17 Underground Artists on Our Radar in 2017
Picked by Erica McKoy
We had a wicked year last year, with the amount of independent labels and unsigned artists gaining more reach. The Elektrik Cave was particularly proud of the amount of artists we've been playing for years that was heard by bigger independent labels, such as Brownswood and Rhythm Section.
So, we've rounded up a list of 17 underground artists based in the UK that we think are worth following this year. We've heard that some of them may have something pretty damn decent up their sleeve!
Let's keep it real simple though - so instead of giving you a super long description explaining what they've been doing for the last year, what each release of theirs sounds like and what we predict they will be doing in 2017, we've left our thoughts on each artist relatively simple. The idea is that you can form your own opinion on them. But we have given you a few of the genres that they sometimes fall in to so you can get an idea of what it is, if you're looking for something specific.
Komikamo (UK) - Beats | Hip Hop | Chill
I first heard about Komikamo in late November/early December, and I'm always excited to share his music in the mix. He's an illustrator and a producer making smooth soothing beats. But don't be completely fooled, this is an EP that is full of personality.
Kwakes (UK) - Soul | RnB | Hip Hop
He graced the Space Rhyme Continuum stage (an open mic night held in Brixton by Sumochief), at the end of December with his deep vocals. We're excited to hear what collaborations are in store over the next year.
Sawa - Manga (UK) - Soul
We first got a little taster of this tune when I popped in to see DVo whilst he was hosting his show on Balamii Radio. It features south east London based producer DVo and poet/singer, 'And Is Phi'. This tune is poetic and ethereal, and we need to hear more from this producer/singer duo in 2017.
Nerija (UK) - Jazz
They dropped their self-titled album in the latter part of 2016, after warming us up with live gigs over the last 3 or so years. We were more than ready for it.
Perhaps we'll hear a remixed version of the EP in 2017?
Dahna (UK) - Soul
I have a good feeling about this artist. She's a super new find of mine and her music is definitely "music for the mind and soul". Keep your ears to the ground with this one.
You'll definitely will be hearing her music on The Elektrik Cave.
Sugi.wa (UK) - Beats
Sometimes you just need something a little dark, mellow and moody. A couple years ago, sampling in this way was really big, and then it slowed down a little. I think it may be coming back this year.
K, Le Maestro (UK) - Beats
Again, sampling for nostalgia. We get completely thrown back with this EP. He's working on new material, we'll be getting something a little later in the year.
Eyesis Star (UK) - Hip Hop | Poetry
Something soothing and healing about this collection of tunes, and we love it.
Brother Portrait (UK) - Hip Hop | Poetry
It's exposing, it's real. We love it. We'll be supporting his work this year without a doubt, whether it straight poetry without music or Hip Hop. I have no doubts that The Elektrik Cave will be Brother Portraits biggest fan this year. Have a listen, and tell us what you think.
Mansion Worlds (UK) - RnB
Soulful RnB but with a contemporary feel. It's not 90's old school or even early 2000's, but theres love for it. We hope to see more from Mansion Worlds.
Ashley Henry (UK) - Jazz
Funky, soulful Jazz. We really hope to hear more from him in 2017.
Maxwell Owin (UK) - Hip Hop | Beats
Maxwell, is brilliant. He's a killa DJ and he's probably produced some of the EPs and albums that you love by south east London's artists.
We look forward to spinning more of his music in 2017. Also, Fruits and Flowers, is great too!
Joe Armon-Jones (UK) - Jazz | Hip Hop | Beats
Need I say anymore, this is what we've been waiting for. Joe Armon-Jones is producing more electronic, beats based music. He's usually known for playing the keys, however this year he'll be producing more and we're excited to hear what he has in 2017. We're ready for your EP Joe!
Nubya Garcia (UK) - Jazz
Award winning London based Saxophonist will be working on her solo project this year. We've seen the videos and pictures, and with a studio full of some of the finest UK jazz musicians it will no doubt be one of the best things we'll hear this year. Also, we'll hopefully being seeing more of Nubya behind the decks, spinning records. Nubya's taste in music is always impeccable, so roll on 2017.
Poppy Adujha (UK) - Jazz | Soul
Poppy first caught our attention a few years ago in a dark jazz club in east London when she supported Sumochief. She had all of us in the audience completely blown away. 2017 is looking to be a great year, especially if Poppy releases material!
Kiera Lorelle (UK) - Pop | Soul
This is a completely new find - we first heard of her on Worldwide FM. But it's also a slightly odd one for The Elektrik Cave as is doesn't fall quite in to the sound that we usually support. However, keep open minded. Vocally Kiera Lorelle is doing something quite interesting, so we are all for it. We'll be staying tuned for the rest of year to hear what EPs, singles or albums she will release.
Chisara Agor (UK) - Jazz | Electropop | Soul
Again a new find for The Elektrik Cave, and it's not what we normally play on the show. Again some of her album falls in to electro-pop which really isn't a sound we've paid too much attention to. But 2017 is a new year!
She's got beautiful vocals, and thats been our main pull. I'm really looking forward to where she'll go.