Frank Ocean-The Head Boy
Mr Ocean had the underground on lock for 2011. Part of the Odd Future collective, when he released EP Nostalgia, Ultra, the music scene went wild. His classic soul sound and off-the-wall lyrics made him a favourite, with stars such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West and John Legend calling on his production, writing and vocal talents for their own projects. Despite the accolades he hasn’t sold out, performing his first headline gig in London at the cool and very small XOYO.
The Weeknd-The Cool Kid
The sound of 21-year-old Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd feeds your ears with a decadent, slightly naughty experience… Creating beautiful, melancholic modern soul, he sings about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Achingly cool his House Of Balloons EP included ‘High For This,’ ‘Coming Down’ and ‘Loft Music’, showcasing his yummy falsetto. If you fancy an eargasm, we suggest indulging in The Weeknd all year round.
Emeli Sandé-The Musical Maven
The one-time medical student from Aberdeen has a jazz-tinged vocal that can leave you in tears. She gave into her calling, left uni and moved to London in 2010, cutting her teeth on the live music scene and performing guest vocals for the likes of Chipmunk, Wiley and Tinie Tempah. After hits with ‘Heaven’ and ‘Daddy’ and a headline tour in 2011, she starts 2012 with her debut album.
Delilah-The Alternative Chick
Her lush ‘Go’, which featured on the EP of the same name, displayed Delilah’s sweet, sassy style and at the same time demonstrated that she wasn’t afraid to talk about intimate subject matter in her music. We recently caught up with Delilah and she promises us that the album she is working on will be ‘acoustic and subtly produced’. With pipes like hers, there’s no need for bells and whistles.
Getting Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah on his debut single ‘Redemption Days’ was a major coup and testimony to his singing skills. With a ‘colourful’ background, he has a great deal of life experience despite being just 19. He’s brimming with fantastic material, a deal with Island Records and the likes of Olu Dara, Roni Size and the London Philharmonic collaborations. The bad boy has come good.
Tanya Lacey-The Rebel
If you’re a fan of Loick Essien and read the last issue of Flavour you’ll be familiar with Ms Lacey. She sang the hook on ‘How We Roll’ and co-penned it. With a whole lotta sass she delivers quick-witted lyrics in her own material – listen to ‘Letter To My Ex’. With her hot style and a wicked attitude, she has the total package.
Fantine-The Exchange Student
Australia is well known for many things – Neighbours, two Minogues, cricket… but it hasn’t been known for producing soul sisters. Until now. Fantine has a unique electronic/soul vibe slightly left of field, but we kinda like that. And after hearing her single ‘Rubberoom’, we’re anxious to see what she can come up with next.
Michael Kiwanuka-The Old-school Cat
Kiwanuka is the business. His style resembles that truly old-school feel (think Motown) and he has the capability to evoke a story in your mind with his emotive writing style. Add to that a voice as soothing as honey in a glass of whiskey and who can resist? Smooth at its best.
Angel-The Class Hottie
Nominated for MTV’s Brand New for 2012 award, the 24-year-old cutie clearly has it going on. Lauded as the UK’s answer to Trey Songz – let’s face it, we need one because the Virginia native ain’t around enough – he has R&B swagger, sex appeal and the voice to pull it off. He performed at Flavour Live 2011 and ‘Ride Out’ is a favourite of ours.
From Above-The ‘it’ Girls
Brought to you by Beyoncé’s daddy, aka Mathew Knowles, you know what time it is with these girls. He’s whipped them into shape and turned them into a lean mean harmonising machine. With killer dance moves, of course. Fresh from a reality show of the same name, their album Breaking From Above has just dropped. With a sparkly R&B vibe, could they be the new Destiny’s Child?
The up-and-coming London rapper (real name Obaro Ejimiwe) is set to be a 2012 breakthrough with his stripped-back minimalist sound and a style reminiscent of Roots Manuva. With a Mercury Award nominated album under his belt, this lyricist depicts everyday London life. Certifiably a voice for our generation.
SBTRKT-The Odd One Out
BTRKT has created his very own post-dub apocalypse. With a slightly eerie name and using singers with the most unusual trills, he often performs rocking a masquerade mask. Yikes! But musically this boy can throw it down. With atmospheric minimalist production by his own fair hand, he is a sure-fire crossover artist. Make sure you cop his Young Turks album before the whole world gets on it!
Conor Maynard-Mr Popular
He hasn’t even released any music, yet his YouTube music channel is the fifth most subscribed to in the UK, with millions of views to his versions of Rhianna’s ‘Only Girl In The World’ (7.6m views) and Chris Brown’s ‘Next To You’ (7.2m views). The Brighton singer, 18,
has been working on his album with Jermaine Dupri and Kevin Rudolf; he’s managed by the team that look after Jessie J; and his first single ‘Can’t Say No’ will blow you away.