Having talked to several music business people over the Winter break, here are some suggestions for people it might be worth keeping an eye on during the coming year. They range from a New Zealand four-piece band to a British r&b star making waves in America.

Ella Mai: British r&b singer-songwriter Ella Mai has already started making a singnificant impact in America. She achieved two Grammy nominations in 2018 and her video for breakthrough single 'Boo'd Up' has scored an amazing 300 million views on YouTube! Mai is from London and her debut self-titled album delighted reviewers who dubbed it a “true throwback r&b record”. It quickly reached 18 in the UK album charts and has performed even better in the USA. Ella Mai now lives in New York and far wider acclaim in both the USA and her UK homeland is anticipated for her over the coming year.

Drax Project: This four-piece from New Zealand have been bubbling under and on the brink of big success for a while. Many believe 2019 will be the year they finally break through and make it. Formed in 2014 by school friends Shaan Singh, Matt Beachen, Sam Thomson and Ben O'Leary, they began their career busking on the streets of Wellington, New Zealand. Their easy-on-the-ear music is smooth but very addictive and traverses a number of genres – from r&b to electro to dance and pop. With more radio play and exposure, they are expected to quickly become very popular.

Sam Fender: A British singer-songwriter - who won the 2018 Brits accolade, following in the footsteps of Adele, Sam Smith, Florence and the Machine, Jessie J etc. The North Shields musician has received much praise following the release of his debut EP in the autumn. Fender is to the more acerbic, socially-aware, rockier side of the British singer-songwriter norm and his musicianship is impressive. His raw sound will be popular with fans who may have become a little weary of the more usual pared-back guitar ballads from other male musicians. Continuing success is predicted for Sam Fender in the coming year.

Self Esteem: Otherwise known as Rebecca Lucy Taylor, who is a talented songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist previously successful as one half of the Sheffield genre-bending duo Slow Club. Now going it alone with an unusual brand of punchy, pop-tinged alternative music, Self Esteem is about to release 'Compliments Please', her debut album which is expected to launch her to big commercial success.

David Ogilvy: Not a new name on the folk-scene, singer David Ogilvy has released three previously acclaimed albums which he draws from in his many live performances. His folk sounds have been compared with the work of cult songwriter Nick Drake and David's talent truly shines. He is the son of the Earl of Airlie, who used to run the Queen's Household as Lord Chamberlain and David's American-born mother Virginia is a lady-in-waiting to the Queen. However, irrespective of his aristocratic background, music industry insiders believe that David Ogilvy's unique style, his Dylanesque phrasing and tones plus his breathtaking fingerpicking on acoustic guitar will see him achieve the recognition his talent deserves in 2019. If David Ogilvy does suddenly rise to huge success, his great-grandfather, the American multi-millionaire arts patron and philanthropist Otto Kahn, would likely have approved. He is credited for starting a fashion in the early 20th century for using the phrase OK by signing bills with his initials – which creditors knew was a gold-plated guarantee.







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