What ever happened to Akira’s ‘Rising Stars of 2012’?

Below is our Ones To Watch in 2012, and a small analysis of whether I/we was/were correct in tipping them for big things…

1. Michael Kiwanuka – I’m Getting Ready

Errr well his album was nominated for a Mercury Prize this year though it was REALLY boring, he was just massively hyped at the end of last year and just never really lived up to it. I liked this song when I heard it and thought his easy listening middle of the road great voice and guitar thing would do an Ed Sheeran and be massive. In my defence I hadn’t heard his album when I made this prediction and I was probably too influenced by what every other music critic was saying. This year I’ll go with my gut instinct and I’ll try not be swayed by everyone else’s Ones to Watch list…

2. Azealia Banks – 212 ft. Lazy Jay

This was a BIG TUNE, and a massive club hit of 2012. This was played EVERYWHERE and became a bit of a floorfiller, the crowd goes nuts every time the DJ drops it. By that measure, by the fact that she has 363k+ fans on Facebook and that she made it into Akira’s Best of 2012 list I’d say she’s done pretty well for herself… I’ll admit I haven’t listened to any of her other songs and have no idea whether she has an album out so it’s a little bit of a one hit wonder syndrome at the moment, we’ll have to see what she does next year…

3. Frank Ocean – Swim Good

Frank Ocean should have been number one on the list, instead I made Michael Kiwanuka, ERROR… Good old Frank wrote one of the best albums of 2012 ‘channel ORANGE’ and his song ‘Pyramids’ made it into Akira’s Best of 2012 list. He has 867k+ fans on Facebook, I’m surprised it’s not more than that as he’s known worldwide and his performance of ‘Thinking About You’ at the MTV VMA Awards earlier this year was the best performance of the whole ceremony, that and One Direction… Lol.

4. Friends – I’m His Girl

This song ‘I’m His Girl’ was ALL OVER Radio 1 at the beginning of 2012 and it looked like ‘Friends’ were the next big thing. I think it was a case of them being on the BBC Sound of 2012 list so everyone hyped them for a little and this tune was really good. So they sold-out a few shows in London, including Scala, then they released their debut album and it was REALLY disappointing and now I get the feeling everyone’s a bit bored. Who knows they might be able to kickstart their career again, but they’re pretty much unknown in America and probably have most of their fans in London, but it’s all gone a bit quiet for them…

5. Daughter – Landfill

This prediction was a year too early, Daughter are now on the Blog Sound of 2013. They’re yet to release an album but still have more fans worldwide than Michael Kiwanuka, beating him on Facebook by a mighty 10 thousand. Next year is set to be a big year for them.

6. Lianne La Havas – Age

Lianne La Havas had a pretty damn good year, nominated for a Mercury, supported Bon Iver and became a very critically acclaimed singer/songwriter. She has a very good foundation to continue to write more albums and be an artist who’s around for Donkey’s years.

7. Bastille – Get Home

Bastille is a weird one, nobody really mentioned him last year and he wasn’t in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 longlist for this year either. Well we did. He’s had a good year, his fanbase is constantly growing, he’s one of the most listened to artists on hype machine – recently sitting at No. 1 spot with a cover of ‘No Scrubs’ – and he’s released three singles in the UK which have had a lot of support from Radio 1. He’s sold-out Scala and Koko this year and is playing TWO dates at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in March of 2013, I’d say that was a pretty damn good year. His album will be released next year and I’m sure it will do really well.

8. Clement Marfo & The Frontline – Overtime

This prediction was probably a year too early as Clement Marfo is still pretty unknown. It’s definitely been a good year for him, his song Champion was used all over footage of the Olympics this year and his fanbase has grown but he’s yet to release any big hitters or an album so I believe 2013 will be the year for Clement Marfo. Clement Marfo & The Frontline are still one of the best in the game for their live show, and that alone I’m sure will take them places.

9. Flux Pavilion – Cracks feat. Belle Humble

Flux Pavilion is pretty massive with a whopping 817k plus fans on Facebook. He tours the world and his song ‘I Can’t Stop’ has wracked up 29million hits on YouTube. I’d say he’s done pretty well for himself.

