Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Ones to Watch 2017

As we progress into December the music media will undoubtedly be churning out their ‘Sound of / Ones to Watch’ lists for 2017. I have a mixed relationship with these lists. On one hand they appeal to the geeky trainspotter element of my personality in the same way that the music charts and football league tables do (more than the football itself – which I’m really not that interested in), but on the other hand after they’ve all been published I have a ‘So what?’ feeling. However, when all is said and done, if I was to go on Mastermind or any other quiz show I think the BBC Sound of Poll would certainly be in contention as my specialist subject. I find not only the lists, but the process and people’s understanding and reaction to them fascinating.

And so it is that every year on Breaking More Waves I publish my own Ones to Watch list and this year is no exception.

Want to know who I have selected in the past? Here’s the full list - some big hitters, some medium ones and some who you probably can’t even remember. But be careful, because sometimes the ones that get away reappear in places you wouldn’t expect. For example, 2008’s tip Skint & Demoralised recently cropped up on peak time TV Nationwide Building Society TV advert (here) reciting one of his poems. He actually did become one to watch, just not in the form I expected. That’s the fun of crystal ball glazing. 

The Full List - Previous Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2008-2016

La Roux, Little Boots, Passion Pit, Yes Giantess, White Lies, Skint & Demoralised, Alessi’s Ark, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Marina & The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Beth Jeans Houghton, Unicorn Kid, Delphic, Clare Maguire, Stornoway, Mirrors, Holly Miranda, Clock Opera, James Blake, Misty Miller, The Vaccines, Starsmith, Let’s Buy Happiness, The Milk, D/R/U/G/S, Visions Of Trees, Spark, Lucy Rose, Spector, Alabama Shakes, Foxes, Dot Rotten, Lianne La Havas, Lana Del Rey, Willy Moon, Michael Kiwanuka, Queen Of Hearts, The Staves, Ren Harvieu, Outfit, Charli XCX, Rachel Sermanni, Chvrches, Haim, Gabrielle Aplin, Savages, Chasing Grace, Tom Odell, Sons & Lovers, Avec Sans, Laura Mvula, Curxes, Matt Corby, The Night VI, Luke Sital-Singh, Valerie June, Alice Jemima, Wolf Alice, Chloe Howl, Sophie Jamieson, Jungle, Flyte, Mononoke, George Ezra, Banks, Eva Stone, Iyes, Laura Doggett, Seinabo Sey, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Coasts, Lapsley, The Shires, Ryn Weaver, Jospeh Salvat, Chloe Black, Elderbrook, Nao, Mura Masa, Declan McKenna, Zyra, Billie Marten, Loyle Carner, Pumarosa, Aurora, Majik, Xylaroo

My choices are not ones that I necessarily think are going to be commercially successful, but as I have relatively commercial tastes there’s a possibility that some of them may go on to be so. Having said that, in 2016, going into 2017 it’s harder than ever for new artists to break through and develop a long lasting career. For example, this year’s current Top 40 selling albums in my home country of the UK doesn’t include one debut album from a UK artist. Then there's the issue of the closure of so many small to mid-size venues – the breeding ground for new musicians, the place to get that first experience and step up the ladder a little. 

So this isn’t a list of ‘artists that will be big’. It is just exactly what the title says – new artists I recommend that you watch and listen out for next year (and beyond).

So without further ado, the next 10 posts will feature my choices. Many of them will come as no surprise if you read the blog regularly, as most of them have featured before, although there will be some brand new selections as well - maybe even a surprise or two with selections you might not expect to see on this blog.

I’m going very early with this, mainly because by the end of December, if you follow much music press and media you will probably have had ‘Ones to Watch’ list overload, so I’d rather thrust my choices in your face before you become exhausted. I also like to publish before the big industry lists such as the BBC Sound of Poll come out, so we can then compare my autocratic list with Aunty Beebs democratic one.

I’ll be posting my first One to Watch in about an hour from now (around 10am GMT), then every day for a further 9 days at 9am, including Saturday and Sunday. Until then, here's one of my 2016 choices, who this year became the only artist ever to make one member of my family cry with emotion at a gig, her performance was that beautiful.

Aurora - Conqueror

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