New Artist Tips for 2016 | Jay Wrighter selects his Ones To Watch [Part 1]
Happy New Year and welcome to 2016; A year that already shows potential to be one of the most interesting periods in music since So Solid topped the charts with "21 Seconds" and Lethal B took himself and a handful of other MC's to Number 11 in the UK charts with "Pow".
The UK has since seen a stale period where the underground scene seemed to lack the chemical equation that brought success for the likes of Megaman and Asher D. But in the last year Grime has resurrected, Trap reigns and everything else on the urban soundscape falls in-between. The underground scene in the UK now consists of, not only the older sounds a 20-something Londoner has become accustomed to, but a new wave of music more commonly known as Future Sound, the name more commonly given to the sound that has brought in a new generation of artistry and seen the fruition of names such as NAO, Bryson Tiller, Kehlani and Jay Prince. Having learnt from the past, the UK and others are now showcasing talent stronger than ever.
This feature is curated to bring you up to speed with not only UK acts but artist across the globe breaking boundaries and making classic hits of the future. Expect a varied list of names I feel have a bright future and the potential to produce anthems for the millennial generation.
Take a look at the UK's up and coming, those from the US, and as far as the deep down under Australia……
Hailing from North London, Geovarn has been making serious waves on the music scene. Last year, he was a Top 10 finalist in MOBO UnSung, embarked on the MOBO UnSung Tour, and he has continued to grow and develop since then. The first time I came across Geovarn's track, "TLC", I was instantly sold with the ease at which he brings old school R&B to the present whilst managing to maintain a unique sound where other vocalists may have opted for the trap-singing route.
21-year-old Estelle already has an impressive resume; performing at the famous Hackney Empire and featuring on Professor Green's "Goodnight", the singer/songwriter is already poised for success. "Picture" is one of her first solo releases and gives fans a taste of what else to expect in 2016, as the track paints the perfect backdrop to a chilled night in under the duvet or a casual relaxed walk in the park.
With the resurgence in Grime, so comes the surge of new MC's. None more welcomed though than Rocks Foe. With raw energy and a flow reminiscent of the early Grime days, it's no wonder Rocks has already worked with the likes of Dexplicit, Chipmunk and Swiss.
He’s been on my radar for a few years now. SNE has never failed to impress me; even from early on in his career he seemed to have the knack for constructing songs. Now, with the new sound the Hackney resident has adopted, I can only see him going up from here. With elements of the new-wave R&B/Trap in his forte, SNE has somewhat become the UK conversion of a Bryson Tiller or Tory Lanez, but don't get me wrong, at the same time SNE can't be compared.
What can't be said about the talent that is RAY BLK. Still new to the game, my second South London resident is the most energetic and creative vocalists I've come across in a reasonable amount of time. I still remember finding her EP on Soundcloud early last year and instantly searching for more info. With a voice so unique and an obscure name, I wasn't sure if she was a guy or a girl, but never the less the music I heard was un-matched to anything I’d come across before. Since then, RAY has gone on to top Spotify's Top UK playlist, released music on iTunes and landed a major record deal.
Dropping the vows from a name has become somewhat synonymous with the new wave of artists. For whatever reason artists choose to drop vows, I haven't yet come across an artist/producer it hasn't worked for, and DVSN (pronounced Division) is no different. Although not much is known about the artist, it's no surprise the mysterious vocalist, reminiscent of R&B circa Genuine, D'Angelo and more, hails from Canada. It should also be known that one of Drake's go-to-producers, Nineteen85, known for making chart-toppers such as "Hotline Bling," "Truffle Butter," and "Hold On, We're Going Home, works closely with DVSN and produced "The Line". Rumour has it Nineteen85 could even be DVSN. Either way, it looks like the OVO camp continues to grow strong.
Hailing from Walthamstow, Big Tobz to me is an underrated rapper who is finally getting the attention he deserves. Tobz always finds a unique but balanced approach to his music; giving listeners just the right amount of street whilst still keeping it sweet for the ladies. With a commanding voice, unmatched wordplay and punch lines, Big Tobz's star will only get brighter as his fan base continues to grow. You can also look forward to a new remix of his latest anthem, Uno My Style, featuring WSTRN,Donaeo & Avelino.
Call me bias but aside from the fact Blinkie hails from the same side of South London as I do, the guy has been grafting for years and worked with some of your favourite artists, including Wretch 32, Tinie Tempah, J Warner, Smiler and more. Blinkie is the type of producer who can make anything from Pop or Grime to Dance. There are no boundaries to his talent and with a proven ability to pen hits, as well as a co-sign from Major Lazer, I see 2016 being a big year for him.
Find out which artists will feature on the second list next month....