Every year, the BBC releases a ranking of five artists they believe will define music over the next 12 months. The annual list serves as a barometer of emerging musical tastes (50 Cent topped the Sound Of 2003, Adele in 2008 and Sam Smith last year), and, needless to say, it's a pretty big deal for every artist involved.
The Sound Of 2015 longlist was announced Sunday (November 30), and it includes: George The Poet, James Bay, Kwabs, Låpsley, Novelist, Rae Morris, Raury, Shamir, Shura, Slaves, SOAK, Stormzy, Sunset Sons, Wolf Alice and Years & Years. While we wait for the final Sound Of 2015 shortlist to be revealed, here are five of those artists who you should get into, like, now.
1. Years & Years
This London-based electro-pop group fuses elements gathered from a variety of '90s sounds -- like New Jack Swing, house and boy band pop -- while still managing to sound fresh and innovative. I could do without the orientalist fetishizing in the "Desire" video, but I'm otherwise totally excited to see what frontman/keyboard player Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy and synth player Emre Turkmen do next.
2. Rae Morris
Stop running up that hill -- Rae Morris will take it from here. The Kate Bush-inspired "Under The Shadows" makes a strong case for the 21-year-old U.K. native's place among the likes of Ellie Goulding, Florence Welch and other distinctively ethereal British singers. Look out for her upcoming debut album, Unguarded.
Fans of Blood Orange, How To Dress Well and Solange -- hell, even Nick Jonas' recent output -- should try to get an invite to this 23-year-old Brit's lo-fi makeout party. Shura's synth-driven R&B material has that gentle touch that makes you wanna find the nearest bed and just liiiiiiiiiiiiie on it. (And maybe some other stuff, too.) Her debut LP is on its way.
I totally didn't get "On The Regular" the first time I watched it. Dance-pop artist Shamir Bailey's disengaged stance struck me as lacking in stage presence, and I started to get a little bothered tbh. But, then I realized: That's the genius of the video -- that a slight, highly styled young guy can utter boastful lyrics like "Yes, yes I'm the best, f--k what you heard" and "Step to me and you will be handled" while looking like he literally couldn't care less if you hear him. In short: here for it.
5. Wolf Alice
Veruca Salt senses, tingling. On "Moaning Lisa Smile," Wolf Alice pair their dreary pop-rock sound with the kind of uplifting yet bittersweet messages usually reserved for cheerier genries. ("Scrap the blues, if the blues don't work/ To make you feel better just because it feels worse.") The London-based quartet -- that's Ellie Rowsell, Joff Oddie, Theo Ellis and Joel Amey -- released their second EP, Creature Songs, in May, and the buzz has only been growing since for their sugary brand of grunge.