Tuesday 24 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021


Welcome to the Breaking More Waves annual tips list of new artists. I call it Ones to Watch and I’ve been doing it every year around this time since 2008.

This year it is harder than ever to choose 10 new artists that I believe will be worth keeping an eye on in the next 12 months. The effect of Covid-19 on new music has been catastrophic. The route of gaining a loyal fanbase by playing live gigs through the likes of support slots and smaller stages at festivals has been totally wiped out; plus the ecosystem that the touring industry supports is also being badly affected, from sales to streams to radio play to exposure. With much of the music industry on pause or even a tragic full stop, breaking a new artist appears to have less priority than in previous years, even with the possibilities the world wide web gives.

However, that hasn’t stopped me choosing 10 new acts – doing my small bit to help support new talent not yet fully established - and I will be featuring them over the next 10 days with 1 blog post each day for the next 10 days at around 8.30am. It starts tomorrow.

In considering who is eligible for inclusion and who isn’t (or to put it another way how do I define new music?), I’ve decided to use the criteria that the BBC used last year for their 2020 Sound of list as a starting point. That was as follows:

Artists from any musical genre and country are eligible, whether or not they’re signed. They must not have been the lead artist on a UK top 10 album and had no more than one UK top 10 single by mid-October as well as not already widely known by the UK general public.

The ‘not widely known by the UK general public’ is very open to interpretation of course. In addition I’ve added an extra clause which is that the artist must also have not released any album, otherwise arguably many smaller indie bands that have been treading the boards for years could qualify.

This does mean that at least one of the artists on this year’s list has already had some commercial success having achieved a Top 30 hit single. But with no album out yet I still think the artist is deserving on inclusion.

Check back here tomorrow for the first of my 10 choices – in fact it’s the one who has already had that hit. Can you guess who it is?

In the meantime, here’s a list of all the previous artists I’ve selected as Ones to Watch since I’ve been doing this in 2008, from future Glastonbury headliners to those who didn’t really get going at all. There's also a track by Arlo Parks, who was one of my tips for last year and has had a pretty fine musical 2020 all things considered. Do let me know your tips for 2021 on Twitter @BMWavesBlog

Past Ones To Watch

Alabama Shakes, Alessi’s Ark, Alice Chater, Alice Jemima, Another Sky, Arlo Parks, Aurora, Avec Sans, Banks, Beth Jeans Houghton, Billie Marten, Black Country New Road, Cabbage, Celeste, Charli XCX, Chasing Grace, Chloe Black, Chloe Howl, Chvrches, Clare Maguire, Clock Opera, Coach Party, Coasts, Confidence Man, Curxes, Dave, Declan McKenna, Dot Rotten, D/R/U/G/S, Delphic, Easy Life, Elderbrook, Ellie Goulding, Eva Stone, Fontaines DC, Foxes, Flohio, Florence & the Machine, Flyte, G-Flip, Gabrielle Aplin, George Ezra, Grace Carter, Haim, Hazel English, Holly Miranda, Hurts, Iyes, Jade Bird, James Blake, Jerry Williams, Joseph Salvat, Joy Crookes, Jungle, King Princess, La Roux, Lana Del Rey, LANY, Lapsley, Laura Doggett, Laura Mvula, Lauran Hibberd, Let’s Buy Happiness, Lianne La Havas, Little Boots, Liv Dawson, Loyle Carner, Lucy Rose, Luke Sital-Singh, Maggie Rogers, Maisie Peters, Majik, Marina & The Diamonds, Master Peace, Mumford & Sons, Mura Masa, Nao, Noisy, Off Bloom,Outfit, Pale Waves, Passion Pit, Pink Kink, Pumarosa, Queen of Hearts, Rachel Sermanni, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Ren Harvieu, Ryn Weaver, Sam Tompkins, Savages, Seinabo Sey, Seramic, Sigrid, Sinead O’Brien, Skint & Demoralised, Skott, Sofi Tukker, Sons & Lovers, Sophie Jamieson, Spark, Spector, Starsmith, Stornoway, Superorganism, The Blinders, The Milk, The Night VI, The Shires, The Staves, The Vaccines, Tom Odell, Unicorn Kid, Valerie June, Visions Of Trees, White Lies, Willy Moon, Winnie Raeder, Wolf Alice, Xylaroo, Yes Giantess, Zyra

Arlo Parks - Green Eyes

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