YouTube has revealed the 10 music artists from the U.K. who it says are the ones to watch in the coming year. The roster is headed by singer-songwriter Mahalia, and each of the “Ones to Watch” will feature on a dedicated playlist on the YouTube music app.
“YouTube has a really long history of being a springboard for artists such as Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Stormzy,” said Azi Eftekhari, head of music partnerships at YouTube U.K. “The YouTube Music app launched earlier this year, and we thought this was a good opportunity for us to share more widely the artists we have an eye on for 2019, and who we think are going to really shape the U.K. music scene.”
Mahalia, who will release her debut album in 2019, is YouTube’s top pick of the 10 chosen artists, with the remaining nine listed in no particular order. The featured artists are already gaining traction on YouTube: Mahalia’s “Sober,” for example, has had more than 20 million views.
Eftekhari said the criteria for selecting the “Ones to Watch” included subscriber numbers, engagement and growth, but entailed more than just crunching the viewing numbers.
“Layered on top of that, it is really us looking at, creatively, are we excited by the artist, do we think there is a buzz about them in the industry,” she said. “And also looking at the visual element of what they are doing, because all of these artists are expressing themselves through visuals as well as audio, so they are very uniquely YouTube artists.”
Mahalia said she “grew up watching YouTube.” She added: “The platform has helped me grow and build a real, personal fan base in the U.K. and around the world while never compromising my creativity.”
The list also includes singer-songwriters Grace Carter and Sam Fender and rappers Kojey Radical and Slowthai. The others are Octavian, L-Devine, Dermot Kennedy, Samm Henshaw and Jade Bird.