Radio 1's Sound of 2023 – BBC
20 years since launching, the aim has always stayed the same – to continue predicting some of the biggest and most exciting global superstars.
The acts that appear on Sound Of are all hand-picked by a panel of impartial music industry experts from around the world.
Scroll down to see this year’s top five artists, plus the full longlist.
Listen to BBC Radio 1 on Thursday 5th January to discover this year’s winner.
:: Find out more about the Sound of 2023 poll ::
Who gets to vote in the Sound of 2023? And what happens to artists if they win? Your questions answered.
Get to know 10 amazing artists tipped for big things in 2023.
For fans of: Jazmine Sullivan, Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child
– London-based trio FLO – Renée, Stella and Jorja – want to “go down in girl group history”. Huge ambitions arrive alongside the swagger of debut single ‘Cardboard Box’, which came out in March 2022, perfectly fusing their love of contemporary and classic R&B.
– Produced by MNEK, the post-breakup hit gets by on bubblegum hooks and no-bull lyrics: “Changing your number and I’m changing your locks / Never liked your momma, so I guess she’s blocked.”
– Stella and René first met at school, before crossing paths with Jorja during a girl group audition. “I saw the girls and we screamed across the room,” Jorja says. “I knew from that moment we were about to start something big.”
– Still in their teens and early twenties, they proved ‘Cardboard Box’ wasn’t a one-off with superb five-track EP ‘The Lead’ in September 2022. They could well be one of the country’s biggest girl groups for some time.
For fans of: Jamie xx, Bicep, Disclosure
– Fred Again.. is one of the most innovative, prolific, fast-rising producers the UK has to offer.
– Real name Fred Gibson, he first came to prominence producing for Ed Sheeran and Stormzy, winning a BRIT Award for Producer of the Year in 2020 – at 26, he was the youngest name to ever win the gong.
– In 2020, he started releasing more of his own work. A three-part ‘Actual Life’ mixtape series is his bedrock. Defined by personable voice memos, vocal takes and inspired samples recorded on the fly, standout moments include hopeful lockdown anthem ‘Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing)’ and the gloomy rave of ‘Clara (the night is dark)’.
– Alongside his mixtape trilogy, in the past couple of years he’s worked with Swedish House Mafia, rapper Future and drill star Headie One – producing the latter’s ‘Music x Road’ mixtape.
BBC News interview: “I’ve been totally changed by how people have taken the music in“
For fans of: PinkPantheress, MIA, Goldie
– Leeds-raised, Bradford-born Nia Archives became the first electronic act to be crowned BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year, back in November.
– Her music embodies the spirit of jungle’s heyday but keeps its sights firmly set on the future, incorporating sawtoothed breakbeats, old-school samples and her own energised vocals.
– Fired up single ‘Baianá’ recently gained a spot on the Radio 1 playlist, and latest track ‘So Tell Me…’, laced with melody, hints at more pop-leaning potential. Alongside fellow Sound Of alumni Cat Burns and Flo, she’s been nominated for the BRITs Rising Star award.
– Since releasing the ‘Forbidden Feelingz’ EP, she’s toured the world and DJed raves at Glastonbury and Notting Hill.
For fans of: Sam Smith, Dove Cameron, Mimi Webb
– Streatham, south London-based singer Cat Burns had a huge breakout year in 2022, touring with Ed Sheeran, collaborating with Sam Smith and almost scoring a #1 single (were it not for the chart-topping exploits of one Harry Styles).
– Like Adele, Amy Winehouse and FKA twigs, she earned her stripes graduating from the world famous Brit School, finessing a talent first developed in performing arts summer schools as a kid.
– As well as coming out in 2020, she has incorporated gender-neutral pronouns into her music. “I’ve realised how important it is for people to feel included in music, even if it’s just a small change,” she says.
– In the past year, she’s become one of TikTok’s breakout stars, gaining 800k followers and millions of likes on the platform. Her instantly relatable take on Gen Z struggles has won over huge audiences. Her 2020 single Go picked up so much attention, it went to #2 in the UK Official Singles Chart two years after its release.
