“What do they say? ​‘It takes 10 years to become an overnight success’” - Brighton raper Arrdee says to The Face about the fame he is experiencing right now. He has been rapping since the age of 12, but he blew up only this year, with his 'Cheeky Bars' freestyle. He's also on Tion Wayne x Russ Millions' song 'Body 2', also featuring 3x3E1 & ZT, Bugzy Malone, Fivio Foreign, Darkoo, and Buni. Arrdee's latest single 'Oliver Twist' needs to prove that he's “smiley, I’m fun and bubbly, and cheeky”.

Part-punk crooner, part-singer-songwriter, part-experimental rapper, Teezo Touchdown is one of America’s shiniest new enigmas - The Face presents Texan rapper. "The surreal genre collagist re-emerged in 2020 with a series of oddball singles" with a look "that simultaneously references gangsta rap, ​’00s Hot Topic punk and ​’80s hair metal icons". He says he's just "trekking this journey. “So wherever you hop in, don’t worry, you’re early. This is a long ride that we have here, so wherever you hop in, come on. There’s room for you”.

The rising south-London rapper Enny talks to Guardian about a genre-generated shift in hip-hop and music in general: “It’s almost like a Renaissance moment for women who are taking a stand in what they want to do, and just being whoever they want to be when it comes to music. They’re not getting stuck in boxes, or focused on what they think that people might want to hear, or what labels are telling them to do. They’re just being themselves". There were women in hip-hop before, of course, but they were sporadic, now there's a movement: “Before Cardi [B] and Nicki [Minaj], it was Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliott, like you could pinpoint specific moments. But now you’ve got hundreds of lady rappers”.

She won't go quietly
April 26, 2021

One to watch: Kira Skov

Danish singer Kira Skov has released 14 albums in her career, but the new one, 'Spirit Tree' coming out in May is special. It is a duet album featuring Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Mark Lanegan, John Parish, Jenny Wilson, Bill Callahan and others. Skov explains the idea to TNC: "Uniting forces with artist that has specialized in something, that I could not master myself and vice versa, merging and creating something more than we could have done by our selves. I wanted to distill this experience on this album. It's a homage to the duet".

Soundcheck
April 21, 2021

One to watch: Pom Pom Squad

"I write sad music. It’s how I process and it makes me feel good" - Pom Pom Squad's frontwoman Mia Berrin says in a Stereogum interview about their debut album 'Death Of A Cheerleader', out June 25. It's not that sad-sounding at all, the album is "bigger and brighter than Pom Pom Squad ever has, spanning Misfits-style punk bursts, longer grunge ballads, and a lot of pop".

Global idea
April 19, 2021

One to watch: Arooj Aftab

Pakistan-born, New York-based artist Arooj Aftab is releasing her new album 'Vulture Prince' later this month, with South Asian, reggae, western indie music influences, which she explains in an NPR interview: "I sometimes feel that, even approaching my own music - what I mean is South Asian music - is like the quintessential imposter syndrome situation where it's like, you know, I haven't really studied this, and I never went back since 19. I might be appropriating it, too, you know? So I'm always kind of making sure that I'm actually inheriting the music with integrity and with some kind of depth and with some kind of respect for its history rather than using it".

Angel of dark
April 16, 2021

One to watch: Amigo the Devil

Consequence chose dark Americana singer-guitarist Amigo the Devil as their Artist of the month, and had interviewed him. His sophomore album, 'Born Against', released, Friday, April 16, as he's told the C,"has to do with … doubting faith itself. … I kept asking myself, 'Are we born a blank slate?' … or 'Are we built pre-programmed with things'. It was more of that exploration of intention versus purpose, of discovery versus instinct”. He also discusses three of his biggest influences: Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Fiona Apple.

Golden soul
April 01, 2021

Ones to watch: Navy Blue

“A lot of young Black kids don’t have healthy outlets, writing has become mine. It’s beautiful to take tremendous pain and turn it into something powerful” - LA-based rapper and producer Navy Blue says in an extensive Pitchfork interview. He released his first two albums in 2020, and the reaction of his fans is what makes a difference to him: "What really touches me is just how many people are touched by the music. The messages I get talking about 'I felt this too' are priceless to me. That’s when I realized what I’m doing is special because that means more to me than making money off of it. Of course, being able to take care of people and buy nice things is great. But you need to be able to help yourself while also helping other people. Being honest in my music is how I learned to love myself".

