At UD we like to celebrate women at every opportunity. As we conclude Women’s History Month, our resident DJs Maria Hanlon and Jojo Jones present 10 artists they’re tipping for greatness in 2022 and beyond…
Ruby Francis Influenced by ’70s soul/funk and 90s R&B, artist and producer Ruby Francis creates a stand out sound that will have you singing along in no time.
Song to check: Stuck Right Here
Ends: North London
Ruby Francis is making major moves in the music industry in 2022 already. Not only is she a singer but she’s also a songwriter, producer, oh and she plays keys too, if the rest wasn’t enough. Ruby released her Neo-Soul and R&B infused debut album ‘Archives’, last November, in which she features Jazztronica duo Blue Lab Beats, her friend and fellow singer/ songwriter Laura Roy and R&B soul singer Kadeem Tyrell, amongst others. The album showcases Ruby’s soulful vocals, beautifully woven around perfectly produced instrumentals. Catch Ruby performing in some of London’s most loved venues such as The Jazz Cafe on Sunday 10th April where you can witness her talent, front row. (MH) Support Ruby Francis HERE.
RADA RADA has already made a name for herself on London’s underground scene with her distinctive sound, placing her firmly on the list of ones to watch this year.
Song to check: Burn One
Russian-born, London-based singer/songwriter RADA has become an exciting and enigmatic voice, releasing a string of strong, eclectic singles thus far. RADA’s music has the ability to transport you to a make-believe place, filled with hazy memories and dreamy vocals, whilst she shares her stories with you. Her single, ‘Burn One’, is instantly catchy and cinematic making it your new go-to song for when you’re feeling reflective. RADA performed at Fred Perry’s All Our Tomorrows event last summer as well as at Boiler Room’s System Restart event in 2020 and we’re eagerly waiting for her next performance to be announced soon. (MH) Support RADA HERE.
Asha Gold An exciting new artist who’s gone from classical musician to rising R&B star.
Song to check: Exes
Ends: West London
Nineteen year-old Asha Gold has become renowned for her ability to merge powerful pop melodies with smooth R&B production and has already been featured on major radio stations including BBC R1, BBC 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and KISS FM. Asha makes the kind of songs that you’ll know all the words to through her use of empowering lyrics and catchy choruses. She also knows exactly how to connect and engage with her fans in a playful way. For the release of her song ‘Margarita’, she drove round London in her ‘MargMobile’ serving up ice cold Margaritas for fans on a sunny Friday afternoon. She also asked fans to send in submissions of what they’d say to their exes which she then printed out and posted all around London. Her songs are feel-good and will be on heavy rotation once you hear them. (MH) Support Asha Gold HERE:
Demae Singer, songwriter and producer making classical soul current with her soothing, jazz-infused sound.
Song to check: Basic Love
Ends: North West London
Demae first came on the scene as one third of Hawk House, an experimental hip-hop group who won over the likes of Mac Miller, Ghostpoet, Wretch 32 and Jill Scott. Now Demae is focusing on her solo work and has teamed up with production partner Eun for her debut album ‘Life Works Out…Usually’, which came out in 2020. The album arrived at the perfect time when we needed some optimism and calmness to get us through the pandemic. As well as releasing her album, Demae also performed at Gilles Peterson’s festival We Out Here and Bird On The Wire last year. Her performance of ‘Use It’ received almost 400,000 plays on COLORS YouTube channel. With all of this already behind her it looks like Demae is set for a big 2022 ahead. (MH) Support Demae HERE.
Summer Pearl Summer Pearl combines the ingredients of Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, reggae and Blues to form a unique sound like no other.
Song to check: The Boy (ft ENNY)
Ends: South London
Since leaving BRIT School in 2012, Summer Pearl has been busy writing, recording and performing across the UK and worldwide. Her popularity is partly due to her care-free and straight to the point lyrics alongside her memorable melodies. Summer Pearl has already collaborated with ENNY on ‘The Boy’, written for Kojey Radical and worked with The Silhouettes Project on ‘Rising’. Summer Pearl takes inspiration from music icons such as Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu, but still sounds refreshing and original and as a result, has carved out a lane of her own. She also demonstrates that she can do it all, showing off her fast flowing hip hop style in ‘War (A-Side)’ but also revealing her slower, slightly softer sound in ‘Soul’. She’s a rapidly rising star and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her this year. (MH) Support Summer Pearl HERE.
BaggE Alternative Neo-soul singer songwriter with audacious energy and sensational beats.
