The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: April 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

Simon a. - ‘Fermi’

Crafting his own trademark genre “art soul”, Walthamstow singer songwriter Simon a. has been making quite an impact with his opulent blend of modern soul, R&B and rap, and his current single ‘Fermi’ showcases his silky, laidback vocals flawlessly.

He tells us a little of what ‘Fermi’ is about, in particular the lyrics which may not be what you’d typically expect from a soul song; “I wanted to make something that’s just a smooth groovy bounce, and then all of a sudden, I started talking about aliens. I honestly don’t know where it came from haha, but I thought it would be an interesting topic to cover, and then decided to bring in the alien’s perspective as well. It ultimately became a conduit for self-reflection; you can listen to the song and read the lyrics and think “Is this me?” Like that Euphoria meme.”

Recently featured in the longlist for Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, Simon performed last December at the AMEX Gold Unsigned Showcase at The Dome, and is no stranger to bigger shows at Notting Hill Arts Club and Tramlines Festivals, as well as more intimate gigs such as Sofar Sounds.

On top of this, he’s also been on the receiving end of a multitude of complimentary coverage from the likes of Clash, Timeout, BBC Introducing, Notion, Wordplay and Guap Mag.

Currently working on a mini-album project called ‘The Show’, which will be unveiled sometime over summer, Simon will treat us to another ‘art soul’ single soon, so be sure to keep locked to his socials for more news.

Website   Instagram   YouTube   TikTok   Spotify

The Height - ‘Type of Days’
Straight outta the musical mecca of Salford, it’s probably not too surprising that three-piece The Height have soaked up the sonic delights of their region, and describe their sound as “The Smiths meets The Courteeners”. What’s more surprising is the raw talent of this young band who are aged 13, and have already displayed a wealth of potential since they released their debut single ‘Nowhere’ in December 2022.

After capturing the ear of Johnny Marr, who awarded songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist John Denton the first ever ‘Salford Foundation Trust Johnny Marr Award’, the band have been working diligently on releasing new music, and making their mark on the gig circuit.

Which brings us to our chosen Spotlight track ‘Type of Days’, an infectious, energetic indie smasher. Writing about what he knows best, “being a teenager in Salford today”, John also explains what he had in mind when the song came to life; “It's one that I wrote around April last year. We needed a banger to put in our live set so that's kinda what I was looking for when I was doing it. It's just about making the best of every day regardless of what happens! It has been our fastest growing track with 1,000 streams in a week. It's just been so well received we've been blown away.”

The band’s single releases to date have drawn much praise and airplay, and the trio have already enjoyed some unbelievably thrilling experiences such as headlining and selling out the iconic Salford Lads Club; being the first unsigned band ever to achieve this. Their track ‘One to Another’ was used as part of Salford City FC's kit launch last summer, alongside a video produced by Adidas and Pro-Direct Soccer, which attracted thousands of views across social media, not to mention plenty of eyes on the band. And thanks to the young musician grant from Johnny Marr, John has also been featured in NME, Far Out, BBC, ITV and more.

So what more could possibly be in store for The Height when they’ve already accomplished so much? The band are more than happy writing new music, gigging and developing their craft along the way. With a live date at The Deaf Institute on 1st June, and slots at G-Fest and BritFest over the summer, they’ve got plenty to keep them busy; “We've got so many other gigs in between, plus recording new tracks and generally just enjoying what we do.”

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Divisions - ‘Island States’

With members straddling Scotland and England, five piece Divisions pride themselves on creating “an Alternative Rock soundtrack for troubled times”, incorporating swathes of electronic layers and murmurings which result in a contemplative, intricate and atmospheric sound.

The band have always considered the studio and DAW as an essential tool in their creative process, and primary songwriter Matt brings his electronica, trip-hop and ambient influences to the table, which fuse harmoniously with the post-rock, prog and metal inspirations from the other members of Divisions; Dave (vocalist), Kris (bassist), Adam (guitarist) and Lloyd (drummer).

Matt breaks down how their current single ‘Island States’ was conceived and shaped; “As with a good few Divisions tracks, the seed for Island States was Matt sitting at the piano (probably in the dark) just feeling around some chords until something took hold. Lyrically the track is a reflection on what it means and feels like to be human. I wanted to convey the idea that we are isolated ‘islands states’, trapped in our own bodies and minds, but despite this, or because of it, we need connection in all its forms, physical, plutonic, familial etc.”

