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Young and independent: the Sound of 2017

Oscar Berkhout explores the BBC’s Sound of 2017 and the young talent amongst it.

BBC Music have announced their Sound of 2017; the new influence of British urban music has been reflected in the list.

Following the success of grime artists such as Stormzy and this year’s Mercury Prize winner, Skepta, young guns AJ Tracey and Dave have made the cut.

British music is in a great place – our next generation of artists hold immense talent, which is receiving recognition worldwide.

Dave, the 18-year-old from Streatham who made the list, was co-signed by Drake last month with a remix of his hit Wanna Know that has over 2 million views on YouTube.

Record deals don’t hold the importance that they used to. Dave exemplifies this change of attitude, taking pride in being independent and releasing his videos from his own YouTube channel, rather than other popular media channels, which other artists usually choose to do to gain more exposure.

In a recent interview on Radar Radio, rapper Dave said: “Don’t let these man make you feel like you need them.”

It takes great willpower to turn down a record deal with a big advance cheque early in your career and shows true confidence in your own ability, but it’s becoming a trend to do so – and so it should.

West London MC, AJ Tracey is also featured – who too, has received attention across the pond from renowned artists such as Drake and A$AP Rocky.

After a stellar 2016, both AJ Tracey and Dave will be looking to build on their success, continue to stretch the boundaries of British music and showcase a culture that was once considered unworthy.

The influence that these young, urban artists are having on British music is refreshing – a pool of talent that has grown organically and independently is becoming recognised. The internet has become the playing field for homegrown talent.

Image Credit: BBC

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