With the world still trying its best to adjust to its new normal, music continues to be the antidote we look to at a time of reflection and familiarity. This year, many artists have used this time to showcase their humanity through their music, making us listeners appreciate them that much more.
That time of year has come back around for our annual Ones To Watch list of 30 incredible artists we think you should have on your radar. These artists have provided us with an insight into their own hardships, self-identity, and have blessed us with good vibes along the way. We are highlighting artists who consistently tap into various Lo-Fi, R&B, Neo-Soul and Alternative sounds we all love. This list has shown a powerful presence within the scene as of late and we believe it will continue to strengthen in the new year! In no particular order, this is our Ones to Watch 2022.
CKTRL, or Bradley Miller to some, is the multi-instrumentalist that is due to be given his flowers. Picking up the clarinet back in his secondary school days, the Lewisham-born starlight has graced many ears, producing incredible projects such as ‘ROBYN’ and ‘zero’ (which includes Meraba). His talents have had him work alongside Sampha and Kelela too. Explore a realm of neo-jazz as you get lost in calming tones, inviting ease and relaxation with his current single ‘MAY’.
2. EDDY LUNA
Next up, we have our latest Get To Know artist: Eddy Luna. Gifted with an impressive pen, Eddy provides listeners with a realness that is both charming and relatable. With her recent project’s emergence, ‘Favourite Song’, we can expect exciting visuals and performances to come. Check out our recent interview with her and Get To Know Eddy now.
3. SUNNI COLÓN
Sunni Colón is a real-life groove-master that can have anyone feel all the FEELS. Possessing warm, buttery vocal style, the Los Angeles artist easily lives up to his namesake; inviting sunshine to anyone’s day (no matter the weather). With his recent track out, ‘Flowerbug (Interlude)’, we expect a full project on the horizon. Get into his sound now with his track, ‘Provide’.
4. PIP MILLET
Manchester native Pip Millet is bound to continue to flourish in 2022. Capturing the essence of R&B and soul, Pip provokes sounds of real emotions in beautiful melodies. After the release of her summer EP ‘Motion Stick’, her growth is only expected to expand further. Get the chance to experience her live at Village Underground on 11th January.
Next, we have Bawo. The West London rapper known for his relaxed tempo lyricism paired with nostalgic rhythms infused with sounds of “Black Britishness”. Like others on our list, he has consistently created a buzz around his name this year; leaving many curious to see what he’ll come out with next. Check out his latest single ‘Leave Britney Alone’ on Spotify and stream his track ‘Starts With a Text’ below.
6. BEL COBAIN Looking for a voice to get lost to? Bel Cobain might be the one you’re after. To describe her artistry: she’s created a lane where she owns the rhythms of escape to bliss. Riding on mellow, Lo-Fi type instrumentals’, Bel is the perfect artist to wind down to. Get the chance to see Bel Cobain live a next year at the Love Supreme Festival!
7. BRANDON BANKS
One thing Brandon Banks is going to give listeners is versatility. The singer-songwriter puts forward music that is both reflective and a true representation of who he is. He first discovered his appreciation for songwriting through his exploration of poetry back in the 4th grade! His recent EP ‘STATIC’ highlights his skill for storytelling through the use of metaphors. Honorary mentions: ‘PICO’ and ‘BUTTERFLY’.
Amber-Simone really is a superstar and we can’t wait for everyone else to catch on! Our recent ‘artist on our radar’ is a worthy contributor to the UK’s R&B soulful scene. After being away from the stage in the last two years, we expect Amber-Simone to continue to flourish in front of crowds with her thought-provoking catalogue; showcasing vulnerability and boldness. Her recent project, ‘Black, No Sugar’, explores Amber-Simone’s journey to womanhood as she defines it for herself. Check out this astounding visual for the leading single here:
9. FINN FOXELL
Repping West London, next up we have Finn Foxell. Being a product of colourful, musical background, Finn started writing rhymes from the tender age of eight years old. Throughout his years of artistry, he has tapped into elements of Hip Hop, soul, and even rock; nourishing the melodic sound we know today. You can experience it live at The Factory on February 3rd 2022.
Next up we have the heartfelt vocalist Collard. Born in Surrey and residing in South London, Collard has always come through with emotive storytelling in his music. Growing up to the sounds of Nina Simone and Biggie Smalls, provided the singer-songwriter with the essential tools for him to home rich virtuosity, which we adore. Working with the likes of Kojey Radical, Danny Seth, and Joe Hertz, we are sure that Collard’s career is bound to explode in 2022. Check out his latest single ‘Get Evil’.
