By Sterling Wong
America and Britain have historically enjoyed a special relationship that was forged by Churchill and Roosevelt during World War II, and this even extends to the realm of music. George Bernard Shaw once famously remarked, “England and America are two countries separated by a common language,” and the language he was referring to could actually be music.
For decades, British acts have found massive success here, including the Beatles, the Spice Girls and Coldplay. In the spring, I wrote about the success of Adele and Mumford and Sons here kicking off a new British invasion. But this special relationship works both ways. Hop across the Atlantic and you’ll notice that there are American artists who’ve managed to find great success that eclipses their achievements here at home. It’s as if the British public was somehow more receptive to their music or has adopted them as de facto countrymen (think Madonna during her Guy Ritchie days). MTV News looks at three American artists who’ve hit in big in the UK.
Ms. Kelly is the best example of a domestic artist who’s struggled a little here, but has found her feet in the UK. Since she’s embarked on her solo career, Kelly has enjoyed some success in the U.S. Her duet with Nelly, “Dilemma,” for example, was a Hot 100 No. 1 hit. However, Kelly’s enjoyed far greater success in the UK, with no less than six top 10 hits there, including Euro-friendly dance tracks like “When Love Takes Over” and “Commander.” Kelly also managed to snag a prestigious spot on the judging panel of this season’s “X Factor” in the UK. With the show averaging 10 million viewers each week, Kelly is sure to see her profile rise further over there.
Meanwhile, her career here is also finally taking off, with “Motivation” becoming a radio hit and the parent album, Here I Am, becoming Kelly’s highest charting album ever. Looks like Kelly’s found a successful bi-continental musical strategy: Go dance-heavy in the UK, and focus on urban, hip-hop grooves over here.