It’s the beginning of a new year and last year we found out the top 5 acts in this year’s Sound of 2015 list by the BBC. Like last year, post here, I have listened to every single on of the top 5 now after their announcement and I’m going to give you my opinion on this year’s sound as voted for my music tastemakers.
Number 5: George The Poet
Spoken word artist George The Poet always was one of the more standout additions to this year’s longlist so he was always going to go far regardless of whether he made the top 5 or not. The North Londoner uses his voice as a vechile for political and social change through poems, something the 23 year old is clearly very passionate about after also studying politics at university.
The above track feature a very postive in parts but a very powerful message, he uses his wonderful words and writing ability setting them against a strong beat that makes his words very hard to ignore. He’s a breath of fresh air offering something very passionate and from the heart in a day and age where a lot of that is lost. A great artist to watch out for especially in this huge political year for our country.
Number 4: Raury
Fourth in this year’s Sound of list is rap artist Raury from Georgia in the US. Described by some as a musical prodigy, this guy has been rapping since the age of 8 and taught himself how to play guitar with YouTube videos at age 11. His EP ‘The Indigo Child’ mixes hip-hop, R’n’B and funk together with a soulful edge. It is a sound that has seen him be commissioned by Lorde to write a song for the latest Hunger Games soundtrack, gain a touring slot with SBTRKT and championed by the likes of OutKast.
The track, featured above, is one of Raury’s latest and features storytelling lyrics told by a vocal that mixes rap-style talking delivery with harmonious moments. The feel of the song is very calming in the most part and the soulful nature comes through with its flowing sounds from the great beats to the electronics that rise and fall beautifully. It is a really good and impressive song from soneone so young.
Number 3: Stormzy
Coming in at number 3 this year is rapper and unsigned grime artist Stormzy. The Croydon MC has acheived quite a feat and will now have caught the attention of even more people after this high placing in this year’s Sound of poll. Calling himself a child of grime, this artist has chosen the grittier British style of grime over the slick US style which has taken centre stage over the past few years.
Having used YouTube to his advantage to show off his skills that saw him catch the attention of 1Xtra, gained him a slot of Later With Jools Holland and saw him win a MOBO for best grime act. I’m not going to lie I don’t know a lot about grime music but I can see why there is so much hype around this guy. His raps have some real substance to them, addressing real issues and it may be a lazy comparision from a misinformed music writer but he reminds me of the early Dizzee Rascal and the excitement that surrounded him back them. Check out the above track though and make your mind up for yourself.
Number 2: James Bay
Having already earned the Critics Choice Award at this year’s Brits, it is fair to say that James Bay already has a certain amount of hype surrounding him. Something which has only grown now that he has been announced as runner up in this year’s Sound of Poll. This 24 year old singer/songwriter was first discovered when a fan posted a video online of him performing in a London pub and since then his husky voice and great guitar lines have seen him tipped as the next George Ezra.
Having just finished recording his debut album ‘The Chaos and The Calm’, it seems that this year is only set to get even bigger for this young musician. The above track ‘Hold Back The River’ is taken from his 2014 EP of the same name. It starts quietly with guitar plucks that rise and fall before his soulful yet gritty voice is added to the building pace which sees drum beats, flowing guitars and layered vocals that really fill this track. It is a great track, like all his other ones, and it is obvious to see why there is just so much hype around this guy.
Number 1: Years & Years
The winners of this year’s poll are electro pop trio Years and Years who’s dancefloor ready anthems and infectious melodies have cleared charmed the ears and hearts of many. Frontman Olly Alexander, whose vocals are soulful and lyrics are angsty, gave up a promising acting career to focus on the band with two other members Emre Turkmen and Mikey Goldsworthy. After West End performances with Dame Jedi Dench and roles in films like The Riot Club and God Help The Girl, it seems his decision to follow music has paid off after this great accolade from industry insiders.
The above track Take Shelter features deep bassy beats which deliver a great rhythm that continues throughout the track. The vocals are high pitched and harmonise perfectly from note to note almost flowing together. It is a track that has a great chilled atmosphere and will instantly become an earworm having you humming along to the great melodies. Expect to hear plenty more of this particular track and band throughout 2015.
Which is your favourite act from this year’s Sound of 2015 Top 5?