If you didn’t catch our Music Round Up from 2017, you can read it here. This time, we’re back with our exclusive list of musicians to watch out for in 2018. It’s an exciting time in the music industry, but with new sounds being dropped constantly and with fresh names on the scene every other day, it’s difficult to know where to start when finding new music. Thankfully, we’ve got the top picks for this year…
This gut wrenchingly raw singer songwriter started out in 2016 with a crackly and very much do it yourself EP; ’Songs from my Bedroom’. In 2017, he released ‘The Death of You + I’, a slightly more jazz induced EP but only slightly less depressing, of course, still focusing on the unavoidable pain that goes alongside love. January 2018 is set to be super exciting as he completes a mini European tour; treading paths from The Netherlands to France.
There is absolutely no denying Gracie’s talent, his music explores emotion in its purest form as his voice shivers around beautiful and honest vulnerability. Having seen him live, it’s difficult to explain just how completely mesmerizing his performance is – it’s as though the whole room is empty and it’s just you and him. But not in a weird, awkward, creepy way. Instead, in the most entrancing, mystical way possible.
I tracked down this girl after I Shazammed her cover of The Pixies ‘Hey’ (go and check it out now – it’s awesome). Her influencers clearly drive her sound – the likes of Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone can definitely be traced throughout her guitar-focused soul tracks, whilst echoes of King Krule and Kate Tempest also make an appearance. Yanya released EP ‘Plant Love’ and single ‘Baby Luv’ in 2017 – featuring bubbles of trip-hop intertwined with jazz.
Her husky voice plays the part of a different character in each song; in ‘Small Crimes’, she is a criminal who discusses the inequality of the justice system. Over the summer last year, Yanya played Latitude festival and at the end of 2017, she played in Camden’s Jazz Cafe – big things happened in 2017 and it can only get bigger this year. She’s one to watch.
Rex Orange County
a.k.a. Alex O’Connor. In 2016, when he was fresh on the scene, Tyler the Creator messages O’Connor inviting him out to LA to work on some music together – two of those tracks went on to be featured on the 2017 ‘Flower Boy’ album by Odd Future’s pioneer. Since this collaboration, Rex Orange County remains unsigned but he is climbing the ladder rapidly as the one to watch in 2018. His songs feature uplifting piano teamed with smooth R&B vocals as the music flits between breezy, chilled vibes and ambitious pop – the whole time packed with rich instrumentation.
Meanwhile, his lyrics are simple but powerful. In 2017, he released Apricot Princess which is a celebration of his sickly sweet but totally adorable relationship with fellow musician Thea. O’Connor’s songs are romantic as they talk of youth, love and never-ending summers and we cannot wait to see what’s on his agenda for this year.
By the end of 2017, Billie Eilish was a name on most music lover’s lips. The 16 year old California-based singer released ‘don’t smile at me’ just before Christmas which featured a collaboration with the one and only Vince Staples – ‘& burn (with Vince Staples)’. Eilish’s sound is airy and ethereal, her music meets the criteria of indie electro-pop with mellow percussion, soulful vocals and a dash of eloquent lyricism thrown in for good measure.
Her career took off to a flying start – her breakthrough track ‘Ocean Eyes’ where she compares love to being similar to falling off a cliff. Her song ‘Bored’ was on the soundtrack for Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The most profound part is that Eilish raked up streams, downloads and hits without the backing of fat bags of money or a strong record label – she has the world at her feet and this makes her path all the more exciting.
As soon as you thought indie guitar rock music was running dry, Stereo Honey step up to the game and lead the comeback in full force with solid beats and haunting vocals. Opening track ‘The Bay’ from their 2017 EP Monuments was inspired by the devastating deaths of 23 Chinese workers in Morecambe Bay back in 2004. It is a love song from the perspective of two bodies that were never recovered during the tragic event; ‘Here comes the tide, wait for a lifeline / Place your fingers in mine, we’ll wait for a lifetime”.
The London quartet had an exciting 2017, rising to fame quickly following their debut track at the beginning of the year ‘Where No One Knows Your Name’. This year, Stereo Honey will be playing The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. With an exciting buzz around them, this year could take them far…
So, there you have it. These are our ones to watch in 2018, musically. We can’t wait to see what other dulcet tones 2018 has to bless our ears with. We will be keeping our ear to the ground and keeping you up to date with what we hear, so stay tuned.