Going right back to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the 1960s and continuing through David Bowie and Queen, and in the new Millennium, acts such as Muse and Coldplay, UK artists have routinely exported ground-breaking styles across the pond and made heavy inroads into the Billboard charts and the hearts and minds of the US population.
There is talk in the UK that such a steady stream of influence on US culture is beginning to slow down, although the likes of Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction and James Bay might disagree with that. However, there is a strong presence of North American artists in the upper reaches of the UK charts in 2016, with Beyoncé, Drake and Justin Bieber continuing to have a major impact.
But the UK is still a fertile breeding ground for enlightening musical talent. In truth we have been here before several times over, with cultural analysts quick to read the last rites on the UK’s musical legacy, but we have gathered here some emerging names currently making waves around the British Isles and who just might make that giant leap over to our shores in the next twelve months.
Here’s five tips of UK artists to watch out for in 2017:
This Nottingham-based four-piece famously hit the big time in the UK after appearing on the Reading Festival’s “BBC Introducing” Stage in 2013. Nothing amazing about that you might think, except it was only their fourth ever gig! Their ‘5AM’ album charted really well in 2015 but the follow-up ‘For A Moment I Was Lost” is due in 2017 and is expected to rocket them to the international stage that their gripping, Coldplay-style stadium-filling sound suggests it should.
After winning the X-Factor in 2012, Middlesbrough-born James Arthur somewhat lost his way. After some initial controversy he was dropped by Simon Cowell’s Syco label and many expected him to disappear into obscurity. However, showing the kind of fighting spirit that shines through with many of the most successful UK acts, Arthur returned triumphantly in 2016 with the single “Say You Won’t Let Go”, which peaked at number one in both the UK and Australia, and re-signed to Syco. The singer songwriter’s new album “Back From The Edge” was released in October 2016 and carries the resurgent energy that could and should see him Stateside in the next few months.
Already well-established in the UK and with some success to her name in the States, 2017 could be Emeli Sandé’s breakthrough year where she truly reaches the next level. Her best-selling 2012 album “Our Version Of Events” was backed by the lead single “Read All About It” and shot her to a level of stardom that culminated in appearing at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. She has taken her time in making the follow-up just right, and the 2016 release of “Long Live The Angels” seems perfectly timed to shoot her to global stardom.
Finding fame as the youngest ever X-Factor winner in 2015, aged just 17, it appears that Louisa Johnson has made the wise move of not trying to do too much too soon. Following her record-breaking triumph and the subsequent success of her winning song – Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” – Johnson took some time out in 2016, releasing only one single, a collaboration with Clean Bandit, and the track “Tears” was a huge success. Her debut album is expected in early 2017 and the lead single “So Good” promises much.
The multi-talented 27-year-old has been recording since 2009 and has quite a CV to her name already, with the rapper, singer and producer having various collaborations and guest appearances with the likes of Orbital and Labrinth in the bag. She has found prominence with the freestyle rapping on her “Queen’s Speech” series of tracks, the fourth of which went viral in 2015. Lady Leshurr is clearly an artist determined to make the most of her time and don’t be surprised to see her roaming and rhyming around the States in 2017.
If you want to learn more about these artists and see when they’re going to start making waves both in the US and the UK, check out Get To The Front; a UK music site highlighting the best emerging talent. Watch out for these artists on there and check out who might be following them in 2018…