BBC Asian Network has announced its Future Sounds 2020 list. Celebrating the next generation of British Asian talent tipped for great things, the 10 emerging artists are Amrit Kaur, Ava Sehra, Deesh Sandhu, Harris J, Hyphen, Jazz Aulakh, Junaid Malik, Nayana IZ, RVHEEM and Shaima.
Bobby Friction unveiled the artists on BBC Asian Network’s Future Sounds 2020 list during his show, with Amrit Kaur, Junaid Malik and Hyphen joining him live in the studio to talk about making the list.
This year’s list of emerging talent includes West London’s Ava Sehra who has recorded and performed with Krept and Konan, Liverpool’s RVHEEM who is creating a buzz with his smooth R&B in Merseyside, and 17-year-old Jazz Aulakh from Wolverhampton who is forging his own R&B and Punjabi sound.
Now in its third year, BBC Asian Network’s new music campaign cements the station’s commitment to championing and discovering new British Asian talent.
Among the artists named on last year’s Future Sounds list were Joy Crookes, who recently took the No.4 spot on BBC’s Sound Of 2020 poll; RIKA, who performed at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Middlesbrough; and Celina Sharma, who has since been signed to Virgin EMI.
Bobby Friction, BBC Asian Network DJ says, “I’m so excited about Future Sounds 2020 on the Asian Network. What we can definitely see this year is the emergence of a whole new generation of multi-genre, multi-talented artists who’ve literally got the world in their hands. All the artists represent a new musical vibe coming out of the UK in 2020. More importantly than that, so many of them are operating in a brown musical space, which is always a bonus for us fans of Desi music worldwide.”
Mark Strippel, Head of Programmes for BBC Asian Network says, “Asian Network continues to proudly champion the best and brightest emerging British Asian music talent, and this year’s Future Sounds artists are no different. From Liverpool’s RVHEEM to West London’s Ava Sehra, there’s a really diverse line-up of talent and I look forward to seeing what they all achieve in 2020 and beyond.”
Amrit is a storyteller, singer-songwriter and an accomplished Saragi player fusing Folk, Jazz and Soul. ‘Hi&Lo’ was named BBC Music Introducing Track of the Week on BBC Asian Network and she performed live for BBC Music Introducing Live 2019 at Tobacco Docks. Amrit has also performed at Glastonbury, and for MTV and TEDx.
West London R&B singer Ava Sehra has recorded and performed live with Krept and Konan. Her breakthrough track ‘W.D.Y.L’ features Konan and offers a fresh take on a 90s R&B sound. Ava has received support from 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova and Asian Network’s Jasmine Takhar and DJ Firestarr. She is set to release her debut EP in early 2020.
All eyes are on Deesh Sandhu to make her mark on the UK Punjabi music scene. Mentored by Kaos Productions, Deesh has won fans online with her raw and authentic Punjabi Boliyans. She has drawn comparisons to legendary artists like Ranjit Kaur and Surinder Kaur. After spending last summer performing at Melas across the UK and in the US, Deesh is ready to take the international Punjabi scene by storm.
A graduate from the BRIT school, Harris J started out his music career aged 15 and has already toured extensively across East Asia. Now 22, his sound has evolved with his recent release ‘Human’ and recent collaboration with Ard Adz and RA for his latest release ‘Dangerous’. Harris has received support from Radio 1’s Asian Beats and the Asian Network.
With a sharp take on societal norms and wellbeing, rapper Hyphen’s debut track ‘We’re OK’ explores male mental health, an issue close to his heart. His honest take on Hip Hop has won him support from 6 Music’s Tom Robinson and Asian Network’s Bobby Friction and Mobeen Azhar. Hyphen has previously performed at Reading and Leeds Festival alongside a six piece Jazz band.
A prodigy in the UK Bhangra scene, Wolverhampton’s Jazz Aulakh has crafted his own R&B and Punjabi sound. At only 17, he has self-funded his own releases and visuals and founded CALIENTE, a collective of creatives and producers which aims to bring a new young energy to the UK Punjabi music scene. His debut track ‘UpTown’ was playlisted on Asian Network and saw him featured on air with Dipps Bhamrah, Bobby Friction and Harpz Kaur.
Southall’s Junaid Malik first burst on to the scene as a finalist in BritAsia Superstar. Merging Urdu, Punjabi and English together with his own take on Desi Pop, he has collaborated with Zack Knight for his track ‘Menu Mere Haal’. Championed by Asian Network’s Waqas Saeed, his follow up track featuring Heeral Chhatarlia received playlist support on the station.
North London rapper and model Nayana IZ is kicking down doors in the fashion and music scene, bringing her own flow to hard hitting beats fused with Indian instrumentation. She is currently working with producer Karma Kid, who has collaborated with the likes of Octavian and Dua Lipa. Nayana is part of the rap outfit, Nine8 Collective and is a co-founder of Hydration Studios – “a queer femme rap collective” (Dazed) for women in Hip-Hop. Her debut track ‘How We Do’ provided the soundtrack for a recent advertising campaign for Schuh.
One of Liverpool’s brightest prospects, RVHEEM is a student of Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts where he landed the ‘Most Ready Artist’ award in 2018. His debut single ‘Cellular’ was selected as BBC Music Introducing Track of The Week for 1Xtra and Asian Network. Bringing his own brand of R&B and Soul, he’s had a consistent run of releases with ‘Too Deep’ and ‘Contemplating’ both playlisted on the Asian Network. Working with producers like Hazard and Diztrortion, Raheem is determined to make 2020 his year.
Shaima fuses Afro flavours with catchy pop hooks and South Asian instrumentation. Her breakthrough single ‘Girl Gang’ was BBC Music Introducing’s Track of the Week for Asian Network and supported by Bobby Friction. Her latest single ‘911’ featured a remix with popular Nigerian rapper, Skales. Now working closely with R&B superstar and producer Angel, Shaima is determined to push ahead with global feel good music which she coins as ‘Bolly Beats’.