Nashville’s R.Lum.R, Spanish singer Mala Rodríguez and British hip-hop duo Young T & Bugsey also featured among Next program.
Fast-rising pop singer Zak Abel has been announced as Deezer's second global priority act of 2018, following in the footsteps of fellow Brit Jorja Smith. The accolade ensures that both artists will receive extensive playlisting and marketing support from the streaming service as part of its 12-month-long Next program, which was launched last year and champions new and emerging talent.
R&B singer Jorja Smith, who also collected the Brits Critics' Choice Award earlier this year, was announced as the first of Deezer's four global priority act in January. Since then, her streaming numbers have increased by 500 percent, while her fan base on Deezer has grown by over 50 percent, Sulinna Ong, global vice president of artist marketing tells Billboard.
"Deezer Next is about 12 solid months of support. We don't just focus on an artist for one to three months," says Ong, citing committed playlisting support and dedicated promotional campaigns, including live events and online and offline marketing spend, among the tools used to "turn a casual listener into a fan."
Abel, who is best known for his guest vocal on Gorgon City's 2014 hit "Unmissable," stood out through his charisma and live stage presence, says Ong. "He's very much been on our radar and in our hearts and minds since early 2016," she states, saying that the decision to make him a Deezer global priority "feels like the natural and logical step."
"My fans are fantastic and working with a global streaming service like Deezer will give me the opportunity to share my tracks with even more people all over the world," said Abel in a statement.
Since making his breakthrough with Gorgon City's "Unmissable," the London-based singer-songwriter has released a number of solo singles and EPs, as well as last year's debut album Only When We're Naked via Atlantic Records UK. He's signed to Sony/ATV for publishing.
In addition to announcing Abel as its second global priority, Deezer -- which claims 14 million monthly active users and is available in over 180 countries -- also unveiled its next wave of regional artists that will be championed as part of this year's Next program.
They include Latin Grammy-winning singer Mala Rodríguez, British hip-hop duo Young T & Bugsey and Nashville-based U.S. singer/songwriter R.Lum.R (pronounced Ar-Lamar), whose breakout ballad "Frustrated" has drawn more than 20 million streams on rival streaming service Spotify.
Also recognized are Brazil's Cynthia Luz, French rapper PLK, German-Spanish singer-songwriter Nico Santos, Malaysian indie rock band Midnight Fusic and vocalist/producer Kimosabe from South Africa.
The next two rounds of Deezer's 2018 Next program are due to be announced in June and September.
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