10. Submotion Orchestra – All Yours

Submotion Orchestra released their debut album this year ‘Fragments’ and sold-out Koko. Their fanbase is still pretty cult and underground with 20k fans on Facebook but they sell-out big venues all over the country and are one of the main acts to be featured at Soundwave Festival in Croatia, behind Bonobo. These guys are still very much on the rise and will continue to do well.

11. Gabrielle Aplin – Never Fade

I got this pretty spot on. Pretty unknown this time last year, despite a following from her YouTube covers, Gabrielle Aplin’s rise has been pretty slow and steady this year… Until she covered ‘The Power of Love’ Birdy style and pitched it for the John Lewis Christmas Advert and as a result got a number one hit with it. She’s becoming a household name and when she releases her debut album next year she’ll have a very good foundation on which to do so.

12. The Staves – Mexico

The Staves released their debut album this year ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ and whilst it wasn’t that huge or particularly groundbreaking it’s an album full of nice songs, and mainly good songs. They have announced TWO headline shows at Scala in April next year, not one but TWO. These guys may continue to grow and get bigger with their second album or drop off the face of the earth, we’ll have to wait and see. They’re beautiful girls with beautiful voices and are a folkier English version of Haim who are about to get huge it seems…

13. Polarsets – Morning

Last year these guys looked set to make 2012 a big year for them, they had released ‘Morning’ on Neon Gold, Moda and had earlier released on Kitsune and had a lot of industry hype. I’m not really sure what they’ve been doing this year? I can’t see that they’ve noticeably upped their fanbase or done anything spectacular and we’re still waiting for an album. Come on boys get a move on…

14. Alt-J – Tessellate

Did anyone see this coming? Alt-J released one of the albums of the year with ‘An Awesome Wave’ winning a Mercury and blowing away everyone who listened to it. People are comparing these guys to Radiohead, they’re certainly one of the most exciting bands to break in the past decade and I really feel these guys could surpass The xx, MGMT, The Temper Trap (or any other band with a great first album and disappointing second) and become a super band, as long as their second album is as good as their first. ‘An Awesome Wave’ is not only one of my favourite albums of 2012 but it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. Their meteoric rise in 2012 is based solely on their exciting music (no collaborations, big pr stunts or desperate attempts to raise their profile) and that should be how it’s done. If the music is good enough, let it come to you as people will hear about it.

15. Foxes – Home

This prediction was a year too early. Foxes has been released by Neon Gold this year, signed to Sony earlier in the year, her fanbase is sitting at 35k on Facebook and her song ‘Echo’ has been on many bloggers Best of 2012 lists. However she’s yet to release her debut album and really make a name for herself in the commercial sector. Next year could be big for her…

16. Alpines – Cocoon

Another prediction that was too early. In fairness they kept mentioning in 2011 that their album was coming out soon – but Alpines are still plugging away at it, building the fanbase before they release a debut album. They supported Florence & The Machine earlier in 2012 and lead singer Catherine has also featured on a massive hit with Sub Focus ‘Tidal Wave’ this year, that has had a lot of love on Radio 1, as well as featuring on a song with The Maccabees ‘Unknow’. 2013 could be their year.

17. Hiatus & Shura – First

Hiatus & Shura are good friends of ours at Akira and Mt. Wolf. We went out to Symbiosis Gathering with them in the Nevada Desert in May of 2012 which was a highlight of the year. Hiatus & Shura haven’t really continued to work on tracks so much together after creating a very special ‘Fortune’s Fool’ EP in 2011, however they have their own plans to release new material separate from one another. Hiatus is currently working on his second album due to be released in 2013 and Shura has a new project on the horizon called ‘Jolene’ – we’ve heard some early demos and it sounds very special. It’s a shame they didn’t create an album together and release it but we look forward to hearing more from both of these artists in 2013.

18. Black Diamond Bay – Worship The Sun

Although these guys were hotly tipped to do great things they split up in 2012… This is still a big tune though…

19. LA2019 – Arctic Stars Melt The Clouds

I have absolutely no idea what these guys have been doing or where they’ve gone? Bit of an error to tip them for big things in 2012…

20. Nordic Giants – The Seed feat. Jake Reid

This band are incredible live and are very underrated in the industry. As they combine music with cinema it’s not the most commercial of projects but it truly is an amazing spectacle, mind-blowing. They have a debut album coming out in 2013 so hopefully next year could be a big year for them.

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