The winner of the Sound of 2018 has been revealed as the Norweigan pop singer Sigrid. We read more into the four other acts she is joined by in the top five of this coveted award, and give our take on the winners.
We were surprised to see how different the artists are in this year’s five-long shortlist. Last year the BBC recognised how the grime scene was engulfing popular music with the winners and runners up being mostly urban artists or rappers. This year we see a big shift away from grime and urban music, turning more to pop. With three pop artists, one urban trap singer and an indie band, you could argue this year’s list is the most varied yet.
SIGRID – THE WINNER
The 21 year old pop singer has been named the Sound of 2018 and with BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac calling her “literally the perfect pop star”, you can see why. Driven into writing her own songs at 16 because her brother wanted her to stop playing Adele covers, she discovered her natural knack for penning pop hits. With 4.7 million views on her hit Don’t Kill My Vibe you could argue she has already made it, but her topping this list indicates that she certainly hasn’t reached her ceiling and we should be expected much more from the Norweigan singer.
REX ORANGE COUNTY
The runner up this year is 19 year old Alex O’Connor or Rex Orange County. Now we’re very excited about this artist; his music just feels very unique despite the fact that there is nothing enormously different about it. Perhaps it’s his way of words or how he uses different chord patterns, but we can’t help hearing a bit of Elton John in him. Having grown up in Surrey, he attended the Brit School but had already released his first album before graduating. His honest words combined with his songwriting caught people’s attention pretty quick and was asked to do a song with Tyler the Creator, aswell as playing guitar on stage with Skepta at the most recent Mercury prize awards. With two full abums already under his belt at the age of 19, just imagine where he will be in five years! Could easily have won this award – we have no doubt 2018 will be big for him.
This next artist screams British underground music and we should be excited to see where 2018 takes her. Combining old with new, her music is very unique and hard to put a label on. But if you mixed urban jazz, trap, soul and hip-hop you might get something along the lines of IAMDDB’s music. She states that overcoming her shyness and accepting exactly who she is enabled her to have the confidence to make her music the way she wants it. Which is also why she remains unsigned, something we hugely admire. If she can get to where she is now without a major label, then why does she need one at all? Honest, raw and refreshing. She is providing us with a different breed of female artist in the music industry and it’s good to see.
Khalid is the 19 year pop sensation from America. He caught our attention a few years ago and we remember thinking this guy will be big soon. Well sure enough, he made it alright. We’re a little surprised to see him on this list at all as he is already huge having been nominated five times in this year’s Grammy Awards. However we have no doubt he’s only going to get bigger and bigger, and by next year he could well be one of the biggest stars around the world.
Have a listen to his break-out track Young, Dumb & Broke…
After supporting the 1975 on tour around the States, this foursome have quickly gone from small indie band from Manchester to one of the most exciting emerging bands of their genre. They all met while studying Music at Manchester University, but said the course just sapped the music out of them. The lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie stated that you can’t teach someone to write a song, you’ve either got it or you don’t. We agree with you Heather. With the indie/rock genre slowly fading further and further into the background of music, bands like Pale Waves provide hope the genre could yet re-emerge. Could this be the band to put indie/rock and Manchester back on the map? We shall wait and see.