Neon Jungle

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Neon Jungle
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Years active2013–2015
Labels
Websiteneon-jungle.com
Past membersShereen Cutkelvin
Amira McCarthy
Jessica Plummer
Asami Zdrenka

Neon Jungle was a British four-piece girl group consisting of Shereen Cutkelvin, Amira McCarthy, Jessica Plummer, and Asami Zdrenka. They were best known for their second single "Braveheart", which peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart. Their 2014 debut and only album, Welcome to the Jungle, features "Braveheart" alongside fellow top 10 single "Welcome to the Jungle", as well as the top 20 entries "Trouble" and "Louder". The group separated in 2015.

History[edit]

The group was formed by music manager David Cooper of Eye of the Storm,[1] who began a three-month process of auditions in November 2012. Amira McCarthy and Jessica Plummer were initially scouted separately while shopping in London, while Shereen Cutkelvin and Asami Zdrenka were found via their solo YouTube videos.[2][3] Cutkelvin, McCarthy, Plummer, and Zdrenka were told in February 2013 that they had made the line-up, and the same week the group began recording material in the studio.[4][5] RCA Records UK signed the group by June 2013 and showcased them at a press event, although they did not have a name at the time. They chose the name Neon Jungle, which was derived from their song "Welcome to the Jungle" and to reflect that the members were "all individual and quite different".[6] According to Plummer, "it’s like neon is bold, bright, strong individual characters and then the jungle part is the madness".[7]

In August 2013, Neon Jungle released their debut single "Trouble", which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 12 and reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart.[8] During October, the group supported Jessie J on select dates of her Alive Tour, and the following month they performed alongside Taylor Swift at the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in the US.[9][10] Neon Jungle's second single, "Braveheart", was released in the UK in January 2014 and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart; the group had decided that the song's energy and major bass made it the best option for their second single. Neon Jungle released the song "Welcome to the Jungle" as their third single in April 2014; it debuted at number seven. The same month, they were signed to RCA Records in the United States.[11]

The group performed at various UK music festivals during mid 2014, including Wireless Festival, T in the Park and the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On Festival Weekend.[citation needed] Their debut album, Welcome to the Jungle, was released in July 2014 following the single "Louder" (number 14), and entered the UK Albums Chart at number eight. Welcome to the Jungle features songwriting and production contributions from Charli XCX, CocknBullKid, Cassie Davis, Fear of Tigers, Snob Scrilla, and soFLY & Nius. The group described the album as having "the same energy and attitude that came from Trouble" and "raw, stripped-back and versatile".[2] The album includes a cover of Banks's "Waiting Game", which attracted publicity after Banks publicly acknowledged her dissatisfaction with the cover's release months prior to that of her own debut album, Goddess; Neon Jungle declined to respond to her comments.[12][13][14] A fifth single, "Can't Stop the Love", was released in December 2014.[15]

The group's contract with RCA Records was terminated in May 2015. Cutkelvin said the following month that the group were searching for a new label, writing new material and continuing to perform live.[16] In July 2015, Neon Jungle announced via social media that they were disbanding.[17][18] They were nominated at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards in the category of Choice Music: Next Big Thing.[19]

Artistry[edit]

Neon Jungle's sound was described by The Guardian as "pop-dance with a dash of punky" and "a cross between the chanty agit-pop of Icona Pop and the rumbling, EDM-tinged noise that fills the radio", and by The Independent as "edgy pop".[20][21][22] Plummer said that the group were "not into a particular genre of music, we don’t want to be soul, we don’t want to be R&B or hip-hop, we want to be a new flavour".[23]

Zdrenka commented on the diversity of their singing voices, characterising Cutkelvin's as "soulful", McCarthy's as "raspy" and having "that belt voice as well", Plummer's as having "a nice tone", and her own as "moody".[24]

Members[edit]

Shereen Cutkelvin[edit]

