Dorothy Hui, Safiya Lambie-Knight, Golnar Khosrowshahi & more pick the singles of 2022

Dorothy Hui, Safiya Lambie-Knight, Golnar Khosrowshahi & more pick the singles of 2022

It's the end of another year and that means it's time once again for Music Week to hand the floor to the biggest names in the business to pick their favourite tracks of the past 12 months. We've already brought you their album picks and, here we gather 80+ executives from across the industry to tell us about the tracks that lit up 2022...

Dorothy Hui, SVP of digital and audience development at 4th Floor Creative, Sony Music UK
“Minor Feelings by Rina Sawayama. Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings was a revelatory read for me – she so incisively articulates the Asian American experience and the association of emotion with it. Hearing this song and how Rina performs it as an opening track is a glimpse of complete catharsis to come in the album that follows.”

Safiya Lambie-Knight, head of music, UK & Ireland, Spotify
“Dave - Starlight. I am a massive Dave fan, but had Starlight on repeat from the moment it was released, I love it! It was also my top track on Wrapped this year and Dave was my top artist on our Rap UK Day 1 Club campaign in October, so it makes sense really! I also love that he wrote and produced it himself and it was the first UK number 1 to be written and produced by one person since 2014.”

Golnar Khosrowshahi, CEO, Reservoir Media
“Ben Harper’s We Need To Talk About It – for both the music and the message. These are words we need to hear as a society, and Ben delivers them so beautifully.”

Lucy Dickins, global head of contemporary music and touring
“Knucks’ Alpha House and The Old Style Raiders by Jamie T.”

Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK
“I liked Ashanti and Aitch’s Baby, Ardee, Venbee and Goddard’s Messy In Heaven (Remix), Central Cee’s Doja and Burna’s Last Last because my boys both loved them as well. Happy families.”

Selina Webb, EVP, Universal Music UK
“Self Esteem’s Fucking Wizardry is epic, empowering, awesomeness.”

Joe Kentish, president, Warner Records UK
“B.O.T.A (Baddest Of Them All) by Eliza Rose & Interplanetary Criminal – UK dance music at its culture-clashing best.”

Austin Daboh, EVP, Atlantic Records UK
“There were too many to pick just one. Firstly, Tion Wayne’s IFTK because I love the fact he’s now building a catalogue of hits he can perform on the biggest stages, including gold certified IFTK. Secondly, Burna Boy’s Last Last, the song of the summer that confirmed him as the preeminent African artist globally.”

Mark Mitchell, co-president, Parlophone
“It’s linked to a favourite moment. Saturday afternoon at Glastonbury at the Park Stage - Gabriels Professional.” 

Anya Du Sauzay, head of marketing, Parlophone
“Diplo Ft Miguel - Don’t Forget My Love. My soundtrack to an incredible festival-filled summer post-COVID.”

Shani Gonzales, managing director, Warner Chappell Music UK
“I loved Dua Lipa’s cover of Freedom! ’90, which she did for Yves Saint Laurent for its Libre campaign. It was a bold choice to take on such a big song and it really worked. I hope it introduced a younger generation of fans to a classic piece of songwriting.”

Mike McCormack, MD, UMPG UK
Sam Fender’s Seventeen Going Under – what a tune.”

Briony Turner, co-president, Atlantic Records
“I have many favourite songs this year, but at the moment I’m really loving Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift.”

Alistair Norbury, president, repertoire & marketing UK, BMG
“Peaches by Alison Sudol because it heralds the return of a talent we have missed since the last A Fine Frenzy album in 2012.”

Lisa Wilkinson, director, UK marketing, BMG
“It's a tie between Kendrick's N95 and Billie Eilish's TV. Kendrick is just a master at his craft and I love how Billy dropped TV and The 30th out of nowhere – it really felt like there was no label overthinking timelines and best practices.”

Dominique Casimir, chief content officer, BMG
“King - Florence + The Machine. Lyrics are really important to me and she has the most dramatic, powerful woman’s voice. I just love her songs.”

