The Edge’s List of 2016

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The Edge‘s List of 2015 followed Prides, Låpsley, Becky Hill, Slaves (who went on to be nominated for the Mercury Prize for their debut Are You Satisfied?) and Rae Morris, among others. We had debut albums from a few, and we’re still eagerly awaiting the all important debut from 19 year-old Låpsley. The List of 2016 brings you ten artists who have been softly treading their way to success over the past year or so, who we will bring great music with them this year.

HONNE

The London based Electronic-Soul duo formed in 2014, and after several successful EP’s released that year and in 2015, as well as performing on the BBC Introducing stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, they look set to explode this year. The crooning, almost mournful vocals of Andy would be the first thing you’d notice about their sound if not for the exceptionally rounded production, and gorgeous bass licks that pop out on tracks such as ‘3am’, and ‘Loves The Jobs You Hate’. They sound new, but the soul of the music is pure romance and sex. Instant classic.

Words by George Seabrook.

Samm Henshaw

It’s tempting to define Samm (spelled with two m’s because”I can’t spell”) Henshaw as a soul singer. His voice is certainly reminiscent of Labrinth in his quieter moments a la ‘Jealous’, but on his EP The Sound Experiment he purposefully does as much as he can with his gorgeously vocals. It’s a brilliant collection of songs that feel like they came straight off a perfected LP, especially ‘Autonomy (Slave)’ and ‘Better’. It’s not as experimental as the name suggests, as all the songs have a heavy blues and folk feel to link them together. The experiment is getting it to a mainstream audience. But after a tour with 2015’s breakout Brit James Bay, if Henshaw can keep that sound coming, it’ll be a very successful one.

Words by George Seabrook.

EKKAH

Self-describing their sound as “glittery, funky, dancey disco beats,” EKKAH are the shimmering duo of Rebecca Wilson and Rebekah Pennington. Brought to life by their debut track ‘Last Chance To Dance’, the pair bring something different to the music world. With disco and funk inflections aplenty, they keep their lyrics simple and fun pours out of each and every track. 2015 was spent between festivals, tours and time in the studio putting together their debut LP. They’ve given us a glimpse of it with new single ‘Small Talk’, a vibrant track that ensures excitement to bubble for the album.

Words by Amy Wootten.

NAO 

Often likened to electronic female artists such as BANKS and FKA twigs, and discredited for not being so experimental, when listening to NAO more closely you realise that she is doing something different altogether. With two EPs under her belt, So Good and February 15, NAO’s vocals are intriguingly ethereal, combined with plunging synth work and punchy electronic work. Progression can already be seen between her two intoxicating EPs, with a standard that could stand on a fully-polished album. She’s also collaborated with another artist on this year’s list, for ‘Firefly’ with Mura Masa, which is a pretty special track.

Words by Amy Wootten.

Jack Garratt

Back in November 2015 Jack Garratt won the Brits Critics’ Choice award for 2016 – which is a pretty big deal. In the past the award has been won by hugely successful artists such as Adele and James Bay.

He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, song-writer and producer. Jack Garratt has been likened to Ed Sheeran due to his alternative, folk and R&B style, however it would seem as though his sound is also similar to that of Chet Faker, an electronica musician.

Garratt has already released two singles from his upcoming album, which are called ‘Breathe Life’ and ‘Worry’. However it is definitely worth listening to his previous EP’s and singles as well.

His highly anticipated album, Phase, will be released on February 19th.

Words by Laura Ingate.

Alessia Cara

19 year-old Canadian, Alessia Cara, has received a lot of attention for her single, ‘Here’, that details the relatable story about being at a party that you don’t really want to be at. Falling somewhere between RnB and pop, Cara’s debut EP Four Pink Walls was released last year, followed by her latest single ‘Wild Things’. Her debut album Know-It-All dropped at the end of last year, but is tactically not available on streaming site Spotify. Her sound is youthful, with gentle instrumentation offset by her bold and confident voice.

Words by Amy Wootten.

