Ten UK artists to watch in 2020: from Aitch to Celeste
All based in the UK and all set to make waves in 2020, here's ten acts and artists to stick on your playlists this year
Last updated: 2nd Jan 2020
With New Year's celebrations and personal periods of reflection now evaporated into the ether, it's no longer time to look back, but instead time to look to the future.
Spotify's annual 'Wrapped' campaign is now but a memory, one which no doubt had you seriously questioning your own taste in music and pointing fingers at unsuspecting family members for anomalies (who's been listening to that much Shaggy?).
A new decade means it's time to sort your playlist out (on that note, it's worth checking out our weekly New Music Monday playlist) and time to discover something new.
So below we've put together ten UK-based artists we'll be keeping an eye on this year.
You can click on the names of the artists to find upcoming events and tickets.
Forthright, blunt, bewildering and intriguing, all words that could be used to describe this Yorkshire four piece, who've been making waves on the live music scene.
From supporting the likes of Fat White Family on a run of UK dates, to recently heading out on their own headline tour and signing with independent record label, Heavenly Recordings, this new-wave, post-punk act have certainly hit the ground running.
The band's first 7", containing tracks 'Teeth' and 'Bad Blood', was also met with widespread critical acclaim, gaining the group comparisons to the likes of legendary Manchester band The Fall and fellow Yorkshire post-punk act, Gang of Four.
In a very short space of time, this young band have come a long, long way. We expect to see performances on bigger stages, in bigger fields and to bigger audiences in 2020.
Another northern powerhouse artist who is continuing to grow and impress at a young age is Manchester native and local hip hop hero Aitch. The recently turned 20-year-old rapper has been racking up HUGE numbers of plays on streaming platforms, with upwards of 40 million streams on popular tracks such as 'Strike a Pose' and 'Taste (Make It Shake)'.
He's amassed millions of fans across the world, including the likes of Wiley and grime don Stormzy, which led to an appearance alongside Ed Sheeran in the video for 'Take Me Back to London'. He's also collaborated with high street brand JD Sports, performed at festivals such as this year's Reading and Leeds Festival and is a regular guest on the BBC 1xtra show.
With only a couple of full length records under his belt, we predict much more to come in 2020 from this young rap sensation.
This hard to pinpoint, Brighton-based experimental jazz funk act broke onto the UK's music scene earlier this year, with their foot stomping single 'Houseplants', which was picked up and championed by Steve Lamacq on 6 Music.
Since then, they've released a well received four track EP, 'Town Centre', featuring favoured tracks 'The Cleaner' and 'Match Bet' on Speedy Wunderground records, extensively toured the UK and Europe, and performed to large audiences on three occasions at last year's Glastonbury Festival. Not a bad year at all.
The five piece are heading back out on another extensive run of dates in Europe and the UK in the new year to support a hopefully imminent, full length record. Do not sleep on these guys.
Where to begin... this London-based producer and DJ is a force of nature. Her live sets are something to behold. If you're into bass-heavy, low-end frequencies, mixed with elements of drum & bass, jungle and techno, played loud and fast, you need look no further.
Still rising through the underground, Sherelle has been doing bits for some time. A regular host and pioneer of renowned Brixton radio station, Reprezent FM, she's also done custom guest mixes for Radio 1.
She's appeared live at Manchester's Warehouse Project and London's Printworks, alongside some of the most respected names in the game, such as Calibre, Midland, Loefah and Chase and Status.
With a work ethic and talent like Sherelle's, it would seem the odds are stacked in her favour to break onto the mainstage in 2020.
Another fresh-faced, northern act on the list of ones to watch, Wigan four-piece The Lathums have an average age of just 18-years-old, but don't let that make you question this young act's credibility.
The band have already made a lasting impression on some notable names, including The Charlatans front man Tim Burgess, who put the spotlight on the group after hearing one of their tracks on social media, and asked them to perform at Kendal Callingfestival - where Burgess runs a diner/stage.
