FEATURE: New Year’s Resolution: YouTube’s 'Ones to Watch'




New Year’s Resolution


IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images/YouTube/ALL OTHERS IMAGES/PHOTOS (unless credited otherwise): Getty Images

YouTube’s ‘Ones to Watch’


IT is always interesting looking at the top-ten lists…


 PHOTO CREDIT: @christianw/Getty Images

and what people are recommending for each new year. I am keeping my eyes open for the New Year’s ‘honours’ as it were and those who have been promoted and augmented to special heights. We will get the traditional ‘ones to watch’ features coming out from sort of now through to January and it will be good to see what makes the cut. I have just seen the announcement YouTube have made regarding their tips and who we should be watching. This is a special announcement as it is the first time the site has tipped artists. I will bring you an introduction to each of the ten but, at a time when the site is having some issues – laws brewing regarding payment of artists and copyright – and their fortunes are not certain. YouTube will continue to flourish but it remains to be seen whether what will happen next year. I am pumped to see what comes out and how YouTube will develop. In any case; looking at their ‘ones to watch’ news is quite exciting. Here’s what has come out:

YouTube has revealed the top 10 artists it expects will hit the big time next year - and the majority are British.

Singer Mahalia tops its first ever Ones To Watch list - which predicts which acts will become huge stars in 2019.

Rapper Kojey Radical, singer-songwriter Samm Henshaw and guitarist and singer Jade Bird also feature.

YouTube looked at the artists' video views, number and subscribers and the time spent watching their videos to come to its decision... 

Organisations like the BBC, the Brits and Spotify are among those who annually publish lists of hot prospects - but this is the first time YouTube has made the move.

Mahalia, 19, described being ranked number one on the list as a "special moment for me".

She said: "This recognition means so much."

The Leicestershire-born singer revealed she wrote her first song aged eight and used the streaming site to help her with her music.

PHOTO CREDIT: @makuph/Unsplash 

The singer said: "I basically learnt how to play so much of what I know on the guitar from watching people on YouTube.

"The platform has helped me grow and build a real, personal fan base in the UK and around the world while never compromising my creativity."

She signed her first major record deal aged 13 and is expected to release her debut album later this year.

The singer has more than 106,000 subscribers and her most popular video for a song called Sober has been viewed more than 20 million times.

Singer-songwriter Sam Fender said he was "super excited" about 2019 after finding out his name was on the list.

He said: "I started recording music in a garden shed not so long ago. So it's incredible to now be recognised and heard at a global scale.

"I'm super excited for next year, there's so much more to come."

The 22-year-old who is from North Shields was widely praised for his song Dead Boys which was about mental health.

He recently signed to Polydor Records and is expected release his first EP at the end of November”.

It is good to see this come out and I will have a look at the artists next year and see how they rise. Before then, and as a brief introduction, here is a little bit about the selected ten, links to their music and sample videos from YouTube:



Official Site: http://mahaliamusic.co.uk/

Follow: https://twitter.com/mahalia

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mahaliamusic

Latest Video: One Night Only (with Kojey Radical)                    

Sample Cuts:

Mahalia grew up roughly a hundred miles from London in a quiet section of Leicester. While her town lacked the well-known clubs and trendsetting music scenes of the big city, Mahalia’s dream of being heard by the world was never deterred by her geography.

“I think I might have an advantage being from Leicester because I don’t know all the cool people in London,” she tells VIBE with a laugh. “The thing about the U.K. is that underground music always takes over. It’s not just about the radio.”

The 19-year old started penning songs at an early age, with encouragement from her musical family, and she always carried a passion for the creative arts. Mahalia’s music is wise beyond her years and some. It’s getting harder to find R&B songs from ’90s born artists that don’t include an overabundance of Instagram references and chatter about designer clothes, but this profound voice is hellbent on keeping her songs clutter-free.

“It’s something in the water, I think,” says the Atlantic Records signee about the U.K.’s overwhelming talent pool. “I just want to make Leicester proud of me, there’s so much music from here and I just want to represent where I’m from” – VIBE (October 2017)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 107k

Biggest Video: Sober – A COLORS SHOW



Sample Cuts:

We’ve been here six months,” Octavian explains as we take the lift up to his home after the shoot. “The flat we were in before this, now that was mad. It was massive: it had a pool table and all these LED lights everywhere. That was the place everyone would come to party.” I ask why he left. “We got kicked out for partying,” he says matter-of-factly.

