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 19.

    Not a speck of originality, wit or remarkable talent among the lot of them, but presumably that is what the modern austerity-constrained music industry banks on. I'm just going to John Peel's grave to watch him reenact 'Thriller'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    "The list was compiled using tips from more than 180 influential UK tastemakers.."

    What exactly is a "tastemaker"?

    "...which aims to highlight music's most exciting new artists for the year ahead."

    These 180 "tastemakers" know what music I do and do not enjoy, do they?

    This yet another complete waste of time and Licence Fee money. The BBC telling you what you like and what you find exciting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Maybe they arnt good at guessing who is gonna make it. Maybe by releasing this list they MAKE them famous by tellin people who dont have their own minds what to buy. Stop lists like this to give everybody who wants to make music a fair chance at getting into the spotlight!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    13.Richard Woodcock said: "How did Spector get on this list? They looked and sounded like a bunch of third-rate exhibitionists on Later a couple of weeks ago".

    Yeah, they didn't sound great on the show, but I think it was an off night. Normally they sound a lot more polished.

  • 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 14.

    I presume these are the 15 most commercially viable new artists, as opposed to the best?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    How did Spector get on this list? They looked and sounded like a bunch of third-rate exhibitionists on Later a couple of weeks ago.

  • 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

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    This becomes a self-fufilling prophecy. The BBC publishes a list of acts which it thinks will be a success in the coming year and then heavily promotes the same acts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    @5.GrowMyOwnShoes - how do you listen to bands that don't exist yet? Do you have some kind of iTimeMachine?

    As for these awards - more pointless backslapping by the industry and a popularity contest for the public to "vote" on, like the results haven't already been fixed...

    If I could nominate a band for a "sound of" award it'd be Rival Sons - biggest thing since Led Zep.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I love Jamie N Commons, Lianne La Havas and Michael Kiwanuka but personally I would have had Dog Is Dead or Various Cruelties on the list over Dry the River and Spector( if there is only 2 guitar band slots that is). I found Spector on Joolz Holland desperate. Dry the River are good but not massively new or notable. Good luck to all on the list though, Niki & The Dove to win!

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Despite a music-mad 15-year-old daughter seeing to my education in matters musical, I haven't heard of anyone on the longlist.

    Where are Black Veil Brides? Or School Boy Humor?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    chris_cat - that's the point. You will have heard of at least half of these by the end of the year.
    dexradio - read the article, no artist is allowed to be included if it has been doing TV Karaoke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    These have been out for ages. They arent new. I listen to bands that dont even exist yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Because they aren't an upcoming band...or together anymore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    More of a sign of the current music scene, but the genres seem much narrower this year.

    Spector sound great. I hope they managed to fight through the usual Cowell / Rihanna / Buble rehash.

    Great new music is out there. Its just become harder to find.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    What??? That can't be right can it? Nobody from X-Factor on the list ;) 2012 can't be complete without an X-Factor winner can it ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I must be getting very old, I can honestly say if they rang my front doorbell I wouldn't have clue who any of them are.

    Why aren't Led Zeppelin on the list?


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