InstituteEvents11th January 2021
Artists to Watch 2021
Which new acts should you be listening to over the next twelve months? Here are the 10 artists Abbey Road Studios recommends for 2021.
After the disappointing year of 2020, let's look forward to a better 2021. And the best way to get things underway is with some great new music. Each year we share a list of up and coming artists and bands we feel you should be paying attention to, and this year is no different! Each artist has a special connection with Abbey Road, having either recorded, performed or mastered their music here. Get to know them below.
From: Hackney, London
For fans of Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and Adele
Key track: Sunday Morning
Friend of the studios and Warner Music artist, Hamzaa, is up first on our list. With her powerfully vulnerable lyrics and sincerely breathtaking voice, Malika Hamzaa is an artist whose music sounds emotionally-wise beyond her 22 years of age. Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse are just two of the artists the East Londoner hopes to follow in the footsteps of.
At the end of last year, Hamzaa teamed up with Sinead Harnett, Jvck James and Shae Universe to deliver a flawless performance for BET’s Soul Train Awards. The Soul Cypher features four of the UK’s biggest R&B talents going back-to-back in their solo verses and showcasing their incredible vocal talent. Hamzaa recorded her stunning vocals in the Gatehouse studio, engineered by our own Paul Pritchard.
From: Essex, UK
For fans of Burial, Bonobo and Olafur Arnalds
Key track: Clarity
Model Man are brothers Mark and Rob Brandon making waves with some of dance music's biggest producers. Fusing ambient electronics with elements of bass culture, which combine for striking results.
Their most recent release comes in the form of their 2005 NYE EP. The duo’s new single Love Surrounds has also been released alongside the EP, which features a bouncing piano house groove accompanied by a visualiser paying tribute to the now-distant memory of the dancefloor. Other singles on the EP include previous single Why?, which was named Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune and BBC Introducing Track Of The Week on Radio One, as well as Soul Catcher, which highlights Model Man’s ability to juxtapose euphoric moments with melancholy.
From: Delaware, US
For fans of Drake, Rihanna and SZA
Key track: How It Goes
Starrah (real name Brittany Hazzard) is a proven songwriting hitmaker, known for her undeniable R&B and hip-hop-infused pop hooks. Among the hit songs she’s written are Camila Cabello’s Havana, Maroon 5’s Girls Like You, the band’s biggest song to date, Drake’s Fake Love, Halsey’s Now or Never, and SZA’s What Lovers Do. Songs featuring Starrah’s work have collectively tallied more than 14 billion streams to date.
The hit songwriter is now moving from behind the scenes to front and centre as an artist, where she's dropped her debut single, How It Goes, in August of last year. The moody song about a tumultuous relationship was produced by June Nawakii, whose credits include tracks by Nicki Minaj and Faouzia.
Starrah was also part of the Nile Rodgers' writing camp hosted at Abbey Road Studios in February of last year, which included the likes of David Guetta, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Naughty Boy, Nakhane, Fred Ball, Eyelar and SG Lewis.
From: Worthing, UK
For fans of Yungblud, The Chemical Brothers
Key track: I Wish I Was A...Formed in their hometown of Worthing, the trio, comprised of rapper and singer Cody, producer and guitarist Spencer and fellow guitarist Connor, are the culmination of many years hanging out in the skateparks of the seaside town.
Following a slew of single and EP releases, the band is now getting the recognition they deserve. In the Summer, we welcomed the three-piece into Studio One as part of Barclaycard's Share The Stage series. Performing alongside Mabel and Mae Muller watch their energetic performance of Put A Record On in the video below.
From: Hamburg, Germany
For fans of Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Billie Eilish
Key track: ControlZoe Wees, the 18-year-old Hamburg-based artist, is someone we’re extremely looking forward to seeing grow in 2021, with our Managing Director, Isabel Garvey, already stating that it’s her rising star for this year! Her debut single, Control, has become a breakout global hit. The raw and emotional ballad is autobiographical, telling the story of Wees’ struggle through rolandic childhood epilepsy – a disease that had her fighting for years with subjects like loss of control, helplessness and exclusion from a very young age.
