The BBC Sound of 2017 has always served as a prophecy for the future. And it is pretty much always spot on. In a 12 man longlist, they identify the most exciting musical acts at the moment and then give their prediction on who will own 2017. The winner this year was streetwise soul singer Ray BLK, a 22 year old from South London. HEKKTA is excited about music in 2017. It has all the ingredients to be a great year and the BBC Sound of 2017 winners certainly show the direction music in the UK is going. It’s going up.
The importance of the BBC Sound of 2017 is evident just by the success of some of their previous winners. In 2008, Adele won it after her incredible breakthrough album 19 (at the age of 19). It safe to say she has gone on to be one of the biggest stars in music with a career spanning 6 years, which saw her headline Glastonbury last summer. In 2014, Sam Smith won the prize who’s career went from small-time feature artist to global superstar winning buckets of Grammy’s and even doing the James Bond song. Adele did that one too. Tick.
Last year the winner was someone that we adore at HEKKTA and for many reasons. Jack Garratt won the coveted prize last year and justified his win with an incredible performance at the BBC Music Awards 2016 where he blew away the audience by his talent of musical multitasking. HEKKTA went to see him in concert in November just a few months ago, where he played guitar, drums, piano and synth while singing! Suffice to say by the end of that gig we were very impressed but also left with a pretty large feeling of inadequacy. But our point is, that pretty much every year the BBC manage to find some incredible new artists that then go on to take over our screens and radio for the coming years.
But something feels different about this year. The artists all seem refreshingly new and different. Grime has blown the music industry wide open and now more and more new artists with interesting sounds are coming forward and the winner Ray BLK is a brilliant example of this. We were very intrigued by the artists that made up the top five this year, so we gave them a closer look.
The winner of the BBC Sound of 2017 is a 22 year old singer from Catford, Ray BLK. She came to London from Nigeria when she was 4 and grew up in South London. Her music reflects the area in which she lives and what it is like growing up there. Breakthrough songs like My Hood have people calling her, “the UK’s answer to Lauryn Hill”.
She went to university and worked on her music while she was there, andShe symbolises the growing amount of black, female artists at the forefront of the music industry, a trend which we want to see more of. The character of grime music in London is of raw, honest music that hides nothing and Ray BLK does this brilliantly with her own personal twist. With lyrics like, “meet me in Morley’s, best fried chicken in the South”, its no wonder people are tipping her for great things.
When asked by the BBC what her ambitions were for the year ahead she replied, “I just want to become a better artist. I’ve used this year to find my feet, and now I want to amplify that and give people more music, better music”. We hope so too, Ray BLK.