Features November 26, 2018

William Singe on his second shot at major label success

Charts & New Music Editor
William Singe on his second shot at major label success

Captivating millions of YouTubers with gleaming cover renditions of Fetty Wap’s ‘679’ and Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’, Aussie R&B-pop artist William Singe is changing his tune, in more ways than one.

The 26-year-old has pushed the reset button on his career, two years after signing one of the biggest recording deals with a US label for a new Aussie artist. 

“It’s fun to do covers, but at the same time, they’re not my words,” Singe tells TMN at Sony HQ in Sydney.

“Right now, I need to establish myself as an ass-kicking name in this industry.”

With debut single ‘Rush’ and latest effort ‘Please’, released November 1, Singe has released just two original songs in the last 18 months – unusual for an artist who, back in 2016, inked a deal of this size and stature. 

The five-year recording contract worth more than $2 million saw the singer link up with and re-unite with Sony Music Entertainment Australia, the label he was formerly tied to as a member of Australian X Factor alum The Collective.  

Despite the looming pressure of returning to the major, compounded further by RCA’s big spend, Singe is earning every cent so far having already penned “over 400 songs that are just sitting on the laptop”.   

The singer also admits there is always going to be a natural trade-off when it comes to the artist/label relationship.

“Every artist and label has to find their middle ground of where they meet,” he says. “It’s about working together to find that medium that’s going to be the best thing to get out to the public.” 

“When you have something as wholesome as music, and you mix it up with something so shallow as money, it kind of ruins the whole thing.” 

Rebranding Singe as an original songwriter is no doubt a central focus for RCA and Sony. The singer took matters into his own hands earlier this year, making the decision to wipe his Instagram wall clean, pre-empting the release of ‘Please’ and leaving his 1.3 million followers awaiting his next move.

“I went through my whole Instagram feed and realised it hadn’t really changed since I started posting in 2011,” Singe recalls.  

“I took it upon myself to stay away from social media this year… I feel like this is where the rebrand happened.”

Apart from the label deal, one of the singer’s biggest moments in his career thus far happened last year when he laid down the vocals on Jonas Blue’s Top 5 TMN Hot 100 hit ‘Mama’.

Despite the significance of the project, Singe realises that he needs a hit song of his own to make a breakthrough. 

“‘Mama’ is the biggest song I’ve been a part of, but it’s not mine… when people mention the song on radio, they might not mention me.”

Working in Singe’s favour as he continues to establish himself as an original artist is his relationship with longtime manager and friend Julian Petroulas. Managers are invested in every aspect of a 360 deal, and Petroulas’ hands-on approach means every bit to Singe.

“We bounce ideas off each other all the time… He thinks outside the box. I credit him for a lot of the progress I have made in my career thus far.”

When asked if the record deal hype had brought about any desire to explore new managerial options – or if he’d been approached by any other parties – Singe was quick to set the record straight on any uncertainties.

“Julian is my day one, there’s no one more I can trust more than that man. I know he’s going to be real with me, and that he’s not going to bullshit me. He’s done a lot of hard work for me, and vice versa.”

While covers are taking a backseat for now, Singe has plenty on the horizon for the new year. He points to collaborations as a major priority for him in the short term, naming artists YG, Jessie Reyez, Sammy J and Chloe Papandrea as prime targets.

“There’s another song I want to release after this one [‘Please’] and hopefully a new project for the beginning of next year.”

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