Ones to Watch 2012

Posted on December 30th, 2011 by in New Music

Yes, really.

This week I’m giving myself a little pat on the back; I realised that my ‘Ones to Watch 2011‘ post from 12 months ago was in fact, pretty accurate. James Blake had one of the biggest LPs of the year, and the young Brit played festivals from Norway to Chicago to Sao Paolo. The Boxettes performed with Jarvis Cocker and recently headlined at the much talked about ‘Live Fridays’ gig. Young electronic artist Jozif picked up a residency at Space in Ibiza, one of the most alluring clubs, and a mecca for DJs worldwide. Obviously not everyone on my list became household names overnight – Jai Paul is still yet to release his first album, which is holding up the process of it becoming a huge underground hit, somewhat. Still, regular 2011 airplay from Giles Peterson and being sampled by Drake and Beyoncé is keeping the interest ticking over (and I’ll label that as a small reassurance that I’m on the right track).

And so, I thought I would have a crack at 2012. Here are some bright new (and not so new) things that are looking like a strong next 12 months. Enjoy…


Having just released his debut album, this Londoner is set for big things. Perfecting a live show with vocal collaborator Sampa, and building radio play will surely mean some huge festival slots next summer. Every track on his LP is quality, but check out ‘Something Goes Right’ below for the perfect balance of electronic clout, smooth instrumentation and lush vocals.

Jamie N Commons

Ok, so he recently got a nod from the BBC, which often helps. But again, we have a hugely talented British singer/songwriter who’s husky voice and spaghetti-western/blues sound belies his 22 years. As for a debut EP, October saw the release of ‘The Baron’, along with a free launch party at a cozy North London pub. Check out The Preacher, below, and get along to another one of those type gigs, before this guy goes global.

Ifan Dafydd

The mysterious Mr Dafydd may well follow in the footsteps of James Blake. His music is eerily similar, more than just a ‘nod to’, and apparently is a cousin. Or an ex-flatmate. Or his evil twin/nemesis. Rumours aside, you cannot ignore the quality of his productions, and a couple well executed bootlegs have drawn enough attention as to have him commissioned for his first full original EP, ‘Treehouse/ To Me’ due out on January 30th.

Michael Kiwanuka

After seeing this soul singer support Adele on her recent tour, it is no wonder he picked up a slot on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ at the end of the most recent season. With a record label behind him and debut album lined up for March, things are looking bright. The lead single, ‘Home Again’, has deservedly earned comparisons to Bill Withers and Otis Redding.


Growing up in Bahrain and currently residing Cambridge must have positive musical influence. It worked for this producer, currently making waves in the world of ‘bass music’. His first EP just got a full release this month, and a follow-up is already scheduled for 2012.

by Lee Jarvis.
Follow Lee on twitter @leejarvis

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