Born on 2 December 1996, is from Lanark, Scotland and is of Belizean and British descent. She is the youngest member of the band. Cutkelvin admits her shyness, but claims she's "been singing since she could walk and talk". She was inspired by her father, and considers him her "musical idol". Cutkelvin mentions she feels she was "born in the wrong generation", and mentions her love for Motown and soulful music with the likes of Diana Ross and The Temptations. Cutkelvin posted covers of herself on YouTube, along with videos with her family. She was later discovered and invited to audition, and mentions she got the call to confirm her place in the group on her way back to her home in Scotland. Cutkelvin also mentions working for Sony before joining the group.[25]

In 2017, Cutkelvin began appearing on series fourteen of The X Factor, in a three-piece band with her two brothers, called The Cutkelvins. The Cutkelvins made it to the second semi-finals, and came in 4th/5th place alongside Lloyd Macey.

Amira McCarthy[edit]

Born 2 February 1996, in London, McCarthy stated that she has always known that performing was something she wanted to do. She has said that the moment she realised that the route she wanted to go down was music as opposed to acting or dancing was when she took part in a singing competition at her school Westminster Academy. Similarly to Plummer, McCarthy was scouted to be in the group, found in Westfields Shopping Centre, west London. McCarthy later auditioned and made the final four.[26] She is of West African descent.

Jessica Kate Plummer [edit]

Born in London on 16 September 1992, Plummer is the oldest member of the band and had previously worked as an actress. She appeared in two episodes of the CBBC series Wizards vs Aliens. Her musical idols include Mariah Carey, Beyoncé Knowles, Rihanna and Jessie J. Plummer was discovered through the group's manager in Brick Lane, London, and from there was invited to auditions.[27] In 2019, she began appearing in the BBC soap opera EastEnders as Chantelle Atkins.[28] In November 2020, Plummer was a contestant on the 20th series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which was filmed in Wales due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.[29]

Asami Zdrenka[edit]

Born 15 September 1995 in Japan, Zdrenka was born to Japanese and British parents, and moved to the UK at an early age along with her brother and sister, Ikuma and Airi. Zdrenka has said that she has always loved to sing, and as a child, when her father took her on holiday back to Japan, he would make her sing to her family.[30] Zdrenka's mother Harumi was a singer and her grandfather has released albums in Japan. Zdrenka was also spotted online, through videos of herself singing on YouTube, catching the attention of the label.[31] Following Neon Jungle's split, Asami is working on solo material, and released a video series entitled A Cover Trilogy.[32]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[33]
AUS
[34]
Welcome to the Jungle 8 48

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
UK
[35]
AUS
[34]
IRE
[36]
SCO
[37]
US Dance [38]
2013 "Trouble" 12 4 9 Welcome to the Jungle
2014 "Braveheart" 4 19 20 2
"Welcome to the Jungle" 7 46 4
"Louder" 14 86 6
"Can't Stop the Love"
(featuring Snob Scrilla)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Tours[edit]

