New Artist Tips for 2016 | Jay Wrighter selects his Ones To Watch [Part 7]
We're now well into the second half of 2016 and festival season is in full swing. So, whilst the UK tries to enjoy what looks set to be another mediocre summer, with all the top acts jumping from one headlining stage to another, you'll notice a lack of new releases over the coming months. Fear not, whilst Rihanna collects air miles and Stormzy has way more than enough bookings to keep him out of the studio for a few months, I've got another list of 10 brand new acts as well as exclusive new tracks to keep your ears busy this month.
Now based in Milton Keynes, Wädé (wah-day) is a vocalist/producer originally from London. After finding him digging through Soundcloud just over a year ago, I wasted no time in connecting the dots and working with him on some projects recently. Wädé impressed me with, not only his unique voice, but the emotion evoked in his music through his songwriting. But even more loveable and admirable about Wädé is the British accent kept consistent within his sound. Previously the lead vocalist of MK Don, this year alone he’s amassed over 220k plays on Soundcloud either via collaborations or solo releases. It's no wonder Mura Masa gave Wädé the nod when he decided to create a vocal remix of Mura's hugely successful hit Miss You. Expect hints of Craig David, 7 Days era elegantly intertwined with more soulful R&B topped by Future Sounds style synths and basslines from Wädé. Following a recent release via Diplo & Mad Decent's new label Good Enuff, we can expect only bigger and better from here on forward.
Still a fresh name in the music game, Sundai seems to have come out of nowhere; bursting onto the scene to earn herself some well-respected fans very early on in her career. She only has three released tracks to date, all within the last 5 months, but the London-based singer has already racked up over 150k plays on Soundcloud alone. Making the world her oyster, she's already travelled the seas for studio sessions, working with producers from Amsterdam to LA, linking up with names such as Deffie, Wantigga, and Jarrau Vandal; all popular in their own right within the Future Sound scene. Followers of the genre will be aware of previous female vocalists who at first seemed set to take the throne as Queen of Future R&B. Whilst the previous contenders have either gone quiet or put out further releases, Sundai seems to have found the perfect blueprint to making futuristic R&B hits that carry enough old school flavour to add the essence of nostalgia many listeners of the sound appreciate so much.
Once again, the Canadian's prove there's still way more talent hidden in its vast lands than the members of Drake's OVO collective. VBND is a producer who never disappoints when it comes to beat making. I look forward to a new VBND release like a kid at Christmas. With his experimental style and hard to place sound, growing up in Saskatoon might just explain why there's such an eclectic feel to V's music. The self-taught beat maker has never had a single music lesson but he manages to create productions that encapsulate the energetic euphoria of love, fun and passion. Look out for collaborations with LA-based singer Tola, which shows VBND at his best. Unfortunately, VBND recently had issues with his laptop and is currently running a GoFundMe for anyone interested in helping so he can continue making bangers. Hit the link above to support!
Brought to my attention by another name on this month's list, the House, Garage and Grime producer is a young up-and-coming talent from the Midlands. Raised in Shrewsbury, More Night began producing at the age of 14. Influenced by his father, who would play music from Grime to DJ Spoony mixes, it wasn't long before he discovered he could create music from the comfort of his own home. Now, with his craft perfected, More Night has been churning out some slick remixes, bouncy rhythms and orchestral driven anthems which are all worthy of the dance floor. It's no wonder brands such as The XXX,Fete and First Ear have called on him for releases.
Sway Clarke II [@SwayClarke]
Raised in Canada, Sway Clarke II moved to Germany a few years back and now calls Berlin his home. Cooler than ice, the humble singer recently signed with Island/Universal after getting the nod directly from Darcus Beese, President and Head A&R of the label, who has seen success with the likes Amy Winehouse. With a similar style, Sway impressively crafts indie songs with a hint of rock matched with smooth yet husky vocals. Coupled with his guitar, he easily encapsulates the definition of a true artist; showcasing impressive skills as a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. If you're familiar with the likes of Frank Ocean, James Bay and Jimi Hendrix, Sway Clarke will be right up your street.
Where do I start with a name like Aminé? Based in Portland, Oregon, Aminé is yet another rapper who immediately got me bumping my head after my first listen of his track “Not At All”. With a style similar to another one of my favourite up-and-coming rappers, it was almost inevitable I'd be a fan. Riding beats regularly with a double flow, the Portland rapper tends to opt for the bouncier, vibrant almost funk like side of hip hop. I'd describe Aminé as alternative rap, balanced between J Cole and a Tribe Called Quest. With conscious topics, hip centric vibes, and a slight jazz feel, Aminé is definitely one to watch for 2016.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock the last six months, the resurgence of dancehall won't have caught you by surprise. But the comforting voice of Genra might have. A new name in music, the Fort. Lauderdale-based singer brings warm carnival vibes to the world, whilst enticing melodies direct even the stiffest waists to whine to the beat. His entry into music couldn't have come at a better time. With the success of Drake and Rihanna's individual and collaborative Dancehall offerings, Genra is in good company with a handful of other Dancehall artists and producers, all slowly earning their stripes on the underground scene. What seems different this time round compared to Dancehall anthems running the charts roughly 10 years ago, there's more diversity and experimentation in this new age vibe. If Genra's music gets into the right hands, I can see Notting Hill Carnival, along with other major events across the globe, finding a nice place for Genra to soak up the carnival vibes and blaze through the sound systems. If you want good energy and a reason to get on the dance floor, look no further than Genra.
Before we get into yet another Canadian sensation, Ramriddlz aka Sweeterman, I feel it's important to mention that this alternative R&B/Dancehall artist prefers not be affiliated with fellow Canadian Drake. It's strange to me how so many people are unaware Drake's Sweeterman was actually a remix of Ramriddlz’s Sweetwerman. The OVO leaders camp came across the original and reached out for a remix. Since then, the Ontario artist, who I admittedly considered to be a joke or parody act initially, has continued to raise the bar with two EP's to his name and uncountable YouTube views. I’ve personally caught the Sweeterman bug, losing count of the number of times I catch myself humming away to Ram's verses and choruses. It's easy to see that he doesn't take himself too seriously and has fun with music. His videos are guaranteed to include something you find yourself laughing at.
A young talent from South London, NEHMY of the BEVLDN collective, brings confidence, grit and articulation to his style of rap. His distinctive voice and smooth flow is easy on the ears, meshing well with cuts that mix into a trap style track. Having come across the young rapper whilst still on the come up, his passion and self-belief were clearly evident from the get-go. Seeing him develop from freestyling outside a pub in Shoreditch to having a full project that, is not only worthy of replay after replay, but also a lot more recognition is truly amazing.
90's music will never die but sadly time travel still seems far off. Whilst the 90's era was over 20 years ago, millennials and generation x's in the hundreds reminisce with the oldies on the good times; Kenan and Kel and Girl Power. So when an artist like Mabel comes along with her 90's influenced style it's hard not to be a fan. Born in Spain and raised in Stockholm, Mabel would have most likely gone in a different direction if she didn't decide to pack her bags and make the move to London to pursue her love and passion for R&B classics. Now, the songstress, who has a family tree of famous musicians, sings about love and heartbreaks effortlessly whilst listeners are lost in memories of cassette tapes and VHS players.
Catch up on June's list here and be sure to keep an eye out for our August edition.