What's not to love about love and friendship
March 12, 2021

Ones to watch: Avant-pop duo Smerz

"Atmospheric techno, ‘00s R&B, sampled orchestras and cut-up beats all at once" - The New Cue describes Smerz, their new favourite artist of the week. The Norvegian duo takes their name from the German phrase for heartbreak - “herzschmerz”, and have released their debut album 'Believer' on XL Recordings last month. Pitchfork has described it quite accurately: "There’s a creeping insistence to this music, thriving off a dual sense of unease and temptation, and the best songs blur the line between hedonism and anxiety". The band says it's "a record about love and friendship".

Run far, run!
March 08, 2021

One to watch: Nuha Ruby Ra

London artist Nuha Nuby Ra has released her debut EP 'How To Move', an avant-garde pop record that draws from the punk DIY ethos in order to experiment with music. The Quietus hears Nuha Nuby Ra finding herself in opposition to many things on 'How To Move' – "convention, sensuality, misery, vexation – and transforms it all right in front of us". In the Wax Music interview, Nuha Nuby Ra explains what her influences are, and how she made her EP.

Smoke at the piano bar
March 01, 2021

Ones to watch: Lady Blackbird

Los Angeles-based singer Lady Blackbird is releasing her debut album 'Black Acid Soul', a pop piano-jazz-sounding one. The New Cue says Lady Blackbird's "arresting voice breathes new life into old jazz moves. It’s powerful stuff".

Four green yellows
February 18, 2021

As cool as it gets: Psychedelic jazz of Apifera

Named after a variety of bee-attracting orchid, Apifera create free, improvisatory, and live sound, combining jazz, psychedelia, and electronics. They recently released their debut album 'Overstand' for Stones Throw, with influences ranging from folk music, classical music and transcendental jazz. Their recent live tape shows them more in electronic mode.

Black James Bond
February 07, 2021

One to watch: Irish rapper/singer Denise Chaila

Zambian-born, Limerick-based Denise Chaila is very proud of her Zambian-Irish identity, and quite eager to spread her message of freedom and unity with much self-confidence, as she said on an Irish TV show - "I would regret the things that I do not say far more than I would regret anything that I do say". He explored her identity very early on with her song 'Duel Citizenship', and last month her first mixtape 'Go Bravely' was nominated for Ireland’s Choice Music prize, both for best album, and best song for a track 'Chaila', about her name. Her latest song 'ANSEO' might just be her big break.

Happy being
January 21, 2021

Arlo Parks: Find enjoyment where you can

“I know sometimes there’s chaos and you’re running around kind of stressed out, but I’m just reveling in the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing” - CoS' Artist of the Month Arlo Parks says in an extensive interview. London singer (20) is about to release her debut album 'Collapsed in Sunbeams', which took a while to make - "Build things slowly, and don’t expect to immediately feel better or be better. And in the meantime, find enjoyment where you can as well".

They do know
January 07, 2021

Pa Salieu wins BBC Sound of 2021

English rapper Pa Salieu has been identified as Britain's most exciting musical talent this year by the BBC thanks to "his adventurous, infectious tracks with hard-hitting lyrics about life and death on the 'frontline' in Coventry". Previous winners of the "BBC Sound of" list include Adele, Ellie Goulding and Michael Kiwanuka. He shared a life lesson he learned in COV - "The thing that matters is what you're going to do with it - let it eat you up, or rise above it? Getting shot is the same as getting fired from your job. What are you going to do with it? Rise up, or what? That's life. Everything is a lesson".

Fousheé

NME did a great job of picking out 100 artists from across the world, that are expected to make a name for themselves this year. Here's a few of them:

Death Tour - hardcore hyper-pop

Enny - slick London rapper

Hollow Sinatra - blender of genres

Pa Salieu - already on end-of-year lists

Baby Keem - Kendrick Lamar's protege with a great flow

Marijannah - stoner/metal from Singapore where drugs are strictly forbidden

Skullcrusher - atmospheric folk

For Those I Love - The Streets-meets-James Blake Irish singer

Fousheé - alter-soul

Frosty - a talented rapper and lyricist

Genesis Owusu - R'n'B meets rap, somewhat grandiose

Goy Gumbani - chill, conscious rap

Kenny Hoopla - indie-pop

Martha Skye Murphy - pianist and Nick Cave collaborator

Scalping - techno meets punk

"I never thought I was going to be a singer. I'm not making music to be recognised as a singer. It's been a by-product of it that that has happened" - UK singer Greentea Peng told BBC, which chose her as their Sound of 2021. "I'm literally doing my healing process in front of everyone because every song I'm writing is just me going through the works, I'm not making anything up" - she added about her music-making experience.

