'It was about Jazzy being front and centre': Polydor execs on one of 2023's biggest breakthroughs

'It was about Jazzy being front and centre': Polydor execs on one of 2023's biggest breakthroughs

Jazzy has the biggest new debut single of 2023 with Giving Me – the first track on Polydor’s Chaos imprint for dance and electronic music

The Irish DJ and vocalist is the most successful artist launch of the year in terms of singles chart success for new music released in 2023. As well as a Top 3 result with Giving Me (604,144 sales to date – Official Charts Company), Jazzy also made the Top 40 with follow-up Feel It (123,158 sales), her second single as a primary artist.

Polydor/Chaos has launched Jazzy as a solo artist following her chart success as a featured artist with Belters Only, including 2022’s Top 5 single Make Me Feel Good (1,127,952 sales). 

Following her solo breakthrough in the singles chart, Jazzy released her debut EP Constellations in October.

Here, Polydor execs Jack Duckworth (head of A&R at Chaos, A&R director at Polydor.), Paddy McLean (co-GM, Chaos), Silas Howison-Waughray (co-GM, Chaos) and Oliver Hunter (head of digital creative strategy) discuss the development of Jazzy, success across multiple releases and global ambitions for the year ahead…

How did you help develop Jazzy as a solo artist in her own right following the hit with Belters Only?

Jack Duckworth: “We first met in a small pub in Dublin after Make Me Feel Good came out and talked about what a Jazzy solo project would look like. We talked at length about what she used to listen to growing up – Michael Jackson, Robin S – and bonded over the 2010s house era of Hot Natured, Jamie Jones and many others. At the end of the meeting, I mentioned we wanted to sign her which was received with a ‘Oh piss off, you're joking.’

“Her first single Giving Me was actually written on the same day the guys made Make Me Feel Good (don’t know what was in the water that night), and got shelved for a few months before eventually coming round as a record we couldn’t really ignore. It felt like the perfect starting point for Jazzy – something authentic and not trying to be something she wasn’t.” 

What was the approach to the EP in terms of featured artists and collaborators? 

JD: “We didn’t want to jump too far ahead too soon with this EP, it’s more a taster for what's to come. We worked with some wicked up-and-coming names and also some well established ones for the project, but wanted to stay clear of having every track feature a named producer. It was about Jazzy being front and centre.” 

How unusual is it for a DJ/producer to also bring other elements, vocal and instrumental, to the production? How does that make Jazzy a new kind of dance star in both recordings and live?

JD: “It's great that she can do both and it gives the team so much more to play with creatively. To go from performing your songs live at a concert to jumping on the decks and Djing the after party, opens her up to far more diverse line-ups and gigs.” 

Jazzy was the launch artist for Chaos – what made her the right choice to roll out a new dance imprint?

JD: “With Chaos we’re looking to sign the most exciting acts coming through each sub-genre in dance/electronic music. From hardcore to minimal to DnB to ghetto tech, myself and the Chaos crew are out raving to it every weekend, so there are no boundaries. If it bangs, we’ll do it. Jazzy came from the Dublin House scene (or its new nickname D12), so it was a natural fit. She’s the perfect example of an artist we’re trying to sign, an artist coming from a scene with ambition to crossover.” 

How did Jazzy's track record as a featured artist with Belters Only provide a strong introduction to radio playlists and DSPs?

Paddy McLean: “When Belters Only first broke through we made a conscious effort to consistently highlight the original relationship Robbie G, Bissett and Jazzy had. As three friends and collaborators from Dublin who made music together, we created content focused on all three of them equally, from the photo shoots to the music videos. This helped foster an early interest in Jazzy from editors, and intrigue into what a solo project from Jazzy could look like. When Giving Me finally arrived as her debut, our contacts already felt invested in her story, and understood how unique a proposition Jazzy could be.”

Giving Me was a huge hit, what was key to that success in terms of promotion, how did radio get on board?

Silas Howison-Waughray: “When we put Giving Me out as the first Jazzy record and the first single on Chaos, it’s safe to say we didn’t quite anticipate how huge the record would eventually become. But as a label we’re built to manage every eventuality and we often work best when we have to move fast and work reactively. 

“Giving Me was growing consistently week to week, but really started to explode off the back of a number of Irish TikTok creations that, alongside the highly reactive nature of the record and the incredible content around it, really fanned the flames. We built the record through specialist dance channels at radio and worked towards daytime and playlist conversations as the record quickly accelerated. The support from radio both in the UK and Ireland has always been incredible across the project.” 

Can you outline the achievements for that single in the UK and Ireland in 2023?

PM: “Giving Me definitely broke some records on its ascent to the top of the charts. Jazzy hit No.1 on the Irish Official Charts – the first Irish Female to do so in 14 years – as well as hitting No1 on the Irish Spotify charts, again, the first Irish female to ever do so. The video for Giving Me was the most viewed song in Ireland on YouTube in 2023. It’s also officially the biggest new debut single of 2023 in the UK official charts.”

How did Jazzy herself support the campaign in terms of media, live and social activity? And how did you help to grow her channels throughout the year?

Olly Hunter: “Jazzy has smashed it on socials this year, it’s been such a joy to see her content and music connecting with an ever-growing community of fans across every platform. It’s the perfect mix of social content that has set Jazzy apart; from organic clips of Jazzy singing and using trending Tik Tok sounds, to the elevated short-form vignettes soundtracked by her own music, which have consistently gone viral. The relationship the team has with Jazzy has been invaluable to move fast, creating content quickly and consistently as her music exploded across streaming. We recently launched the Jazzy Family Whatsapp community for exclusive content, driving deeper fan engagement beyond the social platforms as well.” 

MTV Push has included Jazzy on its list of breakout acts, is she set for widespread media support going into 2024?

SHW: “We’ve seen incredible support from across the industry on the Jazzy project from the minute we launched Giving Me. She partnered with SoundCloud earlier in the year as the second artist on their Ascending programme, was announced by TikTok as a 2023 Breakthrough Artist, listed as one of Vevo’s 2024 DSCVR Artists to Watch, worked with Spotify as the UK & Ireland Equal ambassador for November, alongside being included in the MTV Push list and more activations with partners that are still to be revealed. She’s set up incredibly well at media across the board for a massive 2024, as well as having a genuinely dedicated and growing fanbase to match.”

Feel It was also a Top 40 hit, does that make you confident of Jazzy's ability to become a career artist?

PM: “Feel It’s success solidified everything we already believed about Jazzy, that dance music fans were ready for a new force in the electronic space, someone who stood for something fresh and something different. Having two Top 40 singles with our first two releases highlights that her fanbase are ready and waiting to come along on this journey with Jazzy and watch her incredible story unfold.”

How important is the EP to building the development of Jazzy. What are the release plans for 2024?

PM: “Jazzy’s debut EP Constellations underlines her unique position in the electronic space. With only one feature – from fellow electronic rising star Charlotte Plank – the whole project signalled one key thing – it’s all about Jazzy. Constellations summed up her breakthrough sound perfectly in one engaging narrative. Next year we hope to build on this, delving further into the story of an Irish DJ taking her sound global, entirely on her terms.”


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