BBC Sound of 2015 Winner Revealed
Following a longlist that featured a range of diverse acts, the BBC has now published its shortlist of five ‘Sound of 2015’ artists, with the top spot going to futuristic synth trio Years & Years. The list was compiled by a panel of 139 UK-based industry people, including radio DJs (such as Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley), TV presenters, radio producers, newspaper critics, magazine editors and respected bloggers.
Years & Years grabbed the top spot – previously awarded to Sam Smith, Adele, Ellie Golding and Jessie J – after critics praised the band’s ability to create electronic songs that meld addictive pop hooks and innovative synths while retaining their emotional depth. Influenced by the likes of Radiohead and Flying Lotus, as well as TLC, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell, Years & Years released a number of well-received singles throughout 2014, including the top 40 hit ‘Desire’.
Second place, meanwhile, went to folk singer-songwriter James Bay, whose break came after a video of him playing in a pub was seen online; his rich soulful voice striking a chord with fans across the country. Though he supported the Stones at Hyde Park back in 2013, his last-minute appearance stepping in for Lana Del Rey on Radio 1’s Live Lounge gave him even greater exposure.
Epitomising a generation of youngsters who favour the darker, grittier UK grime scene over glossy US hip hop, proud South London artist Stormzy took third place. A versatile performer with wide appeal, he became the first unsigned grime artist to play Jools Holland and hopes to bring the genre back into the mainstream in 2015.
The only American to make the shortlist, Atlanta-based troubadour Raury is an all-rounder with a shapeshifting style that proves hard to pigeon-hole. A singer, rapper, guitarist and producer whose influences range from Kid Cudi to Phil Collins, his musical ambition and sense of adventure can be heard in his diverse tracks; winning him praise from OutKast and Lorde – and fourth place on the list.
Taking the fifth and final spot was North West London’s George the Poet, whose unique sound is a product of his love for grime, hip hop and poetry. With his street-savvy lyrics and clever wordplay, he’s already been snapped up by artists including Paolo Nutini and Labrinth to contribute to their tracks. Capable of fast tempo rapping as well slower spoken word performances, critics believe George the Poet will become the articulate voice of a generation in 2015.
Years & Years’ new single ‘King’ is due for release on the 1st of March on Polydor Records.