Girl In Red / Pa Salieu / Greentea Peng

DIY pop artists and UK rap came big on BBC's Sound of 2021 - a list of the best rising talent in music. English rap maverick Pa Salieu is already breaking it with his debut mixtape 'Send Them to Coventry', and Norway's Girl In Red is big on Spotify with seven million fans playing her lo-fi tales of teenage angst on the service. Others on the list are soul-R'n'B singer Greentea Peng, pop singer Griff, as well as Alfie Templeman, Berwyn, Bree Runway, Dutchavelli, Holly Humberstone, and The Lathums.

Twentysomething percent unusual
November 28, 2020

Jacob Collier - "strange-pop" British artist nominated for a Grammy

LA Times presents Jacob Collier, the British "strange-pop" artist with a jazz background. The 26-year-old of British and Chinese descent wasn't a household name until this week when he was nominated for the Grammy award for album of the year, alongside Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Post Malone and Coldplay. A nice boy...

Pa Salieu

Alfie Templeman, Pa Salieu, Baby Queen, Biig Piig, Bree Runway, Griff, Holly Humberstone, Ivorian Doll, JOESEF, Olivia Dean, Bklava and others were chosen UK Amazon Music Programming Team as destined for big things in 2021, Music Week reports. These 25 acts will receive support and promotion across the platform over the next 12 months. The list is rounded-up by Berwyn, Christy, Cleopatrick, Dan D’Lion, Dutchavelli, Eli Brown, George Moir, Girl In Red, India Jordan, Joesef, Kamal, Mysie, Olivia Dean, Sharna Bass, Tamera and Zoe Wees.

"Drab City make strangely cinematic music, full of flutes, vibraphones, soft vocals and glitchy beats" - Guardian writes in their newest "One to watch" segment about USA-Berlin duo. They've just released their new album 'Good Songs for Bad People' with "stronger, more haunting songs and a strangeness that feels fitting for our surreal times". Listen to the album in full at Bandcamp here.

10 toes high
February 22, 2020

One to watch - mouthy rapper Kamaiyah

California rapper Kamaiyah, a former US security guard, has released a new mixtape 'Got It Made' which shows "a renewed confidence here", the Guardian writes, adding "things seem to be coming together at last". Stereogum says the mixtape is "everything great about her distilled into one mean, fun, breezy half-hour listen. It’s nothing but slaps".

YouTube screenshot

Last month Scarypoolparty released his debut album 'Exit Form' where "he blends the moody, bold electro-rock of Nine Inch Nails with powerful and sincere vocals that bring to mind fellow Idol runner-up Adam Lambert", the Guardian says. Shore Fire like the album even more - "showcases Aranda’s musical and emotional range, expertly fusing fast-paced walls of […]

"Basically we just want to confuse the fuck out of people, in a good way!” - vocalist and guitarist Sydney Minsky-Sargeant of UK band Working Men's Club said about his group. Sonically, they drew comparisons to the Fall, Soft Cell, Parquet Courts, These New Puritans, with lyrics dealing with the today's world - "If people […]

The most interesting, although bizarre, thing about Velvet Negroni, so far, is his childhood story. He was brought up by a strict white evangelical Christian family where secular music was forbidden, but still he had to play the piano at least an hour a day, as Guardian reports. College allowed him to spread his wings, […]

Black Pumas were voted Best New Band at the 2019 Austin Music Awards, and "the songs they’ve assembled on their self-titled debut revivify the sound and feel of 70s soul in a surprisingly fresh way", Guardian writes. They have a debut album (out June 20), "so perfectly realised by the standards they’ve set themselves that […]

"They fill the stage with noise, overwhelming grooves, songs constricting and then exploding around you. It’s one of those sounds that you think you can trace to a certain collection of antecedents, and yet sounds unlike anything anyone else is up to" - Stereogum says about London quartet Black Midi in their Band to Watch […]

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