Easy Life (Luke Jobling, Head of Music Internal)
Leicester quintet Easy Life are proving they will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019. With performances already on Jools Holland and Vevo DSCVR under their belt, their unique blend of hip-hop, jazz and indie is so seamlessly palatable. Their downbeat yet somewhat relatable lyricism and simple groove beats are amongst the most memorable of recent bands; standout tracks ‘Pockets’ and ‘Frank’ are impressive compositions, whilst ‘OJPL’ is a more sobering reflection. Catch them at the O2 Institute on 4th April, and expect a lot more to come.
Mahalia (Alev Omer, Head of Music External)
If 2019 is going to be anyone’s year, it’s twenty year old BRITs Critics Choice Nominee Mahalia. With a huge fan base already behind her, the singer-songwriter’s empowering honest lyricism and sultry vocals are bringing a new vibe to the R&B scene. With her second album set to be released later this year and recently released tour dates, the girl is a force to be reckoned with. I was fortunate enough to interview Mahalia last year, and her determination and honesty about the music industry are just two qualities that place her as a mature, talented young woman. Refusing to be moulded into someone she’s not, Mahalia is a genuine artist, and one that has the power to hold 2019 in the palm of her hand.
Dominic Fike (Grace Lea)
Having only released his debut EP, ‘Don’t Forget About Me, Demos’, in October of last year, Dominic Fike already has over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify. His huge Spotify success is indicative of his attraction as an artist, highlighted further by the intense bidding war to sign him to Columbia Records. In such a short amount of time, he has had immense interest, and in 2019 this is only going to rise. My personal favourite, his first track, ‘3 Nights’, is his most upbeat song, opening with guitar strums and background clapping leading into his rap and singing mix. Anymore music from the 22-year-old rapper like this will be eagerly awaited throughout the year, and the buzz surrounding Fike is only going to grow.
Spilt Milk Society (Emma Sherry)
Formed in 2015, Birmingham band Spilt Milk Society have steadily built a fanbase beyond their hometown. Signing their first contract with Believe Digital UK in 2018, they toured the country at the end of the year while individual members also worked on breakaway projects like strawberry milkshake which is Harry Handford’s solo venture. 2019 sees the five-piece start out with a large online following and listenership and after dropping their new single, ‘Orange’ in January, Spilt Milk Society have set themselves up for continued success and are definitely one to watch over the coming months.
Deno Driz (Charlotte Stapleton)
Whilst already well established for his age in the music industry, Deno Driz is definitely the one to watch in 2019. This star shot to fame virally in 2016, at the mere age of 14, with his cover of Geko’s ‘Over and Under’ and then took-off again 2 years later through the duo AJ x Deno and their hit track London (which has obtained over 20 million views on YouTube). 2018 also saw him collaborate with Cadet to release ‘Advice’, in which he demonstrates his unique vocal ability, and he was even brought in to do a Mad About Bars with Kenny Allstar. These successful artists clearly see the potential in this 16-year-old, as Kenny labels him “one of the youngest and the waviest to ever do it,” and you should too! At such a young age, he still has plenty of time to prove himself so, take my words of advice and watch out for Deno Driz as he comes to take the game.
Yonaka (Flinn Knowles)
Brighton’s Yonaka ended 2018 with a bang. The release of two EP’s, ‘Teach Me to Fight’ and ‘Creature’, demonstrated their song writing prowess, combining fuzzy guitar riffs with a driving bass groove, all topped off by the seemingly limitless vocal range of their front woman, Theresa Jarvis. The success of the EP’s landed them a support slot with metal giants Bring Me The Horizon on their album tour at the backend of the year, where they proved that one day, they too may be destined for their very own headline arena tour. 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the up-and-coming alternative rock quartet, with a string of summer festival slots announced as well as the likelihood of new music, Yonaka seem fired up to take their progress in 2018 to the next level.