Seventeen For 2017

Towards the end of each year, the music industry spotlight focuses on talent set for breakthroughs the following year. The “Brits Critics Choice” Award and “BBC Sound Of” poll have both become institutions for artists set for breakthrough success in the months ahead and are often very much on the money. Previous recipients of the accolades have included Adele, Emile Sandé, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith. Before the next set of artistes are announced, I’ve picked some of the best of emerging talent worth following.



Declan McKenna

Has been on my radar since early 2015 ahead of winning Glastonbury’s emerging talent competition that year. This kid has everything going for him and is bound to be amongst favourites for the coveted Critics Choice Award. With lead single “Isombard” already receiving airplay across numerous stations, expect this seventeen year old to be on every major festival next summer and a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Label – Columbia / Agent – Matt Cooper (13 Artists)

Listen To – Isombard


Has long been in the spotlight as featured and live vocalist for Rudimental and has now topped the charts with a bonafide pop hit in her Clean Bandit and Sean Paul collab “Rockabye”. “Sound Of” polls are notorious for championing blossoming/breaking artistes who have already achieved breakthrough singles featuring alongside major producers but are yet to release their own solo album. Take Sam Smith with Naughty Boy and Ella Eyre with Rudimental. Given that she’s already achieved a huge solo top 20 single in “Alarm”, she’s well ahead of some of the aforementioned. If those are anything to go by, 2017 will be the year of Anne Marie.

Label – Atlantic / Agent – Obi Asika-Iweka (Echolocation)

Listen To – Alarm

Sundara Karma

Clash Magazine said “Sundara Karma arrive with choruses built for arenas” and with the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen and Blossoms achieving such huge successes over the past couple of years, there may well be an indie resurgence imminent. Had tipped this Reading based four piece for a major breakthrough 18 months ago, 2017 will be their year. Believe the hype.


Label – RCA / Agent – Matt Bates (Primary)

Listen To – She Said

Jorja Smith

Jorja is a 19 year old newcomer from Walsall who recently left a job in Starbucks to pursue a career in music. Her debut single “Blue Lights” clocked up an impress 100,000 hits within a week and earned public praise from Stormzy, Elf Kid and Skrillex. The soulful vocalist sounds a cross between Amy Winehouse and Izzy Bizu and could be a name to be reckoned with for many many years to come.

Label – FAMM, Universal / Agent – Summer Marshall (CAA)

Listen To – Blue Lights

Will Joseph Cook

Championed by DJ’s from Annie Mac through to Jo Whiley, the 20 year old from Turnbridge Wells seems to have an array of pop hits ready to be unleashed on the masses. Again one who’ll be sure to be on many major festival line ups following major support from BBC Radio 1 this year. Having already sold out Dingwalls in London this summer, Will Joseph Cook is no ordinary singer-songwriter… the new age pop star.

Label – Atlantic / Agent – Olly Hodgson (Coda)

Listen To – Girls Like Me


Formed in 2014 by frontman Mattie Vant, they quickly signed to Parlophone and started the year with an appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Future Festival. Their songs “The Answer”, “Parking Lot’, “Fly By Alien”, “Karma Seeker” and “Peace and Love” have all been premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In the World before the announcement of an album and with them achieving playlist from BBC Radio 1, they’re sure to be a radio and festival favourite in 2017.

Label – Parlophone / Agent – Mike Greek (CAA)

Listen To – Karma Seeker


R&B singer Raye looks and sounds a star. Her infusion of R&B and electro earned high praise from Mistajam . Having collabed with Charli XCX and Stormzy, the South London based artist has been championed by plaudits including Clara Amfo on BBC Radio 1 through to MTV. Her songwriting talent alone has seen her co-write with Labrinth and Emili Sandé and achieve credits on the Blonde single “All Cried Out”.

