Friday, 21 November 2014

Ones to Watch 2015 #3 - Rag 'n' Bone Man

If there’s a common theme connecting a number of our Ones to Watch for 2015 it’s one simple thing – great voices. Here’s another one. Brighton’s Rory Graham, who goes by the name of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man has a voice that gets you inside. Richly soulful and gutsy it’s already led us to proclaim his 2014 EP Wolves as the best free to download recording of the year. Whilst evidently seeping himself in blues influences from the past his music is no simple revivalist project; listening to Wolves and previous releases Put That Soul On Me and Bluestown you’ll hear hip hop, funk, pop, gospel and even some wild-west styled country ballads. Rag ‘n’ Bone man can do all of this, because he has the tonsils and lungs to deliver.

Having already featured a couple of times on Breaking More Waves in October Rag ‘n’ Bone Man recently told Hunger website that he’s been “sitting in a room in South London with no windows making music with my pals, drinking loads of coffee and smoking cigarettes.” He’s also starting to get out a bit though, supporting Kate Tempest and playing a number of headline shows this month, one of which in his home city of Brighton had to be upgraded due to demand for tickets.

On the basis of what we’ve heard and seen so far we’re convinced that given the right exposure Rag ‘n’ Bone man could well be finding himself with an army of fans before 2015 is out, but even if he doesn’t, if future releases match up to his recorded work so far he has to be one to listen (and therefore watch out for) in 2015.

Rag 'N' Bone Man - Guilty

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ones to Watch 2015 #2 - Seinabo Sey

Swedish soul pop singer and self-confessed Beyoncé fan-girl Seinabo Sey shares a number of similarities with Laura Doggett, our first One to Watch for 2015. Both artists have incredible moving voices – deep, powerful and reminiscent of many classic artists of the past and both appeared recently on the same episode of Later With Jools. Laura even tweeted her love of Seinabo after the show. Each artist has also been around for a while, but has only really begun to grow in stature in the UK in 2014 - Sey’s song Younger had already been a Top 20 hit in Sweden in 2013. However, it’s 2015 where we might find the 24-year old artist who has spent part of her life in her father’s home of Gambia, becoming a household name worldwide.

Reports from her recent show at the Basement of the Edition Hotel in London (a show which found Frank Ocean in attendance and James Blake DJing) suggest that live Sey’s voice is able to win over even the hardest cynic. 

We’re wondering how long it will be before this Beyoncé fan-girl has Beyoncé as a fan. If she continues to deliver the songs in 2015, it can’t be long. We're naming Seinabo as One to Watch because we think she might just grab commercial success and she's brilliant as well.

Seinabo Sey - Rather Be (Cover) (Video)

Seinabo Sey - Younger

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ones to Watch 2015 #1 - Laura Doggett

We open our Ones to Watch for 2015 with an artist that almost sneaked in on last year’s list. Laura Doggett’s name and music has been floating around for a few years now with a past place on the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition longlist (her selection was by the now defunct Illegal Tender blog) and being a finalist of the Next Brit Thing, a national music competition for 11-19 year olds backed by the UK music industry, The BRIT Awards and the government. Her first appearance on Breaking More Waves was under our ‘New Waves’ introducing feature in December 2013

However, it wasn’t until July 2014 that music blogs really started to take notice of Laura when the Sohn produced Phoenix hit the internet, a track which we described as ‘astonishingly good.’ Whilst Phoenix is full of edgy minimalistic beats and looped effects we suspect as time pans out and Laura releases more material we’ll find her songs sit far more in the genre of classic singer songwriter than edgy leftfield pop. She’s already cited the likes of Tracy Chapman and Annie Lennox as artists that she admires and this gives us a hint of what may be forthcoming. Her voice, which has a tone deep from the heart, sits well alongside those reference points. Her live gigs, which have included supports with Sohn himself as well as John Newman have demonstrated how well her voice stands up to scrutiny. 

Laura has a debut LP scheduled for May 2015 and plays a very special show by candlelight at the intimate oak chambers of the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse in January. Many more shows are sure to follow.

In an age when thanks to Simon Cowell the words Britain’s Got Talent can mean very little, Laura Doggett is reclaiming them back from his grasp. It’s because of this talent that we’re naming Laura as our first of ten ones to watch in 2015.

