How An Unsigned Unknown Won Over Clear Channel

Katy Tiz

Ian Collins

Katy Tiz leapfrogs onto the charts after becoming the first unsigned act named to the radio giant's new-artist initiative.

This article was first published in the May 3rd issue of Billboard Magazine.

Just one year ago, British pop singer Katy Tiz was an upstart signed to Lava/Republic working the radio-promo circuit hard for her debut singles, "Famous" and "Red Cup." A few stations took a chance on the latter, but Tiz soon met the fate of many young acts before her -- she was dropped by the fall. But now her new single, "The Big Bang," is moving 39-36 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart dated May 3, blaring across Clear Channel stations nationwide despite having no label support until days ago.

"I didn't believe for a minute that I was going to have a second chance," says Tiz. "Things didn't work out in my first situation. You have the dream of being able to do it again, but you also know that's harder to pull off."

What happened? As always, it helps to have friends in high places. Shortly after parting ways with Lava/Republic, Tiz teamed with songwriting/­production duo Rock Mafia (Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez) at the behest of her managers at DAS Communications (Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul) and consultant Bruce Tyler, a former senior vp at Sony Music. Tyler played the resulting "Big Bang" for Alissa Pollack, executive vp music at Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks, who passed it along to Clear Channel programming chief Tom Poleman. He believed in the track so much that he gave Tiz a coveted spot at the company's annual summit for station directors, labels and brands in January, where he declared the song a hit from the podium. Two months later, Clear Channel named Tiz the first unsigned artist to be part of its "On the Verge" program, which has already helped major-label acts like Kongos and Jhene Aiko in 2014.

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"She's got this great voice, she can write songs, and she's a fantastic performer," says Poleman. " 'The Big Bang' gets your attention, but once you see the depth of her catalog, it'll win you over."

Tiz secured a meeting with Atlantic Records, who invited the singer to play a showcase at its offices in early April. The ink dried on a contract on April 17, and a full-length, co-produced by Rock Mafia and Tyler, is on the way. "Tiz is not just a song; she's a real performer," says Atlantic Records Group chairman/COO Julie Greenwald. "She's smart, funny, clever, full of life, understands social media and wants to get her grind on. It just all added up."