Label – Polydor / Agent – Tom Schroeder (Coda)

Tom Grennan

Described as having a bluesy, soulful tone balanced with an original indie flair, Tom is tipped to make a huge impact when his solo music is released. Tom rose to prominence in late Summer 2016 as the first featured guest vocalist on Chase & Status’ comeback record “All Goes Wrong” which he performed with the duo on Jools Holland and achieved mainstream national airplay.

Label – Insanity / Agent – Matt Bates (Primary Talent)

Listen To – Something In The Water


JP Cooper

Can’t help but thinking that this dreadlocked singer songwriter looks a tiny bit like Johnny Depp in Pirates of The Carribean but take nothing away from his talent. His haunting vocals/crooning have seen him achieve an international breakthrough on producer Jonas Blu’s hit record “Perfect Strangers” which peaked on the UK charts at number 2.

Label – Island / Agent – Jon Ollier (CAA)

Listen To – September Song


Nadia Rose
The Croydon born rapper is set to be a force to be reckoned with on the Grime scene next year and having been nominated for 2 MOBO’s and walking away with the “Best Video” accolade for “Skwod” and currently features on the George Kwali/Kideko hit “Crank It” which has been playlisted on BBC Radio 1’s A List.

Label – Sony Relentless / Agent – Myles Jessop (Echolocation)

Listen To – Skwod


Hailing from Liverpool, Banners achieved one of the standout songs on the FIFA 2016 soundtrack with “Shine A Light”. With a number of Coldplay-esque uplifting numbers in his repertoire, he’s one artist already making waves in both the USA and UK and one of my most played new artists of the last 18 months.

Label – Island / Agent – Matt Bates (Primary)

Listen To – Ghosts


Zak Abel

This feel good pop star has a vocal to rival Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and is a presence on stage incorporating bold dance moves into his live performances. Having featured on Gorgon City’s “Unmissable”, Abel is set to release his debut LP “Only When We’re Naked” released via Atlantic in February 2017.

Label – Atlantic / Agent – Nick Matthews (Coda Agency)

Listen To – Everybody Needs Love


Isaac Gracie
An old school singer-songwriter who has achieved a number of sellout gigs in his hometown of London. Inspired by Jeff Buckley and Radiohead and hailed by NME as “something special”, Gracie has industry fans in Zane Lowe and Phil Taggart.

Label – Rocnation / Agent – Matt Bates (Primary)

Listen To – Terrified


Dan Caplen

Soulful Caplen is a piano based singer-songwriter who can write, play, sing and rap! (See his Mahogany session covering James Blake & Chance The Rapper). A mix between John Legend and James Blake, Caplen’s music is simply honest and heartfelt R&B. Worth keeping an eye on for sure.

Label – Atlantic / Agent – James Whitting (Coda)

Listen To – Beautiful & Fragile


With their debut album “Look at the Powerful People” penned for a March 2017 release, this five piece band have built up a cult following and are hailed for “ferociously fun” and energetic live performances. Originally a duo comprised on brothers Will and Matt Ritson, if you’re into indie infused fluid funk pop, this band will grow on you.
Label – Warner / Agent – Chris Payne (ITB)
Listen To – Powerful People

Elf Kid

Grime MC tipped to follow in the footsteps of Stormzy who had a huge breakthrough this year. A founding member of London based collective The Square, Elf Kid could breakthrough in his own right having built up an underground fanbase and gone on to perform for BBC and 1Xtra at Maida Vale.


Label – No Hats No Hoods / Agent –Claire Courtney (Earth Agency)

Listen To – Oh Gosh

The Amazons

Featured in the most recent Q Magazine, The Amazons are a guitar band who are building a rapid fanbase and achieved BBC Introducing support in recent months. May be a while before they achieve a major breakthrough but confident it’s a matter of time before these anthemic physc-light grunge rockers “make it”.
Label – Fiction / Agent – Angus Baskerville (13 Artists)
Listen To – In My Mind

 Also worth keeping an eye on…

The Bay Rays, NIMMO, BB Diamond, Paigey Cakey, Matt Wills, MUNA, Tom Misch, Liv Dawson, Tom Walker.