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Future Sounds 2021 - what you need to know about this year's most exciting Asian acts


Ahmad is a folk singer from the West Midlands and started his career by releasing faith music, with his nasheed ‘Nazara’ receiving over a million views on YouTube. Ahmad’s breakthrough pop release ‘Khair Mangda’ was Noreen Khan’s Track of The Week. Inspired by the likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mohammed Rafi, Ahmad is excited to be releasing more new music in 2021.

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R&B standout, Asha Gold’s stunning vocals and emotive song writing has won her support of BBC Introducing, across Radio 1 and Asian Network as well as 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova. At 20 years old, Asha credits Beyoncé, Rosalia and Billie Eilish as her biggest inspirations. She has been supported by Scene Not Heard, Colors and Gal-dem. Her singles ‘Debut’ and ‘Oscar’ were both playlisted by BBC Asian Network.

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East London’s Bilal Shahid has crafted his own sound of contemporary Bangla music fused with contemporary R&B. ‘Mon Juriya’ and ‘Tumi Amar’ have reworked classic folk tracks and re-introduced them to a new audience. His 2020 releases have seen him embrace a grittier sound with ‘Where U Been’ and ‘Red Handed’. Bilal has been supported by Asian Network’s Jasmine Takhar and Nadia Ali.

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Manchester’s Hana Malik delivers sunny R&B with catchy hooks. Inspired by Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, Hana has shown her versatility with snappy and relatable lyrics with her recent releases ‘Call On Me’ featuring fellow Mancunian Joash and ‘Rainy Day’ and ‘Shine on U’. Supported by Asian Network’s Bobby Friction and Preeya Kalidas, Hana continues to win fans over with her own slice of R&B with attitude.

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22 year old rapper, Jay Milli has coined his own brand of rap as WnP, Western and Punjabi Beats. ‘Glassy’ was supported by LinkUpTV and produced by Sat and Virdi Mazaria announced him onto the music scene. The Leicester rapper’s recent appearance on BBC Three’s Rap Trip show has won him a legion of new fans. Teaming up on collabs with Pak-Man & Shaker The Baker as well as JJ Esko, his star power continues to rise. Starting to make waves internationally, he featured on the Badnam Remix alongside Bhangra heavyweight, Mankirt Aulakh.

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East London’s Nish has been recording faith music since the age of 13. Switching between English and Urdu she is now making waves in the international Pakistani Music scene. She recently recorded the theme tune for the popular HUM TV Drama Tu Ishq Hai and collaborated with Farhan Saeed on the track ‘Prem Gali’. The 21 year-old continues to work with producers in the UK and Pakistan on new music.

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Pritt has crafted her own sound of R&B fused with Carnatic melodies. Influenced by her Tamil background, Pritt embraces her identity and this has inspired her songwriting as well as captivating visuals. Her track ‘Tunnel Vision’ was championed as 1Xtra’s BBC Introducing Tune of the Week. On Asian Network she has been supported by Ashanti Omkar and Bobby Friction. Her latest EP, Transparency uses her femininity to challenge stereotypes of women in music.

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South London’s, Raf-Saperra is tipped as one of the breakthrough names for the UK Punjabi music scene. With gritty visuals and raw powerhouse vocals, Raf has built a cult following online. His cover of Jazzy B’s 'Naag' produced by DesiFrenzy had left leaving fans eagilery awaiting his debut release. ‘G’lassy Riddim’ produced by G-Funk made it as Asian Network’s Homegrown Bhangra Track of the Week and entered the Official Asian Music Chart Top Ten.

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