Ray Blk – Durt review

Ray Blk is a badass. The south London MC and singer has been honing her skills in the school of life, and came through this year with scorching songs that have won her plaudits galore, including MOBO nominations as well as a place on the BBC Sound of 2017 list. Continue reading

Jorja Smith – Project 11 EP review

Jorja Smith, Afropunk London 2016, Ally Pally, by Aaron Lee (960x540)The confidence that resonates from Jorja Smith quickly leaves you defenceless. She’s an 18-year-old going on 28, singing about urban life, young love and society’s uncomfortable injustices.

Propelled by the response to ‘Blue Lights’, a short tale of a young person walking unwelcome streets, which garnered much acclaim for her at the start of the year, Smith has apparently received plenty of offers from major labels, but has so far declined them all. She prefers do her own thing. The strength of her first EP, Project 11, is good reason for this rising talent to continue being an independent woman. Continue reading

Music acts to watch in 2015

Sherika Sherard, Southbank Centre press 01 (1024x576)For the mainstream and specialist music press, the annual ones to watch lists are a bit like betting horses for the Grand National. And, of course, they are bets that come with a sneaky bit of insider knowledge as well as a healthy dose of experience and independent judgement.

Apart from avid and discerning music junkies, most people aren’t going to stray beyond the round-up on their preferred media outlet of choice (BBC Sound of, The Guardian, London in Stereo, DIY, Gigwise, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Bonafide, Mixmag, Time Out London, Fact, Loud and Quiet, Echoes, Wax Poetics, The Wire, The Quietus, Pigeons & Planes, Consequence of Sound, The Line of Best Fit, et al). See what I mean?

So expect to hear plenty more about already pipped acts, such as Deers, Shura, Years & Years (this year’s BBC Sound of winner), Aquilo, Raury, Låpsley, Soak, Girlpool, Tei Shi, Coasts, Genghar, Shamir Bailey, Tkay Maidza, Vaults, Sinead Harnett, Rae Morris and Layla.

But for those of you that still aren’t satisfied, here are eight recommendations for 2015 that will give you something else to enjoy alongside this year’s track favourites. Continue reading