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12:01 AM Friday, 8/26/11 |   |

It’s rare for an arena headliner to still have much room to grow. Tinie Tempah has absolutely blown up in the UK, so much that in November the London-based rapper is headlining 12 major arenas including The O2, Manchester Evening News Arena, Glasgow’s S.E.C.C. and Wembley.

Yet Tinie’s done only a smattering of shows in the U.S., mostly at major festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella. William Morris Endeavor’s Cara Lewis says that’s about to change, with a 16-date, coast-to-coast college run with Lupe Fiasco starting in September and more to come next year.

“He’s huge in colleges, and it’s also a fantastic, fan-friendly way to solidify a base,” Lewis told Pollstar, adding that there is only a short window to book him this year. “He’s a great act, and a great addition to any bill. Certainly we plan to come back in February and do our own run in colleges.”

For the Lupe Fiasco run Tinie will be playing “everything from ballrooms to amphitheatres” with capacities between 4,000 and 8,000.

Right now he’s doing major European festivals, including the V Festivals in Britain and Rock En Seine in France. WME’s Alex Chaykin, who books Tinie in the U.S. with Lewis running point, says they’re after more than just the urban market.

“He’s targeting a cross-section of the audience, including electronic, pop and urban,” Chaykin told Pollstar. “And that’s the direction music is going in general.”

The artist himself has great expectations, saying in interviews he hopes to sell 1 million copies when he releases his new album – this after he sells out his UK arena tour.

Mighty ambitious for sure, but that kind of confidence comes from being good, and earning it. It also doesn’t hurt the ego to be constantly winning awards, including two 2011 BRITs, a couple of MOBOs and even a UK Festival Award for breakthrough artist.

“He has an incredible work ethic,” Lewis said. “And he’s an incredible guy – very talented, great ideas, and an active participant in his career.”


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