Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Introducing... the music you'll be hearing on your radio next year

An Irish country-rock band and a Native American rapper are among 15 acts vying for the title of the BBC's Sound of 2013 – the annual award which attempts to predict which musicians are due to hit the big time next year.

Indie, synth-pop and hip-hop are all represented, as well as the usual array of pop acts. It may not be an exact science, but inclusion on the annual list often heralds coming stardom.



However, it is not always the eventual winner who goes on to dominate the nation's airwaves and iPods. Adele won in 2008 and went on to find global success, but Florence + the Machine finished third the following year and are now arguably more famous than winner Little Boots.



Votes from 213 "influential UK tastemakers" were counted to compile the list, which this year includes 17-year-old pop act A*M*E, 20-year old south Londoner Arlissa – who has already recorded a single with US hip-hop star Nas – and classically trained soul singer Laura Mvula from Birmingham.



Also included is Angel Haze, a Native American rapper, alongside 17-year-old British singer King Krule. They join Glasgow band Chvrches, Dublin four-piece Kodaline, and Palma Violets. As well as indie band Peace, Irish country-rock band Little Green Cars and 22-year-old singer-songwriter Tom Odell are included. AlunaGeorge, Haim and Savages complete the longlist.



The first award was handed out in 2003, to US rapper 50 Cent. Since then, the list has been topped by Keane, The Bravery and Corinne Bailey Rae. Singer Mika won in 2007 and was followed by Adele, Little Boots and Ellie Goulding. The two most recent winners were Jessie J and Michael Kiwanuka.



Most of the artists included on past lists have gone on to have successful careers. But sometimes, it underestimates the star quality of certain acts: Lady Gaga came only sixth in 2009, but has now sold an estimated 23 million albums and has almost 32 million Twitter followers.



BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, who will announce the final three acts in the new year, said: "This year's Sound of 2013 longlist is an exciting and vibrant one, which I think bodes well for the year ahead. It's always a varied list that surprises people, causes debate and speculation about the state of the music scene.



"For me, it's an exciting time of year, where we don't really know what the year will bring with new music, but this helps give people an indication of what might sound good."



The top five acts will be announced simultaneously on the BBC News website and Sound of 2013 website. Stephens will announce the winner live on BBC Radio 1 on 4 January.

Sound of 2013: the 15 contenders

AlunaGeorge



It's pretty much perfect modern pop. Aluna Francis is a really fascinating frontwoman and it's nicely produced by bandmate George Reid.



A*M*E



With the backing of a major label behind her, you'd be a fool to bet against this 17-year-old. I can't see what the fuss is about, though; it's a bit style over substance.



Angel Haze



The best female rapper to emerge in the past five years. Her flow is incredible and she's making better music than her rival Azealia Banks.



Arlissa



I find her music a bit naff but, again, people seem confident she's going to be huge.



Chvrches



This Scottish electropop band make pleasant enough music but I can't see them becoming all that big.



Haim



These LA-based sisters have drawn comparisons to Fleetwood Mac with their modern blending of folk and R&B. 2013 will be their year.



King Krule



Formerly known as Zoo Kid. Don't let the fact he went to the Brit School put you off; he's really rather special. He'll do very well next year.



Kodaline



Dull, dull band from Dublin. For fans of Coldplay, moaning, and maudlin guitar tracks.



Laura Mvula



She certainly has an incredible voice. Mvula has been nominated for the Brits Critics' Choice Award and seems destined for stardom.



Little Green Cars



Absolutely nothing new; unsure how anyone can really get excited about them.



Palma Violets



It will be great to see what these guys do next year; everything this indie band has put out so far has been cracking. Their track "Best of Friends" was voted song of 2012 by NME.



Peace



This Birmingham band (along with Palma Violets) should assure anyone that there's still plenty of excitement in guitar music.



Savages



This all-female post-punk band are fantastic but I can't see them setting the charts on fire. Try to see them live – that's when they're at their best.



The Weeknd



Twenty-two-year-old Canadian Abel Tesfaye has been making waves for quite some time. Last year's mix tape House of Balloons was deservedly considered as among the finest outputs of 2011. Hopefully he'll really break through next year.



Tom Odell



The Jeff Buckley comparisons are premature but he's certainly a singer-songwriter with a little bit of bite.

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