Song to check: My Love
Ends: North London
Amongst the hordes of London based singer-songwriters, BaggE (pronounced Baggy) distinguishes herself easily. With an iconic fashion sense and songs grounded in old style soul, with a new-wave edge, this North-Londoner has gone from strength to strength since her 2019 ‘Reserving the Prior‘ EP. Her whole discography belongs on your chill playlists, as well as your summer bops collection. A stand out is her 2020 collaboration with producer Tyegreen, ‘What About Summer?’, with Solange-esque drum beats and honey sweet vocals. But BaggE isn’t all smooth and sugar, this Neo Soul singer doesn’t shy away from hard hitting lyrics, as well as venturing out of her comfort zone on old school hip hop style tracks such as ‘Round’. BaggE has performed live at Holloway Sound Factory, Sofar Sounds, and most recently (after recovering from tonsillitis!) at The Gallery, for the first Half Cut London event. (JJ) Support BaggE HERE.
ROZZZQWEEN Heavy beats, jazz samples and a big, impactful Brummie soul voice.
Song to check: Sunday Afternoon
Ends: Birmingham / London
There is a lot of chat about genre bending these days, and whether genres even exist anymore. An artist like ROZZZQWEEN proves that questions like these don’t even matter because the music they make is fundamentally *fire*, regardless of genre. Mixing trap, R&B, soul, jazz and even close to a drill beat here and there, this Queen is a star in the making. Unexpectedly, her drip transcends into her fashion sense too, go check out her insta to see some fire fits. I first heard of this singer live at a Venus Collective event, and their voice floored me, so big it reached every person and every corner of the crowded room. Their discography does not disappoint, especially her no-skips-Amy-winehouse-esque 2021 EP, Damned If I Don’t. Expect big things from this singer, and read more about her in her recent UD reviewed performance at The Juice Live. (JJ) Support ROZZZQWEEN HERE.
Puellae Ethereal future pop meets empowering lyrics and effortless vocals.
Song to check: White Durag
Ends: Coventry / London
Puellae, or Baby P as she also goes by, somehow mixes bad bitch lyrics with the most welcoming, adoring beats and sounds. Exploring and mixing genres of trap, R&B, pop & future beats, her latest single ‘Baggitarius’ delves into her relationship with a certain Sagittarius, made for soundtracking your afters or even your early mornings with a mellow beat and layered vocals for days. I am so excited to see what this artist will get up to next as she keeps us on her toes with every release, coming through softer, celestial sounds in her song 2019 EP ‘Cloud 22‘, only to follow up with sexy Vimbai-Rose (who also happens to be Baby P’s bestie) collaboration ‘Space Love’. Explore my interview with Puellae on Voices Radio. (JJ) Support Puellae HERE.
BINA. London’s answer to Kelela, an alt soul/ R&B voice full of gravitas and energy, with fire production to match.
Song to check: Mercedes to Hades ft Lex Amor, Intalekt
Ends: Brighton/ South-East London
BINA.’s 2021 EP was entitled ‘This Is Not A Film’, but her music sure does make you feel like the main character in your very own love story. With catchy beats and a calming voice, this south-east London based singer expresses so much potential, as she transcends alternative R&B, neo-soul and pop influences in her tracks. With features from the likes of the sensational up & coming rapper Lex Amor, BINA shows a darker side of herself in her lyrics of ‘Mercedes’ to ‘Hades’ and ‘Dark Cloud’. Her honesty and raw talent shines, and I am sure we will continue to be empowered and impressed by BINA. with what she does next. (JJ) Support BINA. HERE.
Akemi Foxx Soothing production and creative lyrics for the chillest alternative R&B vibes
Song to check: Lemon Tea
Ends: Manchester / South London
Akemi (pronounced A-Kay-Me) has been a one to watch for the past few years, as she continues to impress and out-do herself. Her stand out single, ‘Lemon Tea’, was in everyone’s headphones when it was first released back in 2020, and still firmly belongs in your chill R&B playlists. Foxx followed up with her first EP, ‘Colour You In’, five songs of relaxing and soulful goodness. Collaborating frequently with her producer Teo, who highlights Foxx’s exquisite soothing tone, Akemi was featured on fellow Mancunian’s Children of Zeus’ 2021 album Balance, and even supported them on a few tour dates. Her latest single ‘Carry On’ promises big things from the chilled out- Erykah Badu like drums and chords. (JJ) Support Akemi Foxx HERE.
Words by Maria Hanlon (MH) & Jojo Jones (JJ)