New Artist Tips for 2016 | Jay Wrighter selects his Ones To Watch [Part 6]
We're almost halfway through 2016 but there's no sign of slowing down from anyone in the scene. With more and more artists finding their niche, us lovers of music are being treated to a plethora of new styles, sounds and vibes, all with their own unique flavour. Whether it's home-grown talent or new artists from across the waters, there's certainly something out there for everyone. Whether it's the energetic 140 BPM of grime, the smooth serenading vocals of R'n'B or some chilled rap, the urban scene is more vibrant than it's ever been. This month's list serves as a perfect example of the growing scene not just in London but across England and internationally.
You know the feeling you get when you come across an artist that makes you want to run around the city with a bell like a town crier? That's what happened when I came across Kannan. Hailing from Sheffield, Kannan proves to be a good example that grime isn't just alive and well in London but also cities further afield. Instantly grabbing my attention with his boisterous flow and content, Kannan isn't your typical one line flow or 8 bar MC, but instead pays attention to content and storytelling with his music, which is made even more enjoyable by how Kannan seems more influenced by the grime circa early 2000's.
You know you've found gold when you press play on a new artist and the first thing that comes to mind is how good the track would sound in the summer sun with the windows down. That's the same exact feeling I got when I listened to San Diego's Mayzin. Infectious and vibrant whilst at the same time mellow and laid back, Mayzin is a rapper who catches the tempo of beats perfectly whilst laying down feel good vibes on everything he touches. Also consistent with his craft, the San Diego representative just gives you more and more. With a library of great tunes, it's obvious the rapper, who also holds a note well, seems to have found a winning formula.
Capo Lee [@CapoLee100]
Kicking off his career in music initially as a DJ, North London's Capo Lee picked up the mic after frustration with the lack of MC's around at the time. Now, with the resurgence in grime, the name Capo is recognised and sought after as a favourite from the wave of new MC's. Deciding to take the craft seriously in 2014, Capo Lee has already paved a path for himself, collaborating with some of your favourite MC's, captivating you with his flow and catchy hooks. I have no doubt that Capo's catalogue will provide something to satisfy all ears.
Lekaa Beats [@LekaaGotWings]
The second producer in this month's feature would usually be an international selection. Although this producer is based part time in Nigeria, Lekaa Beats is originally from London and, with UK Afrobeats growing to a popular all-time high, it made sense to showcase a name like Lekaa Beats. With a varied style to his sound, Lekaa's music isn't just influenced by Afrobeats, hailing from North West London, you can also expect inspiration from the multicultural city. It's these sounds which led Lekaa to be scouted and mentored by Grammy-award winning/ multi-platinum OVO producer Boi-1da. It looks like Lekka, who has already worked with some of the biggest names in the UK urban scene, has a lot more up his sleeve.
Lylo Gold [@LyloGold]
Being a long-time fan and supporter of UK R'n'B, it's always felt like the scene has lacked since the days of Keisha White, Beverley Knight and Kele Le Roc, especially with female artists. Although this is slowly changing, there’s still plenty of talent that doesn't get the recognition they deserve. One of them being East London's Lylo Gold. Her voice captures moments, emotions and feelings just as easily as some of the world's megastars. I can guarantee anyone who comes across her music that they will find something to love whether it’s her silky smooth vocals or addictive melodies. I included one of her songs in a Cuffing Season mix I made 6 months ago which, to date, is still the most popular song I'm asked about.
It's sometimes easy to forget how big the world is when the charts are dominated mainly by US and UK acts, but when I came across Moh Flow some time ago I was reminded that music and talent are truly universal. Originally from Damascus, Moh has been based in Dubai since 2011, eventually joining forces with AY to form the Harmony Brothers. The singer/songwriter has a natural knack for music which can be heard in his vast catalogue of music. Expect futuristic R'n'B with 90's influences often meshed with sounds of trap and Hip Hop. Moh Flow's style is an addictive sound that always guarantees an energetic live performance.
As always, I pick two producers to feature each month, one from the UK and one international act. This month's UK offering comes from Wize. Making waves in the world of Future Sounds, Wize produces sounds accessible to many. Not forgetting his north London roots, you can sometimes spot influences from his upbringing in the birthplace of grime in sampled tracks such as Goodies, which see's Wize incorporate vocals from South London MC Bonkaz. A producer first, the talent doesn't stop there, as he can also be found on the decks or even behind the mic as Wize often drops his own 16 bars on a rhythm. Playful with instrumental productions, it's hard to pinpoint one main influence but there's no denying that Wize's electronic sounds, synths and drum patterns are a step in the future.
BXRBER is a name I came across a number of years ago via another talent I met on my journey's. Catching my attention instantly with his vocals and addictive personality, the North London singer excellently intertwines rhythms with soul and a voice many crooners would be proud of. BXRBER has since been working on a secret project whilst building headway for what's to come. In the meantime, he's already proved popular with BBC Radio, receiving a premier for his track World End and also received rave reviews with his butter smooth response to RAY BLK's Talk To Me, showing talent not just as a singer but also as a songwriter.
Since the early 80's, in the streets of LA, rap has come a long way and Denmark’s Felix De Luca is just one example of the influence Hip-Hop has had on the world. Danish rap is slowly becoming one of my secret gems, coming across a range of artists who amaze me with their immersive take on rap and their polished flow's, with Felix being one of them. The advantage with De Luca is he's English spoken, allowing for fans outside of Denmark to relate to and appreciate him more easily than other Danish rappers. A distinctive voice almost like that of Tyler The Creator, Felix demands attention with a hybrid of tracks both touching on serious topics whilst reflecting his great sense of humour.
There's no better feeling than seeing an artist progress musically and out-do their previous work. That’s the case with Shadez The Misfit, a name that epitomises creativity thoroughly through his musical process. I had the pleasure of listening to early cuts of his next EP and I instantly knew that I had something special to look forward too. Now ready to take on the world again and set things on fire, Shadez has added elements to his style; creating rap with the gritty South London feel but with more of an atmospheric aura. I always find myself subconsciously taking more time out to listen to and fully appreciate the musical narrative behind Shadez’ tracks.
Catch up on May's list here and be sure to keep an eye out for our July edition.