Born in France, raised in London, Oliver Godji had such reach with his first song, Party Here, that Drake filmed himself singing along to it on Instagram. As with everything the Canadian giant touches, it created such buzz that Octavian’s last London show, in September, had to be upgraded from Village Underground to the Electric Ballroom. Even then he had to come on late because there was such a scrum to get in. His next gig in February, bigger still, will give more people the chance to hear why his husky, sing-song rapping and minimal electronic productions have made him the most distinctive new voice in UK rap music.
Feb 28, O2 Forum Kentish Town, NW5. o2forumkentishtown.co.uk
“It’s about time that we had some game-changers hoisted up in 2018 from the gay, trans, black, immigrant communities. It’s really important that these people find their voice now, especially with what’s going down,” Mikaela Straus has said. As King Princess, the teenager from New York has already added her confident voice to the mix, particularly on her gorgeous torch song 1950. The queer piano ballad is now on over 170 million Spotify plays. She followed it with the less subtle, more modern sounding Pussy is God. Mark Ronson is heavily involved in her progress, having signed her to his record label. She could easily be crowned 2019’s most wanted.
As the latest winner of the Brits Critics’ Choice Award, which has managed to spot the early appeal of Adele and Sam Smith in the past, North Shields singer-songwriter Sam Fender already has the red carpet laid out for him along the road to stardom. A diehard Springsteen fan, his chest-beating indie rock has the anthemic power to appeal to the massed ladz that attend Liam Gallagher concerts, but he also undermines the genre by singing of toxic masculinity on Friday Fighting and male suicide on the extraordinary Dead Boys. He’s a sensitive soul with loud songs – a powerful combination.
Feb 28, Electric Brixton, SW2. electricbrixton.uk.com
Dodie’s emergence at the same time that Dido is making her comeback may cause a little confusion, given that both are softly-softly singer-songwriters who make ever-so pretty musical wallpaper. But 23-year-old Dodie Clark will already be overfamiliar to one generation. She’s a YouTuber from Enfield who’s been sharing her life online since the age of 16, building up 1.7 million subscribers ready to listen as she transitions to hitmaking. With her trusty ukulele she’s covered everyone from One Direction to The Maccabees on her channel, while she’s developed a deeper sound with strings and guitar on her recent original material.
Mar 24, Roundhouse, NW1. roundhouse.org.uk