The Relevancy Read

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Hot takes, early calls and astute observations, carefully curated.

A Sampling
A Sampling

Five Next Big Things

November 14, 2023

Renee Rapp

Rising to fame in Mindy Kaling’s The Sex Lives of College Girls, the young actress and singer is currently on her solo tour, Snow Hard Feelings, taking cities and TikTok feeds by storm. A walking embodiment of the Gen Z mind, her recent shows featured duets with Kesha and TikTok singer Lizzy McApline celebrating the 20th anniversary of Wicked, and a reenactment of Justin Bieber serenading a fan to “One Less Lonely Girl,” with Rapp dressed as Bieber himself. Staring in the upcoming Mean Girls movie musical, the star’s name and face will be everywhere as she cements her role as a full-time it-girl.

The Free Press

People are thinking more critically about the content they consume, seeking ideology that re-prioritizes truth. So former NYT columnist Bari Weiss founded a new media company built on “honesty, doggedness, and fierce independence,” tackling divisive and taboo topics first and fairly. Her inaugural live event sold out advertised as an “old fashioned boxing match,” debating whether the sexual revolution has failed, with an opener from uncensored comedian, Tim Dillon. As legacy media loses reverence and Weiss continues creating buzzy, cultural meeting spaces, expect to see The Free Press brand blossom.

Fourth Wing

Act swiftly, this one's more "now" than "next." Rebecca Yarros’ sexy dragon fantasy, Fourth Wing, came out in May and has already been dubbed the next Twilight by a fast-growing fan cohort who eagerly anticipated the second installment, released last week. Yarros attended Comic Con in New York last month, and the number of readers dressed up as Fourth Wing characters is an early read on its pop-cultural potential. As the “romantasy” genre grows in popularity, this series will undoubtedly wind up on the big screen—a licensing and collaboration opportunity not to be missed.

Maximum Effort

Ryan Reynold's personal in-house agency has our attention. Since 2018, Maximum Effort has made buzzy commercials for Reynold’s growing portfolio of businesses, such as Mint Mobile, Gin Aviation, and Wrexham AFC. But a recent partnership with Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney and his Four Walls Whiskey hints at something new. We expect to see more collaboration between these two on the marketing front, and other power players to follow suit in bringing ad operations in-house. As the industry returns to creative advertising sensibilities, we’re betting Reynolds and Maximum Effort will command this space.

Rootsy Rock

Rootsy rock is rising as consumers gravitate towards the charm and purity of smalltown singer-songwriters. Vermont native Noah Kahan shifted his sound from pop to rustic rock and has since collaborated with Zach Bryan and Kasey Musgraves, and recently hit No. 48 on the Billboard Top 100 with a year-old song, “Stick Season.” Appalachian singer-songwriter Tyler Childers has also taken off with the genre’s uptick, arriving at New York City’s massive Madison Square Garden this spring. Sweet but not saccharine, these artists feel distanced from the industrialized music machine of country and pop. Their sound will resonate more with consumers as they romanticize simple American life in chaotic modern times.

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