The Best Musicians in London Right Now

Ever since the Beatles thrust the UK into the pop music spotlight, Brits have been feverishly churning out irresistibly catchy tunes. From the stage of London Music Hall, to the classrooms of the London Music School, and the flourishing underground electronic scene, there's no shortage of places for new musical talent to grow. Today, London is a melting pot for a truly eclectic mix of  cultures—British, Scottish, Eastern European, African, South Asian, Middle-Eastern—that influence the ever-changing local music scene. Thanks to London’s incomparably rich history with electronic music, artists there are notorious for incorporating strands of house, techno, and experimental music into various concepts of what pop music could be.

Whether you’ve ever had the pleasure of touching down at Heathrow to explore one of the greatest cities in the world, these ten artists are ones to know. Click through the thumbnails above to learn more about The Best Musicians in London Right Now.

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Charli xcx

Mostly reformed raver Charli XCX has been on our radar for a minute. Her gothy, club-going appearance belies her electro-pop sensibilities. If one thing is for sure, it’s that she is completely of this generation, promoting her music and style with social media like it’s second nature, and pulling from other genres of music — especially the in-vogue decade of ‘90s R&B and house music. Charli’s one of the few artists to be at the forefront of fusing mainstream pop with more forward-thinking production (not to mention marketing) techniques, a feat that should definitely be applauded. Not only is she one of the best musicians in London right now, she's poised for a major global takeover. Can you tell we're big fans?

Jessie Ware

In many ways Jessie Ware set the stage for plenty of incredible electro-pop-minded female artists this year. Her spirited debut album released last year has the emotional expanse that pop albums today often lack, yet still works with a consistent palette of sounds and songwriting techniques so you never forget who you’re listening to. After a solid run touring behind her last release, we can’t wait to see whats next for this 21st century pop star.

Jamie xx

We’re not sure exactly when Jamie xx sleeps. As a founding member and producer for the xx, as well as a go-to producer and remixer for some of the most forward-thinking pop artists around the globe, Jamie xx has not only established that he has remarkable talent but that he’s around for the long haul. With two xx LPs, scores of remixes, and some killer DJ sets under his belt, not to mention his left-field collabo with late R&B poet/songwriter Gil Scott Heron, Jamie is a perfect example of the vast pool of creative talent found everywhere from Shoreditch to Bermondsey.

James Blake

Part reflective soul crooner, part pre-dubstep mad scientist, James Blake has one of the most polished and unique sounds in the pop conversation today. His music strikes the difficult balance between challenging the listener and being immediately catchy. There aren’t many artists who could pull from Brian Eno’s warbling synth-soundscapes in the same breath as Lionel Richie’s R&B balladry, but James Blake does, with a dash of house thump for good measure. The Recording Academy clearly agrees with our reading of Blake as one of the best musicians in London right now, he was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best New Artist. We got to spend a day in the life with him, check it out here. 

Sampha

One of the most exciting vocalists in recent memory, Sampha oozes soul. He also takes his time. First coming into the limelight as the lead guest vocalist on SBTRKT’s exciting 2011 debut full-length, Sampha has since guested on a few more songs (a couple tracks with Drake, and a duet with Jessie Ware that is, perhaps, one of the best pieces of work from either artist. He just recently released an EP called Live on Young Turks. Most artists can only dream of squeezing as much soul into one line as Sampha does. Add to that an impressive knack for piano-playing, and this dude is primed to blow up. Best musicians in London right now? We've thought so for a while.

Daughter

London isn’t necessarily known for it’s perfect weather, and the dreariness of the city is notorious for it’s influence on some of the more minor, stark tendencies of British pop. Daughter falls squarely into this category, with singer Elena Tonra documenting some serious heartbreak over introspective folk guitar and percussion. Their music is decidedly downbeat, but it’s also beautifully fragile, as if it Tonra could shatter at any moment.

Bat For Lashes

Natasha Khan, otherwise known as Bat For Lashes, has been making rounds in the international indie circuit since her 2006 debut album, Fur and Gold. Often compared to synth-pop songstresses like Bjork, Kate Bush, and Cat Power, Khan definitely carries the torch for creative and accessible indie songwriting. Her newest record has Khan at her most confident-sounding yet, giving us the sense that there’s still a lot of exciting music this artist has yet to share with the world.

FKA Twigs

We still don’t know too much about the elusive artist who goes by FKA Twigs. We know she grew up as a competitive dancer, and is still a self-proclaimed loner, but above all, she writes haunting (or maybe haunted) futuristic, glitchy R&B. Her EP from earlier this year, simply titled EP 2, was produced by Kanye-collaborator and NY-based producer, Arca, giving it a twitchy, dark aesthetic that fits Twig’s vibe perfectly. Pairing one of the most exciting producers on the rise with one of London's best musicians right now makes for an incredible product. Expect to hear plenty more about Twigs over the next year.

Mount Kimbie

London-based Mount Kimbie began their electronic music project as a glitchy and sample-happy post-dubstep bedroom production garnering them plenty of attention and praise. However, their most recent album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youthreleased this past spring, found the duo making a decided pivot towards percussive pop-crafting. Not many bands walk the fine line between experimental beat-making and electro-pop as confidently as Mount Kimbie, doing proud the long line of experimental electronic predecessors who have called London home.

Jamie Woon

Jamie Woon is an artist representative of the expansive London music scene. He is a singer-songwriter, and, when live, often plays jazzed-up acoustic guitar under dexterous soul vocals. But on record his impressive singing is backed more often by synthesizers and drum machines. Having only released one album so far, Woon is due for another soon, and we can only begin to imagine what unexpected turns his music will take next.