Maverick, genre-defying rapper Octavian has received BBC Music’s Sound of 2019.
Endorsed by Drake, however totally self-made, the 23-year-old has perked ears with a sequence of unpredictable EPs that juggle grime, home, pop and gospel.
He beat pop singer King Princess and balladeer Grace Carter to take the title, which has beforehand gone to Adele, Sam Smith, Haim and Sigrid.
“That is lit,” the Southeast Londoner instructed the BBC. “I do not even know the best way to really feel proper now… Mum, I made it!”
Octavian is the primary rapper to win the Sound Of… since 50 Cent topped the inaugural checklist in 2003.
He was chosen by a panel of 136 critics, broadcasters and DJs, together with former nominees Ellie Goulding and Stormzy – who have been every requested to call three of their favorite new acts.
Among the many voters was Anna Karatziva, head of music at MTV UK, who referred to as Octavian “a singular and thrilling expertise with an unimaginable imaginative and prescient and fervour”.
“From the very first second I heard his music I used to be hooked,” mentioned Benji B, who was the primary DJ to play Octavian on Radio 1 and 1Xtra.
“The primary couple of tunes he launched – Occasion Right here and Palms – have been among the most futuristic, ahead considering, uncooked and provoking tunes to come back out of the UK within the final two years.”
Nevertheless, the star has not had a simple path to fame, spending most of his teenage years homeless after being thrown out of college and, later, his household dwelling.
“A yr in the past I used to be poor, I had no cash,” he instructed the BBC.
“However I used to be by no means depressed. I used to be by no means within the mode to surrender. Round me it was dangerous, however I saved motivated.”
On successful the Sound of 2019, he added: “If I can get this, I can get something. 2019 goes to be an ideal yr.”
Born in France and raised in London, Octavian is dedicated to broadening the sound of UK hip-hop – which he says is commonly oversimplified as grime or drill. His debut single, Occasion Right here, strikes from ominous verses to euphoric, arms-aloft choruses – incomes him a shout-out from Drake.
- From the streets to the charts: Meet Octavian
- Listen to a mix of Octavian’s influences on BBC Sounds
2) King Princess
King Princess, aka teen prodigy Mikaela Straus, solely launched her first single 1950 in February – however it’s already been streamed 183 million occasions on Spotify. A part of a brand new wave of LGBTQ pop, her songs are liberating, free-spirited explorations of affection, intercourse and queer id. With large choruses.
- King Princess: ‘I’m cool with being a queer icon’
- Listen to King Princess’s influences on BBC Sounds
three) Grace Carter
A self-professed “indignant little one”, Grace Carter turned to songwriting to assist her confront the anger she felt in direction of the daddy that left her. Her heartfelt ballads have the emotional power to interrupt hearts in two – and even she is not immune. “I’ve to cease myself from crying generally,” she instructed the BBC.
Representing Northampton, slowthai whips up the fury and disillusionment of Technology Z right into a thrillingly compelling mix of grime, punk and hip-hop. He raps about inside metropolis poverty, arduous knocks, drug dealing and poisonous masculinity – with an aesthetic that is by some means each darkish and playful.
- slowthai: ‘Telling the story of the people for the people’
- Listen to slowthai’s influences on BBC Sounds
Dragging flamenco into the 21st Century, Rosalía fuses conventional flamenco melodies and palmas (hand-clapping) with the crisp beats and digital basslines of entice. Her second album, El Mal Querer, received two Latin Grammys on the finish of final yr – and he or she appears to be like set for crossover success within the UK this yr.
- Rosalía discusses ‘toxic love’ and falling for flamenco
- Listen to Rosalía’s inspirations on BBC Sounds
The total Sound of 2019 longlist additionally included rock group Seagirls, singer-songwriter Demot Kennedy, rapper Flohop and R&B singers Mahalia and Ella Mai
Final yr’s winner was Norwegian pop star Sigrid, who’s gone on to attain success with the singles Strangers and Sucker Punch, and releases her debut album in March.
She handed on some recommendation to Octavian, saying: “Simply maintain doing what you are doing.”
“You win the prize since you’re you – and it is actually essential that you just’re comfy in your profession since you’re the one on the entrance of it and you are the one which’s going to be on the posters – so you need to prefer it and like it.”