African-American, America, American, artists, black, British, Daley, England, English, Lianne La Havas, music, musicians, neo soul, neosoul, pop, R & B, R and B, rhythm and blues, rock, singers, songwriter, soul, UK, vocalists
I’m a self-professed Anglophile. And what is an Anglophile, you may ask? Merriam-Webster defines it as a person who greatly admires or favors England and things English. I love English tea, accents, British slang and Shakespeare plays. Some of my favorite actors are British: Colin Firth, Idris Elba, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Thandie Newton, Hugh Laurie, Judi Dench, and Rachel Weisz. But where my love affair really began with all things English is with its literature and music. The 80s were such a fun time to be a kid. From Tears to Fears, Culture Club and Wham to Duran Duran, the Eurythmics and George Michael, there was so much good music from English artists it became known as the Second British Invasion (behind the popularity of the Beatles).
Neo-Soul and R & B are two of my favorite genres as an adult so now, 30 years later there are plenty of great artists from across the pond that I love. Some of the most gifted artists hail from the UK. Here’s my rundown of some of my favorites that you may or may not be familiar with. Maybe you’ll find a new artist to add to your music collection.
Lianne La Havas gives me hope for an advent of new artists with a genuine love of songwriting and beautiful vocals. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform last year to a rapt crowd. She is such a humble artist with so much to offer in the years to come.
Hollie Cook is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and whose mother was a member of Culture Club. Her sound is more pop- and reggae-based, but can be quite soulful too.
James Blake caught me off guard with this one. The young red-haired singer stands 6′ 5″ and his sound belies his appearance. I found out about him when Hollie Cook shared this song on her Facebook page. It just transports me to a place I’ve never been before, but I definitely want to visit again and again.
Daley hails from Manchester, England, and burst onto the U.S. music scene with his break out hit “Alone Together” with Marsha Ambrosius. His 2012 EP is a vibrant new blend of neo-soul sound with his standout track “Those Who Wait” leaving me inspired. His full-length album entitled Days and Nights released last month. His melodic falsetto gives him the ability to sing a range of songs and more than comfortably cover artist’s songs from the likes of Maxwell, Usher and Amy Winehouse.
Speaking of Marsha Ambrosius, she’s made quite a mark for herself as a solo artist since departing Floetry. Her second album is due out soon and her unique vocal style makes every release wring with authenticity. Many of her videos address timely topics, including this one from her forthcoming album Friends and Lovers:
And if you’re still looking to get your spoken word on with your songs, Natalie Stewart aka Floacist is still your girl. Stewart is the other half of Floetry and I look forward to her next musical offerings.
Estelle has a wonderfully unique style and this old school-feeling song I can let run on repeat on a nice evening, curled up with a good book. Where’s my candle? 😉
Corinne Bailey Rae has been away from the music scene for quite awhile, but I look forward to her third album currently in works. Her sophomore album The Sea was a more muted, thoughtful work compared to her more upbeat self-titled release.
I could go on and on about other great UK artists. Amy Winehouse will always be one of may favs and there are others like Emeli Sandé and Adele who’ve received critical acclaim. Feel free to share any singers I’ve missed that are making great contributions in the music world.