Tastemakers 2024: Tips for artist success including Tyla, Sekou and Kenya Grace

Tastemakers 2024: Tips for artist success including Tyla, Sekou and Kenya Grace

In a special expanded edition of Music Week’s Tastemakers column, we gather a selection of writers and broadcasters to find out who they’re tipping for success in 2024…

Label: Since ’93
Key Track: Water

“Tyla is, first of all, the girl next door. She’s relatable, really humble and an ‘all rounder’ artist – the dancer, performer, singer and she writes. She’s really talented, you can tell she puts 110% into her performances and her music is very much a representation of who she is. She’s a South African girl, she’s biracial and she’s owning everything about herself – that makes her different, which is so good to see. Young girls need more of what Tyla is doing. 

“I first discovered her on a Kooldrink track, Getting Late, about two years ago and after that I saw her performing. It was really nice to see her bubbling and to hear her [voice] before I saw her, we’ve kind of lost that a little bit with artists all of a sudden becoming famous overnight, but that wasn’t the case with her.

“Tyla has also tapped into what it looks like to go viral on TikTok. The dance for Water was genius. Not only for the fact that a lot of us can’t do it, which is super funny, but you also have people doing the dance tutorial, and she’s showing us a dance from her culture. She’s nailed every element.

“I think Tyla is going to have a great year. A lot of people want to work with her, she’ll do more performances, festivals, she’ll definitely clean up some awards and an album would be good. I hope she goes on tour, and if she does, I hope she starts in South Africa. She is also just really sweet, you can’t go wrong!”
Nadia Jae (BBC Radio 1Xtra)

Fat Dog
Label: Domino
Key Track: King Of The Slugs

“Don’t sleep on Fat Dog. Relatively unknown, they played a rampant Reading & Leeds Festival set last year, which put them on the industry map, before embarking on a European tour. Despite the one-song hype, this band feels very genuine in their intentions to be successful. Judging them off of their debut release, we’re in for a trip. The title of their debut single, King Of The Slugs, sounds like a Rick And Morty character and, once you’ve listened to it, don’t be surprised if portals to alternate dimensions have been ripped open around you. Mind-bending psychedelic rock, it feels equal parts orchestral as it does a rampaging bull hurtling down an 85 degree descent towards a small, family-owned chinashop below. Talk about hitting the ground running!”
Jack Saunders (BBC Radio 1)

“As I write this, Fat Dog are soundchecking in the room next door for DIY’s Class Of 2024 issue party and it sounds amazing; it’s like wandering through all the most hedonistic bits of Glastonbury at 4am, except it’s 5pm in Shoreditch and everyone is – I think – stone-cold sober. This, however, is the magic of the South London quintet. Over the past 18 months, they’ve built up a rabid following via live shows that leave you wondering what on earth you’ve just witnessed (answer: a drummer in a latex dog mask, among other things). Their debut single, King Of The Slugs, underlined their status as the capital’s most unforgettable new band: a seven-minute voyage through punk, Klezmer, and with melodies that could charm their fair share of snakes, and wild lyrics. It’s the sort of bold, brilliant introduction that you don’t get very often.”
Lisa Wright (DIY)

Label: Parlophone
Key Track: Stop Crying

 “One of a growing number of artists from outside of the M25, Sainté is putting Leicester on the map with a voice and sound that offers an alternative to what the capital has to offer. His sound is polished and stylised, but still packs a DIY rawness and resourcefulness that you can’t help but feel inspired by. The Out The Blue project still feels as fresh as it did when it first came out, but it’s his latest release, Stop Crying, which he dropped last October, that has me most excited. His slick and laid-back blend of soulful West Coast hip-hop with a distinctly UK flavour has me watching Sainté very closely in 2024.”
James Keith (Trench)

Caity Baser
Label: EMI
Key Track: Pretty Boys

 “Caity Baser first caught my attention with Friendly Sex, her hilarious ode to ending a friendship with benefits before catching feelings. I was sold. Watching her ascent from omnipresent TikTok-botherer to BRITs Rising Star 2024 nominee has been a ride. Her vibe contagious and her brand of tongue-in-cheek pop infectious, Caity’s one of the most unique artists to come out of the UK in a long time. Her ability to speak the language of Gen-Z is palpable. Few pop stars address adolescent issues with such understanding, humour and humility. I can’t wait for her mixtape – 2024’s going to be a huge year.”
Carl Smith (Official Charts Company)

