The annual BBC prediction of music’s future stars has been unveiled, and there are several reasons for you to start getting excited about some new material coming your way in 2019.
The winner this year is 23 year old rapper Octavian. His profile blew up when Drake filmed himself singing his first hit song Party Here, at a Golden Globes after-party, and it’s been non-stop ever since. Releasing hit after hit, collaborating with producer Mura Masa, he dropped his mixtape Spaceman and his profile has continued to explode, with big public praise from huge DJs such as Annie Mac.
His music is a blend of styles, with grime and trap influences, mixing rapping and singing over catchy beats. His songs are almost addictive; they grab you at first listen and you will unapologetically put them on repeat.
His music has spotted a gap in the music game and his ability to churn out hits at a rapid rate has seen him shoot to the top of his craft, in just a year.
Just 12 months ago life for Octavian was looking very different, being penniless and homeless. Kicked out at 14, his mother said to him, ‘You’re either going to be in prison or you’re going to be big’, and he admits her words stuck in his head.
Winning a scholarship to the world famous Brit School, he dropped out after deciding that creativity can’t be taught, and instead focused on making music with the people he’d met at the music college.
After signing to Black Butter Records, he was able to buy his first home right where he’d spent years homeless.
Octavian’s music story, despite it’s youth, is destined to grow to huge levels, which can be reflected in his mind set. Saying how even if he had 5bn people in the world listening to his music, he’d want the other 2bn. Whilst the BBC have predicted some huge stars in their BBC Sound of list, such as Adele, in recent times their predictions have not been the all-conquering successes of the past.
However, HEKKTA feels Octavian could hit some serious heights, with Anna Karatziva, head of talent and music at MTV UK, calling him, “a unique and exciting talent with an incredible vision and passion”. Benji B, who was the first DJ to play Octavian on Radio 1 and 1Xtra commented on his immediate reaction,
“From the very first moment I heard his music I was hooked…The first couple of tunes he released – Party Here and Hands – were some of the most futuristic, forward thinking, raw and inspiring tunes to come out of the UK in the last two years.”
A deserved winner of such a coveted award.
Being approached by Virgin Records at the age of 11, and having a father who has engineered albums for the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Mumford and Sons, music success for King Princess was seemingly destiny.
Coming as runner up in the list at just 20 years old, her first single 1950, released in February, has already clocked 183 million streams on Spotify. Championing her sexuality, she has already become a LGBTQ+ icon in music.
NME has called her, “A gay icon in waiting,”, DIY magazine has similarly called, “A queer pop star for a new generation”, and she has no problem with this label saying, “If they need me to do that, then hell yeah,” says the 20-year-old, whose real name is Mikaela Straus.
Huge pop anthems with catchy hooks and massive choruses, King Princess’ songs might be flying the flag for the LGBTQ+ community, but her music will appeal to everyone.
At number 3 on the list is 20 year old Grace Carter, whose emotional music has gained many plaudits, including pop superstar Dua Lipa. Honing her craft after joining Dua Lipa on tour, she has now signed with record label Polydor, and is preparing for her debut album. Having grown up without a father, Carter explains how she had a lot of anger as a child, but music was her way of venting her frustrations.
“I never want to be a victim, and that’s the main thing,” she tells BBC News. “Of course there are sad subjects through all of my songs, but at the end of it I’m stronger than all of that.”
Her song Why Her Not Me? was speaking of the confusion and anger of having a father that raised another family, and not hers. Emotionally charged with beautiful melodies, Carter is certain to evoke a tear or two.
This next artist is someone who is really exciting us here at HEKKTA. Growing up in a Northampton council estate, slowthai is a self-appointed voice for Generation Z. In his witty-punk style, he delightfully narrates life in Britain today, from all ends of the spectrum with songs like Drug Dealer and Rainbow, talking about his race and life growing up as part of the working class youth today. His songs are energetic, almost scary in their delivery, but hiding under the punk exterior is an intelligent and sophisticated message.
The music itself is a weird meeting point of grime and punk. At heart, he is really a punk artist, but his music is so relevant due to it’s links to grime during the current wave of the genre.
He’s wacky, unique and provocative. Many artists that adopt this veneer often have little to show underneath, but this is certainly not the case with slowthai. He is acutely aware of the political and social environment in today’s Britain, and he’s going to talk about it, whether you like it or not.
Calling out Theresa May, willing to unpick tricky topics, and also saying one day he’ll run for Prime Minister, slowthai is an artist that music so desperately needs.
HEKKTA are slightly disappointed he wasn’t higher up this list, but in the same way Jorja Smith only placed fourth in 2017, the list is merely a predication that can often be wrong. We predict big things for slowthai. Big, big things.
In fifth place is Spanish artist Rosalía, who is bringing flamenco to the UK, but not like you might know flamenco. Blending the music from roots with hip-hop and trap, she has created a piece of pop brilliance in her hit single Malemente.
After bagging a best alternative song and best urban track prize at the Latin Grammys, the Catalan star caught the eyes and ears of several important heads. Pharrell Williams invited her to record with him in LA, and Oscar-winning writer-director Pedro Almodóvar, even cast her alongside Penélope Cruz in his next film, Dolor y Gloria.
Combining the movement and sounds of flamenco with contemporary, popular music, she is destined for a big 2019.