Kwame Kwaten, director, Ferocious Talent
“Labels by Blue Lab Beats. It’s simply effortless, gorgeous hip-hop, it’s soulful but still very capable of sounding like it’s from the golden era and 2022-23 at the same time. I haven’t stopped listening to it since it came out.” 

George Ergatoudis, head of music UK & Ireland, Apple
“Paolo Nutini’s Radio is my favourite track of the year. It’s a timeless classic – everything about the song is great: deep, but ambiguous lyrics, a powerful vocal, a tremendous melody, I could go on, but I won’t.”

Matt Wilkinson, The Matt Wilkinson Show, Apple Music 1
“Jockstrap - Glasgow. Taylor and Georgia have a habit of always blowing my mind with their music, but even I didn’t expect this from them.”

Tom Connaughton, MD, UK, Spotify
“‘What calamities usher all our brilliance to the hills!’ An amazing line, from an amazing song by an amazing band. Roman Holiday from Fontaines DC.”

Nick Burgess, co-president, Parlophone
“Delilah (Pull Me Out Of This) by Fred Again... I love the whole crying on the dancefloor vibe that Fred has nailed in his music. Real emotion in a dance song is hard to pull off but this song manages to combine melancholy and euphoria perfectly.”

Amber Davis, head of A&R, Warner Chappell Music UK
“I’m going to cheat slightly and pick Ayra Starr’s Bloody Samaritan. It actually came out in 2021, but really made waves this year. It became the first No.1 song by a solo female artist to top the charts in Nigeria and is having a real impact in the UK and US. That aside, I just think it is a massive feelgood tune that I had on repeat all summer.”

Leroy Harris, artist marketing lead, Spotify
FLO, Cardboard Box – it's everything I love about ’00s R&B through a 2022 lens.”

Liz Goodwin, GM, Atlantic
“Wet Leg’s Chaise Longue – it seems to have followed me around and soundtracked many moments of my year. In a good way.”

Laura Lukanz, head of music industry, UK, Australia & New Zealand, Amazon Music UK
“Burna Boy – Last Last, just a straight anthem! Lots of my favourite songs this year featured samples from across the eras – Diet Coke, Plan B, Break My Soul/Cuff It, the list goes on… Mixing the new with the old never gets tiring for me.”

Chris Price, head of music, BBC Radio 1/1Xtra
“Unholy by Sam Smith & Kim Petras for its bravery. Sam is proof positive that you’re only ever one song away from your next hit, having had the courage not just to come back with a bold new sound, but bravely accepting our invitation to debut the song live on the radio before it was even released. Cue huge event radio moment, massive global smash for Sam and the fastest growing YouTube clip we have ever posted. Job done.”

Jodie Cammidge, co-managing director, Polydor
“D4vd Here With Me. David is 17 years old; he makes music alone at home in his sister’s closet on his iPhone. He is as real as it gets. Listen to the lyrics in this song and tell me it’s not one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever heard. Also, Steve Lacy, Bad Habit. What a song.”

Andreea Gleeson, CEO, TuneCore
“Sevdaliza - Woman Life Freedom. This single was so impactful for me. The death of Mahsa Amini was so tragic and when I heard Sevdaliza’s song, it moved me deeply. I really admire artists like Sevdaliza who use their craft to drive change in the world.” 

Chloë Roberts, COO, Young
“Romy & Fred Again.. – Strong, because it’s an absolute banger and is going to have us dancing our way into 2023.” 

Milana Lewis, CEO, Stem
“It’s a very close tie between Joji’s Glimpse of Us and Harry Styles’ Love Of My Life. Both of them have beautiful melodies. I’m not usually one to listen to ballads, but I’ve been drawn to these songs. When I look back at my most listened to songs this year, these are the top two.”

Steve Homer, CEO, AEG Presents UK
“Never Gonna Not Dance Again by Pink. I like a bit of uplifting pop.”

