Atlantic Records co-presidents Briony Turner and Ed Howard have told Music Week "the sky is the limit" for "world class creative" Fred Again in the wake of his breakout success.
The 29-year-old, who was runner-up of the BBC Radio 1 Sound of 2023 list, worked with the likes of Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Ed Sheeran, Roots Manuva and FKA Twigs en route to becoming the youngest ever winner of Producer Of The Year at the 2020 BRIT Awards.
Real name Fred Gibson, Fred Again is up for three more BRITs at this weekend's ceremony – this time as an artist – with nods for Artist Of The Year, Dance Act and Mastercard Album Of The Year for Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022), the third LP of his Actual Life project.
"He's an international badass," said Turner. "He is extremely ambitious and intelligent and the music he is making is exceptional, so the sky is the limit for him."
"He's a world-class creative," added Howard. "There is no shortcut to that and no half measures; he's the real deal on a global level."
We saw his consumption triple between late summer and the end of the year
Ed Howard, Atlantic Records UK
Actual Life 3 (22,921 sales, OCC) was Fred Again's first Top 5 album, peaking at No.4 in the UK last October. He has also scored Top 40 singles with 2021 Blessed Madonna collaboration Marea (We've Lost Dancing); Turn On The Lights Again... (with Swedish House Mafia ft. Future) and Delilah (Pull Me Out Of This), both in 2022; and most recently Rumble, with Skrillex and Flowdan, which reached No.19 earlier this year.
Fred Again, whose monthly Spotify numbers now exceed 15 million, made a futher breakthrough with an acclaimed set at the Boiler Room in London last July – coinciding with the release of Turn On The Lights Again.
"We saw his consumption triple between late summer and the end of the year," added Howard. "The culture comes first, and then you see this consumption explosion off the back of that."
Following the release of Rumble, Fred Again lined up three surprise shows in London in three days with fellow electronic music stars Skrillex and Four Tet from January 5-7 at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, Electric Brixton and Troxy. Tickets were released on the day of the shows and sold out within minutes.
We are obsessed with having moments that create virality and bring more people into his orbit
Briony Turner, Atlantic Records UK
"He has built an incredible relationship with his fanbase through exciting, unexpected moments," said Turner. "He's developed an exceptional reach into fandom. We also see that in his live business, which is exceptional.
"He set himself up for a real ignition moment with the Boiler Room. You replicate the surprise around that live moment and double down on the artist message, and then you have new reach through that. There is a feeling of real excitement around everything that he does. We're obsessed with having moments that create virality and bring more people into his orbit."
Fred Again's debut album Actual Life (April 14 – December 17 2020) dropped in April 2021. Revolving around the pandemic, it comprises short clips from sources such as YouTube, FaceTime, Instagram and answerphone messages, set to synthesisers. Actual Life 2 (February 22 – October 15) followed in November of the same year.
"I feel like for the first chapter, it was a philosophy and a deeply personal message that he was putting out in a time, during the pandemic, when people needed to have that kind of emotional resonance," said Turner. "The audience that came from that enabled Turn On The Lights Again, for example, to be a real proper moment for him in terms of a streaming record.
"The songs are happening now and will continue to happen alongside the consideration of his philosophy. The two things are working in tandem. He's got excellent people around him as well: from his management through to the other creators that he's worked with. They really endorse and empower his vision."
PHOTO: Theo Batterham