Until recently, I never thought about or even realized how every country has their own group of popular artists that most people from other places in the world aren’t at all familiar with. As of late, I’ve been introduced to a plethora of amazing musicians from the United Kingdom. Some of the people I was recommended to listen to didn’t sound anything like music in the U.S., which made me even more glad to discover tons of albums and tracks that I really like. Here are my top five favorite U.K. based artists I’ve newly added to my playlist.
1. Miraa May
This Algerian R&B/Soul singer is most definitely one of my new favorites. She mixes her cultural background with her own unique sound. Her newest EP titled Dark brings listeners along for a journey into what it's like growing up in North London. She discusses poverty, relationships, gender inequality and other struggles she has overcome throughout her life. She keeps to herself and doesn’t want to be defined as just another normal girl. All of her songs are filled with empowerment and can motivate anyone who hears her lyrics and soothing voice.
The London born singer/rapper appeared on everyone’s screen after releasing his hit song “Aladdin.” His slick lyrics and catchy vibes made the track almost impossible to ignore. He released two albums charted in the top 40 and appeared in a number of tracks with other top artists. In one of his first interviews, which took place not too long ago, he talks about his struggles in the streets of London and how music paved the way for a better life, not only for him but for his family as well. If you have also gone through hardships, you can definitely relate to Not3s music and should check him out as soon as possible.
After releasing his first hit back in late 2014 which shaped UK Hip Hop and Grime into what it is today, Stormzy is now a very influential artist in the UK music scene. His song “Shut Up,” released in 2015, gathered attention from not only the UK but across most of the globe over a period of 7-8 months, which is something that hasn’t been done by someone in his category of music before. The song went viral and was made to become a theme song for a number of TV shows. For an artist in the UK, both of those things are enormous accomplishments. If this is your first time hearing of him, you should undoubtedly go add some of his songs to your music library.
4. AJ Tracey
During an interview with popular youtuber Adam22, this rapper talks about growing up in North London [Tottenham] and the struggles he faced there growing up in a mixed-race household. He began writing lyrics and rapping at a very young age, which first caught the attention of local people in his area, boosting his confidence to take music more seriously. He is one of the first in his hometown to be apart of an evolving group of artists in the U.K. that began to mix Garage, Afro and Grime together to create a new sound. Due to his uniqueness, his biggest track to this day, “Packages,” has racked up a total of 13 million views. His newest track “Ladbroke Grove,” is a necessity for everyone’s back-to-school playlist.
5. Jorja Smith
While you may have heard of this singer/songwriter after listening to the song “Get It Together” from Drake’s More Life album, she is much more than just another great feature. Her debut album titled Lost & Found shows a soft side of R&B, with many heartfelt and personal tracks as well as upbeat and catchy ones. Her music is perfect for driving around with your friends and jamming while feeling the wind in your hair on a cool autumn day. If you haven’t listened to this beautiful singer, you are truly missing out.
With the holiday season rolling in, most people are searching for new music to blast in their earbuds. All of these artists are perfect for the upcoming seasons vibes and are sure to be a new sound to your ears. While you may enjoy some genres more than others, these artists all try to be inclusive of the plethora of different sounds and themes music can bring. Checking out artists from other countries is something everyone should try more often and I’ve given you just the place to start.