2013 really was an exciting time for the music industry. From the likes of emerging new UK artists causing positive impact globally (Disclosure, Rudimental and AlunaGeorge to name but three), to the comeback kings of The Rolling Stones, coupled with Nile Rodgers’ return with disco band Chic performing some of the greatest live sets in recent years, 2013 will forever go down as one of the most exciting, and impactful, years for music.
Here we take a look at whom we firmly believe has what it takes to make their own footprint into next year, in our 14 for 2014 Ones To Watch:
We haven’t been this excited in a new artist for a long, long time. Moko, recently heard twice on Chase and Status’ monumental new album Brand New Machine, is a formidable entry into next year’s tip-for-the-top. The young Londoner exude pure rawness with her soulful vocals, yet keeping trip-hop firmly into the foreground. Stop reading, and just listen to breakthrough single Freeze, it’ll warm your hearts.
Londoner David Stewart actually caught our eye in 2010, after we were left impressed by his YouTube rendition of Drake’s Forever (which, unfortunately, is no longer available online). After lending his vocals to many of Example’s standout tracks (including the insatiable Watch The Sun Come Up), along with spending much of his late-teen years touring with the British rapper, AND releasing enchanting EP Late Night Viewing in 2012, David Stewart’s blend of sultry R&B with the occasional bouncy pop note makes him an interesting proposition for next year.
Newcomer Alison Levi has featured multiple times over here at Stagedoor FM. The London-based singer/songwriter has impressed us with her strong vocal range shown in her multiple acoustic videos, and we’re intrigued to hear what’s to come over the next 12 months.
Stagedoor FM regulars should be fairly acquainted of Laura Welsh by now. Her haunting Cold Front, released earlier this year, along with Russ Chimes’ club-friendly remix, gave us a good starter-for-ten on the refreshing young Londoner. However, it was September’s infectious Undiscovered, that really drove home Welsh’s potential impact into the UK scene. Take a listen below and see why her discovery could well make for one of Britain’s biggest female exports since Jessie J.
Ghanian-born Kwabena Adjepong (aka Kwabs) first grabbed our attention earlier this year with the sublime (and subliminal) Spirit Fade, however Britain’s potential answer to The Weeknd became no-more apparent than in the beautiful SOHN-produced Last Stand. One listen will leave you with goosebumps, so it’s no wonder why we’re overly-excited for Kwabs’ debut studio album to drop next year.
That McKenzie family sure are a talented bunch; newcomer Shezar McKenzie’s younger sibling is none other than Labrinth. However, unlike other newcomers with a famous background, Shezar is doing things her own way; one listen to her stunning soulful gospel-inspired voice will have you hooked. Those who laid witness to Naughty Boy’s stunning sets over the summer will be fairly acquainted by Shezar – a star whose on-stage charisma makes her seem like she’s revelled in the industry for years. Add to that some ridiculous pipes, and we have a forceful talent London will be proud of.
Newcomer Barnaby impressed us in earlier in the summer with self-produced debut single Fresh Made Lemonade. With a cool, distinct The Weeknd-esque vibe, we’re excited to hear more. A collaboration with British electro producer Blue Daisy is rumoured to be on the cards too, and with an EP expected early next year along with another new track Bored set to drop imminently, 2014 is expected to be exciting for the Southampton-based singer/songwriter.
Whilst he may have reached Top 10 earlier this year with smash single What I Might Do, Manchester-based Ben Pearce’s stunning fusion of progressive house with soul, funk and electro makes him a formidable entry into 2014’s big league.
After debut single You Should Have Known criminally failed to set the charts alight (it was an upbeat pop/R&B track), Laura White has fought hard over the years to try and shake that ‘ex-X Factor contestant’ label, and by the sounds of her new material, it sounds like she could be there. With two EPs in the pipeline, along with a new, mature soulful sound, early impressions show that 2014 could be the ripe moment for White to shine.
We Were Evergreen
Poptronica. Cool word, right? But quite apt once you hear We Were Evergreen’s refreshing material. Whilst they’ve been hammering away at making a name for themselves for almost five years, the rise of electro-pop over the past twelve months (thanks no doubt to the success of CHVRCHES), has pathed a way for the Parisian group to shine. Their blend of electro with folk-pop may not be for all, but like the aforementioned CHVRCHES, We Were Evergreen are likely to craft a hardcore following fairly quickly.
South London teenager Sasha Keable’s rise hasn’t been unnoticed. First gaining prominence with her stunning Disclosure collaboration on Voices (taken from the duo’s debut LP Settle), Keable is a star-in-the-making in her own right. Her newly-released EP Black Book, does well to support her strong vocals with a backdrop of strong production. Playing her cards right, Keable could well be seeing out next year as ‘the AlunaGeorge of 2014’.
With sets at this year’s Latitude Festival and Lovebox along with a stellar collaboration with Rudimental on Distance, the future seems bright for Bipolar Sunshine. Oozing elements of funk, rock, and minimalist reggae, check out the Manchester-based artist’s Drowning Butterflies EP, due to drop this month.
After capping off a stellar year with monster collaborations from Naughty Boy (La La La) and Disclosure (Latch), Sam Smith really needs little introduction. With his solo EPs also gaining acclaim, we look forward to 2014 where we’ll hopefully be hearing that all-important debut album.
Say Lou Lou
Swedish & Australian duo Say Lou Lou are set to explode onto the electro-pop scene next year. Their recent single, Better In The Dark, set blogs alight when it was announced just over a fortnight ago, whilst earlier this year, the enigmatic Julian landed to a fair strong reaction. Could 2014 be the time Swedish pop returns?