With rap and grime at the forefront of the UK urban scene, it’s quite easy to let the great vocalists of the scene go unnoticed. This list is just my way of letting you guys know about the dope vocalists that deserve a bit more recognition. Some are well established and others are just on the come-up, but all of them deserve a little bit of your time.
I came across Mahalia after Ady Suleiman announced her as a supporting act at one of his shows. I decided to check out her Twitter and was completely blown away by her single ‘Silly Girl’, from the jazzy vocals to her attitude and the simplicity of the instrumental – which consists solely of an acoustic guitar. And with a cool one-take video, this single deserves a lot more recognition.
Graduating from the Rudimental academy, Anne-Marie has proven she has the ability to stand on her own two feet. Her recent single ‘Alarm’ got into the Top 20. You may know her from her recent single with Clean Bandit, ‘Rockabye’, but one listen to her 2015 EP release Karate will let you know that she is much more than a pop singer. With an album in the works, I’m sure you’ll hear much more from this talented vocalist. You can catch Anne-Marie at Rescue Rooms on the 22nd of November.
You might find JSTJCK providing backup vocals for some of your favourite artists, or even in the writing credits, as his pen game is just as strong as his vocals. There are very few artists with SoundCloud pages that you can play from start to finish; JST JCK’s is one of them. With hints of Frank Ocean and Chris Brown in his vocals, JSTJCK adds his own twist on RnB with every song carefully written and perfectly executed. Very overlooked and very underrated.
I first came across the vocal powerhouse that is Jordan King at a Busk the Park gig in Shoreditch where he managed to make Box Park sound like a stadium. His 2016 EP The Night Shift is definitely worth a listen.
OK, technically he’s from New Zealand, but I’m glad he’s found success in London. His move here allowed him to make friends with the likes of Tom Misch and Jords, in order to make some phenomenal music. He’s like the white D’Angelo: so much soul. His LP Cloak is definitely worth a purchase.
Having released only a few songs, Deborah has managed to create quite a buzz around her name. After learning how to sing in church, her vocals are flawless. She’s infrequent with her releases, but it’s clear she has her reasons: there’s a huge improvement in quality between her first two singles ‘Overtime’ and ‘Feel Good’. Deborah O recently said she’s sitting on some bangers, and after hearing some previews of what’s to come, I believe her.
Veeiye is the only Afrobeats singer to make this list, but to box her into that category would be unfair. Influenced by her Nigerian heritage and her love of RnB music, Veeiye has managed to craft a sound that is the perfect blend of Afrobeats and RnB, with producer and longtime friend ATGMusick. Veeiye has found a niche in the music market and considering her technical ability and her amazing songwriting skills, I have no doubt that she’ll be able to exploit it, with fans ranging from Afro B to YBNL’s Adekunle Gold.
I came across Zak’s music thanks to a recommendation from my housemate. ‘These Are The Days’ was an instant favourite after it was played through my friend’s MacBook speakers. Since then, Zak has dropped an array of quality singles as well as two EPs. Zak is also really good at table tennis – I mean, look at the tekkers in this music video… Unbelievable.
I couldn’t tell you much about Miraa other than that her music is wavey. I first came across her on the Julie Adenuga Show. Her bubbly, cool character led me to check out her music. She is a great songwriter, has unique vocals and creates consistently brilliant music. Her recent EP N15 is one of my favourite UK releases this year.
I was introduced to Jorja in the same way as a lot of her fans: through the deep, cold sounding ‘Blue Lights’. Her haunting vocals and the smooth playing of the electric piano instantly drew me in, and the Dizzee Rascal sample at the end means that this is quality stuff. With a MOBO nomination for the aforementioned single and two more exceptional singles under her belt, I’m excited to see this young vocalist grow.
Responsible for arguably the best album to come out of the UK in 2016, Nao is easily one of my favourite vocalists. With the very talented producer GRADES in her corner, I don’t think it’s possible for this talented artist to make boring music.
Singer, songwriter, poet… Jae does it all, and she does it with class, flavour and vim. Her vocals are clean and beautiful and they blend artfully with the pain in her words.
Listen to our UK RnB Playlist here.
Image courtesy of Rob Walker via Flickr