In November, the rising talent opened for Sam Smith during their livestream at Abbey Road for the launch of the new album, Love Goes. You can go behind-the-scenes with Zoe in her latest vlog as she discusses what it means to be performing at Abbey Road, how she began her musical career and a song she wishes she could have written.
From: Hackney, London
For fans of Kelis, Rina Sawayama
Key track: ATMLondon-based artist Bree Runway grew up in the borough of Hackney, sharing a modern creative pop philosophy with the likes of Charli XCX and Billie Eilish, while sounding similar to the likes of Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliot. Bree is a musical chameleon, no two tracks sound the same. Her Yung Baby Tate collaboration DAMN DANIEL embraces nostalgic ’80s pop, LITTLE NOKIA sounds reminiscent of early ’00s pop, while ROLLS ROYCE is imbued with reggae bounce.
At the end of 2020, we welcomed Bree Runway to Abbey Road for something special which will be revealed soon.
From: Walthamstow, London
For fans of Amy Winehouse, Jill Scott and Emeli Sande
Key track: The Hardest Part
Born and raised in Walthamstow, Olivia Dean’s career officially took flight when she uploaded demos onto SoundCloud in 2018, eventually securing her a deal with the London-based indie label AMF. Her debut EP, OK Love You Bye, released in November, provided the perfect introduction to her talents, a raw, vintage soulful sound, which echoes Amy Winehouse and Jill Scott.
Olivia returned to Abbey Road in the Summer as part of Barclaycard's Share the Stage, where she performed an intimate rendition of Baby Come Home - watch below.
From: Brighton, UK
For fans of RAYE and Mabel
Key track: Don'tAfter being discovered on SoundCloud, GRACEY began working with the Xenomania hit-making crew (Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys) when she was just 16. GRACEY cut her teeth working with other stars, co-writing tracks for Jonas Blue, Rita Ora and Sub Focus, and teamed up with 220 Kid for the Top Ten hit Don’t Need Love. Inspired by Lorde, recent solo tracks such as Empty Love and Don’t showcase her gleaming pop melodies and emotionally resonant lyrics.
GRACEY was also part of Barclaycard's Share the Stage series at Abbey Road, where she performed alongside Kaiser Chiefs and Jetta.
For fans of Charli XCX and Camila Cabello
Key track: Couple HoursDutch-born, London-based singer/songwriter Eyelar Mirzazadeh, more commonly known as Eyelar is an artist that your favourite artist wants to work with. Eyelar’s songwriting resume boasts credits with the likes of Demi Lovato (Anyone), Little Mix (Told You So) and Camila Cabello (Scar Tissue). We were also delighted to welcome Eyelar into our Gatehouse studio several years back with Charli XCX where she wrote the hit After the Afterparty.
Eyelar has since released her first single as an artist in her own right. The single Couple Hours* was released last year, written by Eyelar and produced by Levi Lennox (Zayn Malik’s Pillow Talk and Anne Marie’s Perfect for Me) and is now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Eyelar was also part of Nile Rodgers' writing camp which took place last Feburary over Studios Two, Three and the Gatehouse. After the camp finished, we caught up with Eyelar who gave us her tips on songwriting, what goes on behind-the-scenes in a session and how her single Couple Hours was written. You can watch here.
From: Kentish Town, London
For fans of Billie Eilish, Little Mix and Rihanna
Key track: TherapistRising star Mae Muller has larger-than-life vocals in her contagious pop melodies, and frank and relatable lyrics. With support from musical peers such as Sam Smith, Mabel, Liam Payne and Little Mix, the North London singer has released latest EP, no one else, not even you. The eight-track project showcases the fearlessly honest yet irresistibly fun songwriting that’s seen her hailed as “a clear pop sensation in the making” by Wonderland.
Mae was also part of our Barclaycard Share the Stage series, which saw her perform an incredible rendition of Therapist.