All the acts the Music and Clubs editors think you should be keeping a firm eye on over the coming annum.
Multi-talented Tottenham producer-rapper-singer Ragz Originale blends R&B and Afrobeats to grace the U.K. with wavey ballads. The multifaceted artist, alongside his Mini Kingz affiliates, has been quietly pioneering a new brand of British music, whilst contributing instrumentals to Skepta’s two previous albums: Konnichiwa and Ignorance is Bliss. With a new mixtape released on January 29th, expect a lot more from him in 2021.
Natalie Mering, also known as Weyes Blood, stunned us with the stoic art-pop of her album Titanic Rising back in 2019. Beautifully orchestrated and emotionally breath-taking, it was a definitive statement on life, loss, and love in the form of a baroque pop masterpiece. Natalie has spoken about her astonishment with the new meaning her track ‘Wild Time’ has taken on since the pandemic, and, crafted in isolation, her next album is certain to be another sensual, spectral reflection of our new, unconfident world.
Not your typical Southern rap hopeful, Leeds-based Nix Northwest spins elegant and poignant rhymes over his own musical arrangements. You may have heard him playing keys on a Lausse track, formerly credited as The Young Wizard. His latest track ‘Drive Slow’ is a softly spoken confessional track, with Nix taking the vocal lead for his own chorus too, over twinkling, synthy keys. It’s been a while since Nix’s last full release, his 2019 debut album, Life’s A Bitch, I Just Need an Early Night, so we could possibly be due another full musical instalment this year.
You cannot help but think Scuti’s career is about to take off astronomically. Fittingly named after the biggest star in the universe, UY Scuti, she recently featured on Oscar #WorldPeace’s HIS AND HERS EP. Although her roots are embedded in rap music, last years This Is Skoo mixtape showed she has the ability to spread her suave over a multiplicity of genres.
Black Country, New Road
Few artists are entering 2021 with the momentum of self-flagellating post-punk act Black Country, New Road. Blending experimental post-rock with twisted jazz influences, their music is an acerbic takedown of the fragility of British middle-class life, and the tenderness that comes with living in the modern age. Listen to their debut album for more tracks about the perils of Daddy’s money and the pains of skipping your last dose of antidepressants in order to have better sex.
LA-based Pearl Charles started the new year with a bang, releasing her second album in mid January. The perfect remedy for your Winter lockdown blues, Magic Mirror fuses indie pop, disco, and country in 10 tracks of pure sonic escapism. Comparisons to ABBA and Fleetwood Mac have already been drawn and rightly so – Charles’ dreamy melodies and soft beats feel nostalgic, but her cosmic production is nothing if not fresh. Catch Pearl Charles in her full ’70s dancing queen glory in the video for ‘Only For Tonight’ below.
Pom Pom Squad
Pom Pom Squad first came onto my radar last year with their astounding take on FKA Twigs’ ‘Cellophane.’ The cover added an extra layer of anger to Twigs’ track, an anger present in much of Pom Pom Squad’s own criminally underrated discography. Their debut album Ow is faultless female fronted indie rock, short but bittersweet at only 21 minutes long. Fans of angsty girl music (see: Phoebe Bridgers, Soccer Mommy, Chastity Belt, Mannequin Pussy, etc.): keep an eye out for Pom Pom Squad in the coming year (and beyond).
Listen to all of our 2021 artists to watch on our Spotify below:
Header image: Weyes Blood. Credit: Brett Stanley, via i-D.