Pale Waves have emerged as the most-tipped new act heading into 2018, according to Music Week research.
As January nears its end and the tips lists begin to dry up, the Manchester four-piece come out victorious in a crowded market.
The news represents a shift from 2017’s results, when Rag’N’Bone Man, AJ Tracey and Declan McKenna jointly occupied top spot. Some will surely say that the ubiquity of Pale Waves, signed to Dirty Hit, represents a small victory for guitar music.
The findings also suggest that, while the new music landscape appears busier than ever, Pale Waves are out on their own as 2018’s most likely to.
However, perhaps it’s more useful to concentrate on and celebrate the creativity, personality and range of 2018’s most-recommended acts. As the rest of the Top 5 (outlined below) shows, there’s new talent coming from across the spectrum.
Here’s that Top 5 in full:
- Pale Waves
- Lewis Capaldi, IAMDDB
- Yonaka, Yaeji, Ms Banks
- Sigrid, Superorganism, Yxng Bane
- Rex Orange County, Mabel, Bad Sounds, Alma
The final five was derived from collating lists from BBC Sound Of…, The Independent, Gigwise, DIY, NME, Google Play Music, Vevo DSCVR, MTV Brand New, The Guardian, TicketWeb, Yahoo, Radio X, The Evening Standard, Capital Extra, High Snobiety, Tidal, Slacker, Metro, Dork, Selector Radio, The Line Of Best Fit and BBC Radio 1Xtra.
Unlike last year, the BRITs Critics’ Choice Winner, Jorja Smith, does not feature (however, Smith was heavily tipped in 2017). Also absent is Ramz, who's gleefully showing that you don't need to be widely-tipped to make an impact. Sigrid, the eventual winner of the BBC’s poll, places fourth.
Now comes the inevitable question: how many records will these newcomers shift? As Music Week’s most recent editorial points out, the most appropriate answer may well be: does it even matter?
And with a feeling persisting that hard work, innovation and intrigue are fuelling new music at the moment, the industry is busying itself by throwing its weight behind these artists so as they can excel wherever possible, be that on streaming platforms, on the live circuit, in the charts or anywhere else.
Yxng Bane and Mabel, for example, dwarf Pale Waves and IAMDDB’s streaming and sales figures, but the flexibility of this part of the industry affords them a level playing field all the same.
Finally, Music Week’s aggregated list is an opportunity to chart the exciting progress of a group of acts who have been hard at work since long before the press got involved. We first spoke to Pale Waves in March last year, while their van was parked at a service station between Glasgow and Manchester.
Now it only remains to see what they, and every other new act starting 2018 with a spring in their step, will do next…
Pale Waves feature alongside Mabel and Catherine McGrath on the cover of the new edition of Music Week. Read about the seven artists that join them on our Class Of 2018 list - including IAMDDB, Kojo Funds and Tom Walker - here. Catch up on parts one and two of our collection of industry leaders’ new music recommendations.
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Additional reporting by Sarah Thomas