“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
At the beginning of January, BBC Radio 1 unveiled their highly anticipated shortlist for the Sound of 2017. 23-year-old Ray BLK was crowned the winner of the coveted poll with her soulful R&B vibes, while bluesy-soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man came runner up. Continuing with their unparalleled support and recognition of new music, Radio 1 presents a further look into the future of music with Future Festival; a live event showcasing some of the brightest new stars of 2017.
So, who are the artists set to make a big impression in 2017? Let’s have a look at all the featured artists and be sure to tune in live tomorrow evening with MistaJam and Huw Stephens from 7pm.
First up is 20-year-old Alma (Alma-Sofia Miettinen) from Finland, making waves with her distinct vocals and brightly coloured hair. Alma first appeared on Finland’s version of Pop Idol and has gone from strength to strength and hair colour to hair colour, before signing to Universal Music last March. Having been compared to the likes of Beth Ditto, Alma’s talent is being recognised internationally, having supported pop start MØ in Helsinki, as well as a seal of approval from Elton John on his Beats 1 Radio show. Alma’s debut single ‘Karma‘ delivered a heavy dose of sass and swagger, not to mention 20 million Spotify streams. Her latest electro-pop single ‘Dye My Hair’ is taken from her debut EP of the same name and is available now via PME Records/Polydor. Upcoming dates for Alma include the iconic SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas (March 13-19) and Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland. (August 11-13)
Reading four-piece The Amazons (Matt, Joe, Elliot, Chris) successfully made this years coveted Sound of 2017 Longlist. Having burst onto the scene with the explosive ‘Stay With Me’ produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Bloody, The Maccabees), the group have been busy touring their energetic and raucous sound with The Strypes and Jimmy Eat World. The Amazons have received great support from BBC introducing, who provide support for unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar artists. Their music was soon supported by the likes of Huw Stephens and Annie Mac, leading to at performance on the BBC Introducing Stage at 2015’s Reading and Leeds Festival. Their latest single ‘Little Something’ featured as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record back in November. Currently signed to the Fiction Records, home to Tame Impala and The Maccabees, The Amazons are fast becoming one of the most exiting young bands to watch. Upcoming dates include Leicester (March 11) The Portland Arms (March 14) and London (April 12)
London quartet The Big Moon have been heavily influenced from the grunge and Brit-pop girl groups of the 90s, as heard in singles such as the self-produced ‘Sucker’, ‘Cupid’, ‘Silent Movie Susie‘ and their latest single ‘Formidable’. Juliette, Celia, Fern and Soph bring a boisterous energy, along with their slick harmonies and thrilling guitar jams, reminiscent of sister act HAIM. Having toured with the likes of The Maccabees and The Vaccines, the London quartet have completed a staggering 738 gigs in 2016 alone! Currently signed to Fiction Records (Tame Impala, The Maccabees), keep an eye out for their debut album Love In The 4th Dimension set for release April 17. Upcoming dates include Oxford (Feb 12), Cardiff (April 21), Belfast (April 25), Dublin (April 26) and London (May 2) Check out their full tour dates here.
When Drake remixes one of your tracks and premieres it on his OVO Sound Radio show on Beats 1, it’s safe to say you’re going to garner quite a bit of interest online. 17-year-old South London rapper, aka Santan Dave, clocked up over 18 million streams on Spotify when Drake jumped on his single ‘Wanna Know’. The remix is also set to feature on Drakes forthcoming project ‘More Life’. With his pick of record labels vying for his attention, Dave has taken the advice from Septa and Stormzy and remained independent. Having started free-styling in the underground scene, shortly followed by his debut single ‘JKYL’, Dave showcased his talents on Semtex’s 1Xtra show and Charlie Sloth’s notable Fire In The Booth. With a string of impressive releases and collaborations including ‘Thiago Silva’ with AJ Treacy, Dave excels with his lyrical style and a mature sound far beyond his years, earning him a nomination for this years Sound of 2017 Longlist. The classically trained pianist highlights his broad musical tastes with influences from Hans Zimmer to Pink Floyd. Upcoming performances in O2 Institute in Birmingham and O2 Academy Islington. (March 30-31). Currently working on his debut album with producer Fraser T Smith (Adele, Kano), be sure to check out his debut EP ‘Six Paths’.
