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Andrew Marston and Danni Hunt present their 'ones to watch out for' and look back at a year's worth of success stories.

2 hours

Andrew Marston's Top Ten

We return with the most anticipated show of the year - where I reveal my 'ones to watch out for in 2018'. While BBC Music Introducing has celebrated its 10th anniversary, we've been celebrating 13 years of supporting new music from across the area. In the eight years we've had the uploader, we've received 8,871 tracks from Herefordshire & Worcestershire in digital form - and we still insist on listening to every single one from start to finish!

#1: Riscas - Panic Like Tom

#1: Riscas - Panic Like Tom
What an incredible year it’s been for this group of Midlands’ youngsters.
 
They sent their music into us, here at BBC Hereford & Worcester, and we loved it so much it became our Track of the Week and we passed it onto BBC Radio 1. Just a couple of weeks later, the track ended up on their daytime playlist, gaining support from the likes of Greg James, Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, Dev and Scott Mills, which got them to #4 on Spotify's Most Viral in the UK.
 
According to the official stats, that track is going up by 5,000 listens a day - mainly in London, New York, Chicago, LA and Singapore - and in 2018, it looks like they’ll be playing their first shows abroad.
 
They’re from all over the Midlands, including right here in Worcestershire and packed out our BBC Music Introducing tent at this year’s Lakefest in the blistering heat.

#2: The Americas - Something’s Gonna Happen

#2: The Americas - Something’s Gonna Happen
Bonding over a mutual appreciation for '60s/'70s rock 'n' roll, punk and gospel, the Worcester three-piece, The Americas, dropped everything in their lives and decided to chase that thin wild mercury sound that howled out from the records that they love.
 
They're influenced by acts such as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones and have just come back from a full UK tour.
 
When they played a live session for us at the Phoenix Theatre in Ross-on-Wye, last month, their musical performance was so tight it was like listening to a CD.
 
So on that note, I played their live track on my ‘One To Watch Out For’ on BBC Radio 6 Music last week.

#3: Jasper In The Company Of Others - As The Sun Rises

#3: Jasper In The Company Of Others - As The Sun Rises
Jasper in the Company of Others are a five piece folk rock, folk pop act based in Worcester and Derby.
 
In recent years, the band has shared the stage with the likes of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran, Cast and Toploader. Touring the UK and beyond, the band embarked on one of their biggest journeys yet, armed with a brand new album. This was their lead single - and became the much sought-after Track of the Week.
 
Because of the sheer number of bookings they were getting, Jasper decided to give up his flat and live in the tour van. However, during the recording of the album, a set of joss sticks caught fire and ended up badly damaging the vehicle. He’s now back to living in a fixed abode!
 
“A band who constantly output records to a massively high standard - with a feel-good summertime hit like this, it was a no-brainer to feature them on my BBC Radio 6 Music takeover show in October”.

#4. Last Ronin - Interstellar

#4. Last Ronin - Interstellar
Starting off life as Semtex, Bromsgrove producer Simon Robinson's love for music started with bands such as Green Day, Blink 182, Nirvana, Queen and Metallica - but after years of headbanging and moshing, his tastes widened to rave and drum & bass!
 
When he took liking to dubstep and started producing his own tracks, we gave Last Ronin a spot on our BBC Music Introducing stage at Nozstock and found out it was his first-ever gig!
 
“Epic, colossal, immense - there simply aren’t enough monumental words in thesaurus to describe his sound, which is why I had to include him on my BBC Radio 1 roundup - Andrew Marston.

#5. Saint Alto - Worry

#5. Saint Alto - Worry
I’ve seen two jaw-dropping performances from this artist in 2017 - first, at our recording session in Bewdley, and secondly - when I was massively busy trying to edit an interview for imminent transmission at Lakefest where I found myself fixated with this stunning concert.
 
Philip Thomas Barber writes haunting, alternative folk songs about depression, flawed relationships and the games people play. He's been compared to Ben Howard and Passenger, although his influences include Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Otis Redding, Rolling Stones and Joe Cocker.
 
He's recently moved from Leominster to Malvern and he's only recently put together Saint Alto. In fact, his live rendition was so flawless - it was that recording I used on my BBC Radio 6 Music show. He’s also held the Track of the Week title here on BBC Hereford & Worcester.

