obviously I understand the definition part "One who will succeed". But can someone tell me how the word play part works in this clue?
"with melody, we hear"
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"Heir" is usually pronounced with a silent H, so sounds like "air". One meaning of the word air is a melody, such as "air on a g string". "We hear" is a common idiom in cryptic crossword clues for homophones ie "sounds like". So "melody, we hear" = "sounds like another word for melody" = "sounds like air" = "heir".