As the BBC release the latest list of artists that we could be riding high in the charts next year as part of their ‘Sound of 2014’ poll, I eschew their technique of polling dozens of critics and music experts to compose my own list of fifteen artists who I think we’ll be hearing more of in 2014, compiled from my own experience of reviewing single releases from this year, what presence they have on social networks and whether they have the music to back up their promise.
In alphabetical order and with little guarantee that my own tastes reflect those of the country as a whole (I certainly wouldn’t keep giving Calvin Harris number ones!) here are my fifteen tips for the top in 2014. Feel free to share your new music tips for next year in the comments at the bottom….
With her deep sultry vocals already shown off on ‘Deathwish’, she will soon return with single ‘I Wish’ complete with punchy vocals and lyrics and already getting playlist status on BBC Radio 2. Mixing the power of Adele with Marina and the Diamonds, she also has the writing power as well, having collaborated with Calvin Harris on a Pitbull track.
Having already scored a number one as a guest artist on Icono Pop’s track this year, though pretty much overshadowed by it in the credit stakes, Charli XCX will follow up the catchy ‘You (Ha Ha Ha Ha)’ with ‘Superlove’, an equally memorable with more uptempo number taken from an upcoming third album. With two albums under her belt, 2014 should see her star continue to rise with the next.
The only artist I share with the BBC poll, the Pink-like-attitude of Chlöe Howl should prove chart-friendly. She has already released one of my favourite singles this year in the form of ‘No Strings’, the perfect singable catchy song with a satisfying pre-chorus expletive, which would have impacted on the radio play it so deserved. With ‘Paper Heart’ due for release this month and hopefully an album in 2014, she is one of the most promising new talents on the list.
With 2013 singles ‘Dust Clears’ and the eccentric but very listenable ‘Mozart’s House’ two of my favourite releases this year, Clean Bandit’s multi-faceted approach to music with influences pulled from all manner of genres make electronic music much fresher. Hopefully with their three singles so far pulled into an album in 2014, this is a band on my wishlist.
With the sunny optimistic sound of Eliza Doolittle, there are four EPs and an album from this perky singer-songwriter. Stevens’ numbers are very radio friendly and her live presence very promising. Possibly the catchiest pop you’ll hear in a while and a follow-up album is promised for 2014.
With an innovative and interactive video for her debut single ‘Ran For My Life’ showing a strong focus on creativity, Guinevere also has the musical talent to back it up, sounding very much like a refreshed Rihanna. Mixing RnB with dubstep, the blend ties in well with her a strong voice. A good follow up and an album should see her star rising in 2014.
‘Hot Damn’ from her ‘Introducing The Dame’ EP is one of my favourite numbers for the years with its retro styles and singable power chorus. Mixed in with a visual style that will make her stand out and plenty of attitude in her vocals, her live presence seems to be established itself across the pond. Though new material seems not to be coming forward, a new EP or single ahead of an album will be very much welcome in 2014.
With ‘Worthy’ getting plenty of radio airplay and collaborations established with Wretch 32 and Chase and Status, it’s only a matter of time before Banks’ solo work gets him known. With his music appearing on television soundtracks and a new EP promised with Wretch 32, 2014 should be good year for Jacob Banks.
With a very distinctive vocal line – and dare I say it a little gender-neutral – and a poppy, catchy sound nailed in ‘Keep Talking’ – Brown’s in very early days of popularity but with follow up ‘Sun Comes Up’ adding another string to her bow and an album coming in 2014 I hope to hear more from this promising artist, built on such a strong first impression in ‘Keep Talking’.
Nashville-based artist Jenn Bostic has already released a promising album in ‘Jealous’ which has spawned the classic ‘Jealous of the Angels’, capturing the hearts of listeners all over the world. But this isn’t the only song in her armoury: ‘Missin’ A Man’, ‘Superstar’ and ‘Gay or Taken’ are all strong tracks. With a pop-country sound and a voice perfect for power ballads that will go down well in the UK, a British tour should hopefully be the first steps of Bostic in getting a footing in the UK scene.
Having released ‘Good Feeling’ and ‘Chairman of the Bored’ as singles and with an album (“Blame Miss Barclay”) this London-based rapper has an ear for a well observed witty lyric and a cracking listenable tune, combined together to form a commercial pop-rap vibe as highlighted by his breakthrough song ‘Good Feeling’. Hopefully his album will bring him to a wider audience.
Already pretty big in the US and regulars on the Australian X Factor, the retro-stylings and mix of swing and rap of ‘Classic’ hasn’t really got the airplay it should do in the UK. With an album out in January 2014, if their material matches up to their two singles then they should see the new year giving their career a kick start in the UK, providing they bring their live sets over to these shores.
With three catchy pop hits on the discography – with ‘U Got The Power’, a retro-sounding singable pop hit the highlights but with ‘Carolyn’ also worthy of mention – they will hopefully kick up their marketing in 2014 after six months of relative quiet. Having supported Bastille and building up their fanbase on the back of some great pop-dance songs plus some nifty videos, I hope to see more from them next year, with an album surely on the cards?
With their breakthrough track ‘Unkinder (A Tougher Live)’ balancing a Maxïmo Park sound with a distinctive keyboard riff and a catchy, earworm of a chorus, THUMPERS have seen their arrival into the music buying consciousness taking a couple of years but hopefully 2014 will see fresh singles and an album from them that will get them more known. Having already shared the live stage with some of the indie darlings of 2013, maybe 2014 will belong to them.
Having narrowly missed out on a number one with their Bruno Mars-written song ‘Can We Dance’ thanks to the success of a resurgent ‘One Republic’, this ‘One Direction’ clone band but with a little more bite should see some more success from their follow-up ‘Wild Heart’ and 2014 album. Manufactured and formulated towards the tween audience they may be, but they have the songs to back it up and should take a chunk out of 1D’s audience.