#6: Teddy Matthews - Renna

#6: Teddy Matthews - Renna
Teddy Matthews has been busy gigging at our local music festivals, recording and writing since the beginning of 2017.
 
He took some of those songs along to Gavin Monaghan at Magic Garden Studios, the engineer behind The Editors and The Twang.
 
Teddy, who's from Kidderminster, is influenced by Ben Howard and Turin Brakes and it was a real pleasure to welcome him on stage at the Hay Festival.
 
After making this song Track of the Week, I said his work deserves to be heard by a national audience. Putting my money where my mouth is, I played his live rendition of this record - about seeing his daughter, who now lives abroad - on BBC 6 Music to critical acclaim.

#7: Xcursion ft Bethany Joy & R.A.B. - Dirty Lips

#7: Xcursion ft Bethany Joy & R.A.B. - Dirty Lips
This is the very sort of song you’ll think you’ve heard on national radio before…but you haven’t!
 
"Mind/speaker-blowing production from a consistently top-notch producer. Redditch's Christopher Whitehouse doesn’t always write dirty RnB, having had his dance songs featured on my Radio 1 pieces and his mellower tunes achieving the prestige Track of the Week status."

#8: The Roving Crows - New York Love Song

#8: The Roving Crows - New York Love Song
I had the honour of sitting in on the final mix of this album after a 10-year relationship with the band!
 
The group has been a firm fixture on the local music scene after moving to Colwall from Gloucestershire. But it all began for main songwriter Paul O'Neill in Kildare, Ireland, before attending a performing arts college in New York City.
 
The band played their first-ever festival, courtesy of us, and now run their own! They're the people behind Lakefest and, wanting to return the favour, they gave us our very own BBC Music tent.
 
Early support from Introducing included playing support to Jamie Cullum at Colston Hall in Bristol and regular features as Track of the Week. They're now full time musicians and tour the continent with their Irish upbeat sounds.

#9: Drew Darcy - We’ve Got Forever

#9: Drew Darcy - We’ve Got Forever
Drew Darcy is an artist and singer/songwriter from Kidderminster.
 
With a number of international dance singles now under his belt, including tracks with Ian Van Dahl, he is now embarking on this new vocal project with rock/pop guitar sounds.
 
With soaring vocal melodies over spacey guitars, Drew has taken influence from bands like U2, Keane and Nine Inch Nails with vocal ranges somewhere between Cobain, Springsteen and Bono.
 
He joined us for his first-ever gig with his new project at the Worcester Music Festival - performance which landed him the coveted BBC Introducing Track of the Week.

#10: KIM - Private

#10: KIM - Private
18-year-old Kim, from Bromsgrove, started her singing career recording covers on YouTube and Facebook, which started to get her noticed.
 
She's now concentrating on writing her own songs and has started performing live and has twice been awarded the coveted BBC Introducing Track of the Week.
 
This led me to booking her to switch on the Christmas Lights in Worcester.
 
“Beautiful songwriting, with one of the most soulful voices around - which is why she’s now been featured twice in my Ones To Watch Out For on BBC Radio 6 Music.

Danni Hunt's Top Ten

While Andrew counts down his top ten tunes for 2018, I look back at the biggest success stories of the last 12 months.

#1: Harry Styles - Sign Of The Times

#1: Harry Styles - Sign Of The Times
Redditch-born Harry Styles has continued to climb dizzying heights this year.
 
He broke a major record with the launch of his eponymous debut album, Harry Styles, achieving the number-one spot in the UK charts. However, it's his success in America that is the one worth noting. Harry broke the record for best-selling first week by a solo British male artist's debut album with 230,000 total copies. A big deal. Previously, the record belonged to Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour which sold 166,000 copies in its first week.
 
Harry made his acting debut this year too in the cinema smash Dunkirk. Add to that, having his own hour-long special on the BBC, taking home another armful of music industry awards and currently being in the middle of a ten month world tour with Herefordshire drummer Sarah Jones in the band. It’s all added up to a number one spot in our list.

#2: Sœur - No Fire

#2: Sœur - No Fire
Last year, we predicted that VH Yes would have a very good 2018.
 
They did, in a way, as frontwoman Tina Maynard from Worcester, who’s been known for her solo music as Tina V and also fronted the band This Wicked Tongue (both have also been in previous Top Tens), now heads up Sœur alongside Anya Pulver, from Droitwich group Mansize – and together as a trio they have had an amazing 2017.
 