11. MORGAN MUNROE
Hailing from Leicester, Morgan Munroe has certainly been busy. Taking full advantage of the lockdown period, Morgan has used the last two years to get on the radar of DJ Target and SBTV. Last year her EP, ‘Stay Home Studio Vol. 1’ showcases the development of her artistry, as she’s successfully creating a lane of her own.
12. SAINTE Another one of Leicester’s finest is Sainte, who is quickly reaching stardom status. Mixing in elements of rap, R&B, and jazz has left Sainte with a compelling sound within the underground scene. After witnessing his performance at the Cloud X festival, we can say Sainte possesses an infectious presence that had many captivated. It’s the very thing that will continue to grow his loyal fans base. And his music is great! ‘Out the Blue’ features elements of nighttime groove, perfect for long car drives during dark hours. Check his track ‘On Me’ below.
13. SEBASTIAN MIKAEL
One thing Sebastian Mikeal is gonna have you do is move. Excelling within the R&B/soul genre, Sebastian’s music tends to provoke feel-good moments of intimacy, love, and impeccable vibes. Need something to get your head swaying? Check out his track, ‘Exit’ for all the feels.
With Phabo, he doesn’t play around with his pen. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter has written for the likes of Kehlani, Kyle Dion, and Jahkoy too. So when it was time for our favourite Aquarius to come through with a project of his own, he did not disappoint. ‘Soulquarius’ captures Phabo’s playful and charming essence. With his slick-cool demeanour oozing out on every track, it was clear he’s cracked his formula. We look forward to seeing what else he produces as he continues to grow his discography.
Up next, we have New York-born/LA-based ADIV. A member of our ‘Get To Know’ series, ADIV is an all-around singer-songwriter and producer who is killing it within the alternative R&B scene. Not conforming to one specific sound, ADIV’s music hides behind no borders as he openly explores unique sounds. Enter a realm of individuality and originality with his latest project ‘Life Could Be Different’.
Tamera is a force that has consistently excelled, from the very beginning. She’s yet to miss and I’m not too sure if she can. The London-based singer-songwriter has really come into herself this year and it shines through in her music. Mastering her sound so early in her career leaves us to predict she’ll soon reach international success. Her latest project ‘Afrodite’ is a colourful, hip-swaying number; capturing Tamera’s honey-toned vocals beautifully. You can experience the project live, she’ll be at Hoxton on 27th April.
17. SAVANNAH RE
Another one who possesses great penmanship is no other than Savannah Re. The Toronto-based songwriter is one of the emerging R&B voices responsible for putting Toronto’s R&B scene on the map in recent years. Having over ten years of experience within industry, silky-smooth vocals, and emotive lyrics, Savannah Re has a craft reflecting real authenticity. Check out her 2021 single ‘24 Hrs’.
18. WESLEY JOSEPH
Next representing Birmingham, and a member of the conscious rap genre is Wesley Joseph. Tapping into multiple talents including production, writing, and direction has left this 24-year-old rapper to have a lengthy amount of creative control within his work; providing fans a visual experience along with his music. His short film, ‘Pandonmony’ showcases this level of artistry. He’s an active member of the OG Horse collective alongside Ms Smith. To potentially experience their single ‘Patience’ live at Primavera Sound Festival on 2nd June.
19. THE KTNA
We couldn’t have a list without featuring this sisterly duo, The KTNA. Bringing listeners into a realm of vulnerability, through candid lyricism and soul-rich production, the twins are very much unapologetic within their sound. Providing listeners to develop a genuine appreciation for the neo-soul sound. Their recent project ‘Resurgence’ is an astounding stepping growth from their 2019 album. Check out their visuals ‘Can’t Stop It’ below:
Another artist who doesn’t shy away from nostalgic rhythms is Ojerime. Owning a catalogue perfectly capturing the spirit of 90s R&B, Ojerime has navigated a realm. Playing into her strength of experimentation has given the alternative R&B starlight the ability to generate a unique experience for her listeners. Following up Ojerime’s ‘B4 I Breakdown’, her newest single ‘Jetset’ would be the perfect setup for a possible new project in 2022. Catch her live at Phonox in London on the 8th of January.
