Spoken word artist George the Poet has come fifth in the BBC Sound of 2015.
The 23-year-old, hailed by Matt Fincham of Radio 1 as “a passionately articulate wordsmith for a young generation”, is the first of five artists to be announced of the fifteen acts long listed for the title.
The remaining top four artists of this year’s list will be revealed on the Radio 1 breakfast show throughout the rest of this week.
The BBC Sound Of list has a history of predicting rising stars, with Adele, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith having all won the title previously.
George the Poet, also known as George Mpanga, was raised in the Stonebridge Park estate, one of the roughest areas of Harlesden in North West London.
Rock and pop highlights of 2015
Rock and pop highlights of 2015
1/5 Mark Lanegan Band - touring from 20 January
The most intriguing performance prospect of a fairly docile January is the arrival of the Mark Lanegan Band for a clutch of shows in support of the recent masterly album Phantom Radio. Expect soul-ravaged blues fatalism as Lanegan confronts dark memories and apocalyptic visions with apparent sangfroid, his baritone croon traversing soundscapes of chugging electropop, spiralling guitars and courtly pop melancholy.
Kevin Nixon/Future Publishing/REX
2/5 Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night released 2 February
An album on which Dylan sings Sinatra, a performer in whose voice he claimed to hear "death, God, the universe, everything". He's eschewing the usual swaddling orchestrations in favour of relaxed small-combo versions, recorded with his own band. They're not cover versions, he explains: "They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter of fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day."
3/5 The War on Drugs - touring from 16 February
2014's breakout US indie band will arrive for a string of British dates. Songwriter/frontman Adam Granduciel's blending of Dylanesque vocals, stadium-pop melodies and guitar drones should appeal to fans of Neil Young and My Bloody Valentine alike, and these shows offer the perfect opportunity to check whether they’re as loud and overbearing as Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek claims in his amusing song "War on Drugs: Suck My Cock". Thankfully, music is big enough to accommodate both.
4/5 The Jesus and Mary Chain - touring from 16 February
Having bowed to the demand to perform their debut Psychocandy in its entirety – a move that places them firmly in the rock-heritage classicist ranks, rather than the punk-nihilist cadre of their original 1980s inception – the re-formed Mary Chain take their sweet white whine around the country. Expect: great tunes; loud feedback. Don’t expect: a revolution.
5/5 Nicki Minaj - touring from 28 March
Initial reaction to Nicki Minaj's new album The Pinkprint is mixed, but however its more assertively autobiographical songs transfer to the live arena, bangers like "Want Some More" and "Anaconda" suggest that her upcoming shows should pack some punch. And the flamboyant diva can surely be relied on to put on a show. But what will be the colour-scheme? Think pink.
He began rapping at 15, but it was not until he graduated from Cambridge with a degree in politics that he decided to combine his rap with poetry to communicate more effectively with his audience.
In a recent interview he described this marriage between the two mediums: “I think rappers are primarily expected to make money for the industry and provide party soundtracks, but obviously there are exceptions and grey areas. The poet’s 'role' is usually to provide thoughtful social commentary”.
In 2012, he premiered the poem My City, a piece that helped secure his record deal with Island Records in 2013.
He is now in high demand with Emile Sande, Paulo Nutini, Labrinth and Wretch 32 having all given him guest spots.
George the Poet has also been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice award at this year's Brit Awards.Reuse content