Nadia Khan, chair, AIM & founder, Women In CTRL
“FLO’s Not My Job. FLO have been incredibly consistent in delivering quality R&B music. I love how unified the trio are vocally and harmonically. Job well done all year around!”

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, CEO, UK music
“I can’t stop listening to Unholy by Sam Smith and Kim Petras. It’s electric and is one of those tracks that you just can’t stay still to as you listen – it makes you want to move!”

Annabella Coldrick, CEO, MMF
“‘I Do This All The Time by Self Esteem captured how so many women (and men) feel. I love the fact she’s completely recreated her career and is a true artist using life as her art. She is also another Margate/Yorkshirewoman!”

Kim Bayley, CEO, ERA
“One Republic’s I Ain’t Worried is a great catchy pop song, and possibly a favourite because I also loved Top Gun Maverick, both the song and the movie reminded me of times gone by!”

Helen Smith, executive chair, IMPALA
“Oiseau from the album Hymne Au Soleil by Laurent Bardainne, Tigre d’Eau Douce on Heavenly Sweetness, with vocals from Bertrand Bellin. I love Bertrand Bellin’s voice and this album is a favourite.”

Sheryl Nwosu, chair, The Black Music Coalition
“I feel like it’s such an obvious choice choosing a song from this artist but I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that Beyoncé’s Virgo’s Groove has had me in an absolute chokehold… It’s on repeat every day!”

Kim Frankiewicz, EVP, worldwide A&R, Concord
“Omar Apollo – Evergreen. It has an old school Motown feel.”

Andrea Czapary Martin - CEO, PRS for Music
“Last year I saw Joesef play a set at SXSW and the breezy Thinking Of You cover he did really stuck with me. Sister Sledge originally released it in 1984 but this is one of those examples of a timeless song that stands the test of time. Recommended!”

Cassandra Gracey, president, 4th Floor Creative
“Remind Me – Tom Grennan. It is a magnificent record. I look forward to hearing it live at the sold-out O2 show in March, if you want to come with me, let me know.”

Dipesh Parmar, president, Columbia
“Schak feat Kim English – Moving All Around (Jumpin’). Ministry Of Sound released earlier this year via our JV with Patrick Topping’s Trick label. As soon as he started playing it out early summer there was a buzz around it. The faster tempo alongside the incredible vocals from the late great Kim English and superb production from Schak really has caught wind. It’s a credible dance record direct from the club and the footage of Patrick playing at Creamfields late summer is unreal. DJs like Danny Howard and John Summit also played it all summer long.”

Amy Wheatley, MD, Columbia
“Too many, but Problems by Floating Points is up there!”

Glyn Aikins, co-president, Since 93
“Kendrick Lamar Feat. Blxst & Amanda Reifer – Die Hard. I’m a massive fan of the production, this is such a banger.”

Charisse Beaumont, chief executive, Black Lives In Music
“Bloody Samaritan (Remix) by Ayra Starr featuring Kelly Roland. Kelly’s verse is like Rocky horns to me when I’ve had a rough day. It’s so empowering. Plus Ayra is an amazing artist. Heart Part 5 by Kendrick Lemar has to get an honorary mention.” 

Jack Melhuish, director of marketing, strategy & partnerships, Parlophone
“Fred Again..’s Jungle is special. One of the best builds on a track and the blend of styles and layering is wild. Love that a lot of elements from early 90s electronic genres are now finding their way back into music at the moment. It’s a very special time for dance music right now in general.”

Alex Hardee, agent & partner,Wasserman Music
“I am not going to name one of my artists on purpose, so I’ll pick New West’s Those Eyes”

Helen Thomas, head of BBC Radio 2
“I love Bruce Springsteen’s version of Frank Wilson’s Do I Love You (Indeed I do). It’s a brilliant interpretation of a classic track which fills me with joy every time I hear it bursting out of Radio 2.” 

Sam Moy, head of BBC Radio 6 Music
“KH - Looking at Your Pager.I’ve played this relentlessly.”

