Young female singers hope for '08 breakthrough

Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:32pm EST
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LONDON (Billboard) - In recent years, female singer/songwriters such as Amy Winehouse, KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae have broken internationally out of the U.K. But the emerging class of 2008 suggest the trend has only just begun. Here are four artists to watch for.


"Scary but amazing" -- that's Kate Nash's description of America as she contemplates the U.S. release of her quirky piano-pop debut album, "Made of Bricks" (Geffen), January 8.

Nash became a pop phenomenon in the United Kingdom when her debut major-label single, "Foundations," spent five weeks at No. 2 in July and August.

"I still live at home and have my friends around me," says Nash, an excitable and talkative 20-year-old from north London. "I'm not really interested in fame and celebrities."

Jim Chancellor, head of Nash's U.K. label, Fiction, says he signed an "exciting and talented young lady who's quite a poet," and Nash has repaid his faith. "Made of Bricks" was moved up seven weeks to capitalize on the success of "Foundations."

Chancellor says Fiction would have "missed our moment" if it hadn't scrapped the existing campaign -- and was proved right when it debuted at No. 1 in August. It has now shipped 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom and a further 100,000 in Europe, according to the label.

In the States, the "Foundations" EP, released in September, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Singles Sales chart and Nash played three New York shows in September. "I thought, are these people thinking, what's this weird English girl talking about?" she says with a laugh. "But it went down really well."

Universal U.K. director of international marketing Greg Stafford says key U.S. press, from Teen Vogue to the New York Times, "have come onboard early . . .There is a real expectation." Nash returns to North America for promotion and four dates starting January 7 in Toronto, with "Foundations" serviced to radio just before Christmas. A full U.S. tour is planned for April and May. The album will be released in January in Australia, where Nash will appear at Big Day Out, Down Under's biggest traveling festival.   Continued...

<p>Amy Winehouse performs during the MTV Europe Awards ceremony in Munich November 1, 2007. REUTERS/Michael Dalder</p>