Hackney singer-songwriter ARLO signs major record deal

ARLO signed to Arista Records owned by Sony Music Entertainment last week

Hoxton singer songwriter ARLO signed to Arista Records owned by Sony Music Entertainment last week - Credit: Arista Records

Hoxton singer-songwriter ARLO is following in the footsteps of Whitney Houston, Usher, and Avril Lavigne after signing to US record label, Arista.

The 27-year-old - real name David Ikechukwu - sealed the deal with the New York-based label last week in the Hackney home where he has lived for 20 years.

“I signed the deal in my living room where I used to rehearse with my band and take vocal lessons,” he said. “So it was a full 360 moment for me. I had been talking to Sony and Arista [Records] in America for a while, and they just said that they really liked what I was doing and that they'd love to work with me. It seemed the right time for me in my career to take that next step with a major record label, and the team there seemed a perfect fit.”

Known for his contemporary electro-pop sound and soulful lyrics, ARLO has been streamed millions of times and was even given the nod of approval from Elton John who played his 2017 single “Ivory” on the Rocket Hour Beats 1 Radio Show. His recent track with rapper Mick Jenkins, “Changing”, garnered widespread acclaim from BBC Radio 1 and 4Music.

“Being a UK artist signed in America is what you dream of when watching those MTV music videos as a kid. Big names like Whitney Houston, Usher, and TLC were all signed to Arista. Being attached to that is amazing.”

After studying politics and economics at Goldsmiths University, ARLO moved to New York to intern at the Bank of America but within 18 months he realised corporate life wasn’t for him and returned to London to focus on his music.

“Everybody I grew up with in Hackney has made music or worked in music or tried to get into music,” he said. “There's so much inspiration to take just from living in Hackney.”

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He has drawn on his experiences during the pandemic as material for new tracks which he hopes to release later this year.

“As we're able to start flying again, I'll look at trips over to LA to start recording,” he said.

Noting the devastating impact of lockdown restrictions on early career artists relying on the live gig sector for income, ARLO hopes his success will inspire the next generation of musicians to keep going when times are tough.

“Perseverance has probably been the key word in my career - I've just never given up,” he said. “That's my advice to anyone starting out in the music industry. You've got to get up and grind, even when you don't necessarily have the support or the team behind you. If you don't, no one else will.”

And he hopes to pave the way for other black British singer-songwriters. “I feel like we don't see many signed black singers in the UK,” he said. “And they maybe don't get as much love as black rappers or grime artists. This is hopefully a testament that the world is seeing us. British culture is so important and especially culture from East London, Hackney and Shoreditch and Hoxton. We are the game changers, we are the tastemakers. Hopefully, we'll start getting some more love.”

Follow ARLO's progress on https://www.facebook.com/iamarlomusic