The UK music scene is slowly shifting and becoming more inclusive. Just last year Wireless teamed up with the Smirnoff Equalising Music initiative and Rinse FM to curate an all-woman stage for the festival.
May was also a exciting month for upcoming women in music this year. We had releases from Br3nya, Kali Claire, Jenay Faith and so many more.
With the variation of styles and genres women are exploring followed by the amount of upcoming women in the scene this year, it really feels as if 2019 is the year of the female.
So to showcase this, in no particular order, here’s a list of some great women in music to keep an eye on this year.
Elheist popped up on the radar with her experimental, high energy single ‘Matter Of Fact/Not That Easy’, she then solidified her place as a genre bending, effortless MC with tracks ‘AMO’ and ‘Everytime’.
This year she’s had a flurry of performances at nights such as Pxssy Palace and Southbank Centre’s collaborate club night Concrete Lates, alongside Bbymutha. She also supported Tirza at Scala London.
She now has a monthly show on NTS Radio called QUEST NO MORE, showing that she’s taking all facets of the music scene head on.
2. Charlotte Adigéry
After the release of her album, Zandoli in February this year, Adigery has caught the attention of publications such as Pitchfork, Huckmag and The Guardian. The artist makes playful, giddy electro-pop. On her latest project, she lays down her wispy vocals on hard-hitting production by the indie-duo Soulwax.
Adigery is unconventional with her approach. The visual for ‘Cursed and Cussed’ shows just how she is able to create poignant, boundary pushing sounds that are still authentic and accessible to a wide audience. She’s set to play on Friday 7th June at Field Day this month among other things and is definitely one to watch.
The sultry, deep vocals of this vocalist may sound familiar. Eliza, formally known as Eliza Doolittle, has redefined her artistic vision and is creating a soulful, smoky neo-soul.
Eliza as an artist is charming, creative and self-expressive. This all shines through on the visual for ‘Alone & Unafraid’ which she co-directed with Charlie Robins. The video is a fast-paced, dizzying tour of London’s streetlights with Eliza singing in the centre of the shot.
Last December she released a nine-track project A Real Romantic, which is 34 minutes of fuzzy vocals and lo-fi r&b. This year she’s heading out on tour in support of her new image and album with performances at Scala and Cross The Tracks.
4. Baby Pink
This East-London songstress creates laid-back R&B which borders on poetry. She’s part of the eclectic East London music collective Common Roots.
This year she has performed for Lapel Label, released visuals for her track ‘Timing’ and dropped the song ‘Place Value (Lola’s Interlude)’.
She started off this June by hinting towards a new single, and visuals for the track ‘Learnt Lessons’ on Instagram, showing she has some good things in store for this summer.
Shunaji has already kicked off this year with the drop of her Blue Melon EP in mid-May. The EP is only 15 minutes, but it’s a fluid introduction to her ability to meld sounds and genres. She mixes everything from synth-wave to trip-hop. It’s no wonder the artist is a quadruple threat; She’s a a producer, MC, spoken word artist and songwriter.
The artist has an interesting background, she was born in Lagos, raised in Rome and based in London.
After an EP launch and merchandise in collaboration with Ellesse UK, there’s still even more to come. Shes set to perform on Glastonbury’s Silver Hayes on 29th June and at the Jazz Cafe in September.
6. Lil Halima
Lil Halima’s ability to create a vibe is infallible. So much so that she was discovered by Def Jam Norway through her short singing videos on Instagram.
She started off this year with a COLORS show, followed by a stunning video for the track ‘who do u love’ from her EP ‘for the bright days’. This project follows her February EP ‘for the dark days’.
This September the singer heads to Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands for her European Tour.
This R&B duo is made up of sisters Hope and Millie Katana. The two have a natural chemistry that seeps into their music, which is filled with effortless harmonies.
This year, the duo have already dropped two singles ‘Hope’ and ‘OWT’. The latter enlists the help of Galina Juritz, a composer and violinist, to create an atmospheric and thick textured track.
The two gave us a glimpse into an Abbey Road studio session with Nile Rodgers on Instagram earlier this year, so it’s exciting to see what they have in store.
8. Cassie Rytz
‘Shell’ is a fitting name for this young MC’s single.
Within the first minute of the track, Cassie Rytz’s flow is high octane and fiery. She switches speed and delivers slick wordplay with a complexity that’s expert level.
‘Shell’ is her latest single to date but Rytz has already achieved a lot. She caught the attention of Reprezent and Rinse FM through her energetic freestyles on Instagram. Which later landed her a BBC 1Xtra session with grime legend Sir Spyro.
When Rytz performs she always delivers with an abundance of raw talent showing why you should definitely be on the look out for her this year.
9. Jenay Faith
Jenay is a North London vocalist, with a laid-back flow and unapologetic energy to her music. She dropped her single ‘Jerkish’ at the end of May this year. The track is a creative nod to the artist’s dual heritage and fuses folky strings with a snappy trap drum kit.
With her distinct raspy vocals, effortless style and the success of her latest single, 2019 is destined to be a good year for this artist.
10. Sasha Keable
Sasha Keable’s music has a classic, emotional and confessional neo-soul feel to it. Her latest single ‘Treat Me Like I’m All Yours’ exemplifies all of this. The storytelling is straight from the heart, she tells the tale of a woman longing for the affection of her partner with a humorous twist.
This April she dropped her MAN EP followed by a headline show. She’s yet to let us know what’s next to come and it’s exciting wait for what she’s got coming up next this year.
R.A.E has created an exclusive sound that mixes 90’s hip-hop nostalgia with London sensibilities.
Earlier this year she dropped the two tracks ‘Damn Jermaine’ and ‘Oi Son’ which swiftly avoid the common cliches 90s influenced tracks. Instead they show that she has created a whole the new lane for herself.
‘Damn Jermaine’ blends a boom-bap style beat with RAE’s gentle, soft spoken vocals and rhymes.
The accompanying visuals are playful and give a little nod to the humour and style of early hip-hop videos or 90s sitcoms . The four minute video also exemplifies the effortless storytelling aspect of R.A.E’s raps.
Her unique approach to music and lively-spirit make it easy to anticipate what she has coming next for 2019.
Brenya broke out with two standout releases, ‘Good Food’ and Like Me’. She then dropped an electrifying feature on ‘Tracksuit Maf’ by Reeko Squeeze. She’s hit 2019 with the same (maybe even a little more) energy.
In March, The West-London rapper dropped the track ‘Double Dutch’ followed by a clean, editorial looking visual.
Shortly after, Br3nya did her first live radio freestlyle on 1Xtra with Kenny Allstar.
Throughout ‘Double Dutch’ her tone switches from flirtatious to boastful. She delivers her bars with an infectious confidence making her music an overall feel good vibe.
The West Londoner usually spits on bouncy, afro-infused instrumentals, so her music should definitely be on your radar and in your playlists this summer.
13. Kali Claire
Kali is yet another triple threat to look out for this year, she’s a singer, songwriter and producer from Hackney.
She released the retro, synth pop single ‘Fix My Lonely’ this May followed by her 5-track EP ‘Symptoms Of A Teen’.
As the title suggests Claire cuts through the romanticised lens of teenage lives and gives an realistic portrayal of coming of age.
The EP is filled with rhythmic, afro-swing infused instrumentals, such as the track ‘So Sweet’ featuring Not3s. But Claire remains true to her songwriting, tackling emotional topics with melodic and gentle flair.