Moving house no longer fazes him. Born in Lille in north-east France, Octavian moved to south London with his mother when he was three, but their relationship became strained. When he was a teenager, she sent him back to France to live with his uncle. They fought a lot, often physically, and after two years he was sent back to his mother. Knowing he wanted to pursue music, Octavian landed a scholarship to the Brit school – previously attended by Adele and Amy Winehouse – but soon grew disillusioned. “There were literally people doing backflips and singing harmonies in the corridors … it was not my type of thing,” he says. “I just don’t believe that you can teach someone how to be creative. As soon as you start teaching someone, they lose their originality” – The Guardian (September 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 10k

Biggest Video: Party Here (VIEWS)

Grace Carter


Sample Cuts:

What do you try to do with your music and how do you achieve this?
Grace: "Every song I write is about the life I've lived and I'm definitely trying to tell a story but something that's very important to me with what I do is that anyone and everyone can relate to the lyrics I write. Although they have such deep and personal meanings to me, I want other people to be able to put their lives on to my words. Not everyone has the ability to put their emotions in to words and I think that's what makes songwriting/music so powerful."

Can you tell us what musical and non-musical influences have shaped your sound?
Grace: "My childhood has been very inspirational to me, I grew up with a single mum and at 13 she met my stepdad who was a songwriter. I discovered songwriting through him which allowed me to find a release for a lot of pent-up anger I had carried through my childhood. I also found a lot of inspiration from strong female artists, growing up I listened to artists like Nina Simone, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill. They're all true artists whose songs are full of emotion and honesty and that's something I always want to achieve in my songwriting
” – The Line of Best Fit (January 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 37k

First Video: Ashes

Kojey Radical


Sample Cuts:

We are all born with superpowers, says Kojey Radical. Whether we choose to use them or not is up to us. “Being a creative isn’t about limiting yourself to one medium,” he says, husky of voice and smooth of dress — black military beret, cropped black trousers, a solid gold bumblebee on a chain around his neck — in an east London members’ club.

“If you’re an artist you’re an artist.” He shrugs his rangy shoulders. “Doesn’t matter in what capacity you make art.”

Born and raised in pre-hipster Hoxton, where he still lives, close to his family, 25-year-old Radical is prismatic, determinedly woke, a real Renaissance man from the ends. He’s a spoken word-poet and rapper, a dancer, model, illustrator and video artist. He’s the creative director of London men’s fashion label Chelsea Bravo and founder/director of media collective Pushcrayons.

He’s an inspiration, too, to many young people in his area. Impressed by the chauffeur-driven cars that arrive to take him to airports (he’s toured Australia, Brazil, South Africa), photoshoots (he’s worked on campaigns for Adidas, Apple, Dr Marten) or the Eurostar for Paris Fashion Week (where he hung out with mates including Moses Boyd and Reggie Yates), they listen when he talks about the role of community” – Evening Standard (July 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 12k

Biggest Video: Footsteps

Sam Fender


Sample Cuts:

“With the cash from his record deal, signed four months ago after a bidding war, and an inevitable sponsorship deal with Fender guitars, he’s been able to set up his own recording studio back home. “If this all goes wrong I can stay in music and use that studio to do endless amounts of work.”

He doesn’t need to worry about things going wrong just yet anyway. His year began with a place on the longlist for the BBC’s Sound of 2018 poll when he had only made four songs public. Heavy gigging, including support slots with George Ezra and Catfish and the Bottlemen, has taken him up to this month, when he’ll release his debut EP, also called Dead Boys. He’s just sold out three nights on the trot at south London’s 320-capacity Omeara venue and announced a new show for 1,700 at Electric Brixton for February.

“It’s getting bigger, which is exciting and terrifying in equal measure,” he says. Asked what he was hoping for when he first started playing in bands at the age of 16, he replies: “Somewhere along the lines of what’s going on now — the ability to live a life doing this as my sole job, which I now do” – Evening Standard (November 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 8.5k

Biggest Video: Play God



Sample Cuts:

