The annual BBC list of the artists set to majorly influence 2020 has been released; and it’s got some peaches ladies and gentlemen. As the industry goes from strength to strength, HEKKTA believes we all have good reason to feel very excited.
Twenty nineteen was a very good year for music; Stormzy cemented Grime’s status in popular culture with a career-defining performance at Glastonbury, and we enjoyed a host of amazing albums as global music revenues grew at their fastest rate in more than two decades.
And this trend shows no sign of slowing.
The first ‘BBC Sound of’ this decade and we’re already itching to see what these five artists get up to in 2020.
This year’s winner is the absolutely stunning Celeste.
There are singers, then there are good singers, then there are great singers; but you rarely get singers like Celeste.
Perhaps it’s too soon, and maybe HEKKTA are a little too excited about this artist, but we can see in a few years her easily belonging to the same category as an Adele or even an Amy.
Raised on the sweet tones of Ella Fitzgerald, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin, she came to music surprisingly late. It was only until she was spurred on by friends and family around the age of 15 that she started to take it more seriously. She only wrote her first song at the age of 17!
Being born in LA, raised in Brighton and then moving to London in her late teens, she has been around music her whole life. Her manager spotted her on Youtube, and after being signed to Lily Allen’s label, she released her first EP Lately.
“Celeste is a phenomenal talent, a voice that does not come around often and when you are exposed to it, is impossible to ignore” – Annie Mac
Celeste’s music is timeless; her delicate and eery voice gliding over beautiful jazz and soul band compositions, and they never get old.
But she is not just an empty voice, her songwriting ability matches anyone in the mainstream at the moment, having a universal appeal, but all the while she insists, “When I write music I never think about whether anybody wants to listen to it,” she explains. “I just keep pushing myself in all these different ways where eventually, hopefully, I’ve made something distinct that can be enjoyed by other people.”
Someone that fellow Sound of lister Jorja Smith describes as, “incredible, stunning, everything”, Celeste is a name that will be known very soon indeed.
HEKKTA’s favourite song – STRANGE / BOTH SIDES OF THE MOON
We’ve been listening to this band for some time now, and they one big breath of fresh air.
Their music is pretty hard to pin down, with the BBC having a go, “hip-hop, jazz, indie, pop, afro-beat, slow groove, ambient house, psychedelic electronica and witty, incisive lyrics.” Quite a blend!
Making upbeat songs about the mundane struggle of daily life, Easy Life have had a whirlwind few years. Only forming as a band in a pub two years ago, their rise has been unstoppable. Pockets, their first single, put them on the map, and it’s been a steady rise since.
Crucially, Easy Life have an abundance of character typified in their enigmatic frontman Murray, and with him they have managed to achieve something which many artists will attempt all their lives. Write politically tinged songs that are completely and utterly original.
Formed by a group of mates from Leicester, Easy Life remind you not to take life too seriously. Have a laugh, dance to some trumpets, sit back and listen to some great tunes. What more could you want?
The next artist, similar to Billie Eilish, is perhaps a little beyond the BBC list in terms of current popularity, but he is an interesting character to say the least. Aiming to be a spokesperson for the repressed youth, he toys with notions of sexuality and mental health within his songs, whilst keeping the the grungy heritage of his home county, Yorkshire.
Growing up on the Arctic Monkeys and Richard Hawley, his sound is reminiscent of Green Day or other such bands, but he retains a Britishness that shines through in his lyrics.
Already very big in America, the sky is the limit for this guy.
A real local girl, you can see every bus, every siren, every horn, and every little alley way that Joy Crookes sings about in her music. From Elephant & Castle in London, she was born to a Bangladeshi mother and an Irish father, and it’s a cultural heritage that she celebrates.
But her music’s popularity really boils down to her lyricism; there is an insightful wittiness to her words that have you chuckling and before you know it, have you singing along to every word.
Whether it be a beautiful assessment of life in London in her song London Mine or whether it’s her sarcastic appreciation for failed relationships in No Hands, there is a groove that moves through all her songs, topped off by her stunning voice.
Having released a hoard of music in 2019, we believe 2020 could be the year that Joy Crookes really breaks through, and the BBC seem to think so to!
Being the son of U2 frontman and music royalty Bono is probably going to a long way to aid your career, but the lead singer insists that isn’t a replacement for quality.
“For me and for us as a band, we’ve known that there’s going to be doors open,” he told the NME about his family connections. “But those doors will shut just as fast as they open if we’re not good.”
Classic indie-pop tunes, they were invited on tour with Blossoms to join America, which they say they still haven’t gotten over.
Part of a dying breed, Inhaler hope they can help revive the genre back to it’s glory days.