7 new artists Stormzy wants you to listen to in 2023

Written by on 29/11/2022

This story originally appeared in i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022. Order your copy here.

I think British music is exactly where it needs to be. I never want to be one of the sceptics who overanalyses the state of things and says we need to do this or we need to do that. We will continue to grow, new artists will come and push things to new places. They will break new ground, create new sonics, and make more art.

I believe in where we’re at and I believe in where we’re going. All of the artists in this portfolio make music that resonates and moves me. What I look for in a new artist changes depending on the artist. For some, it can be a single lyric that I heard and thought “That is sick!” For some, it’s a melody or a hook. For others it’s their swag, their character, their unique approach. It’s never the same. Which is why I love music so much – you can never predict what will strike a chord in you.

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I find it really important to support new talent. I think it’s important to let someone know when they’ve made art that has resonated with you. It would feel weird to see or interact with an artist who I’ve listened to and liked and not mention it. It’s nice to encourage and uplift, it’s good for their spirit and it feels good for mine too.

Portrait of Ayanna photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Ayanna wears all jewellery CARTIER.

Ayanna

**Where are you from and what’s it like?
**I’m from Chingford, a suburban town kind of on the edge of London. It’s green and quiet here. The closest underground station is a half-hour bus journey.

Describe yourself in four words… 
Emotional. Curious. Open. Optimistic.

**Can you tell us about the music you make?
**I would say the music I make is honest, and sonically it varies all the time. The common thread is that it’s from my soul, and my essence is R&B.

**Who is your biggest musical influence and why?
**Michael Jackson and Erykah Badu equally. They both taught me from a young age that music and art as a whole are spiritual endeavours. Good music is the byproduct of connectedness with self and the world around you.

**What have you learnt from Stormzy as an artist?
**The importance of knowing who you are. Stormzy to me is the epitome of the phrase “know thyself”. Also grace. Stormzy exudes grace and humility. It’s very inspiring.

What excites you about music at the moment?The huge amounts of authenticity. I think it’s revolutionary. This digital era of music has allowed people to express themselves on easily accessible platforms, and the result is more honest music to listen to. It’s really beautiful to see and hear.

Where do you see yourself in five years time? 
Everywhere. I see myself everywhere in five years!

What’s one thing you’ve learnt that you’d like to pass on?In this world of chaos find the people, things, and thoughts that put you at ease. Life is really cute when you take your time.

Portrait of Tendai lifting his leg in the air photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Tendai wears all clothing model’s own.
Tendai bending to the side photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Tendai

Where are you from and what’s it like?I’m from District 16, east London. It’s a bit of an urban metropolis, with council flats, and cable cars. Lots of lovely people.

**Describe yourself in four words…
**Brit. Black. Jock. Teenager.

**Can you tell us about the music you make?
**It comes in different forms, lately it’s teen rock. I enjoy playing with textures and sonics that can change the context of how you hear something you may have heard before.

Who is your biggest musical influence and why?My biggest musical influence is David from the Bible. There is a verse that describes him playing the lyre – which is an ancient guitar – and he played it for a king to calm the spirits inside him. I’m so fascinated with music that directly affects the human spirit.

What have you learnt from working with Stormzy on his album?Working on the album taught me a lot about process and patience. The ability to let a song grow is something so important. Stormz taught me to feel comfortable with being bold & confident as an artist. And also I am now a diva.

**What excites you about music at the moment?
**Space excites me. The ability to use space both in the music you make and in the career you’re building.

**Where do you see yourself in five years time?
**In five years I’ll be 27 and setting up my own festival.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt that you’d like to pass on?One thing I’ve learned is that music, just like painting or poetry or playwriting, is an art form and it should be treated with just as much consideration and patience.

Nino in a tracksuit sat in a concrete white room photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Nino wears tracksuit PRADA. Socks and trainers ADIDAS.

Nino SLG

Where are you from and what’s it like?I am from Battersea, South London. It’s a diverse community and there are very caring people who guided me and my friends along the way. Of course, like in most areas, you have the general issues but we were always occupied enough so that we weren’t too afflicted by it.

**Describe yourself in four words…
**Thoughtful. Caring. Passionate. Understanding.

**Can you tell us about the music you make?
**Melodic, heartfelt rap. I feel like the melody is important in music as this is what feeds the soul the most, to sing. My music ranges from quite theatrical piano to some light-hearted vibes you can chill to. I try to make everything as sincere as possible.

**Who is your biggest musical influence and why?
**Kendrick Lamar. For his creative and innovative mind. The artistry behind what he does is top tier and it would be wrong to not be inspired by his work.

**What have you learnt from Stormzy as an artist?
**I’ve learnt to have the courage to display any emotion that I feel needs to be represented musically. I feel like Stormzy has brought a lot of sincerity and honesty to music in the UK.

What excites you about music at the moment?It feels like music is becoming more diverse, there are so many lanes that any artist is able to go down. I’ve been catching onto other sub-genres lately, so it’s been interesting for me to see what else is being created these days.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?Probably an album deep. Collaborating with several different artists. We’re using these next few years for development, to hopefully become a household name so it’s all about just steady progress for now.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt that you’d like to pass on? Never dwell on other people’s opinions.

Clavish in a white tracksuit photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Clavish wears tracksuit GIVENCHY.
Clavish in a white tracksuit photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Clavish

Describe yourself in four words…Selfless. Detailed. Motivated. Nonchalant.

Can you tell us about the music you make?The music I make is literally about my life. The experiences I’ve been through from as long as I can remember up until now. I touch on my area a lot in my music because I feel like that alone has a big part to play in the reason I even make music in the first place.

Who is your biggest musical influence and why?I wouldn’t say one person was my musical influence but growing up two artists I appreciated more than others were Nines and Potter Payper. I like how they both used to express themselves in their raps.

