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World Wet Leg and Central Cee make BBC Sound of 2022 list

02:32  06 december  2021
02:32  06 december  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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Women dominate BBC Radio 1's Sound of 2022 list, which tips new music for success in the coming year.

Nominees for the prize include (clockwise from top left) Central Cee, Wet Leg and PinkPantheress © BBC Nominees for the prize include (clockwise from top left) Central Cee, Wet Leg and PinkPantheress

Eight of the 10 nominees are female - including pop provocateur Baby Queen and quirky indie band Wet Leg.

They're joined by garage revivalist PinkPantheress, drill star Central Cee and Lola Young - the voice behind this year's John Lewis Christmas advert.

Now in its 20th year, the Sound Of list has predicted success for the likes of Adele, Stormzy, Haim and George Ezra.

This year's nominees were selected by a panel of 133 industry experts, including Elton John, Charli XCX, Ed Sheeran and former nominees Billie Eilish, Jorja Smith and Foals.

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The winner will be announced in January on BBC News and BBC Radio 1.

The 10 acts in the running are:

  • Baby Queen
  • Central Cee
  • ENNY
  • Lola Young
  • Mimi Webb
  • PinkPantheress
  • Priya Ragu
  • Tems
  • Wet Leg
  • Yard Act

Find out more on the BBC Sound of 2022 website.

Several of this year's nominees reflect TikTok's increasing influence on the music industry.

South London rapper Enny scored a viral hit on the app with Peng Black Girls, a celebration of black womanhood in all its forms; while pop singer Mimi Webb's debut single, Before I Go, gained 85 million views after being posted by TikTok star Charli D'Amelio.

The enigmatic PinkPantheress - who keeps her real identity a secret - says she uses the platform as a "focus group", gauging fans' reactions before committing to releasing her tracks.

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Those songs, recorded in the dead of night in her university halls of residence, rarely break the 2-minute barrier, catering to the app's attention-deficit demographic.

But that doesn't stop them being catchy. Tracks like Pain and Just For Me juxtapose her fluttering vocals with genre-hopping samples from the worlds of UK garage, K-pop, 2-step and alt rock.

The 20-year-old has christened her sound "new nostalgic" - and she's not the only nominee laying claim to a new genre.

Priya Ragu was raised in Switzerland after her parents fled Sri Lanka's civil war in the 1980s © Warner Music Priya Ragu was raised in Switzerland after her parents fled Sri Lanka's civil war in the 1980s

Swiss-Tamil artist Priya Ragu has branded her music "Raguwavy" for its atmospheric blend of soul, R&B and her Sri Lankan heritage.

Songs like Chicken Lemon Rice have been described as "a window into the future of pop" by Vogue magazine. But the 35-year-old initially lacked the confidence to release her music, and only gave up her airport day job six months ago.

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"I had my doubts in the past as I thought that my music was too eclectic," the singer recently told the NME, "but now I can see that the world is willing to accept and embrace what I'm doing - and it's the most beautiful feeling."

  • Rapper Pa Salieu wins the BBC's Sound of 2021
  • Wet Leg: The band with millions of streams and just two songs
  • Meet pop's boldest, sharpest new voice: Baby Queen
  • Why PinkPantheress is happy to be a mystery

Among the male nominees, West London's Central Cee has been making waves with his melodic take on drill.

The 23-year-old, who won best newcomer at Sunday night's Mobo awards, recently scored his second UK top 10 single with the love-struck rap ballad Obsessed With You. Coincidentally, that track is built around a sample of Just For Me, by PinkPantheress.

BBC Sound Of.... Selected winners and nominees [ 2003 50 Cent, Electric Six, Dizzee Rascal ],[ 2008 Adele, Vampire Weekend, MGMT ],[ 2011 Jessie J, James Blake, Anna Calvi ],[ 2015 Years & Years, Stormzy, Wolf Alice ],[ 2018 Billie Eilish, Sam Fender, Khalid ],[ 2021 Pa Salieu, Griff, Holly Humberstone ], Source: BBC, Image: Previous winners and nominees of the Sound Of list © Provided by BBC News BBC Sound Of.... Selected winners and nominees [ 2003 50 Cent, Electric Six, Dizzee Rascal ],[ 2008 Adele, Vampire Weekend, MGMT ],[ 2011 Jessie J, James Blake, Anna Calvi ],[ 2015 Years & Years, Stormzy, Wolf Alice ],[ 2018 Billie Eilish, Sam Fender, Khalid ],[ 2021 Pa Salieu, Griff, Holly Humberstone ], Source: BBC, Image: Previous winners and nominees of the Sound Of list

Leeds post-punk act Yard Act were formed just before the pandemic and signed during lockdown, but they've already gained a reputation for thrilling, kinetic live shows.

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Their smart, sarcastic songs combine danceable guitar riffs with frontman James Smith's deadpan, politically-astute lyrics. The result is "gloriously addictive and brilliantly bonkers," according to Dork magazine.

Wet Leg, the only other band on the longlist, are equally eccentric.

Arriving out of the blue in June, their debut single Chaise Longue quickly became a festival favourite - thanks to singer Rhian Teasdale's droll delivery of lines like: "Is your muffin buttered? Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?" (A quote from Linday Lohan's teen drama Mean Girls.)

Formed in the Isle Of Wight, the group's manifesto is "to have more fun than every other single band" or else call it quits.

Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg were formed during a drunken trip on a ferris wheel © Domino Records Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg were formed during a drunken trip on a ferris wheel

Baby Queen, the stage name of 24-year-old Bella Lathum, is notable for two things: 1) Huge sing-along choruses and 2) peering into the abyss of post-Millennial life. Check out Raw Thoughts or Buzzkill to discover some brutally honest pop writing.

Originally from South Africa, Lathum moved to London to launch her pop career. R&B singer Tems travelled in the opposite direction, settling in Lagos with her Nigerian mother after her parents divorced.

There, she taught herself music production by watching YouTube videos, transforming herself into a huge star in the alté music scene.

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In the past 12 months, she's recorded hit collaborations with Wizkid, Justin Bieber and Drake, as well as releasing her second EP If Orange Was A Place.

Lola Young took a more traditional route into pop music, via a place at the Brit School. Possessed of a husky but powerful voice, she's already won comparisons to fellow graduates Adele and Amy Winehouse.

She may already be familiar from the John Lewis Christmas advert, but it's worth seeking out her grittier solo material - especially the scorching soul ballad Fake.

Lola Young can be heard covering Together In Electric Dreams on the John Lewis Christmas advert © Lucy Foster Lola Young can be heard covering Together In Electric Dreams on the John Lewis Christmas advert

The top five artists will be revealed in the new year on BBC Radio 1, with one artist announced each day from Sunday 2 January until the winner is revealed on Thursday 6 January.

The prize is open to new artists, who have yet to score a top five album, or more than two top 10 singles by 31 October 2021. Artists who have appeared on TV talent shows within the last three years are also ineligible.

Last year's winner was rapper Pa Salieu, who subsequently scored hits with the singles Energy, Glidin' and Bad.

You can read profiles of 2021's top five acts here:

  1. Pa Salieu
  2. Holly Humberstone
  3. Berwyn
  4. Greentea Peng
  5. Griff

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