Haim top BBC Sound of 2013 list


Haim: 'The UK has really embraced us'

Haim, a trio of Californian sisters who have been compared to Fleetwood Mac, have come top of the BBC Sound of 2013 new music list.

The list, which aims to showcase the best new acts for the year ahead, was compiled using tips from 213 UK-based critics, broadcasters and bloggers.

Now in its 11th year, previous winners include Michael Kiwanuka, Jessie J, Adele, Mika, Ellie Goulding and Keane.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens said Haim had a "contagious enthusiasm".

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Watch the top 15 acts on the Sound of 2013 site

How the list is compiled

"Haim have an unapologetic passion for music that shines in their songs," he said. "They're brilliant musicians who have a real talent for tunes that merge their tales of growing up in the 21st Century with a classic songwriting ability."

The sisters have already supported British artists Florence and the Machine and Mumford and Sons live.

Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, who are aged between 21 and 26, started playing music as children when their parents enlisted them into a family covers band.

The sisters all play guitar, drums and sing and are still occasionally known to pull their mother and father on stage.

Haim's songs pay homage to feelgood, freewheeling '70s rock and anthemic '80s synth-pop, gaining a modern sheen by borrowing rhythms from contemporary R&B.

The 213 tastemakers - ranging from music magazine editors and newspaper critics to influential bloggers, DJs and radio and TV producers - each named their favourite three new acts.

They were free to choose performers from any country and any musical genre.

Artists who had scored a UK top 20 single or album before 11 November 2012 were ineligible, as were those already 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.

Previous Sound of... winners

  • Sound of 2012: Michael Kiwanuka
  • Sound of 2011: Jessie J
  • Sound of 2010: Ellie Goulding
  • Sound of 2009: Little Boots
  • Sound of 2008: Adele
  • Sound of 2007: Mika
  • Sound of 2006: Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Sound of 2005: The Bravery
  • Sound of 2004: Keane
  • Sound of 2003: 50 Cent

The tips were compiled into a longlist of the top 15 artists, which was published in December, and the top five have been revealed this week.

In second place were London R&B duo AlunaGeorge, with uncompromising New York-based rapper Angel Haze in third. Birmingham soul singer Laura Mvula was fourth and Glasgow electro-pop outfit Chvrches completed the top five.

It is the first time that the top five acts have all been female or fronted by women.

Este Haim said: "It's the craziest thing to think we're on a list with so many amazing artists. This year the five bands that were in the list were all female fronted, right?

"We love the UK - the last time we were there, we were there for almost a month and a half. The UK is like a second home."

NME magazine's new music editor Matt Wilkinson, who took part in the poll, said Haim "have a knack for writing amazingly catchy singles, they're a killer live band and they talk the talk miles better than most other new bands".

"It's a rare and exciting combination," he added.

Michael Kiwanuka was top of the Sound of 2012 list. The London troubadour sold 500,000 copies of his debut album Home Again around the world last year and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

The other previous winners are: Jessie J (Sound of 2011), 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 Frank Ocean (Sound of 2012), The Vaccines (Sound of 2011), Marina and the Diamonds (Sound of 2010), Florence and the Machine (Sound of 2009), Foals (Sound of 2008) and Plan B (Sound of 2006).


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  • rate this

    Comment number 195.


    "I feel sorry for today's younger generation who are fed such mediocre stuff."
    Patronizing twaddle. I`m sure your parents "felt sorry" for your mediocre teenage tastes
    Actually my parents told me to turn it down because it was too raucous and strange. I want my kids to turn theirs down because it’s too bland and derivative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    @64 milvusvestal "these days...one-hit wonders will be forgotten very quickly, as the emphasis is too much on visual imagery, and a tiresome beat."

    That's exactly what they used to say about Bowie in the letters pages of The Melody Maker Sounds and NME circa Starman John I'm Only Dancing Jean Genie and Rebel Rebel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    Good grief, this story is now on the News at Six. Quiet news day?