Laura Doggett - Phoenix (Video)

Laura Doggett - Moonshine (Jakwob Remix)

Ones to Watch 2015

Over the next 10 days we’ll be publishing Breaking More Waves 10 Ones to Watch for 2015.

Of the artists chosen, the vast majority will be of no surprise to regular readers. This list is effectively a summary of many of the emerging music makers that we’ve featured on previous Breaking More Waves posts in the last year or so who we are taking guess on as worth keeping an ear and eye out for in 2015, although not necessarily because all of these artists will become big commercial hitters (although we hope that some of them do). There will however be one artist that we’ve not yet featured to date, just to keep you on your toes.

We've been asked by a number of people this year why do we publish this list so early? After all it’s still only November. 2015 is still a distance away. So this post provides an explanation of why:

1. Other Polls - Particularly The Blog Sound Poll

Over the December and January period there will no doubt be many Ones to Watch / Sound of type features cropping up on websites, blogs and the in media in general including of course the much debated BBC Sound of 2015 poll and the lesser known Blog Sound of Poll. As one of the organisers of the Blog Sound Poll we get to see every vote that is submitted by participating bloggers. Therefore we could be influenced by those votes in publishing our list and we very much want to make this list our own. So we write our list and the associated posts in October before the Blog Sound Poll voting starts, publishing in November around the time the voting nears completion.

2. Music Blogging Sometimes Has To Take A Back Seat

During late November / early December, with the exception of a small handful of posts, we take a few weeks off from writing the blog for personal reasons. Whilst we’ve got our blogging feet up (don’t worry – we’re very busy elsewhere, we’re not just lounging around eating mince pies, smoking a pipe and drinking fine sherry - there's a day job, family and friends to think about) the blog itself remains active, publishing first our Ones To Watch and then Albums of 2014 posts, one a day. They're all pre-written. We have to start publishing in November to fit it all in. Sure we could just do one post and do one big list, but we like the idea of a drip feed - something for regular readers to catch up on for a few minutes each day.

3. Signing Off A Year With A Bunch Of Lists Feels Good - A Sense Of Achievement

We could really publish a Ones To Watch post at any point in the year, looking forward to the next twelve months, but as we get close to the closedown of one year and start of another it feels nice to bookmark that time with these lists and enables us to take the time off described. 

4. Tradition

It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to publish this list every year around this time and go early with it. Want to see who we selected previously? There’s been a fair few big hitters, including the likes of Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Marina & The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, Chvrches, Haim, James Blake, Lana Del Rey, Charli XCX and James Blake. Anyone remember Visions of Trees or Yes Giantess though? The full lists are below.

We’ll be publishing our first one to watch for 2015 at 9.30am today and then one will follow every day at 8.30am GMT until all ten have been published. The one rule for this year is that every artist must not have had a UK top 40 hit single before the list is published.

The Previous Ones To Watch Lists In Full

Ones to Watch 2009 (10 artists)

La Roux, Little Boots, Passion Pit, Yes Giantess, White Lies, Skint & Demoralised, Alessi’s Ark, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Marina & The Diamonds

Ones to Watch 2010 (10 artists)

Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Beth Jeans Houghton, Unicorn Kid, Delphic, Clare Maguire, Stornoway, Mirrors, Holly Miranda, Clock Opera

Ones to Watch 2011 (10 artists)

Clare Maguire (2nd nomination after failing to release anything in 2010), James Blake, Misty Miller, The Vaccines, Starsmith, Let’s Buy Happiness, The Milk, D/R/U/G/S, Visions Of Trees, Spark

Ones to Watch 2012 (15 artists)

Lucy Rose, Spector, Alabama Shakes, Foxes, Dot Rotten, Lianne La Havas, Lana Del Rey, Willy Moon, Michael Kiwanuka, Queen Of Hearts, The Staves, Ren Harvieu, Outfit, Charli XCX, Rachel Sermanni

Ones to Watch 2013 (15 artists)

Chvrches, Haim, Gabrielle Aplin, Savages, Chasing Grace, Tom Odell, Sons & Lovers, Avec Sans, Laura Mvula, Curxes, Matt Corby, The Night VI, Luke Sital-Singh, Valerie June, Alice Jemima

Ones to Watch 2014 (10 artists)

Wolf Alice, Chloe Howl, Sophie Jamieson, Jungle, Flyte, Mononoke, George Ezra, Banks, Eva Stone, Iyes

Stay tuned as we publish one post a day for the next 10 days, including at the weekend.