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BBC Sound of 2024: Tyla, Last Dinner Party and Kenya Grace tipped for success

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By Mark Savage

BBC Music Correspondent

The BBC’s Sound of 2024 list, which tips music’s most exciting new stars, suggests dance and Afrobeats will dominate the next 12 months.

The 10 nominees include chart-topping drum and bass artist Kenya Grace and South Korean house DJ Peggy Gou.

South Africa’s Tyla also makes the cut, hot on the heels of her hit single Water; as does Nigeria’s Ayra Starr.

Now in its 22nd year, the list has predicted success for Adele, Stormzy, Wet Leg, Fred Again and PinkPantheress.

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The winner and top five will be announced in early January.

BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2024 longlist in full

Media caption,

Get to know Radio 1’s annual list of new music talent.

  • Ayra Starr
  • Caity Baser
  • CMAT
  • Elmiene
  • Kenya Grace
  • The Last Dinner Party
  • Olivia Dean
  • Peggy Gou
  • Sekou
  • Tyla

:: Find out more on the BBC Sound Of 2024 website

This year’s longlist suggests African artists will continue to make headway in the UK, following the success of artists like Burna Boy, Asake, Rema, Tems, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage.

Tyla, who was born and raised in Johannesburg, is already making waves with her Grammy-nominated single Water, which is currently in both the UK and US top 10.

Sun-kissed and sensual, the song showcases her unique take on Amapiano, the popular South African genre that blends Afrobeats with deep house and kwaito music.

Ayra Starr began to receive mainstream recognition in 2022 for her song Rush, prompting Rolling Stone to call her “one of Nigeria’s most promising new voices”.

Singing in English, Pidgin and Yoruba, she has scored three number one singles in her home country and, after collaborations with WizKid and David Guetta, looks set to replicate that success worldwide.

Among the nominee are (clockwise from top left): Kenya Grace, Peggy Gou and Last Dinner Party

Other artists on this year’s longlist include art-rock five-piece The Last Dinner Party, whose debut single Nothing Matters has been streamed more than 13 million times on Spotify.

Building on their early word-of-mouth success, the group have toured this year with Florence + The Machine and Hozier, and were named one of BBC 6 Music’s artists of the year.

They’re the only band on the Sound of 2024 longlist, which is dominated by female solo acts, including Caity Baser, who describes her sound as “cheeky, British pop”.

The Southampton-born singer already has a devoted fanbase, dubbed “Slaysers”, and made headlines after capping her ticket prices at an inflation-busting £11.

Baser is joined by CMAT – dubbed “Ireland’s answer to Dolly Parton” by the NME thanks to her whip-smart, emotionally-revealing country-pop songs.

There’s also a strong showing for British soul and R&B, led by Oxford-born Stevie Wonder fanatic Elmiene.

The 22-year-old had a breakout moment in 2021, when his song Golden was chosen to soundtrack Virgil Abloh’s final show for Louis Vuitton.

The show took place just two days after Abloh’s tragic death, and Elmiene’s mournful, nostalgic ballad seemed to be a tribute to the late fashion designer.

He has since released two EPs of equally emotional soul and collaborated with stars from Stormzy and Jamie Woon to Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.

Olivia Dean, CMAT and Elmiene are also in the running for the prestigious prize

Another artist referencing classic R&B records of the 1960s and 70s is Olivia Dean.

The London-born singer grew up listening to The Supremes and Aretha Franklin, and channelled those influences into her Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, Messy, earlier this year.

A graduate of the Brit School, she previously sang with Rudimental before striking out on her own.

Leicester-born Sekou first signed a record deal at the age of 16 after he was spotted performing in a car park.

Two years later, he has released a debut EP – Out of Mind – that showcases his rich, sonorous bass voice, and earned himself a nomination for the Brits Rising Star Award (alongside Caity Baser and The Last Dinner Party).

Finally, dance music continues its post-pandemic renaissance, with some assistance from Kenya Grace, the South African-born British singer who scored a number one hit with a song she started in her bedroom.

That track was Strangers – a sinuous drum and bass anthem about disposable dating. Her follow-up single, Paris, has just been “tune of the weekend” on Radio 1.

Korean-born, Berlin-based DJ Peggy Gou completes the 2024 longlist, seven years after releasing her debut single, Day Without Yesterday.

A regular crowd-puller at festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella, she crossed into the mainstream this summer with the feelgood anthem (It Goes Like) Nanana. Her latest single, I Believe In Love Again, is a collaboration with rock legend Lenny Kravitz.

Media caption,

Watch: The moment Stormzy tells Flo they’ve won the BBC Sound Of 2023

The Sound of 2024 was voted for by more than 140 music industry experts, including representatives from Spotify, Apple Music, Glastonbury Festival, the BBC and former nominees including Jorja Smith, PinkPantheress and Tom Grennan.

To qualify, artists must not have had a UK number one or number two album, or more than two top 10 singles by 12 October 2023.

Singers who have appeared on TV talent shows within the last three years are also ineligible.

The winner will be revealed in the new year on BBC Radio 1, with the top five revealed in reverse order between Monday 1 and Friday 5 January.

Radio 1 will also host a special concert with performances from artists on the longlist on Monday 8 January. You can apply for tickets online.

Last year’s prize was won by girl band Flo, with superstar dance producer Fred Again in second place and drum & bass revivalist Nia Archives placing third.

SOURCE: BBC NEWS