For fans of: Amy Winehouse, Alabama Shakes, Solange
– Gabriels are made up of Compton, Los Angeles-raised gospel singer Jacob Lusk, film director / keyboardist Ryan Hope and violinist Ari Balouzian. Together they make spirited, cinematic pop destined for wide acclaim.
– Lusk previously shared stages with Diana Ross as a backing singer, and finished in fifth place on the 2011 season of American Idol.
– The trio recently wowed with a show-stopping performance at Glastonbury 2022, as well as picking up a famous fan in Elton John, who called their song ‘Love & Hate’ “probably one of the most seminal records I’ve heard in the last 10 years.”
– Part one of their double album ‘Angels & Queens’ came out in September 2022, with a second part due in March 2023 – by which point Gabriels could well be a household name.
For fans of: Burna Boy, Wizkid, Fireboy DML
– Asake (born Ahmed Ololade Asake) performs in Yoruba and pidgin, two popular languages in his home country Nigeria. “Lagos shapes everything I do,” he says of the country’s largest city.
– His songs incorporate Amapiano grooves, wall-shaking bass lines and personable lyrics.
– Debut album ‘Mr. Money With the Vibes’ entered the UK’s Official Album Chart at #22 in September 2022, and he’s already amassed over 1 billion streams worldwide.
For Fans Of: Glass Animals, SZA, Joy Crookes
– Biig Piig’s genre-dodging, exploratory pop has no boundaries. She experiments with drum ’n bass, woozy R&B and heady hip-hop to name just a couple of touchpoints.
– A stunning Radio 1 Piano Session of her song American Beauty caught serious attention in 2021, showcasing her eye for heartfelt pop.
– She’s a “true pioneer,” says Radio 1’s Jack Saunders, having spent the past couple of years touring with Glass Animals and Jungle. In January 2023, she kicks off a huge year with the release of her debut mixtape ‘Bubblegum’.
– She’s had co-signs from Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and the late, trailblazing designer Virgil Abloh – all notable fans of her youthful, convention-shunning approach to songwriting.
For fans of: Taylor Swift, Lewis Capaldi, Griff
– Dylan’s direct, tell-all pop has been turning heads since 2019 – more recently, it’s found her supporting the likes of Yungblud and Bastille on tour
– As a kid, she’d shout “hello Wembley!” while performing songs in her family home. Cut to 2021, and she was supporting Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium.
– Real name Tash Woods, the 22-year-old calls herself a “rockstar in a pop star’s body”, specialising in synth-backed anthems with razor-sharp hooks
– Debut mixtape ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’ came out in autumn 2022 via Island Records, packed full of eight relatable bangers.
For fans of: Shygirl, LF System, Porij
– piri (aka Sophie McBurnie) and Tommy Villiers first started making music in a student house in Manchester, applying dreamy vocals to heady UK garage beats.
– The IRL couple’s breakthrough moment arrived via TikTok, where single ‘Soft Spot’ blew up on the platform in 2022. It was tricky to scroll the For You page without hearing the track.
– ‘Soft Spot’ picked up recognition from pop pioneer Charli XCX and last year’s Sound Of winner PinkPantheress. It also helped land the duo a record deal on Polydor.
– Recent project ‘froge.mp3’ brings together some of their best work so far, showcasing Villiers’ skill for 8-bar beats and Piri’s sharp eye for catchy top lines.
For fans of: Sam Fender, Daughter, Bon Iver
– South London songwriter Rachel Chinouriri embraces the emotionally-attuned indie sound she grew up listening to, while adding a unique personal stamp.
– ‘So My Darling’, a song she penned aged 17, became a TikTok hit several years later via a trending acoustic version. She followed it up with the superb ‘Better Off Without’ EP – a serious statement of intent – and a huge support slot for Sam Fender’s sell-out Finsbury Park gig.
– Her guitar-led, evocative style saw her shortlisted for the prestigious Ivor Novello Rising Star award in 2021.
– Another standout track, ‘I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Trying)’ is all about her shunning perfectionism for a fearless approach to living life. She says it reflects “the hesitation [I feel] before diving into a situation. I remind myself to just got for it in order to grow as a human being and experience new and amazing things.”