In the wake of a tumultuous and eventful year, marred by international political chaos, that Pepsi ad starring the woke Kendall Jenner and #deleteuber, many of us took solace in the resurgence of homegrown soul music.
After recently selecting the best artists making their mark in London with a fusion of jazz, soul and grime sounds, it is clear that this renewal of interest in soul is not about to fizzle out anytime soon.
With that in mind, here’s a taster of what to expect in 2018, and the musicians worth looking out for.
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Following the success of the album ‘Freedom TV’ and a series of international performances last year, Wayne Snow has set the bar high for the rest of the evolving soul scene.
Hailing from Nigeria and now living in Berlin, Snow creates a hybrid of soul music, infused with jazz, hip-hop and classic house and rich with warm tones and deep grooves. With hit tracks like ‘Nothing Wrong’, ‘Red Runner’ and ‘Rosie’, Snow is well and truly on the rise.
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Having written in her bedroom for her whole life, it is surprising how Yazmin Lacey commands the attention of an entire audience, singing with an uninhibited and truthful directness and emotional clarity, a quality only found in the songs of true soul singers.
After many high profile collaborations, with the likes of Congi and Warren Xlnce, support slots for Fatima and Low Leaf, as well as the release of the album ‘Black Moon’, Lacey’s reputation is rapidly soaring within the music industry.
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Back in 2016, a 22-year-old Amber Mark uploaded her first song, ‘S P A C E’ onto Soundcloud. The track instantly captivated the attention of many in the industry, with DJ Zane Lowe featuring the track on his Beats 1 show, Apple placing it on the iTunes homepage and thousands of fans purchasing the download.
Since then, Amber Mark is still carefully crafting her sound and is still regarded as an emerging artist on the verge of being the next best thing with her unique, fresh and soulful sound.
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Described as “Adele if she did hip-hop”, “Adele if she smoked weed” and “Adele with swag”, Elli Ingram is certainly breaking away from her previous stereotypes with the album ‘Love You Really’, released late last year. The Brighton native is set for big things this year with an upcoming tour and rave reviews of the album ‘Table for Two’, where the accompanying visuals and sheer artistry point to an artist creating thoughtful and honest music.
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After dabbling in hip-hop and grime, Alfa Mist taught himself the piano and began to hone his own original sound. Discussing his music, Mist says, “I’m pretty dark as a person I guess, so everything ends up sounding melancholy and reflective. I want to make people feel something”.
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After first appearing on the BBC Sound Poll of 2013 and collaborating with Nas on the track ‘Hard to Love Somebody’, Brixton born Arlissa was quickly becoming a big name and was referred to as the ‘UK Rihanna’.
During her four year hiatus, Arlissa has reworked her sound, has come back with a series of beautiful and vulnerable acoustic tracks and has performed a sold out show at the Omeara, London. ‘Hearts Ain’t Gonna Lie’, ‘I Surrender’ and ‘Every Time I Breathe’ prove that Arlissa has returned to the game with her effortless vocals and soulful, warm tones.
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Similar to the voices of Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, Mali Hayes is one to watch this year. After releasing ‘Hate on Me’, and ‘Momma’, featuring Jermaine last year, Hayes has established her sound and perfected the vocal balance between delicate vulnerability and soulful strength.
The musician Jamie Cullum described Hayes as, “A really great new British female vocalist from Manchester. She’s got a real unflashy kind of approach which I really like. We’ll be hearing a lot more from her I’m sure!”
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Words: Hollie Ismail
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