If you’re a music fan, you gotta respect the Brits. Decade after decade, they continue to pump out a steady stream of cutting-edge, high-quality music that covers a wide range of genres. And right now is no exception.
At present, a number of innovative, quirky, and overall pretty great female artists seem to be emerging from the U.K. And no, we don’t mean Adele or Ellie Goulding (so retro).
Though there are many to choose from, we picked five of the best artists that really highlight the quality of what new female British musicians are coming out with. So grab a warm beer or a cup of tea and check out these artists. You won’t regret it. Seriously – you’re welcome.
Jessie Ware kicked off her musical career as a London-based backup singer, but she quickly transitioned to a one-woman team. At the beginning of her solo career, she paired up with British DJs SBTRKT and Joker to create some pretty rad, ultramodern music. But it wasn’t until her incredible single “Running” came out in February of this year that we were completely sold on her. In August, she released her debut album Devotion, and it’s definitely one of the best albums of the year. From the funky “No to Love” to the blissful “Sweet Talk,” Ware proves on her debut that she’s here to stay. Check out her latest video for “Night Light” above.
Full disclosure: AlunaGeorge are a two-person team, with Aluna Francis providing the vocals and George Reid the production. It’s Aluna who’s the face of the duo, though, so we’re going to include her in the category of new female British artists.
AlunaGeorge were practically unheard of until the spring of this year, when the British duo released a three-song EP called You Know You Like It on the always-excellent Tri Angle Records. It didn’t take long for the blogs to discover them, and we’re so glad that they did. Their sound mixes early ‘90s-style crooning with futuristic beats in a way that creates nuanced, emotional dance music. “You Know You Like It” and “Your Drums, Your Love” are two of AlunaGeorge’s strongest songs so far, but we know their best is yet to come. The duo is set to release their debut album sometime in 2013, and we can’t wait.
Lianne La Havas
Lianne La Havas is definitely the most folky of these new female British artists. You won’t find any of Jessie Ware or AlunaGeorge’s electronic sounds on her debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, which was released this summer. Instead, La Havas opts for a more acoustic vibe. It’s hard to pin down exactly whom she sounds like, but Sade-meets-Fiona Apple comes pretty close: She’s soulful, yet soft, and sometimes a little spunky. The strongest songs on her debut are the first two: “Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Is Your Love Big Enough?”
Scottish singer Emeli Sandé is probably the most well-known of these new female British artists. Though her debut album Our Version of Events didn’t come out until February of this year, she’s already reached number one on the U.K. charts for albums and singles. She sold out two shows in New York City this April and June, and on top of that, Sandé performed at the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony in London this summer. Talk about a quick rise to fame. Her sound is Leona Lewis-meets-Janelle Monet: powerful, but controlled. Her first single, “Heaven,” is great, but it’s “Next to Me” that really sets Sandé apart from her contemporaries.
Lastly, Charli XCX is the dark horse of the new female British artists. Literally. She has a gothic vibe to her, with ominous dance beats prevalent in most of her songs. Interestingly, though, her beats are often paired with ‘90s pop-like melodies and noises. (See “Nuclear Seasons.”) She’s been around since 2008, and she did release an EP in late 2011, but it was her most recent EP, June’s You’re the One, that really put her on the map. Her debut album is set to release in the U.S. this coming spring, but until then, we can just enjoy her uber-hip music videos. Check out her latest for “So Far Away (Princess Video remix)” here.