What ever happened to Akira’s ‘Rising Stars of 2011’?

Below is our Ones To Watch in 2011, and a small analysis of whether I/we was/were correct in tipping them for big things…

1. Jessie J

It’s mad to think now that Jessie J was unknown this time two years ago, now she is EVERYWHERE, a global success, so much so she’s very annoying. Whoever saw that coming? Well I did, and that’s why I made her the Number one choice on the Rising Stars List of 2011.

2. Ed Drewett

Who? Well he has about 30,000 fans on Facebook and never seemed to release an album, or at least if he did I never knew anything about it… You can forgive me for thinking Ed was tipped for big things, he featured on the Professor Green track ‘I Need You Tonight’ and had written ‘All Time Low’ by The Wanted which was also a massive success in 2010. He looked poised to take the charts by storm in 2011 but I guess his own songs weren’t good enough or he just didn’t connect. Bummer eh…

3. Devlin and Yasmin

You may think this was a bit of a copout as I made two predictions in one with this track, in Devlin and Yasmin, but it was a collaboration and they both looked set to take the world by storm. Devlin has about 600,000 fans on Facebook and is a well known name in the UK. Yasmin while being completely beautiful and cool didn’t really take off, she’s presenting ‘Freshly Squeezed’ last I saw of her and she DJs around which she probably makes a good living from..?

4. Jamie Woon

This one was a real shame, because Jamie Woon was a real artist (he’s not dead just seemingly not around anymore). I’d known about him for years before he was tipped for success and he was still one of the original loopers (artists using loop pedals). Unfortunately his album ‘Mirrorwriting’ had about two good songs on it, his single ‘Night Air’ was really boring and nobody cared.

5. James Blake

Despite James Blake being way too overhyped this time two years ago, for me he remains the best artist out of this whole list. He’s not massive, he has less fans than Devlin for instance on Facebook but people who know about the genius of James Blake are real musos and deserve respect. He has one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen and he breaks boundaries with his music. I can’t wait to hear his next release and to see him live again.

6. Morning Parade

I’ve got no idea what Morning Parade are doing anymore, and if I’m honest I don’t care… I don’t even remember making this prediction, it’s probably because I thought this song was a tune and it was getting a lot of critical acclaim. I think they released their album THIS year? Who knows why it took them so long?

7. The Naked And Famous

This was a BIG track in 2011, and still gets played about in bars and clubs now, people in the know are aware of this track and this band. Their debut album ‘Passive Me, Aggressive You’ was a very good first album in my opinion, but their live show is boring… Haven’t heard from them in a while but maybe they’re working on a second album?

8. Penguin Prison

This act was massively hyped in the industry in the UK towards the back end of 2010, but they haven’t really done anything since. I wonder if they are still touring, I just haven’t seen anything about them anywhere for ages. Another flop from this list then… But in fairness this was a good song.

9. King Charles

I was about a year too early on this prediction, King Charles had a good year this year, he released his debut album ‘Loveblood’, headlined Koko, has been touring worldwide, playing all the best festival slots and partied with Mt. Wolf in Guernsey, not bad eh…

10. Yuck

What did ever happen to Yuck, formerly Cajun Dance Party?! Apparently they released their album in 2011 and it charted at No. 62 in the UK and No. 5 on the US Heatseekers chart… They don’t seem to be touring at the moment and there is no evidence of any more releases. Another flop? Probably…

11. Liam Bailey

He featured on the Chase & Status track ‘Blind Faith’ which was released in January 2011, he looked set to launch his solo career like many artists who feature on Chase & Status tracks but unfortunately it just didn’t take off. Michael Kiwanuka came and did almost exactly the same style of music a year later and was massively hyped and nominated for a Mercury in 2012. It’s a shit business…

12. Exlovers

It’s a travesty that it never happened for this band, the right deal never came along and in the end they released their album on Young & Lost and toured with Noah and the Whale in 2012. I know they have a big fanbase in Japan but it’s still relatively small in the UK. The bassist Danny Blackman is now Managing a great new band Pale Seas who are certainly ones to watch out for in 2013.

13. Jai Paul

Jai Paul is one of the most mysterious and intriguing artists with a hardcore underground and cult following. His track ‘BTSTU’ (below) was released by XL and blew up in 2011. The song received airplay in the UK by DJs including Gilles Peterson, Annie Mac, Nick Grimshaw, Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton, with Zane Lowe making it his Hottest Record in the World. Drake sampled the track in ‘Dreams Money Can Buy’ and BeyoncĂ© released a track entitled ‘End of Time’, which also sampled ‘BTSTU’ in May 2011. He got all this from ONE track, so when he released a demo version of ‘Jasmine’ this year Pitchfork named it ‘Best New Track’ within an hour of it being released on his soundcloud page. He released another track a couple of days ago called ‘Flip Out’ which is a bit mental, and then he took it down off soundcloud. It seems like a very peculiar way to go about things, he’s just playing with people, maybe it takes him a year to write a good song and he’s just recently made one in time for 2013. Maybe he’ll continue to release one song a year until he has an album ready in 2020, before the alien invasion of planet Earth…

14. Ed Sheeran

Yes Ed Sheeran was on my ones to watch list, after many of these flops, but at least I even acknowledged him at this point, most polls completely ignored him. He was of course the sensation of 2011, he’s won two Brit Awards since, an Ivor Novello award and is huge worldwide with over 2 million fans on Facebook and over 4 million on Twitter. Nobody had any idea he was going to be this big two years ago, I thought he was worth a mention as a one to watch in future but had no idea what was going to happen…

15. Ben Howard

Ben Howard is another gem off this list and I’m very proud I tipped him, again he was ignored by many this time two years ago. I was right in thinking Jessie J, Devlin and Ed Sheeran would be bigger but wrong about everyone else. I’d loved Ben Howard since I saw him support Fink at The Jazz Cafe in 2009 and I knew he’d do well, but I didn’t see support from the likes of Radio 1 and a Mercury nomination around the corner. Ben Howard is a truly great artist and I believe will be around for many years to come.

16. Lucy Rose

This prediction was about two years too early, music journalists and bloggers are now tipping Lucy Rose for big things in 2013, I saw it coming a lot earlier. She’s been honing her craft for a long while and she released her debut album ‘Like I Used To’ in September of this year and she’s only now just starting to garner attention from the masses. Lucy is a very credible artist like Ben Howard and I’m sure next year will be a big year for her.

17. Rachel Furner

Despite touring with the likes of Rihanna and Pixie Lott it never happened for Rachel Furner, I believe she was dropped from her record Label. She was expected to be a pop sensation, and now she’s changed her name to ‘I Am Tich’. She’s a great singer and is very talented so it still could happen for Rachel.

18. The Good Natured

The Good Natured haven’t really done a lot despite being hyped for a long time. This track ‘Your Body Is A Machine’ was all over the blogs in 2010 and I think everyone expected something to happen in 2011. Despite being signed to Parlophone we’re still waiting for an album to be released.

19. Yadi

Yadi signed to Warner AGES ago, and she was touring with Marina and the Diamonds at the back end of 2010, nothing has happened since, no releases. Maybe she’s just taking ages to get her shit together, it’s a dangerous game in the music industry to be around for years without really doing anything, but then look at Jessie J…

20. Get People

These boys had some banging tunes, were hyped in 2010 and were hot property. They still are somewhat and they keep writing good tunes but they haven’t released an album and are still releasing EPs through cool Indie Label Luv Luv Luv Records. It was too early to make a prediction for big things this time two years, but then it could have happened, look at Alt-J and how quickly that happened. None of their old stuff is on YouTube anymore, so here’s a track they released last year…

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