Talking Points 2012 – Will Men Reclaim The Pop Throne This Year?

Last week’s mag featured our music predictions for 2012 (grab a back issue here if you missed it). This week on NME.COM we take an extended look at some of the topics that came up

Will women continue to rule the pop roost in 2012?


“I think there’s always going to be more females signed than males. I just think historically, they’ve sold better, certainly over the last decade. After Lily Allen, Adele and Amy Winehouse, and even people like Pixie Lott and Ellie Goulding, major labels always go ‘right, who’s the next Lily Allen, or Jessie J?’.

“Of course in the last year there’s been Tinie Tempah, Ed Sheeran and myself. Labels can’t come up with any original ideas themselves, so they’ll be going, who’s the next Example? But we’re all so unique, it’s not easy to just turn around and find someone to replace us.

“For women in particular there are lot more options open it terms of how you can market them. There’s more different styles and looks and images you can create for women than there are for men. For men you can either dress them a bit urban, you can make them a bit smart, you can make them a bit scruffy and you can maybe make them a bit punk rock, but for women there seems to be like 30, 40 options, images and ideas and you can sell them in different ways.

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran“There’s not that many ‘out there’ looking guys. Do you know what I mean? I don’t really dress up too much, I’m kind of the guy next door and you know, there’s people like Tinie who is quite fashion conscious, he’s obviously like a style icon. Then there’s people like Ed Sheeran – he just wears a hoodie and a t-shirt. You haven’t really got the theatrical element that you had with male pop stars back in the 60’s and 70’s.

“A lot of guys seemed very sexy in the 70’s if they wore makeup and had long hair and wore tight leather pants, you know? I just don’t think we’re in the time for that at the moment. I don’t know how much space there would be in the market for a male solo act wearing makeup and eyeliner and waistcoats [erm, Adam Lambert aside – pop Ed].

“It’s really hard to launch new male solo acts unless they’ve already been going for years and they’ve learnt the industry themselves and put the ground works in, the touring and the mix tapes etc.”

Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
“I seriously doubt men will reclaim the pop throne. A lost of the great music coming in 2012 is being made by women. With debuts from the female-fronted Niki & The Dove and Azealia Banks forthcoming, not to mention new ones from New Young Pony Club, La Roux, Solange, The Knife and Madonna, the female-led assault on the charts is set to continue. Hurrah, I say.”

An edited version of this article appeared in the 31st December issue of NME magazine.