Jeff Smith, head of music, BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music
“Sigrid’s incredible interpretation of Neil Young’s classic Track Old Man in the Radio 2 Piano Room, because I think she brought the track back to life for a new generation and to many who had never heard the song before.”

Sheniece Charway, head of artist relations, YouTube
“I’ve had so many tracks on repeat this year, this is really hard to decide. I have to mention Asake - Organize, Beyonce - Cuff It and Knucks, K-Trap ft Skepta - Warm (remix), but my favourite song has to be Burna Boy’s Last Last. The sample was enough for me to know it was going to be a hit but there isn’t one person that I know that doesn’t know the lyrics to this track.”

Paul Hourican, global head of music, TikTok
“LF System’s Afraid To Feel is house Music at its finest, it was so cool to see this song become the soundtrack to so many people's summer.”

David Morgendorff, head of music, TikTok UK
“Dave’s Starlight. A masterclass in lyricism and culture, this release also heralded Dave's first big trending song on TikTok, major chart success and some excellent Duets from the man himself.”

Vanessa Bosåen, managing director, Virgin Music UK
“Fucking Wizardry – Self Esteem. This was one of the first demos I heard coming into my role at Virgin and it was one of those, ‘What the fuck is this?’ moments, in the best way. What Rebecca has achieved in the past 12 months has been phenomenal. As an artist she knows exactly who she is, and she keeps telling us, and it’s a thing of beauty.” 

Rebecca Allen, co-president, EMI
“It has to be Unholy by Sam Smith and Kim Petras. I remember Jo Charrington playing this to me a while back and just thinking how sonically disruptive it was. I’m not sure anyone could have predicted just how impactful this song would become, but hands down, it’s the best track of 2022!” 

Ben Mortimer, president, Polydor
Fontaines DC’s Skinty Fia. I just love them.”

Louis Bloom, president, Island
“Biased here, but FLO’s Cardboard Box. It’s one of those unique songs that is as brilliant now as the first time you hear it, it continues to grow and not just in the UK. And it’s only the beginning for this special act.”

Alex Boateng, co-president, 0207 Def Jam
“Bad To Me – Wizkid. A Vibe! Or Bloody Civilian – How To Kill A Man. One of the most potent debut songs I’ve ever heard and she produced it all too. She’s special!”

Rob Pascoe, managing director, Motown UK
“Yunè Pinku’s DC Rot. First heard this on Friday night radio and became instantly hooked. A wonderful collision of everything I love about UK club culture. Still bangs and still hits hard. She is hugely talented and one to watch.” 

Taponeswa Mavunga, director of Africa, Sony Music UK
“Last Last by Burna Boy. It just instantly connects me to this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, the very first one in three years which was just amazing energy and this song was the anthem.” 

Trevor Nelson, DJ, BBC Radio 2
“Plastic Off The Sofa – Beyoncé. Her vocals on it are great. It’s the sort of song I’ve always wanted her to make.”

David Ventura, UK president, co-MD and SVP international, Sony Music Publishing
“New Gold by Gorillaz, feat. Tame Impala and Bootie Brown. It’s impossible to resist picking a collaboration of my heroes and musical masters.”

Kanya King, founder & CEO, MOBO
“I'm not sure I can pick a favourite track amongst all the phenomenal talent out there, look at our best song nominees, each and every one is hugely deserving, from Aitch & Ashanti's Baby, Central Cee's Doja, Dave's Starlight, Digga D & Stillbrickin' with Pump 101, Dreya Mac, Felix The 1st & Finch Fetti's Own Brand (Baddie) and Potter Payper and TiggsDaAuthor’s Gangsteritus”

Emma Bownes, VP of venue programming (Europe), The O2
“I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am by Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner is the best songwriter of his generation.”

Tim Major, co-MD, Sony Music Publishing
“It obviously wasn't released this year but one of the biggest moments of 2022 has to be Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill sync in Stranger Things. Not only did the song reach No.1 in the UK and around the world, but it also introduced a whole new generation to an iconic song and to an artist who writes and produces everything herself.”