“Though slowthai's descriptive raps tell stories and paint pictures straight from his brain, his music videos are also a big sell, breathing new visual life into his tunes. Take the video for "Ladies", a track from his first EP (watch below), in which there is a scene where he lies naked and curled up next to his fully-clothed girlfriend. The image is powerful in its rarity in pop culture alone, but it is also a reference to the iconic Annie Leibowitz photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken in the last 15 hours of his life before he was shot. Then there's “North Nights”, an altogether different experience, made up of references to slowthai’s favourite horror films: The Shining, Blair Witch, A Clockwork Orange and La Haine. “I don't know if it's my attention span”, he laughs, touching on his meticulously thought-out music videos, “but I don't like reading. I'm more of a visual person” – NOISEY (September 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 33k

Biggest Video: T N Biscuits

L Devine


Sample Cuts:

KEY TRACK: Nervous
LABEL: Warner Bros
MANAGEMENT: Major Influence
TWITTER: @LDevineMusic

WHO: Twenty-one-year-old newcomer Olivia Devine, who goes by L Devine to avoid confusion with a porn star who shares her name.

WHAT: Pop, pure and simple. L Devine is signed to Warner Bros, who will no doubt be seeking to propel the Whitley Bay-born singer to Dua Lipa levels of stratospheric importance.

WHERE: Devine was born in the North East but moved to London to follow her musical dream.

Good one. And yes, L Devine has 2019 in her sights. She released the Growing Pains EP a year ago, and the Peer Pressure mixtape and film is out this week. Recent track Nervous, complete with a sleek, LA-filmed video by Emil Nava, laid down an impressive marker.

Devine originally wanted to be a songwriter, and has been honing her craft for a few years now. Sessions with a cast including John Hill (MIA, Rihanna) and Ian Kirkpatrick (Dua Lipa) have shaped a powerful, relatable sound.

Start the Devine-al countdown!
” - Music Week (November 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 6.4k

Biggest Video: Love You Like That

Dermot Kennedy


Sample Cuts:

“Now he has the best of both worlds, with a devoted core fanbase and big business backing that opens the kind of doors a boy from the tiny village of Rathcoole, with a population of fewer than 4,500, could only have dreamed of. Kennedy, who is best described as a folksy, alternative artist with a taste for heavy hip hop beats – check out “Moments Passed” – recently worked with Mike Dean, the American super-producer who’s notched up credits with everyone from Jay-Z to Kanye West. “Seeing that Mike and the other younger, serious hip hop guys in the studio were into my songs was really exciting,” he says. “Travis Scott was there on Facetime and he was listening to it as well.”

With A-list endorsement, a current single “Power Over Me” already on 1.5m plays, a headline show at Brixton Academy – the holy grail of venues for young artists – just announced and an album due next year, you could assume Kennedy would be getting just a little bit cocky. And he well might, if it wasn’t for his friends, the same ones he played sports with at school. “They are huge for me in terms of keeping my head screwed on,” he says. “I could win a Grammy and they would take the piss out of what I was wearing. They will slag you off about anything, no matter what happens”- GQ (October 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 48k

Biggest Video: An Evening I Will Not Forget

Samm Henshaw


Sample Cuts:

How did you get into music? Any tips for budding musicians?

I started playing in church from a child growing up and kept going at it until I was good enough to write my own songs. I would say work hard on your craft and never stop learning.

What do you most value in your wardrobe?

My hats, without them I’m not sure…

What’s your favourite piece from the outfits which you wore for this shoot?

I really liked the grey shirt or the jacket, really simple but a good mix of materials”- The Idle Man (2015)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 43k

Biggest Video: Broke

Jade Bird



Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JadeBirdMusic/

Official Website: http://www.jade-bird.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6sRi0TuAnixUvUbhuj9YNg

Latest Video: Love Has All Been Done Before

Sample Cuts:

Jade Bird can do an impeccable American accent, and with good reason: The British singer-songwriter has spent plenty of time in the States recently, including playing her first American festival, Stagecoach 2018. However, although she grew up listening to American music, Bird tells The Boot none of this means she's trying to move away from her British roots.

"It's not like I'm intentionally saying, 'Oh, anyhow, now I'm going to make American music,'" the singer explains. "I just always really loved music that was coincidentally from the States."

Bird had long admired songwriters such as Bob Dylan, but it wasn't until she heard the Civil Wars that the 20-year-old musician started deep-diving into American music.

"That was the first time I'd ever seen somebody who reminded me of me playing the guitar, first off," Bird says. "I love the band for that. The chemistry between them just felt so true and not put on, and to me, that is so important”- The Boot (May 2018)

Total YouTube Subscribers (at time of this feature): 23k

Biggest Video: Lottery