As Kylie Jenner once famously said, we all need a ‘year of realising stuff’ and boy oh boy was she right. Seeing as I am currently wham-bam right in the middle of my final year at school (halle-loo), I have realised that studying and revising sessions are well accompanied by discovering new artists. It counts as revision in its own way. So today I have decided to whittle down my hoard of recent discoveries to my top 6 artists. Perhaps what Radio 1 would brand ‘up-and-coming’, some may be familiar to you. If not, get familiar with them, because they could just be the next big names of this generation.
Oh my Lordy Lord. I was first blessed by this Irish voice when I was deep into NPR Music Tiny Desk concerts (another productive use of my prep time). His soulful voice, strong with passion but softened by his Irish twang is captivating. Although he started off slightly more Ben Howard/acoustic style, his most recent stuff has been compared to Bon Iver, as he brings together R&B beats with a mix of both electronic and acoustic instruments. Kennedy’s voice is so individual and watching him on the tiny desk concert gave me shivers. He puts everything he has into his music and it shows.
Best songs: Moments Passed or An Evening I Will Not Forget – I would grab some tissues if I were you.
Oh hey who’s that dude walking down the street? Only the grooviest guy in South London. An independent artist, Jamie Isaac has written and produced all of his own songs, notably his two albums, ‘Couch Baby’ and one released earlier this year ‘(4:30) Idler.’ He blends jazz, hip hop and electro and by heck it is one perfectly chilled smoothie. He has also done some banging collaborations with his roommate, the one and only, King Krule. A self-professed perfectionist, the production on Isaac’s tracks is immaculate, but he is what some people may brand a ‘Sad Boy’ (think Chet Faker or James Blake) as he writes of heartbreak and past lovers. Regardless, if you ever want to chillax and forget about your worries and your strifes, this man can help you do just that.
Best song: Wings – FACT this was written about a couple he saw eating chicken wings in the early hours
So this is 100% biased as I have this girl on repeat. Her first EP, ‘Don’t Smile At Me’ came out in 2017 and was an amazing success. With the help of her brother they write songs together which touch upon subjects such as self-hatred and even homicide. Blue as this may sound, her voice is airy with an eerie falsetto (somewhat similar to Lorde), giving her songs an enchanting lightness. She already has around 13 million monthly listeners on Spotify and this is only bound to increase. Especially now she has just released another single, ‘When the party’s over’ – guaranteed to hit you deep in the feels. The most amazing thing about Eilish? She is only 16 years-old. So I’m predicting many awards and many many good things.
Best song: Bellyache – Who knew committing a murder could sound so groovy
Ever wonder where our friend Declan McKenna disappeared to? Well don’t, his musical doppelganger Sam Fender is here to save the day. This 22 year-old from Newcastle has made a big impact in the music scene. BBC music named him as the Sound of 2018, amongst names like Khalid and Rex Orange County. His tracks talk about topics which seem a bit taboo in todays society, ranging from government surveillance to sexual harassment, Fender has no fear in expressing his thoughts through his lyrics, and I am here for it. So far we have only had singles HOWEVER he has announced that his EP is to be released on the 20th of November. I’ve already seen one of his songs is named ‘Poundshop Kardashians’ and I would be lying if I said a reminder hadn’t been set on my phone for that day. So enjoy this hot new talent with his intricate guitar playing and deep lyrics which might just make you think, is ‘1984’ really fiction…?
Best song: Dead boys – please watch the music video, ’tis very powerful
A truly cool guy who, to be honest I would just love to be friends with. As the name suggests Still Woozy (real name Sven Gamsky) is a laid back artist who says his music is best listened to when ‘coming down from an acid trip or something’. Blending acoustic and electro perfectly, Gamsky has claimed that without acoustic instruments the music doesn’t sound alive – hence why all his songs incorporate instruments which aren’t straight from a software. So far he has only released 5 singles on Spotify but with some of his songs reaching close to 10 million streams I am certain an album is on its way. So if you need someone to ease you out of any stressful situation, keep this Californian chiller’s lazy vocals close at hand.
Best Song(s): Goodie Bag or Vacation – who doesn’t love a goodie bag?
At only 20 years-old Ama Lou has already toured with Jorja Smith and has had her lyrics featured on Drake’s Instagram. Her EP was released this year (‘DDD’) featuring three tracks filled with politics as well as other themes. Her soulful voice and authentic style has set her apart from the crowd for me. Although she was classically trained as a singer she has developed this in a different direction and is pushing into the genre of R&B, but with her own smoky twist. Her visual aesthetic is equally distinctive and, with the help of her sister, has created a visual project (sounds very Kanye I know) for her EP. The film is a tryptic of visual parts and follows the story of a young girl in an LA crime ring. As both a lover of music and film this video is gift from the gods and the shots (filmed by her sister Mahalia John) left me SHOOOK. hHuge kudos to them both.
Best song: Wrong Lesson – was actually very hard to choose on this one.
Always a pleasure, never a chore, soak up these sounds and I’ll be back for more (maybe). Happy discovering frunds,