With songwriting being a significant focus for Divisions, reaching the final of the UKSC songwriting competition with track ‘Moments Passed’ has been a meaningful accomplishment. Other stand-out moments for the band, which occurred during lockdown, include recruiting a cellist to accompany on song ‘Your Secret Self’, and putting together a virtual choir to join the band on ‘The Greater Good’. “Lockdown definitely forced us to re-evaluate what can be achieved remotely.”

As well as picking up airplay on BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio for their releases so far, ‘Island States’ was recently featured on the Eclectic Picks blog for Tom Robinsons’ Fresh on the Net.

Over the coming months, look out for another single release from Divisions, before they turn their attention to remixing and remastering their debut LP ‘Distance Over Time’ to mark its 10th anniversary. In the meantime though, be sure to relish their remix of ‘Island States’ which dropped just last week. 

Bandcamp   Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Spotify

Zeo ft. P. Money - ‘Huh’​
Alternative rap and grime artist Zeo exhibits his dark, fierce style on his track ‘Huh’; a dynamic taster of the material on his latest album ‘Gambit’ which dropped back in March.

But Zeo’s creativity doesn’t stop with his music. He works hard to create engaging experiences for his ever-growing fanbase, or ‘ninjas’. Before the album release, he hosted a unique listening party with a twist; it was located in an old Victorian lock-up at West Midlands Police Museum where cell block spaces were used as a metaphor for parts of Zeo's mind, and guests were given codes to break to unearth clues in different cells. They listened to the album through headphones while completing tasks in silent disco format.

Always keen to formulate exciting projects, it’s no surprise that collaborations are a big thing for Zeo, who has worked with established and talented artists and producers such as JME (BBK), DJ Q (TQD), Bassboy and TRC to name a few, and on ‘Huh’ he was also eager to inject some fresh ideas; “I reached out to a producer called Herzeloyde from Australia who sent me a rough beat. I then wanted to write something which was kind of light hearted, braggy but still have that aggressive feel to it. This is when I came up with the chorus for ‘Huh’ and the rest followed from there. Once finishing my verse I thought who would be my ideal feature for such a high energy song, and reached out to P Money, who of course loved it and agreed to shoot a music video.”

Since supporting US artist Hopsin on his Savageville UK tour, Zeo is amped and ready to present his first live event for the Gambit album, which will take place at The Flapper in Birmingham on 15th June, and if it parallels his previous events, then it’s definitely not to be missed.

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Sans Froid - ‘The Still’
If a description such as “a girthy Kate Bush / Bjork / The Mars Volta / Deerhoof hybrid” doesn’t grab your attention, then I don’t know what will?!

Bristol-based progressive art-rock band Sans Froid are definitely not to be pigeon-holed, and current single ‘The Still’ acts as a exhilarating and captivating morsel of what can be expected on their debut album, due for release this Autumn.

As for the story behind ‘The Still’, the band illustrate further; “The song mirrors the narrative of our upcoming debut album ‘Hello, Boil Brain’, delving into the profound anxiety stemming from emerging out of a world-altering pandemic and the daunting prospect of reintegrating into a frenetic 'normal' society. It reflects the realisation that social interaction, once second nature to many, now feels overwhelming, and the rapid pace of life no longer aligns comfortably. The yearning to linger in a state of slow existence amidst the chaos.”

Previous stand-out performances at StrangeForms Festival 2023, Handmade Festival 2023, as well as a sell-out gig supporting PEACH on their album launch, have cemented the four-piece’s reputation on the live circuit, and you can witness for yourself via the video above, filmed at Rough Trade Bristol, which captures San Froid’s thrilling live show.

Even better, why not experience the spectacle for yourself as the band prime themselves to play Patchwork Studios in Maker Heights on 20th April, Rough Trade Bristol on 27th April (supporting Poly-Math), and the mighty ArcTanGent Festival in August.

And be sure to keep your ear to the ground for more news of ‘Hello, Boil Brain’ over the coming months.

Bandcamp   LinkTree   Instagram   Facebook   YouTube   Spotify

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, 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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