Radar Report 2023: Case study Heartworms


Real name Jojo Orme, Heartworms enjoyed a breakout 2023, which kicked into gear as a direct result of performing at Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) with her live band in January. Now, a year on from her two showcases at the festival, the South London-based alternative rock artist, who is managed by Raw Power and represented by Wet Leg agent Adele Slater at Wasserman Music, is on the verge of a real breakthrough.


By Ben Homewood
(Features Editor, Music Week)

Late in 2022, Heartworms signed to Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label, also based in South London, and in 2023 released her debut EP A Comforting Notion. Her most recent release was November’s ‘May I Comply’, which was produced by Carey, who has worked with a host of recent UK breakouts including Goat Girl, Black Midi, Wet Leg, PVA and more.

November saw Heartworms play her biggest UK show to date at London’s Village Underground, while she also returned to the Netherlands in December to play shows in Maastricht, Nijmegen and The Hague.

Heartworms had only released one single, ‘Consistent Dedication’, prior to appearing at ESNS. Now, the post-punk act boasts a total of 22,826 monthly listeners on Spotify, where her following has been on a steady upward curve since ESNS 2023. ‘Consistent Dedication’ is Heartworms’ most streamed track on the platform, with 304,510 total plays, while ‘Retributions Of An Awful Life’ has 267,712. 

Heartworms’ list of most played tracks on Spotify is completed by ‘24 Hours’ (75,746), ‘A Comforting Notion’ (43,826) and ‘May I Comply’ (23,235), while the act’s tracks have appeared on playlists including The Other List and Hot New Bands.

Total following Heartworms, data from ESNS Analytics

After the UK’s majority share, the Netherlands is Heartworms’ second most popular territory on Spotify, showing the positive impact of exposure at ESNS. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen and The Hague all feature in the locations list for Heartworms fans in the country. Beyond that, Heartworms has listeners on Spotify based in the USA, Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Czechia, Italy, Mexico, Poland and Japan.

These impressive Spotify numbers, which also include almost 8,000 followers on the service, have been boosted by a strong airplay performance. BBC Radio 6 Music Breakfast Show host Laverne previously premiered ‘Consistent Dedication’ and did the same for ‘May I Comply’ in November. 

6 Music’s emphatic seal of approval is far from the only recognition Heartworms has received at radio since playing ESNS. ‘Retributions Of An Awful Life’ has most plays, with seven on French station Radio Campus Besançon and six on Pinguin Radio in the Netherlands. ‘24 Hours’ has five plays via Radio Primavera in Germany, while ‘Consistent Dedication’ has four plays on Australian station FBI. Heartworms has also enjoyed radio airplay in Switzerland, Lithuania, Portugal, the USA and Canada.

At the same time, Heartworms is building her profile across social media, and follower counts on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all risen since the ESNS shows.

Spotify is responsible for the majority of Heartworms’ 25,000+ total follower count, with Instagram and TikTok (both almost 7,000), Facebook and YouTube (both around 1,700) and Twitter (approximately 1,000) also on the up.

Heartworms by Ben Houdijk

ESNS data shows that Heartworms has enjoyed the steepest curve in engagement on Spotify, where her follower count was at 1,664 before playing the event. On Instagram, Heartworms has added almost 4,000 followers since January 2023. At the time of writing, Twitter is enjoying the strongest growth in followers for Heartworms, with a 25% increase over a 28-day period.

In the music press, Heartworms were tipped by numerous outlets at the start of 2023, including the UK-based NME, which also picked Jojo Orme’s project as one of “10 unmissable artists” at ESNS. NME later reviewed the A Comforting Notion EP with the line, “‘say hello to the next cult band” and included the record in its ‘Best Of The Year so far’ list.

Heartworms firmly caught the attention at ESNS, with Clash offering a glowing review of one of the band’s two sets. 

Heartworms’ darkly layered post-punk comes to life on the intimate European stage

“Heartworms’ darkly layered post-punk comes to life on the intimate European stage,” Clash wrote. “Despite her young age, the artist has fought a lot in her life, she fought for what she believed in; equality and the right to pursue the career she was keen on. Now on a stage in the Netherlands, she uses her musical toolbox to create gothic vibes and gives a performance that is fully engrossing. It’s a confident display that leaves a mark, and the crowd members are clearly into what they are seeing. Heartworms pack a great punch.”

Having already played DOUR and Down The Rabbit Hole with the support of the ESNS Exchange Programme, Heartworms’s trajectory will surely continue into 2024, with a US tour with The Kills on the horizon. Jojo Orme has already come a long way since ESNS, and is primed to go even further.