Mura Masa

Mura Masa, a 19 year old from Guernsey named Alex Crossan, could well describe himself as the bae of SoundCloud. Oozing heartbreak and instrumental prowess through his thoroughly contemporary melody-driven take on hip-hop-inspired electronica, he has earned his place on our List for 2016’s artists to watch.

His emergence stemmed from the Soundtrack To A Death mixtape of late 2014, which stripped trap and R&B of their conventions. Though the moniker may suggest otherwise, the Japanese influence does not extend far into the music. Certainly, ‘Suicide Blades’ and ‘¥ (Money)’ have bizarre interjections in Japanese and occasional sounds of shamisen, but the foundation of Mura Masa’s productions is a sophisticated percussion-heavy sound driven by melody.

His breakthrough Someday Somewhere EP also featured the likes of Nao and Denai Moore alongside his own vocals, emphasising the intense emotion that pours forth. An album proper is lined up for this year, and our solitary taste thus far – Shura-featuring lead single ‘Love For That’ – took chilled piano grooves to a glorious new level. Named for a swordsmith, watch out in 2016 as Mura Masa slices into your eardrums.

Words by Xavier Voigt-Hill.

Bugzy Malone

Regarded as the MC who put Manchester on the grime map, Bugzy Malone, as an unsigned artist, found himself nestled in the charts next to the likes of Taylor Swift with Walk With Me. With the grime scene on the rise, his track ‘Wasteman’ slates those artists turn to pop as a way to get into the charts: “how do you go back from pop to the grime scene?” He exposes the superficiality of artists who dip their toes into grime without knowledge of its roots – or in fact leave it entirely just to produced popular music-, with slick, carefully-treaded lyrics. With debut album Walk With Me under his belt, Bugzy Malone could pave the way for the grime scene from Manchester in 2016.

Words by Amy Wootten.

Mabel

Raised between London, Stockholm and Spain, 19 year-old artist Mabel evokes an irresistibly smooth nostalgic sound, combining tenderness with firm beats.

Despite only having released two songs thus far, Mabel has achieved an incredible feat where she has honed a confident, signature sound. Debut track ‘Know Me Better’ is an honest, clean, empowering song that whilst being instrumentally spacious, feels focussed and precise, her delicate vocals reminiscent of Rae Morris’ coos with an edgy twist. Her other release, ‘My Boy My Town’ engages with nostalgic R&B, delicate soul and an infectiously catchy pop structure, creating a glossy, sensual track.

Mabel’s self-assured sound feels both fresh and classic, both exciting and comforting, making her one of the most interesting artists on The List.

Words by Lewis Taplin.

Dua Lipa

20 and from London, Dua Lipa is on The List as the forerunner of 2016’s developing pop scene, her charm and vibrancy creating a bouncy sound to embrace.

Courtesy of Lana Del Rey’s management, Dua Lipa has revealed two tracks to the world. Whilst ‘New Love’ does showcase the artist’s powerful, slightly rough and unregulated, vocal abilities, it isn’t until latest release ‘Be The One’ that Dua Lipa fully forms into the artist that makes her one to watch for this year. The tropical, playful sounds incorporated with her bold vocals creates an uplifting, lively piece of music that aligns itself with the bubblegum-pop sound of Marina and the Diamonds’ FROOT bangers.

Dua Lipa is going to be a colourful addition to this year’s pop scene, with fans waiting on the edge of their seat for another fun track that acts as a time capsule to her floral utopia.

Words by Lewis Taplin.

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Third year English student, Records Editor, list maker and lover of Kinder Buenos.

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Third-year Spanish & History student. My opinions are my own problem, not yours. Seriously, read the book Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf. Change your world.

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I'm in my second year studying English Literature. I specialise in easy reads and you will probably find me in Hartley library engrossed in a picture book.

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Film & English student, Deputy Editor of The Edge and President of FilmSoc. Likes FKA twigs, BANKS and other capitalised artists.

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Official email person, rambly music writer, and former Records Editor at The Edge. Often found playing pop music too loud on Surge Radio.

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