Ones To Watch 2017
Our favourite new artists
From BBC Sound Of and BRITs Critics’ Choice nominations to a US tour in support of Troye Sivan and a duet with Sean Paul, Dua Lipa enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2016. With her full-length debut scheduled for release in February, 2017 looks set to be even more successful for the 21-year-old Brit who shares management with Lana Del Rey. The uninitiated should head for ‘Be The One’ first, a slice of sultry, R&B-inspired synth-pop carried by the husky soulfulness of Dua’s tones.
If anyone appreciates the importance of making a powerful first impression, it’s Stormzy’s cousin Nadia Rose. Following recording an SBTV session that subsequently went viral, the Croydon MC inked a deal with Sony at the start of 2016 and has been building a huge following ever since via killer singles like ‘Puddycat’ and ‘Skwod’. If you haven’t seen the single-shot video for the latter, it’s well worth a watch, with Rose proving she’s as supple and self-assured a dancer as she is a rapper.
In these troubled times, it’s heartening to find young artists willing to stand up for their beliefs. Enter Hertfordshire teen Declan McKenna, the 2015 winner of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, and rising singer-songwriter responsible for deceptively sunny-sounding but socially-engaged indie-pop, tackling everything from xenophobia and the plight of transgender teens to FIFA corruption. Check out ‘Isombard’ and get excited for his forthcoming debut album.
- Born and raised in Tromsø to jazz musician parents, Dagny Sandvik grafted for years before getting her big break with the sparkling single ‘Backbeat’. Just over a year on, the 26-year-old singer-songwriter has more than 24 million streams to her name, and has capitalised on her early success with this acclaimed EP of big-hearted pop, featuring the brilliant Børns-collaboration ‘Fools Gold’. Look out for her full length debut, which is due on Republic Records at some point in 2017.
- Had all gone according to plan, Foday Toby Dumbuya would have been playing football professionally right now rather than spitting bars with The Square, the South London grime-crew that spawned Novelist. Tottenham Hotspur’s loss was music’s gain, because Lewisham High Street’s golden boy is rightly-tipped as one of the most promising MCs in the country, blessed with a dexterous, Dizzee Rascal-esque flow and impeccable taste in samples. Get to know.
- Originally formed at art school in Brighton as a conceptual performance piece, Dream Wife are rapidly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting bands in the UK. Led by Icelandic singer Rakel Mjöll - AKA the missing link between Kathleen Hanna and Debbie Harry - the London-based trio set girl gang vocals to pleasingly-snotty, perilously-catchy power-pop. Check out the irresistible, Ex Hex-ish ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ first, and prepare to fall deep under their spell.
- If any artist has the imagination, talent and energy to take 2017, it’s Tkay Maidza. Building on the promise of 2014’s thrillingly-diverse Switch Tape EP, her full-length debut, Tkay, is riotous smash-and-grab through hip-hop, pop and various dance subgenres, and posits the Australian MC/singer as the missing link between Missy Elliott, Arular-era M.I.A. and Charli XCX. You’ll have to wait ’til January to hear the album but sate your cravings for now with irresistible single ‘Simulation’.
- Subversive, gothic, dystopian, apocalyptic: just some of the terms critics have used to describe Gaika’s elliptical, often pitch-black musical aesthetic. What we can all agree on is that the enigmatic, Brixton-based producer and vocalist is one of most fascinating figures in electronic music right now. His debut EP for Warp, Spaghetto, provides a thrilling taster of his capabilities and imagination, offering a grippingly-ominous blend of dub, hip hop, grime and lovers’ rock.
- To New Paltz, N.Y., where Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman have been making a life-affirming racket as Diet Cig for the past three years. With a minimalist set-up of just drums, guitar and Luciano’s vocals - which can flip between sugary-sweet and brilliantly-bratty in the blink of an eye - the DIY duo have already built a devoted following for their joyful pop-punk in both the USA and Europe. They’ll be hoping to capitalise on the success of Over Easy in 2017, with the release of their long-awaited debut.