Blending varied influences with frontman Alex Moore's distinctive vocal style, the group have successfully created a mature and unique sound, gaining the band's limited repertoire a lot of attention. Their latest single, 'I Know That Much', recently featured in Spotify's New Music Friday playlist and has been played numerous times on 6 Music.
Winner of the Brit Rising Star award and BBC Music Introducing’s Artist of The Year, Celeste has been causing a stir for some time now, and it would seem that 2020 is set to be her year.
Picked up by the BBC and promoted by numerous hosts across their many stations, including Huw Stephens and Annie Mac, the captivating Brighton-based soul singer continues to seduce listeners across the globe with her sumptuous vocal style.
Well-known names, from the likes of James Corden and fellow UK singer Jorja Smith, have come out in support of Celeste, with many drawing comparisons to the late great Amy Winehouse.
2020 will see the singer-songwriter release her first full length record with an accompanying run of UK dates in April, including an already sold out headline show at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.
If you haven’t already heard of Celeste, we can almost guarantee that you will in the coming year.
Combining an off-kilter, LCD Soundsystem-esque rhythm section with slick, punk rock breaks and charismatically delivered, nonchalant vocal lines, Nottingham-based foursome Do Nothing are a band certainly worth taking note of.
The group, still in their infancy, have only released a handful of tracks since 2018 (four to be exact): ‘Waitress’, ‘Handshakes’, ‘Gangs’ and their most recent, ‘LeBron James’. But don’t be fooled, the collective's work thus far oozes sophistication and carries a sound which suggests experience and ability beyond their time as a band.
Still very much under the radar but building on an impressive selection of bona fide bangers, we hope to see much more from this fresh and exciting act in 2020.
Gaining widespread recognition for his writing prowess and production skills, this teenage bedroom producer and musical boy wonder is a most deserved addition to our list.
The Bedfordshire-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who plays almost all of the instruments on his many brilliant releases, has caught the attention of music pundits, record labels and listeners alike, including London-based indie label Chess Club Records (Jungle, Wolf Alice, Chet Faker).
Like an Animal, released in 2018, put the spotlight firmly on the up-and-coming musician with a nod to his heroes, slack rocker Mac Demarco and Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker. Since then, he's gone on to release a handful of equally successful EPs and singles, with latest record ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’ packed full of of dreamy, 80s inspired synth pop melodies.
He had a busy 2019, appearing at venues throughout the UK (including Skiddle's WarChild gig at Earth Hackney) and a number of festivals including Reading/Leeds Festival. We expect 2020 to be even busier for this prosperous new talent.
Speaking to Skiddle last year, the rising 19-year-old singer, songwriter and poet said she'd describe her sound as a 'fusion of soul, pop, r&b and rock'. Starting out on classical piano, Parks picked up a guitar and started producing in her bedroom on Garageband.
She released her first track on London indie label Beatnik Creative in 2018, and since then has been busy turning out her debut EP, Sophie, which one critic described as 'oozing with the hang-ups of heartbreak and mortality'.
After supporting Loyle Carner on his sold out 'Not Waving, But Drowning' tour in 2019, Arlo will embark on her own headline 'Super Sad Generation' tour, taking in dates across Europe before concluding with a performance at next year's SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.
This naturally gifted artist is one we should all be keeping an eye on this decade. Trust.
Beabadoobee (moniker of singer-songwriter Bea Kristi) is a fresh-faced artist producing beautifully delicate soundtracks for lazy, laid back days.
Inspired by the likes of American storyteller and guitar pop DIY hero Alex G, and the late great Elliot Smith, the 19-year-old effortlessly combines elements of her influences with components of her Filipino roots, creating her own blend of alluring modern day folk.
Now based in London, the BRIT Rising Star award nominee was also recently shortlisted for the BBC's Sound of 2020 award, and has been out on the road in the US and Canada, performing tracks from her latest release 'Loveworm' while supporting American lo-fi artist, Clairo. She's also preparing to tour with The 1975 later this year.
This young starlet is catching the attention of music heads across the globe, and it's easy to see why.
Check out the playlist below to hear a selection of tracks from all the artists listed above.