This year, they’ve played the BBC Music Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds and also been in session at Maida Vale Studios.

#3: Superfood - I Can’t See

#3: Superfood - I Can’t See
It’s been a super year for Kidderminster’s Superfood.
 
They made the trip up to the UK City of Culture this year to play BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull, taking pride of place on the BBC Music Introducing stage line-up.
 
They also played at Reading & Leeds, sessioned at Maida Vale and release their latest album complete with an accompanying tour in the autumn.

#4: OMYO - Mysterious Girl

#4: OMYO - Mysterious Girl
OMYO is made up of William Edward from Weobley in Herefordshire and Tom McCorkell from Oxfordshire.
 
The pair wrote their first song together on New Year’s Eve 2015. They’ve been working hard all year to get their music out there including embarking on a 12-date tour in the summer.
 
This year, their tracks have been played on radio stations across the world – including of course on this show, on Andrew's takeover show on BBC 6 Music and also on BBC Radio 1. William and Tom have also been to New York this year to film the video for their debut single.
 
They’ve done all of this without a record deal – remaining independent artists for the time being – but we don’t think it will be long until a label or two come knocking on the duo’s door.

#5: Pete Tong ft Becky Hill - Sing It Back

#5: Pete Tong ft Becky Hill - Sing It Back
Bewdley’s Becky Hill's been working hard ever since launching herself as a solo artist through The Voice – a fair few years ago now.
 
We first met her as the vocalist with Shaking Trees, who we played lots on the radio.
 
This year, Becky has continued ploughing away in the music industry with both her own tracks and also continuing her massive success appearing on tracks with other artists including a recent collaboration with DJ Pete Tong.

#6: Tom Forbes - Alpha Male

#6: Tom Forbes - Alpha Male
We first came across Evesham’s Tom Forbes as a 15-year-old singer/songwriter at SnodFest - playing the guitar...over his head!
 
By building up layers of sound on the spot with his loop pedal, Tom adds harmonies, beat boxing, percussion, acoustic guitar and vocals over the top.
 
Tom played on the Croissant Neif bandstand a couple of times before joining another band on drums at this year’s Glastonbury festival.
 
Elsewhere this year, he’s played support slots in London and Bristol and also played a Headline Show at the Islington Academy. A job well done.

#7: Arcadia Roots - Primal Rhythm

#7: Arcadia Roots - Primal Rhythm
Playing for Mr Glastonbury himself a bad year does not make.
 
Arcadia Roots, who hail from Bewdley and Kidderminster, won a host of new fans possibly including Michael Eavis himself when they performed at the festival after show party at Pilton Working Men’s Club in the middle of July.
 
But the biggest praise came from Mr Eavis who joined the band on stage and announced: “What a great band they are”. This successful show has put Arcadia Roots – made up of lead vocalist and percussionist Dave Small, bassist Joshua Terry and guitarists Danny Gauden and Tom Callinswood - in line for a potential appearance at the full Glastonbury Festival when it returns.
 
They were also on our line-up at Lakefest – also being favoured by organisers, there, as one of their favourite bands of the weekend.

#8: Vanadian Avenue

#8: Vanadian Avenue
A wildcard entry this year as a nod to those who support the local music scene without being an artists in it.
 
The Vanadian Avenue blog’s sole purpose is to get column inches and airtime for local bands.
 
A good year for this Worcester feature and a better year for the bands they have supported in 2017 for the fact the blog exists.

#9: Advocate - Atlas

#9: Advocate - Atlas
At this year’s Glastonbury, Hereford's Dan Hattersley was helping the BBC with outside broadcast rigging when he suddenly got asked to DJ in the silent disco.
 
He goes by the name of Advocate on stage and released single Freefall on Samurai Records in April.
 
His fascination with producing originated in his hometown of Hereford, studying Music at Hereford College of Arts; he then took up a place on the Music Production course at Southampton Solent University, only helping to push his music further. He’s now setting up broadcast rigs at festivals across the country and dj'ing the festivals he’s working at.

#10: Institutes - Not Alone

#10: Institutes - Not Alone
Lead singer Gareth Griffiths played two sets at the Glastonbury festival this summer – one being on a solar powered stage.
 
After a trip to Pilton farm Gareth rejoined his bandmates for a trip to Eastnor Deer Park for a set on our BBC Music Introducing stage at Lakefest.

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