Another artist performing at this years Future Festival and who also made the Sound of 2017 Longlist, is 17-year-old Declan McKenna from Hertfordshire. Having successful won Glastonbury’s ‘Emerging Talent Competition’ back in 2015, Declan has gone from strength to strength with his refreshing slice of indie-pop, even self releasing his debut single ‘Brazil’. Declan has been heavily support by BBC introducing, supporting unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar artists. This led to a performance at Maida Vale and Radio 1 ’s Big Weekend. Declan’s approach to music is clever and thought provoking with a real sense of social awareness, as heard in ‘Isombard’ which tackles the subject of xenophobia. His latest single ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come’ was featured as Mista Jam’s Hottest Record. Upcoming dates for McKenna include Patterns, Brighton (Jan 31) and The Garage, London (March 23).
19-year-old Jorja Smith, yet another artist to make this year Sound of 2017 Longlist, burst onto the scene with her unique sense of thought provoking soul and dreamy R&B. Having released her debut single ‘Blue Lights’, while maintaining a job in Starbucks, she soon gained the attention of some high profile stars including Drake, Skrillex and Stormzy – Not bad fans to have! ‘Blue Lights’ samples Dizzee Rascal’s ’Sirens’ mixed with her stirring lyricism and fragile yet powerful vocals, bringing Lauren Hill’s Miseducation to mind. Jorja wrote her first song at 11, so it’s no surprise she continued to study music in her A levels, where the classical composers she studied later influenced her follow up single ‘A Prince’ ft Maverick Sabre. Similar to Dave, Jorja has decided to release music independently. Having sold out her first UK headline tour last year and released her Project 11 EP, 2017 is set to be big year for Jorja who’s currently set to perform in New York and LA later this month.
Nadia Rose kicked off the new year placing 5th in the Sound of 2017. The 23-year-old South London MC/rapper burst onto the scene with her distinct voice, skilful rhymes, fiery flows and clever wordplay. While working in a betting shop, Nadia decided to follow her dream and embark on career in the UK rap scene. Probably one of the best moves ever, with explosive singles from ‘BOOM’, ‘Station‘ and ‘DFWT‘ to back her up. 2016 proved her breakout year, where she won her first MOBO award for the video ‘Skwood’. Having just released her debut 9-track EP ‘Highly Flammable’ (Jan 13) featuring tracks such as ‘Puddy Cat‘, ‘Tight Up‘ and the infectious re-edit of Kideko and George Kwali’s ‘Crank It (Woah)‘, Rose has staked her claim as a force to be reckoned with. While Nadia brings artists such as Missy Elliot and Eminem to mind, she also brings her own creative flair to the table. Who knows, maybe a collaboration with her fellow MOBO award winning cousin Stormzy could be on the cards! Upcoming dates include Rust in Denmark (Jan 14) Outlines, Sheffield (March 3-4) Lost and Found Festival in Malta (April 13-16) and Sonar in Spain (June 15-17)
LA based producer/songwriter duo THEY. made up of Dante Jones (production) and Drew Love (Vocals), have joined forces under new independent label Mind Of A Genius Records (Gallant, ZHU). Having received critical acclaim for their debut 3-track EP Nü Religion with their genre defying blend of hip-hop, rock and R&B, they later followed this up with a successful collaboration with Zhu and Skrillex on ‘Working For It’. Both Drew and Dante have varied musical influences from New Edition to Kurt Cobain and have aptly referred to their sound as ‘Grunge’n’b’. Their varied influences are perfectly captured throughout, with their effective use of heavy guitars, atmospheric production, falsetto vocals and edgy rapping. Other releases include ‘Deep End’, ‘What You Want‘ and their latest single ‘U-Rite‘. Upcoming tour dates include LA (Jan 20th) and NY (July 28-29). Hopefully we’ll get some UK and Ireland dates soon!
This years Future Festival is hosted by Mista Jam and Huw Stephens and will take place at Maida Vale Studios on January 17th. To be in with a chance of attending the legendary Maida Vale studios, you can register for tickets HERE. (Entry has now closed) If you miss out on tickets, the whole event will be streamed LIVE on the Radio 1 Website from 7pm! #R1FutureFestival
Check out the Full Spotify playlist below and also HERE.