Label: RCA
Key Track: Mama’s Eyes

 “A backing dancer for Pharrell, and with a music video with Rihanna and blockbuster films (including Barbie) in the back pocket, Mette’s credentials can make even the most ambitious of grafters feel inadequate! Her life’s exploration resulted in plenty of inspiration for last year’s debut EP Mettenarrative. Fuelled by culture, community, high energy and fluidity, her music calls for connection in multitudes. It’s a celebration, a liberation, but – most importantly – reams of fun!”
Kayleigh Watson (The Line Of Best Fit/Time Out/Journo Resources) 

Label: H33ra
Key track: Is He Man Enough?

“Hailing from Stoke, H33ra has been making smooth R&B for some time now, but the past year has really seen him grow as an artist. He’s been making his way to the top on many charts including TikTok and gaining recognition on playlists. Currently, he’s trying to bring back that late-’90s, early- ’00s classic R&B sound and it’s clear he’s doing it well. Heartbeat reminds me of throwback Timbaland and Is He Man Enough? and Creepin’ are his best pieces of work thus far. He’s been getting a lot of love from national networks, with consistent playlisting on BBC Asian Network as well as spins on 1Xtra. Also, H33ra produces all of his own music, collaborates with heavy hitters such as Mic Lowry and was chosen to record at the iconic Abbey Road Studios last year. Another huge moment was his performance at The Great Escape, which celebrated British Asian Music for the first time in 2023. H33ra’s definitely someone we’ll be seeing breakthrough into the mainstream in 2024.”
Jasmine Takhar (BBC Asian Network) 

Label: 0207 Def Jam
Key track: 22

“North Londoner JayO has been making waves online for a minute now with his sultry blend of Afrobeats and R&B – take last year’s 22, the singer, songwriter and producer’s viral track which is pure, has sensual vibes and slow-burning chemistry, all topped with his sweet voice. Recently signed to 0207 Def Jam and with an EP on the horizon, he’s about to step things up a notch with his swoony music for late nights and locked eyes.”
Tara Joshi (The Guardian/Observer, New York Times, Financial Times, VICE & more) 

Label: Decca
Key track: High In Brighton

 “Fun is in, and no one’s having more of it than British-Irish supergroup Fizz. Comprised of soloists Orla Gartland, Dodie, Greta Isaac and Martin Luke Brown, their debut album The Secret To Life was concocted in one joy-filled week, and combines childlike ambition with the harsh reality of your mid-20s.”
Abigail Firth (Dork) 

Label: Polydor
Key track: Mad At Fire

“Elmiene is one of the biggest and best voices we have in the UK. He’s the perfect mix of throwback soul with modern-day writing and vibe. Live, he’s flawless and delivers big vocals effortlessly. He has the confidence of an artist that’s been here for 50 years and has this unique way of holding the crowd in the palm of his hands. I absolutely can’t wait to see what he delivers in 2024 – I know I’ll be all over it!”
DJ Ace 

Key track: Angel

“Having followed them for a few years now, I’m hopeful that NewDad’s forthcoming debut album – Madra – will be the thing to send this Galway four-piece as stratospheric as they deserve. The comparisons to The Cranberries and The Cure write themselves, but there’s a real optimism and warmth to their style of shoegaze that feels particularly affecting, transcending any accusations of mere ’90s-nostalgia bait.”
Jenessa Williams (DIY, FortyFive, The Guardian, NME)

A Little Sound
Label: Ministry Of Sound
Key track: Back To Back (B2B)

“Bristol-based A Little Sound has been in the drum & bass scene for a few years now, but with D&B currently gaining wider recognition, her buttery-soft voice and infectious, high-energy performances means she’s got the potential to reach the masses. The multi-talented DJ, songwriter and vocalist rose to quick prominence after a video of her covering Reality by Lost Frequencies went viral, and she has since worked with the scene’s biggest artists such as Friction and Kanine, as well as carving out a successful solo career.”
Whisky Kicks (UKF) 

