UK urban breaks USA – part 3

Mark Beaumont tracks the course of the latest British invasion across the pond.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 24 Nov 2010
  • min read
The cannier US superstars, however, have realised that if you can’t beat the breaking UK acts, employ them.

Fraser T Smith – the writer/producer behind Cruz’s Break Your Heart and Tinchy Stryder’s UK hits Never Leave You and Take Me Back has recently been courted to write for Britney Spears, Cee-Lo Green and rising US star Christian TV.

Christina Aguilera co-wrote Elastic Love from her recent Bionic album with MIA, and Cruz has been rumoured to be writing for Rihanna. Even Usher himself has allegedly seen the light and had talks of collaboration with Jay Sean. As have Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

At the same time, several major US urban artists have taken on UK counterparts – Akon has signed Sway to his Kon Live label, John Legend launched his HomeSchool label in 2008 with a single from Estelle and there are rumours of Tinie Tempah being signed by a big US act. The swell of British breakthrough acts hitting America’s shores is beginning to look like the early stages of a tsunami.

From Rock To R&B

How did it happen? Back in 2006, Europe’s biggest hopes in America were either mainstream rock bands such as Coldplay and Radiohead or non-British production teams.

Norwegian PRS for Music members Stargate had just begun a string of major US hits with Ne-Yo’s Number One single So Sick and would continue with a further 22 Top Tens with artists including Rihanna, Beyoncé, Shakira, Flo Rida and Lionel Richie, as well as launching the StarRoc label with Jay-Z and picking up an armful of songwriting and production awards.

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