The “BBC Sound of…” list is heralded worldwide each year as the go-to source for the best new talent. BBC’s annual poll of music critics’ picks for musical takeover is released in December of each year, and has been incredibly accurate since its inception in 2003. 50 Cent (2003), Corinne Bailey Rae (2006), and Adele (2008) each topped the list previously, and went on to receive Grammy nominations (and wins) for major categories such as ‘Best New Artist’, ‘Record of the Year’, and ‘Album of the Year’. While the list is British in origin, many breakout American artists make the top five, which is viewed as the artists predicted to make the biggest impact in the industry. The ‘Sound of 2013’ shortlist was revealed in late-December with the winners revealed in early January. All 15 of the artists listed on the 2013 list have made major waves internationally, but the hierarchy of the list definitely shows who to look out for over the next few months. Check out the top 5 for this year, along with a sample of their claim to fame below:
The Scottish synthpop/alternative band has stormed social media outlets with their moody, well-written tunes. CHVRCHES (pronounced “churches”) are indie in nature, as they record all of their music in a Glasgow basement, but their music has struck a hit amongst mainstreamers and independents alike. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s vocals are angelic over the band’s instrumentals, giving way for a much needed update to the synthpop movement.
Singles To Look Out For: “The Mother We Share”, “I Would Die 4 V” (Prince Cover)
4. Laura Mvula
UK soul singer Laura Mvula won the hearts of music critics internationally with her RCA-released EP ‘She’ in November 2012. There’s always a special place in my heart for #blackbritishsoul artists because they always serve vocally, and in some cases, better than stateside artists. Mvula’s piercing voice paired with her natural #noweavedontcare beauty may stand out, but it’s in the best way possible. Her music also features South African elements, which will make her distinctive sound even more recognizable. Look for Laura’s debut album ‘Sing To The Moon’ out on March 4, 2013.
Singles To Look Out For: “She”, “Like The Morning Dew”
3. Angel Haze
Femcee Angel Haze’s voice is strong and hollowing, with lyrics that pierce you as her punchlines simultaneously make you laugh out loud. Haze’s four mixtapes have just begun to create commotion on social media, which usually translates to equal album sales. The Detroit-to-Springfield, VA native’s openly lesbian look comes off as slightly sloppy, but her lyrics will never go unnoticed. Placing in the exact same spot as Azealia Banks on the “Sound of…” list this year, there’s reason to believe she’s on track for a similar rise to fame. Haze’s ‘New York’ EP was released to Itunes on December 11, 2012.
Singles To Look Out For: “Werkin’ Girls”, “Doo Wop” (Lauryn Hill Cover)
London Electronica band AlunaGeorge bring a tried-and-true method to the duo format that is bound to make major waves over the next year. Producer George Reid brings the uniqueness to the band with his progressive productions, while singer Aluna Francis (who sounds like a beautiful mesh of Nelly Furtado and Aaliyah) delivers lush vocals that bring the two together perfectly. Out of all of the artists on the 2013 list, AlunaGeorge may be the hardest to market internationally, but their arrangements are enough to reel most listeners in. Look for AlunaGeorge’s aptly-titled debut ‘Body Talk’ in June 2013.
Singles To Look Out For: “Your Drums, Your Love”, “Diver”
Los Angeles girl-band HAIM tops BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’, and after taking a listen through their catalog to date, it’s no surprise. HAIM incorporates pop, R&B, folk, and elements of neo-soul into their music to create a successfully odd mix of the Dixie Chicks and Destiny’s Child. The trio of sisters have opened for everyone from Florence + the Machine to Ke$ha, allowing their multi-genre songs to reach a diverse audience. Although their debut album is scheduled for release in mid-2013, HAIM has already made a gigantic musical impact and have a head start on revamping the female band movement.
Singles To Look Out For: “Forever”, “Send Me Down”
Review the full 2013 list HERE.