Thursday, 26 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #8 Aurora

Compiling the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list isn’t something that we do in the flash of a pan one evening before publishing. It starts as far back as May 2015 when we opened a spreadsheet at Europe’s leading new music festival - Great Escape Festival in Brighton - and note down the names of any particular new acts that we saw that stood out.

As the year continues and we discover more new acts (often introducing them in our ‘New Waves’ pieces on the blog) we add the best to our spreadsheet. By November there can be anything between 20 and 50 names on that list (this year there were 26) and from those we select the 10 or 15 that we feel are most appropriate for our annual Ones to Watch list. Some that didn’t quite make it this year included The Japanese House, Anne Marie, RIVRS, Frances, Grace Mitchell and George Cosby.

This year at Great Escape three names stood out that even that early on in the year we were confident would be making our Ones to Watch. One was the artist we announced as the first act on the list (Nao) and the second was today’s choice; Norway’s Aurora. The third was Jack Garratt - but ultimately we decided not to include Jack on the list and we'll talk a little bit more about why on our final #10 post on Saturday, so check back then.

Until a few weeks ago Aurora was still relatively unknown in the UK outside of her small fan base and those in the know. However, whilst she was (apparently) slowly developing her musical profile with a number of sold out but still relatively low key London Club shows and a succession of fantastic slightly left of centre electronic pop songs, something was going on that caught us on the hop; the John Lewis Christmas advert.

We really didn’t see that one coming.

And so by now probably every person reading these posts (in the UK at least) is probably fully aware of Aurora. So why put her on this list?

The reason is that she’s still very much one to watch. The John Lewis Christmas advert has put Aurora in an interesting place – it’s great exposure, but could it come at a cost? Will it all backfire as she quickly becomes ‘that girl who did the Oasis cover’ and is then unceremoniously forgotten, or will she ride the storm? From the evidence we’ve seen at her endearingly wonderful live shows we have hope and believe that, rather like Gabrielle Aplin (who we also featured as a One to Watch in almost identical circumstances back in 2013 on a list that also included Tom Odell, another act that two years further on would have his turn on the advert), Aurora will be able to find her own space away from Christmas one hit wonders, with her own material, but only time will tell.

Aurora - Half The World Away (Video)

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