Opening act

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Outcome
2014 Urban Music Awards Best Female Act Won
Best Group Won
Glamour Women of the Year Awards Band of the Year Nominated
4Music Video Honours Best Breakthrough Nominated[41]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards UK Favourite Breakthrough Nominated[42]
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Next Big Thing Nominated[19]
APRA Music Awards Dance Work of the Year for "Braveheart" Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Eye of the Storm". Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Neon Jungle: We don't want to be compared to other girlbands". 4music.com. The Box Plus Network. 24 January 2014.
  3. ^ Adejobi, Alicia (28 July 2014). "Interview: Neon Jungle Talk Debut Album, Meeting Cara Delevingne And Dating Celebrities". entertainmentwise.com. Giant Digital.
  4. ^ Austin, Emma (7 November 2013). "Exclusive Interview - Neon Jungle". loudmag.co.uk. Student and Graduate Publishing.
  5. ^ O’Connell, Thomas (1 June 2014). "Neon Jungle Interview". thestudentpocketguide.co.uk. The Student Pocket Guide Ltd.
  6. ^ Corner, Lewis (30 August 2013). "Neon Jungle interview: 'We're shocked people like us'". Digital Spy.
  7. ^ Law, Seb (25 June 2013). "Planet Notion » Introducing: Neon Jungle". planetnotion.com. Attic London Ltd. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  8. ^ Murray, Gordon (19 December 2013). "Donna Summer Returns 'MacArthur Park' To Top of Dance Chart After 35 Years". billboard.com. Nielsen Inc. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Neon Jungle Join Jessie J On UK Arena Dates!". metroradio.co.uk. 14 October 2013.
  10. ^ Lansky, Sam (14 November 2013). "What To Expect From The 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (From Someone Who Was There)". idolator.com. SpinMedia.
  11. ^ Beverley Lyons (27 July 2014). "Neon Jungle braveheart Shereen Cutkelvin always believed she would be a singer.. now she's on the verge of debut album". dailyrecord.
  12. ^ "BANKS Fans Think Neon Jungle Are "Lowdown Basic Bitches Who Can't Write Their Own Tracks"". NOISEY.
  13. ^ "Banks feels 'icky' about Neon Jungle cover". BBC Newsbeat.
  14. ^ "BANKS makes statement on Neon Jungle's use of 'Waiting Game'". DIY.
  15. ^ John Dingwall (23 November 2014). "Neon Jungle star Shereen Cutkelvin admits performing at the Scottish Music Awards is a good cure for homesickness". dailyrecord.
  16. ^ Beverley Lyons (30 June 2015). "Neon Jungle songstress Shereen Cutkevlin reveals band are focusing on 'new beginning' after being dropped from label". dailyrecord. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Neon Jungle Breaks Up: U.K. Girl Group Splits After One Album". Billboard. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Girl band Neon Jungle split up after two years together". Newsbeat. BBC. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Teen Choice Awards 2015 Nominations: Taylor Swift Leads the Pack - Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  20. ^ "New band of the day Neon Jungle (No 1,557)". The Guardian.
  21. ^ Michael Cragg. "Neon Jungle – Braveheart: New music". The Guardian.
  22. ^ "One to watch: Neon Jungle, band". The Independent.
  23. ^ "Introducing: Neon Jungle". HUNGER TV.
  24. ^ "Next Wave #537: Neon Jungle". Clash Magazine.
  25. ^ "Shereen Cutkelvin Biography". Heatworld.com. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  26. ^ "Amira McCarthy Biography". Heatworld.com. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  27. ^ "Jess Plummer Biography". Heatworld.com. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  28. ^ Warner, Sam. "EastEnders casts former Neon Jungle singer Jessica Kate Plummer as Chantelle Baker". Digital Spy.
  29. ^ Rocks, Chelsea. "Neon Jungle: when was I'm A Celebrity contestant Jessica Plummer in the girl band". Yorkshire Evening Post.
  30. ^ "Asami Zdrenka Biography". Heatworld.com. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  31. ^ "New girlband Neon Jungle have a smashing time as they make video for debut single Trouble". Daily Record. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  32. ^ Laurence Day (24 September 2015). "Pop newcomer Asami Zdrenka unveils bewitching cover of Placebo's "Pure Morning" [Premiere] - The Line Of Best Fit". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  33. ^ "Artists: Neon Jungle". Official Charts Company. 4 August 2014.
  34. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discography Neon Jungle". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  35. ^ "Neon Jungle > UK Charts". officialcharts.com/ Official Charts Company.
  36. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Neon Jungle". Irish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  37. ^ Peak positions for singles in Scotland:
  38. ^ "WebCite query result". Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014. Cite uses generic title (help)
  39. ^ "BPI certification 2013". BPI. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  40. ^ "ARIA : Charts Accrediations : Singles 2014". Aria.com.au. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  41. ^ "4Music Video Honours 2014 - 4Music". 8 April 2016. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016.
  42. ^ "Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards – UK Favourite Breakthrough". Nickelodeon UK. Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.