Rebecca Prochnik, director of creative strategy, UK music, UTA
“Libre by the Belgian pop heroine Angèle. She sings classic pop in French and with lyrical intelligence and for all of those three things, I have a huge soft spot.”

Jillian Gerngross, director, Europe, Amazon Music
“Any song by Cat Burns is a standout for me, including We’re Not Kids Anymore and Go. Her voice cuts through today’s music landscape straight to one’s soul. I fell in love with Cat’s live performance of Go for Amazon Music with Sam Smith. Excellent for staring out of bus windows while contemplating life.”

Faron McKenzie, head of BBC Radio 1Xtra
“For me, this is Lucky Daye – Over. Lucky Daye and producer Dernst D'Mile Emile are a match made in heaven and their flip of Musiq Soulchild’s Half Crazy is R&B perfection!”

Tega Oghenejobo, president, Mavin Records
“There are so many, but one that really stands out and that I identify strongly with is DJ Khaled’s God Did, I’m a spiritual person and believe there is someone above who has plans for us. It captures the way I look at life, it reminds me that we are blessed, we are lucky and God has a plan for us all and sometimes when God’s plan manifests you say. I am also a huge fan of Jay Z, I love the way he has built his career and his entrepreneurship and I love how Fridayy took the hook on that track. When young talent can deliver big hook ideas I'm very impressed and I’m happy to have discovered him via that track.”

Christian D'Acuña, senior programming director (UK), The O2
“Won’t Stand Down by Muse. They’re one of my favourite bands, and this is one of my favourite songs they’ve ever written. I was lucky enough to see this song played live a couple of times in 2022, and it did not disappoint!”

Zena White, COO, Partisan
“Sudan Archives - Selfish Soul”

Remi Harris, founder, Remi Harris consulting
“Cardboard Box by FLO”

Merck Mercuriadis, CEO & founder, Hipgnosis
“Nicki Minaj’s Super Freaky Girl as it demonstrates the true value of a classic song, in this case Rick James’ Super Freak, which has been interpolated and sampled over and over again and continues to be a smash. From Super Freak, to U Can’t Touch This, to Super Freaky Girl it illustrates the true value of song copyrights.”

Ben Wynter, founder, Unstoppable Music Group/co-founder, Power Up
“Checkmate by Knucks featuring Lex Amor. A song about mental health, something that you don't hear men talk about enough. I think Knucks and Lex tackled this subject in a brilliant and unique way, over a cool instrumental track produced by Dot Inc.”

Lizzie Dickson, head of UK label relations, YouTube
“Sam Smith and Kim Petras' Unholy because it's been a joy to see it take over the world”

Lorna Clarke, director of music, BBC
“Introvert by Little Simz, and Harry Styles’ As It Was. It’s impossible to have one favourite as they do different jobs.”

Michael Adex, CEO, NQ
“There were a lot of tracks that I personally really liked but one in particular meant a lot to me. Aitch featuring Ed Sheeran and My G was the type of record I always wanted Aitch to make, seeing the impact it had on so many people that had a similar relationship with their family member shows the power of music. As an artist it can be very difficult to be vulnerable in your music, it’s a very brave thing because once you put it out there you can’t take it back. There can be a lot of things that come with that; this is part of the unwritten responsibility an artist has.”

Simon Williams, founder, Fierce Panda
“Wilder Days by Morgan Wade. built to make all 50-something indie blokes feel rueful.”

David Bradley, agent, WME
“Spitting Of The Edge Of The World by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Perfume Genius. Huge song and ticks all the right boxes for folks like me who came up in the era of LCD Soundsystem, The Strokes, M83 and so on.”

Barbara Charone, co-founder, MBC PR
“Green Green Grass by George Ezra.” 

Olly Bengough, CEO & founder, KOKO
Woman by Little Simz. She’s probably the most talented female lyricist in the uk rap scene and her duet with Cleo Sol on this track has a certain originality and harmony which is so strong. They performed together at KOKO during our launch season and they blew the roof off the place.” 

Music Week's 2022 In Review issue is out this week.

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