21. IVAN AVE
Next, we have the Norwegian MC with heavy roots within the R&B and Hip Hop sound. A genuine lover of rap, Ivan Ave’s nature within his music is a sonic insight of that appreciation. His recent single ‘What A Day!!!’ illustrates both personal and political anecdotes co-existing in today’s world. Check it out on Spotify and vibe to more music, ‘ The Circle’ below:
22. LYNDA DAWN
Lynda Dawn is the songbird of soul and funk. The songwriter from London has produced a distinctive musical experience, highlighting strong storytelling that goes along with her bold style. Influenced by the celestial sound, Lynda’s expression within this space is both refreshing and radiant. Her song ‘Arise’ and latest single ‘Roses - 7” Version’ are the perfect songs to have you two-stepping on a Friday night.
23. KIERON BOOTHE
East London rapper and illustrator Kieron Boothe is another one of our artists who appreciates the soul/jazz sound as much as we do. His latest EP ‘The Stoned Age II’ is a soundtrack to the artist’s world today, providing a soundbite in his life’s journey so far. ‘TSA II’ is a sequel to his 2018 EP, allowing listeners to catch up with Kieron’s story.
One thing that captivates listeners with Debbie is the rawness detected within her voice. The latest signee of 0207 Def Jam (who also represents Stormzy), the reverend daughter, first developed her talent through the church, gospel music, and open mics. Not being allowed to listen to contemporary music while growing up provided the singer-songwriter the opportunity to be acquainted with her natural sound. Her latest single ‘Summer in December’ balances the simplicity within live instruments along with her raw, rich vocals. Check it now and add it to your Lazy Sunday playlist.
This North West London is “bringing back 80s R&B and soul” through production while providing a modern twist through relatable lyrics. Qendresa’s exploration of the sound allows today’s listeners to experience the electro-infused funky sound. Standing out from the crowd, Qendresa has given herself grace by creating bountiful opportunities, leaving her to not conform to today’s music template. Check out her two-part EP ‘Karma / The Source’ and jump into and discover something new.
Up next we have our Eritrean-born, Amsterdam-raised, digital soulstress RIMON. The R&B singer-songwriter’s quirky style and ability to continue to blossom in fresh and innovative ways. With her long-awaited EP, ‘Digital Tears’, RIMON continues to evolve her creativity to greater lengths. Through her visuals, RIMON brings fans into a digital utopia, showing off the creative process in its fullness.
27. SOPHIE FAITH
Singer-songwriter, Sophie Faith, owns emotive tunes, which allow listeners to find refuge within her sound. Riding the sounds of soul and R&B, Sophie delivers resonating narrative-led melodies that are both wholesome and familiar. If you need a shoulder to lean on, Sophie Faith is your girl.
Elujay is a multi-faceted musical talent hailing all the way from Oakland, California. Embracing his gifts in songwriting and production, it comes as no surprise that this singer-songwriter has established a distinctive sound of his own. With singles such as ‘Tenfold’ and ‘1080p’, Elujay can keep hold of his foundations within the alternative R&B spectrum; while skating in between various genres.
29. SUMMER PEARL
This North-West singer-songwriter is an independent “genre-fluid” expressionist. Through wholesome lyricism and a real value for live instrumentation, Summer Pearl’s sound is a tribute to her Jamaican-Grenadian heritage and Black British identity as a woman. Her Lauryn Hill-Esque mannerism of thought-provoking narratives gives listeners an insight into her experiences and others that look like her. Check out ‘Times Like These’, a short soundscape exploring these very realities.
Finally, we have Dennis., who takes on strings and beats orchestrating them into dreamy soundscapes that are pleasant to the ear. A man of great mystery, we’re curious to see if this SoundCloud baby will soon release a full body of work. His recent single ‘22nd Cencury’ reflects his signature sound, which we hope he explores in the new year. Listen to our favourite Dennis. track, ‘Dream State’ below.
A few honourable mentions we’re excited to see more of this year: Little Simz, Cleo Sol, Kadeem Tyrell, Tom Misch, Shelley FKA DRAM, Raveena, Kristina Alcordo and more! We expect all of these wavy musicians to leave a global print within the industry and we can’t wait to watch it unfold.
If you thought that was everything, there’s more! We’ve curated a playlist, or rather, a Hit List made up of our favourite songs by our Top 30 for you to go into the New Year with the right vibes. The playlist drops on New Year’s Day!
Who do you have on your 2022 radar? Who would you like us to give their flowers before the year begins? Tweet us your suggestions and let us know!