May’s Artist To Watch is Sam Smith, a young (22 years old) British singer-songwriter already turning heads from his appearance on Saturday Night Live and a recent cover of his song “Stay With Me” on The Voice.
Andrew Hozier Byrne, AKA Hozier, is the Irish singer-songwriter who sings the emotionally moving “Take Me To Church,” one of XPN’s 2014 break out songs.
He’s just released his second EP, From Eden, with a full length to come later this year. He’ll be performing at this year’s Non-Commvention in May.
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Fronted by Rachel Price, the band has a fresh take on pop, R&B, blues, rock and soul influences. The band recently released their album, Bad Self Portraits. Recent appearances on The Colbert Report, Letterman, and a critically acclaimed performance at the “Another Day/Another Time” concert celebrating the music of Inside Llewyn Davis concert last September at New York’s Town Hall has set this band into a rising star trajectory. The band’s songs offer a fresh and versatile take on pop, R&B, blues, rock and soul influences with lead singer Rachel Price’s confident voice at the center of the music. Simply put, Lake Street Dive are blowing up. Last month David Dye chose them as a World Cafe Next artist and they recently recorded a session for an upcoming Cafe. They play Union Transfer on April 2nd.
The Districts are an impressive young four-piece from Lititz, in Lancaster County. They do the very Pixies loud-quiet-LOUD thing, but in a more textured way than simply turning their overdrive pedals on and off. Singer Rob Grote’s searing voice cut across the concert hall, blending with the band’s smartly-arranged instrumental interplay.
December’s Artist To Watch is Courtney Barnett, a singer-songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. With two EP’s to her name that she self-released on her own label, Milk! Records, she’s just starting to gain some traction in the States. She played CMJ this past Fall to some excellent reviews which led to coverage on some high profile music blogs.
The Artist To Watch for November is singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer Jonathan Wilson. Wilson just released his second solo record, Fanfare. In the States, the album is out on Downtown Records.
Up until 2011, when he released his critically acclaimed Gentle Spirit, Wilson was mostly a behind the scenes musician. His own studio in Echo Park, – Fivestar Studios – is known for its warm sound and analogue equipment.
UK trio London Grammar began in 2009 as the low-key pursuit of three students at the University of Nottingham. A few years and a couple EP releases down the line, and the eclectic electronic trio developed its sound into the gorgeous and sophisticated full-length record, If You Wait.