The U.K. music scene is in rude health when it comes to new artists. The BRITs Critic's Choice award for 2018 has been won by Drake collaborator Jorja Smith, who also made the BBC Sound of 2018 shortlist, alongside singer-songwriter Rex Orange County, and MCs Not3s and Yxng Bane. Here at The FADER, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the even fresher, under-the-radar names who deserve your love. Here are the artists we discovered and loved this year, and whose 2018 projects we are dying to get our hands on.
2. Coucou Chloé
Expect sharp-angled, ice-cold electronics from this French singer/producer based in London. Check out her releases so far on NUXXE, the label she runs with Sega Bodega.
This French-born, U.K.-raised MC only needed £50 to make the jubilant DIY video for his laid back party-starter “Party Here.” Now he’s signed to Black Butter, we can only imagine what he’ll do with more.
The U.K.'s 18-year-old answer to Frank Ocean. Check out “Penelope,” a smooth R&B track that flips half-way through into something much harder, and then dive headlong into the Tsarina mixtape.
5. Steel Banglez
Steel Banglez has produced some of the biggest hits on the underground U.K. rap circuit this year, including Dave and MoStack’s “No Words.” His new single “Bad” features Mr Eazi, Not3s, Yungen, and MoStack, and is the perfect introduction to his dynamic style.
6. Big Joanie
London’s most formidable new guitar band write hooky, shrapnel-tough punk anthems that rage against inequality, and have already found fans in Downtown Boys and sad13. Their 2018 debut album will win them a whole lot more. Read their Gen F profile.
This Manchester-based rapper and singer is carving out a niche all her own: jazz-influenced trap, drawing on her Angolan and Portuguese heritage, with a very British voice.
8. Nilüfer Yanya
A DIY artist who makes unfussed, unhurried guitar music with an piercing soul, and wants to know if you like pain. Read her Gen F profile.
9. Rina Sawayama
"Girl, I didn’t know you could get down like that!" Sawayama’s overhaul of millennium-era Top 40 sounds crystallized in the year’s most solid (and slept-on) pop EP, with intricate production and thoughtful lyrics that reward close listening.
Miink’s queasy take on R&B is reminiscent of what FKA twigs does so well: taking a familiar sound then turning it inside out and making something special. His debut single “Who Are You” is sparse and ominous.
11. Biig Piig
The sweetest voice in south London makes stoned-out jazzy songs that would sit perfectly on a playlist with Nilüfer Yanya and Jamie Isaac.
Or:La is an Irish producer based in Liverpool, who connects the dots between jungle, techno, and bass in breakbeat-heavy dancefloor-fillers that already feel classic, for Hotflush. Listen to her recent Farewell 24 EP.
Sorry are a rock band formed by childhood best friends Asha Lorenz and Louis O'Bryen. Their slacker sound takes in elements of noise, blurry hip-hop beats, and folk, while their recent visual mixtape reveals a bold, distinctive vision.
14. One Acen
Alongside Hardy Caprio, with whom he regularly collaborates, One Acen is among the Afro-trap artists reaping the benefits of J Hus’s breakout success in the U.K. His blend of party-starting energy and earworm melodies will appeal to anyone who has had Common Sense on repeat this year.