Make a mental list of the biggest phenomena in pop music over the last few decades. Think of the biggest music television shows of the same era. Regardless of the length of the list, it is almost certain that the name of Briton Simon Fuller is behind many of your decisions.
The 61-year-old entrepreneur is the creator of the Spice Girls and a pioneer of the girl band concept. If that’s what made him a star, the years since have confirmed that Fuller has an eye for talent — and for business. From him the concept of the series “Pop Idol” and later “American Idol” emerged.
Now that we’ve hit 2022, Fuller has a clear idea of what the next big thing in pop music could be. They are called The Future X and they are his new project born and living almost exclusively on TikTok, the social network of the present.
The group consists of seven members, including lead singers Angie Green, Luke Brown and Maci Wood, accompanied by dancers Drew Venegas, Tray Taylor, Sasha Marie and Jayna Hughes.
They’re not famous names — for now — but the bet is they’ll quickly become familiar faces. The members, all born in the US and Canada, live together in Malibu and are already preparing for their first tour, due to start in March this year, as well as concerts with Fuller’s other great new band, Now United. .
The casting process began in 2021, but the whole machinery was started by Fuller in 2020 when he signed a deal with TikTok. The goal? Create the next big pop supergroup. Two years later, the engines are already running.
New group, Who This?! 💥 #TheFutureX
♬ Original sound – The Future X
“The new generation of pop stars has embraced the platform and with the help of TikTok audiences we will create a cast of incredible artists who will shape the future of pop,” he revealed at the time. Since then, thousands of candidates have been showing their talent on the social network under a common hashtag. And after more than 300 million views around the hashtag, Fuller was able to choose the seven members.
You can’t say that The Future X started from scratch. Together, the members have already guaranteed an audience of more than four million, led by dancer Tray Taylor.
The project remained a relative secret until this Tuesday, January 25th, when the band’s first single was released, exclusively on TikTok of course. This Kind of Love has racked up a modest 166,000 views so far, but hopefully that’s just the beginning.
TikTok shows “all phases of the band’s creative and personal journey”. In just two days, The Future X has already shared almost a dozen videos.
The man with the secret formula
The Spice Girls remain his greatest accomplishment, but it was forming the girl band that allowed Simon Fuller to carve an absolutely stunning career behind the scenes of pop.
The Brit has managed the careers of names such as David and Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox, Steven Tyler, Amy Winehouse, Kelly Clarkson, Emma Bunton and Carrie Underwood over the past three decades. He was also an agent for athletes such as Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula 1 driver in history, and Andy Murray.
Incidentally, he idealized the founding of other bands along the lines of the Spice Girls. The formula led to the formation of S Club 7, one of the UK hits of the early 2000s. In 2017 he used a similar process to The Future X to form an international supergroup, Now United, which is now a global phenomenon.
Fuller made the transition from music to television in 2001 when he started the “Pop Idol” competition in the UK, which later became even more successful in the US under the name “American Idol” and ran for 15 years. More recently, Fuller was also responsible for ABBA’s return in a virtual reality version. No wonder he’s considered one of the most influential men in the world, especially in music and television.
The age of the TikTok stars
Fuller’s formula is not new, either in terms of group composition or the means by which achievements are achieved. The rise of the social network over the past two years has brought with it a slew of musical talent who have practically made themselves in the platform’s small videos.
In videos with viral snippets and dance interludes, for example, hits like rapper Lil Nas X, Lizzo or Doja Cat were created. Many of the releases of new artists are shaped with the social network in mind: small snippets are edited and produced so that they are highly shareable.
The medium has changed, but the phenomenon appears to be very similar to what has happened with YouTube over the last decade, where small emerging artists gained popularity and showed themselves before even being hired by the big publishers. That was the next step.
Because of this, there are also those who question The Future X’s potential success, claiming that many of the emerging phenomena are winning over the public for their authenticity. Now, in the case of Fuller’s band, almost everything is polished to a shine and primed for success: a final, finished product that may be the reason for its implosion.
One of the paradigmatic examples is the band’s partnership with a cosmetics company, elf Cosmetics. The contract stipulated that immediately after the release of the first single, the band had to release a new video on TikTok to promote a contest for whoever wanted to be the members’ new makeup artist. A content sponsored by the cosmetics company, of course.
Fuller seems confident that none of this will affect the success of his new project. “They have everything that is exciting about new contemporary artists: authenticity, confidence, empowerment and a unique balance between exceptional dancers and iconic singers.”