What have you learnt from Stormzy as an artist?That Mel made him do it.

What excites you about music at the moment?The fact that there are so many different sounds to take in and artists are just having fun with their work.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?Possibly on a different route to music, but definitely successful with several legit businesses to my name.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt that you’d like to pass on? 
Coming out of your comfort zone could be the difference between you failing or succeeding.

Dayor in a leather jacket photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Dayor wears jacket DUNHILL. Hoodie COLOURFUL STANDARD. Trousers NIKE.
Dayor in a leather jacket photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Dayor

Where are you from and what’s it like?I’m Dayor, a singer, rapper, and songwriter from Hackney. It’s a borough full of people with big dreams. Every person you talk to has an ear for what’s coming next or what’s bubbling up, or a plan to start a project. There’s a real fear of being ordinary. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. I’ve learnt to take the good from it, internalise it, and use it as motivation.

Describe yourself in four words… Easy-going. Reflective. Imaginative. Cultured.

**Can you tell us about the music you make?
**I make contemporary R&B and trap music. My goal is to make music that’s emotive and resonates. It’s all about creating a distinct image or feeling that lasts.

Who is your biggest musical influence and why?Michael Jackson was my favourite artist for most of my childhood. “Off The Wall” is still my favourite song ever.

What have you learnt from Stormzy as an artist?Early on in my journey, I was a lot more unsure of how people would receive my music. I made one song, in particular, that was my favourite but at the time also my most creatively ambitious. When Stormzy and I first met he told me it was his favourite song of mine and to always be myself artistically. That definitively gave me the confidence I needed early on.

What excites you about music at the moment?Music is so accessible nowadays. People are inspiring others and being inspired by so many different cultures and time periods. It’s led to the creation of some dope blends of sounds and styles.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?I’d love to be able to say that I know myself more, that I’ve refined my music, and that I’m happy with what I do. Hopefully, by then my sound and story would’ve connected with a lot more people too.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt that you’d like to pass on?If you have an idea but it feels too big for where you currently are, don’t just let it die in fear that you can’t execute it exactly how you see it in your head. You just have to try. Even if it ends up falling short of what you initially envisioned, the intention is there and people will see that.

Cityboymoe photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Cityboymoe wears jacket GIVENCHY. Jeans model’s own.

Cityboymoe

Where are you from and what’s it like?I’m from a council estate called St Raph’s in north west London and my parents are from Hargeisa, Somaliland. St Raph’s was lively and rich with community when I was growing up but now it’s a wasteland, for lack of a better word. It’s not the same through my adult eyes.

Describe yourself in four words… Understanding. Brave. Confused. Grateful.

Can you tell us about the music you make?I think the music I make is honest – I want to express and represent myself.

Who is your biggest musical influence and why?I can’t pick between Frank Ocean and Drake. They put a level of care into their music, it always has feeling.

What have you learnt from Stormzy as an artist?That you can be yourself, represent where you’re from, and take it to the biggest stages in the world. When you’re truly yourself people accept it.

What excites you about music at the moment? 
London is rising.

**Where do you see yourself in five years time?
**I see myself still making art, myself writing more, knowing myself better and the people accepting me. Oh and rich!

What’s one thing you’ve learned that you would like to pass on? 
Life is short, life doesn’t stop for you, me or anyone else, stay grounded.

Portrait of Debbie photographed by Dale Cutts for i-D’s The Royalty Issue, no. 370, Winter 2022

Debbie wears jacket GIVENCHY. Vest FALKE. Jewellery model’s own.

Debbie

Where are you from and what’s it like?I’m from south east London. It’s pretty chill. I feel like I have the perfect balance of city and country life there.

Describe yourself in four words… 
Ambitious. Deep. Impatient. Food-lover.

Can you tell us about the music you make?I describe it as “truth music”. Everything I’ve made so far stems from the soul. Usually my lyrics are quite deep and I like to pair it with melodies that feel like a warm hug.

Who is your biggest musical influence and why? 
Probably Lauryn Hill. She’s unapologetic with her music and what she stands for. Creativity with freedom is something I aspire to.

What was it like working with Stormzy on his new album? It was special; to be part of someone’s art will always be an honour.

What have you learnt from Stormzy as an artist?I’ve learnt about the importance of the process, everything has a time and a purpose. And I’ve learnt that it’s okay to not always have it figured out in a studio session; just relax and let God take control, the music will flow.

What excites you about music at the moment?Music is changing, and at first that scared me because I haven’t always been a fan of change. I think how we listen, receive and make music is different now, and I’m discovering new artists daily and realising there’s so many different worlds of genres and sounds. I’m curious and excited to see what this will mean for me and my art.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?Right now I make music for myself and my soul, and I feel like that might get old after a while, I mean how many heartbreak stories can one girl write about. I’ll probably have to switch it up a little.

What’s one thing you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on? Nobody really knows what they’re doing and no one has the perfect master plan mapped out. If you feel drawn to something just do it, and do it wholeheartedly. It doesn’t mean guaranteed success, it just means new experiences and new lessons learned.

Credits


Photography Dale Cutts
Fashion Louis Prier Tisdall
Hair (Ayanna and Debbie) Christabel Blackwood
Grooming (Nino SLG, Tendai, Cityboymoe, Dayor and Clavish) Nat Bury
Make up Ciara O’Shea at Streeters using Lumene
Nail technician Teodora Budimir
Photography assistance Ariel Mihaly and Federico Fossati
Digital technician Luca Trevisani
Fashion assistance Connie Ng and Lily Leetah Hill
Hair assistance Genesis Frances-Lyons
Make up assistance Katy Nixon
Production Partner Films


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