“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
The highly anticipated BBC Sound of 2014 shortlist is set to be announced on Monday. 11 years running, The Sound of 2014 showcases the rising stars for the year ahead. The longlist is compiled by over 170 influential UK-based music critics, editors, broadcasters and bloggers. The panel of taste makers submit their top 3 acts, before being whittled down to the top 15 longlist, and later followed by the top 5 shortlist. Last year’s top 5 included Haim, AlunaGeorge, Angel Haze, Laura Mvula and Chvrches and judging by the success they’ve had this year, the ‘BBC Sound Of” can been a catalyst for great success.
Previous winners have included 50 Cent, Adele, Ellie Goulding, Michael Kiwanuka and last year’s overall winner, HAIM. The sisterly trio had an extremely successful 2013, signing with Jay Z’s label Roc Nation, touring with Florence And The Machine and Arctic Monkeys and performing with Primal Scream on the legendary Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Their debut album ‘Days Are Gone’ also reached no 1 in the UK .
So, who are the artists set to make a big impression for 2014?
1) LA singer Banks has made quite the impact this year. With two EP’s underher belt, (‘London’ and ‘Fall Over’), 25-year-old Jillian Banks presents a unique dark R&B sound and delivers haunting vocals amidst deep sultry beats and eerie electronic production. Having worked with the likes of Lil Salva, Jamie Woon and TEED, previous singles include ‘Before I Ever Met You‘, ‘The Is What It Feels Like‘, and the TEED collaboration ‘Warm Water‘. Banks recently supported The Weeknd on tour in the US and UK and is currently working on her debut album.
2) Rising Chicago based artist ‘Chance The Rapper‘ (AKA Chancellor Bennett) has self released two mix-tapes; ’10 Day’ and ‘Acid Rap‘ – The latter of which gained him much attention from singer James Blake, who he later collaborated with on a re-worked version of ‘Life Round Here’. Having already toured with hip hop heavyweights Eminem and Kendrick Lamar and featured on Childish Gambino’s album ‘Because The Internet’, Chance The Rapper will have his pick of labels rready to sign him up.
3) 18-year-old Chloe Howl has been praised for her frank insight into modern teenage life, as well as some feisty lyrics to match. Having drawn comparisons with artists such as Katy B and and Lilly Allen, Chloe ‘s previous releases including ‘Paper Heart’, ‘No Strings’ and her latest re-release single ‘Rumour’. Having been nominated for a Brits Critics Choice Award, Chloe’s Debut album, produced by Justin Parker and Eg White, is set for release this year. Chloe is also set to support Ellie Goulding on her upcoming tour.
4) You may recognise 19-year-old Ella Eyre as a guest vocalist on Rudimental’s massive hit ‘Waiting All Night‘. Since then Ella Eyre has been touring extensively with the band, before she embarks on her solo career this year. Another Brits Critics Choice nominee, Ella’s debut EP ‘Deeper’, (produced by Two Inch Punch) was released in December, with her debut single ‘Deeper’. Expect a debut album and plenty more touring for 2014.
5) From Jessie J’s backing dancer to Sound Of 2014 nominee, meet 25-year-old FKA twigs (Tahliah Barnett). Having already released two EP’s, London based Twigs presents an atmospheric R&B vibe with her ethereal vocals. Previous singles include ‘Water Me’, ‘Papi Pacify’ and ‘Breathe’.
6) 19-year-old UK artist George Ezra was first noticed through BBC Introducing, which led to sessions at legendary Maida Vale and introducing stage at Glastonbury. With a mature sound far beyond his years highlighting his confident vocals, Ezra’s debut EP ‘Did You Hear The Rain’ featured his latest single ‘Budapest’. With plenty of UK tour dates this year, 2014 is set to be a busy year.
7) The mustery duo Jungle made up of T and J, have steadily built up their fanbase with their electro-tinged, tribal funk vibes. With a debut album set for release in 2014, previous singles include ‘The Heat’ and ‘Platoon’, along with two creative videos, further adding to their online fanbase. While the duo are secretive about their background, it allows their music to take center stage.
8) 30-year-old Kelela Mizanekristos, currently based in LA, presents an alternative look at R&B with its experimental electro production. With her debut album ‘Cut 4 Me’, receiving high praise, Kelela continues to go from strength to strength and even has Queen B as a fan! From the deeply personal lyrics and powerful vocals, expect big things from Kelela in 2014.
9) Luke Sital-Singh has had in incredible year having headlined his UK tour, performed with Kodaline and Villagers and sets at SXSW and Latitude to name a few. The 25-year-old has already released three EP’s featuring the emotive ‘Bottled Up Tight’ and ‘Fall For You’, which featured on Grey’s Anatomy. Expect a debut abum this Spring as well as further UK dates in February and March.
10) For someone so young, 19-year-old MNEK is already an accomplished writer, producer and vocalist. MNEK has secured writing credits and four features on Rudimental’s no 1 album ‘Home’, writing credits on Duke Dumont’s massive no 1 hit ‘Need You’ and featured vocalist on Gorgon City’s ‘Ready For Your Love’. Currently signed to Virgin EME, MNEK has also remixed artists from George Michael to Bastille. Looking forward to hearing some solo material in 2014.
11) Nick Mulvey was previously a member of the Merucury Prize nominated jazz group ‘Portico Quartet’. Since then, Nick has continued his solo career as a singer songwriter, with his rhythmic guitar and latin styles finger picking. Having released his debut EP ‘Fever To The Form’, Nick is set to embark upon a mini UK tour this March.
12) Royal Blood ade up of Mike Keer (bass, vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums) from Brighton, are another act to emmerge from the ever successful BBC Introducing. Having only been together a year, their latest single ‘Out Of The Black’ has drawn comparisons to acts such as Jack White and Queens Of The Stoneage. Their riff-laden power rock is certainly making an impact as the duo are set to support Arctic Monkeys this May in Finsbury Park.
13) From Disclosure’s ‘Latch’ to Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’, Sam Smith‘s vocals have featured on some chart topping singles. Having launched his solo career, with tracks such as ‘Nirvana’, ‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Money On My Mind’, Smith kicked of 2014 winning the coveted Brits Critics Choice award. Sam’s debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ is set for release this May.
14) 24-year-old South London singer Sampha has already released 2 EP’s ‘Sundanza’ and ‘Dual’ and has collaborated with an impressive list of artists from SBTRKT to Beyonce and Jessie Ware. The electronic soul singer produced and sang on two tracks from Drake’s latest album ‘Nothing Was The Same’, including the emotive single ‘Too Much’.
15) Say Lou Lou is made up of twin sisters Miranda and Elektra Kilbey. The electo-pop duo have described their music as: ‘organic ethereal music landscapes with flowing instruments and vocals’, as heard in singles such as ‘Better In The Dark’ and ‘Julian’. Having supported Hurt and Foals last year, the duo are set to perform a headline gig at XOYO this February. Expect a debut album later this year.
Starting Monday 6th January, Radio 1 Breakfast Show DJ Nick Grimshaw, will announce the top 5 acts throughout the week. Be sure to check out all the nominated artists before the winner is announced on Friday January 10th. In the meantime, have a listen to the nominated artists below.
5th Place – George Ezra
4th Place – Sampha
3rd Place – Banks
2nd Place – Ella Eyre
1st Place – Sam Smith