Often seen as dance music’s most unsung heroes, vocalists have been gravely unrepped in the dance over the years, with many tracks flying out without a credit to their name.
Times, as always, are changing. Thanks to the distinctive work of mic-massagers like John Newman, Sam Smith, Rachel Row and many more, singers are beginning to get the justice they deserve. Each one armed with their own distinctive delivery, we’ve explored the UKF vaults to represent these talented young artists ourselves. Sit back and enjoy as we revel in their honeyed tones…
1. Kathy Brown
One of dance music’s most prolific and consistent vocalists… Ever. Kathy Brown’s appeared on more records than we can list. From house to D&B, she’s remained consistent, refreshing and seriously emphatic. Not bad for a 53 year old!
2. John Newman
Discovered by Rudimental, now a huge solo artist, John Newman’s story is the stuff of legend… He woke in hospital to the sound of Feel The Love and the news it was at number one in the UK charts! Brought up on a strict diet of Motown and soul, you can hear his upbringing in every emotional lyric.
3. Joel Compass
A card carrying member of the Black Butter gang, Joel’s been described by British newspaper The Guardian as “a new paradigm for British R&B”. Lofty, eh? We’d rather describe him as an awesome singer whose sound lends itself very well to bubbling deep house vibes, like this:
4. Andreya Triana
Fly-Lo collaborator Triana has been around for way more than a minute. Long-term associate with Ninja Tune, her solo album Lost Where I Belong remains an instant soul soother for those times when the party is a dim and distant memory. Back to the future and here she is on Breach’s second runaway smash of 2013. It needs no introduction…
5. Jess Glynne
We’re barely scratching the surface of 2014 and Jess Glynne’s already owning it. As well as fronting Clean Bandit’s chart-storming Rather Be she’s also the gem in Route 94’s massive My Love. Real belly-driven soul-stirring delivery vibes, Jess’s vocals are enough to melt the stoniest of hearts.
6. Katie’s Ambition
High Maintenance, Dexcell, Hybrid Minds, T-Phonic, Filthzilla, Fourward, AMC & Mattix & Futile… The list of Katie’s Ambition collaborators goes on and on. Living up to her distinctive name, there’s a great sense of urgency to Katie’s style. Perfect for her full-throttle D&B romps with Rollz, then…
7. Folly Rae
Half English, half Norwegian, 100 per cent spell-binding: Folly’s folk-fused charms are a joy in their own right, but she’s clearly just as on-point with her electronic collaborations. Last December she revealed a new project with Gemini on her SoundCloud account, and NO ONE can deny her emotional prowess on Koven’s Make It…
Whether she’s collaborating with Nas, Wilkinson or Friction, Arlissa’s vocals are instantly captivating. Not to mention powerful; the energy on each of her recordings feels like she could belt it out to a stadium without so much as a microphone. Already seriously accomplished for an artist of her age, we reckon even bigger things are due for this English/German artist…
9. Diane Charlemagne
Barer of the still-haunting tones on Goldie’s genre-setting Inner City Life, Diane Charlemagne’s demonstrative vocal skills continue to amaze. Soaring with raw emotion, she’s currently smashing it with Taxman on his currentl single Rebirth. Here’s how she rolls in dubstep mode with this killer from Netsky from 2012
10. Alex Clare
Born Alexander Muertos, Alex Clare was brought up on jazz, plays the trumpet and drums and has one of the strongest vocal deliveries on this list. As well as his respectable solo releases – including the Microsoft championed Too Close – he’s also collaborated with the likes of Rudimental, Don Diablo and, our favourite, Sub Focus…
Who gets your vote for the best vocalist on UKF? Sound off in the comments!