Kenya Grace
Label: Warner/FFRR
Key Track: Strangers

“After hitting No.1 with her breakout banger Strangers, it’s clear that Kenya Grace is an absolute star-in-the-making. It was no surprise the track went viral. The catchy liquid drum and bass song with stripped back, rolling drums over Grace’s dreamy vocals gets stuck in your head, and the lyrics, which talk about the realities of dating in the modern world, are more than relatable! On top of all of this, when Strangers hit the top of the charts, Grace became the second female solo artist – after Kate Bush – to have a No.1 entirely written, performed and self-produced by her, which is just amazing. I’m so excited to see where Grace will take her sound next. She’s got something special and we should all keep our eyes peeled.”
Miranda Bardsley (Music Week)

Label: Music For Nations
Key track: (Pardon Me, I Have To Go Now)

“These rising Gen-Z Japanese metal stars have invented a subgenre called ‘Harajuku-core’. Named after the area of Tokyo known for alternative fashion, it’s a high-energy fusion of nu-metal and metalcore drenched in neon aesthetics, with lyrics about everything from dating apps to videogames. Most importantly, it’s fun. Expect to see them at summer fests across Europe.”
Eleanor Goodman (Metal Hammer) 

Label: Island
Key track: Better Man

 “There’s an urge towards connection in Sekou’s music that you can’t help falling for. When approaching his songwriting, he seems to haul down his barriers, permitting a form of pure communication between artist and listener. Pop with soulful appeal, debut EP Out Of Mind is extraordinary, a work of real maturity and breathless emotion. Listening to songs like Better Man and Time Will Tell, you’re left with the feeling of glimpsing a philosopher – yet he’s still only in his teens. Few would bet against Sekou dominating 2024.”
Robin Murray (Clash)

Label: Black Gold
Key track: Old School Sound

“Blackgold is a masked nu-metal band that has captured the attention of the entire rock scene. Loving metal is all about the live show. For a band to go out on tour with veterans Limp Bizkit and recent UK chart-botherers Skindred and hold their own, is a thing every band thinks they can do but few succeed. They feel rebellious, fun and like you never know what’s coming next. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for these guys.”
Sophie K (Kerrang! Radio/Absolute Radio/On Wednesdays We Wear Black Podcast)

Charlotte Plank
Label: Black Butter
Key track: Rave Out

“Leading the charge of the TikTok-grown drum & bass-meets-pop movement, Charlotte Plank’s hook-heavy indie-tinged take on D&B played a large part in it becoming, arguably, 2023’s biggest genre. As well as playing up and down the country, Dancing Is Healing (Plank’s joyous collaboration with Rudimental) landed the British-Australian artist her first Top 5 chart hit. The singer and songwriter has also clocked up 26 million streams on Spotify alone for her viral anthem Rave Out, while Lights proved a firm favourite in the underground scene. Plank season shows so signs of slowing down in 2024.”
Ben Jolley (NME/MusicTech/Mixmag Beatportal/DJ Mag/Dazed & more) 

Label: XL
Key track: Back It Up

“Luton-born-and-bred BXKS is an artist I’m excited about for 2024. She’s now signed to XL but has been cutting her teeth in the underground scene for a minute. It feels like the noise she’s making is starting to infiltrate the scene with something exciting, and it’s worth taking a moment to highlight. I’m obsessed with her record Back It Up and have been playing it non-stop. I always love to see women in music, especially in the UK rap scene, holding their space. Honourable mention to Chy Cartier, too!”
Tiffany Calver (BBC Radio 1Xtra) 

Katie Gregson-Macleod
Label: Columbia
Key Track: Complex


“I’m tipping Scotland’s finest singer-songwriter Katie Gregson-MacLeod to have a huge 2024. I’m a sucker for a good lyric and Katie has dropped some gems! We all fell in love with the vulnerable songwriting and amazing vocal in Complex and her show at Hoxton Hall in the spring was one of the standouts of the year for me. It was giving A Night With vibes – Katie sat at the piano sharing funny stories, a good dose of patter and then real connection with her fans through music. Her songs feel so real and relatable to so many. The Big Red EP was superb and I’m excited to hear more new songs to sing and cry to, maybe even a debut album!”
Abbie McCarthy (BBC Music Introducing) 

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