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    You only need to look at the previous winners to see that this accolade is a joke. Would you trust the tastes of people who previously voted Keane as one to watch? The winners all seem to be on major record labels as well. Bit of a coincidence? I work in the music business and know there is still a lot of good music out there on independent labels

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    Guess the people working at the BBC HYS site are all now Female, 20 somethings.
    Because this topic is so unimportant as to be an insult to this site.
    I look forward to me commenting on the latest color in nail varnish or soap opera character.
    Sad days indeed at the beeb...

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.


    "@122 - if you read the article you will find out it has been running for 11 years and previous winners include. . ."

    Thank you Freds much appreciated. I must've already forgotten it by the time I'd reached the bottom of the article!

    I see why they've been compared to Fleetwood Mac now: one of them can't sing like Stevie Nicks and another can't sing like Christine McVie!

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    nutgone 181, the British Music Industry is producing some of the best music it ever has, but if you are not going to listen out for it, well there is nothing else can be done.
    Claire Fry 182, good comment, I totally agree, some of the worst music I have ever heard comes from the 60's/70's, especially the 60's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    There is far better music than Haim currently being made in europe - look up Golec uOrkiestra or Ramstein on youtube. OK it is not all in English - but most people only listen to the sound - not the words.

    Why must we suffer second rate garbage?

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    People seem to forget the Beatles were rejected by labels, styled, only wrote half their first album and were accused of being Everly Brothers wannabes.
    Would you call them talentless clones?"

    John Lennon was asked if he thought Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world. He replied that he didn't think he was the best drummer in the Beatles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    Music still has champions even now astro1278, it doesn't stop co's John Peel died. If you're going to work in music then you need to be aware that the scenes changes every so often

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    In the 40’s you had… 50’s…. 60’s rock, teddy boys, 70’s progressive rock, disco, punk, 80’s new romantics, dance, goth, industrial, 90’s indie, rap, 2000’s boy/girl bands, each new generation progressing music that that old generation hated. Now it’s all rather sterile – There are some gems out there like Robedoor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Congratulations on winning the BBC Sound of 2013 sound poll. I've only heard 3-4 songs from Haim and they sound really good, when the album comes out I'm going to get it. You know what they say, '"If you're talented, keep at it and you WILL be noticed".

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    3 Hours ago

    We love the UK is an American phrase for:

    we cant cut it in the state's so we came here instead"

    Nothing wrong with that - my dad has been into Northern Soul since his early teens and that was full of American music that was played in nightclubs here and not in the States. Many soul singers were huge stars here and virtually unheard of in the US for years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    Oh fellow commentators... please don't keep insulting us with the 'all modern music is crap' nonsense. I've been watching Top of the Pops from the 70s recently and there was some right crap then along with the great stuff. Just like now, you just have to stop being so sniffy and seek it out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    It shows just how poor the British Music Industry has become. X factor and BGT have killed genuine home grown talent and created ersatz boy/girl bands.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    These are all such tepid picks. Nothing offensive, but nothing truly breathtaking, either.

    As an American I have always looked to the UK's music scene for inspiration, and so often from the 70's right up to Britpop it was amazing and ORIGINAL. This list is all bland Adele or Amy Winehouse-alikes or worse, boring US folk.

    These tunes could play in a feminine hygiene product commercial, sadly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    173.Paul Barrett-Brown "I feel sorry for today's younger generation who are fed such mediocre stuff."
    Patronizing twaddle. I`m sure your parents "felt sorry" for your mediocre teenage tastes.

    I think you mean 'patronising'. Kids eh? :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Just who decides which stories get on the HYS? There is much more important stuff to discuss than this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Take it for what it is - pop music - and that has been the same through generations - designed for 12 year old girls.... Lets face it, were the 70s and 80s really any better from a "pop" perspective. It is down to personal taste, I like very heavy music but do not expect everyone else to like it. A certain Mr. Cowell has made it more difficult, but aesthetics win in todays age... Music or movies

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Just listened to a bit of Haim on youtube - - Must say I prefer the background music to Ski Sunday - thank you Rod Anderson.


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