Festival.

Work is currently being wound up on a second EP, and the first single to be unveiled from this will drop in April. Also on the horizon are more US shows in LA and Nashville in April, then back to the UK to perform at The Alt Escape in May and take on the summer festival circuit.

If that wasn’t enough, a debut album has also been teased for late 2024/early 2025, so it looks like the year ahead could be set to rival Merrick’s accomplishments to date.

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Phantom Isle - ‘Aerial Photography’

Crafting dynamic indietronica, London trio and childhood friends Phantom Isle have already been making quite an impact with their introspective and captivating sounds.

Previous single ‘Mar V’ was picked up by BT Sport, and several tracks from the band’s prior EPs ‘Out of Blue’ and ‘Figures’ are set to feature in upcoming film ‘Mr Doom’, directed by Leif Johnson and due for release later this year. And the three-piece have also been showered with support from the likes of Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1, Huw Stephens at BBC 6 Music, and Kerrie Cosh at BBC Northampton.

But let’s return to the song in question, as the band tell us more about how ‘Aerial Photography’ came into being; “The track came about from Pete (vocalist/guitarist) being in a dark place and trying to gain some perspective on his life. He brought the idea to us and we loved the floaty vibe of the track and lyrical content which then informed the sonic choices, incorporating floaty drums and ambient synths. Pete took a step back from guitar but did include some that sounded more like synths experimenting with an e-bow.”

And with another EP set to drop this summer, produced by Duncan Pym, ‘Embers’ looks set to generate even more praise and airplay for the band. Until then, keep an eye out for Phantom Isle on the live circuit, and if you can, try to catch them supporting Runrummer at Paper Dress Vintage on 26th March.

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How do I get featured on the Spotlight blog?
Our Spotlight blog is compiled every month from fresh new music submitted to us by our members. We want to hear from you!

We select 5 of the best tracks from our members to champion on Spotlight. As well as being featured on our new music blog, your track will also be played on our monthly Reform Radio show, get a free release package from CD Baby, plus the 5 tracks are also forwarded onto a select bunch of music industry professionals...including folks from Big Life Management, Club Fandango, Decca Records, Memphis Industries, Rocksound, DIY Magazine, Transgressive Records and The Great Escape. Find out more about Spotlight here.

To be in the running you’ll need to sign up as a member to The Unsigned Guide, then follow the instructions in your Welcome email to submit a track for Spotlight consideration to us.

Members of The Unsigned Guide get access to our huge directory of 8,000 UK music industry contacts, spanning 50 areas of the music business. Check out our quick video to find out more about the directory & other services we provide to help emerging bands and artists.


Emerging and unsigned bands and artists can submit their song for Spotlight tastemaker new music blog


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