BBC Sound of 2012 list revealed

Sound of 2012 artists

Fifteen rising stars have been named on the BBC Sound of 2012 longlist, which aims to highlight music's most exciting new artists for the year ahead.

The list, now in its 10th year, was compiled using tips from more than 180 influential UK tastemakers, who were asked to name their favourite new acts.

The Sound of 2012 winner and top five will be unveiled in January.

Jessie J topped last year's list. Other previous winners include Adele, Ellie Goulding, Corinne Bailey Rae and Keane.

Sound of 2012 logo

The emerging artists on this year's longlist range from UK hip-hop and grime MC Dot Rotten to blues singer-songwriter Jamie N Commons and attitude-filled female pop trio Stooshe.

Twenty-year-old rapper and singer Azealia Banks and rapper A$AP Rocky, both from Harlem, New York, are included alongside dubstep producers Flux Pavilion and Skrillex.

Three British soul acts have made it onto the longlist - Michael Kiwanuka and Lianne La Havas, both from London, and Ren Harvieu, who hails from Salford.

UK guitar bands Spector and Dry The River are listed, along with Brooklyn-based indie-pop band Friends and Swedish dance duo Niki & The Dove. US singer-songwriter and rapper Frank Ocean completes the top 15.

The tastemakers included critics, radio DJs and producers, TV presenters and producers, magazine and website editors and respected bloggers.


  • A$AP Rocky
  • Azealia Banks
  • Dot Rotten
  • Dry The River
  • Flux Pavilion
  • Frank Ocean
  • Friends
  • Jamie N Commons
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Niki & The Dove
  • Ren Harvieu
  • Skrillex
  • Spector
  • Stooshe

All participants were asked to name their favourite three new acts, who could be performers from any country and any musical genre.

They must not have had a UK top 20 single or album by 13 November 2011 and must not have already been well-known to the UK public, for example by featuring in the final stages of a TV talent show or already being a member of a successful band.

George Ergatoudis, head of music at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, said: "The Sound of 2012 will be the 10th year of predictions compiled by BBC News - a project now established as the definitive annual list of exciting new artists to watch out for.

"The list will inspire debate for sure, but most importantly, it will lead to discovery of artists and musicians trying to stand out from the ever-expanding crowd, and that can only be a good thing."

One pundit, editor Holly Frith, said: "The BBC Sound Poll is always a great indication for music fans and the industry to see what will be filling the airwaves and charts in the coming year.

"With Skrillex and Flux Pavilion both making the list, 2012 is set to be influenced with a heavier sound. Along with Azealia Banks and A$AP Rocky, it's a tough call to pick amongst this year's contenders."

The top five will be revealed in the week commencing 2 January. The acts from the top five will be revealed on the BBC News website and BBC Sound of 2012 website in reverse order every day that week.

BBC Radio 1 will broadcast sessions and interviews with the acts.

Since topping the Sound of 2011 list, Jessie J's album Who You Are has gone on to be the biggest-selling debut album of the year in the UK. She was joined in the top five by James Blake, The Vaccines, Jamie Woon and Clare Maguire.

The other previous winners are: Ellie Goulding (Sound of 2010), Little Boots (Sound of 2009), Adele (Sound of 2008), Mika (Sound of 2007), Corinne Bailey Rae (Sound of 2006), The Bravery (Sound of 2005), Keane (Sound of 2004) and 50 Cent (Sound of 2003).

Other artists in the top five in previous years include Hurts (Sound of 2010), Florence and the Machine (Sound of 2009), Duffy (Sound of 2008), Klaxons (Sound of 2007), Plan B (Sound of 2006), Bloc Party (Sound of 2005), Franz Ferdinand (Sound of 2004) and Dizzee Rascal (Sound of 2003).


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  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    A$AP Rocky!! Well done BBC for recognising this fast rising talent. I think regardless if they win or lose they will be big. They have a good story, from Harlem streets, and their beats are similar to the "old school" hip hop and it's fresh . Remember when Hip-Hop was only in Tim Westwood show, now you hear Drake/Lil Wayne/Nikki Minaj on the radio! A$AP to win in 2012! (Always Strive & Prosper!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Sorry but I'm 16 and think the list as absolutely terrible, apart from Flux Pavillion. Mainstream music and peoples attitude towards modern music these days actually makes me sad. :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    fantastic to see Dubstep on the list this year, saw Skrillex at Creamfields last summer and he killed the audience, one of my stand out memories of that weekend. Would definitely rathe Flux won though, he does more for the industry with Cirus records

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    This list is a joke. How can you release a list which completely ignores entire genres? This list should be renamed to 'most comercially successful sound of 2012'. Real music doesn't get a chance, and the mainstream rubbish reproduced year on year by people with no imagination needs to be seen for what it is. Turn off the radio and listen to music with true feeling, passion, and technical skill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Here (or even hear) today, gone tomorrow. I predict that this lot will have the longevity of snow in a furnace. We don't need to discover huge numbers of new bands each year, we need to nurture and maintain bands that do gain notice - far, far, far too often, talent is left to wither, and without the investment, and patience of record companies, we won't have new Rolling Stones, U2 etc


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