Ones To Watch 2016
So we thought we would dust off the magic computer at Music Eyz HQ and run the algorithm to help decide who would be the hot acts of 2016. So the computer fired up, mountains of data was put in and complex statistical insights were downloaded. Sadly, all of that was too complicated and completely beyond the comprehension of our simple brains. So we put our heads together and came up with this little list below. Anyway, here are our top tips for 2016, let us know what you think and who you think should have made the list.
Andra Day is one of only two acts in our One To Watch from the stateside of the pond. Andra Day has an astonishing voice which delivers powerful soulful vocals. Her cover of Jessie J‘s Mama Knows Best that she released on YouTube reached number two in the YouTube charts and resulted in a contract with Warner Bros Records. She is already making massive noise stateside with a couple of Grammy nominations to her name and some huge commercial work for the likes of Vans. She has also become known over here thanks to her duet with Stevie Wonder on the Apple Christmas ad, using Stevie Wonder‘s classic track Someday at Christmas. Andra is a special talent.
Izzy Bizu has had a somewhat meteoric rise that wouldn’t be out of place in a book. Despite earning a diploma in in singing from the British and Irish Modern Music Institute Izzy had looked like she wasn’t going to enter the industry, as she “was too shy to sing in public”. That was until an impromptu performance in Camden, where Naughty Boy declared himself a fan. Now the amazing Izzy Bizu has gone to support Rudimental and Foxes as well as having two Glastonbury appearances under her belt. White Tiger is an immense track that has catapaulted Izzy Bizu in to the mainstream.
Jack Garratt comes from an unlikely place in the shape of small Bucks village, Little Chalfont. He got his first radio airplay in Beds, Herts and Bucks and quickly followed by props from Zane Lowe when he was on Radio 1. I saw Jack perform at this year’s The Great Escape and he captivated the audience. His eclectic taste in music shines throgh in his production and it makes him one of the favourites for BBC Sound of 2016.
Etta Bond is a Cambridge born singer signed to Odd Child Music, thanks to an impromptu meeting with Labrinth. She has an amazing voice with a genuine ability to deliver a wide range of tones whilst maintaining a genuinely soulful delivery. Two singles to her name already 18 and Seen and Never Heard – she has also featured on tracks with the likes of Labrinth, Skepta and Wretch 32. With some good management and proper promotion, Etta could be ready for the breakthrough she deserves in 2016.
Manchester’s Hatty Keane is possibly the least well known on the list. Whilst some on this list have received formal music training, Hatty’s start is much more humble, claiming the gift from her mum of a Karaoke machine at the age of 12 was her inspiration to start singing. Hatty has a great RnB sound to her voice with some good pop production. This has already driven her to some commercial success and was the voice for this year’s boohoo.com Christmas ad, with her cover of the classic Sister Sledge track We Are Family.
J Hus is a pretty big deal for most people that know their urban music. Despite being unsigned, until very recently, his tracks Lean and Bop and Dem Boy Paigon racked up over 6m views on YouTube. Unlike most London born rappers, he doesn’t go for the hard edge grime scene. Instead J Hus embraces the afrobeats and reggae undertones to make a special upbeat flow. If he can stay out of trouble he has a chance to make something big. Although the recent snap of him making gang signs from a hospital bed is the kind of behaviour he will need to stop to ensure he meets his potential.
Stockport based Blossoms were all doing their own projects before getting together to form Blossoms. Their sound is entrenched in the northern indie scene and you can hear obvious hints of the Arctic Monkeys, the Beatles and Oasis. Getting massive support from the likes of Annie Mac, their music is real and thankfully completely absent of the cliches of modern production.
Walking on Cars
Walking on Cars are a five-piece Irish rock band making noise on the emerald isle. Whilst they have several singles under their belts already including their most recent Speeding Cars in October this year. Their album is scheduled for a release in early 2016. Walking on Cars deliver a big sound, almost cinematic in style and full of hooks, which surely means they can make a breakthrough with the launch of their album in 2016.
Lion Babe are a Brooklyn based duo that consist of Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman. Jillian is the daughter of actress Vanessa Williams and the former dancer has all of her mum’s great looks. Despite Jillian’s distinctive look, they are much more than a face. Lucas provides brilliant production utilising his immense knowledge of all things disco, 70s and from some of the best Hip Hop producers such as Rza and Just Blaze. The duo blend this electic mix in to a melting pop of neo-soul (if it can be categorised in to a genre). New single Where Do We Go is out now and we were one of the first to support them including our review of the brilliant Wonder Woman. Dubbed the next Beyonce, Lion Babe are going to be massive, look out for their debut album in 2016
It may seem a bit of a cheat to put WSTRN on this list, after all In2 was such a massive track on the club scene and boosted recently by the star-studded remix. In a similar vein to J Hus, WSTRN are trying to stay away from the grime scene by producing a much lighter style of music. Again utilising afrobeats, reggae but adding some RnB flavours and even some soulful tones, WSTRN have the potential to become big commercial successes.
Anne-Marie isn’t your normal music star. She isn’t even your normal Essex girl. Anne-Marie loves her martial arts, so much so, she is a triple world champion in shotokan. Don’t worry, she is on our list for more than just those skills, however, its better to be safe and not risk getting our arses kicked. She has worked with the likes of Gorgon City and Magnetic Man, but Anne-Marie is most widely known for her work with Rudimental. Her debut single Karate which uses the art as a metaphor for a different type of bodily contact is brilliant. She delivers an accomplished track with an amazing falsetto vocal over some deeply synthed pop sounds, obviously inspired by Rudimental.
SG Lewis is another act from the North West that feels like he is on the cusp of something. The 20 year old Liverpool lad produces music way beyond his years. His soulful production is getting massive attention from the industry and even resulted in an appearance at this year’s Bestival. His biggest track to date is Silence which features Josh Barry has hundreds of thousands of views.
Another Londoner in the list, this time in the shape of Hackney’s own Nao. Like Izzy Bizu, Nao has some pretty formal training after studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Only last year Nao started to put her music online and in less than 12 months, Zillionaire was released to massive critical acclaim. Another artists championed by Annie Mac, Nao was also nominated in the Best Newcomer category at the MOBOs. Nao has a great soulful tone to her voice which is mirrored by the excellent production that feels gritty but also accessible enough for mainstream success.
We hope you like our selection. Let us know what you think of our picks. Obviously share your views and let us know your own Ones To Watch for 2016. Contact us by adding comments below or by tweeting @musiceyz