Artist applications for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interactive conference and festival for 2015 are now open. The 2013 edition of SXSW saw arguably the biggest presence of emerging UK talent in its 27 years of life.

Sets from the likes of Charli XCX, Gorgon City and Liverpudlian singer/songwriter Jetta were amongst some of the most popular for visitors, with many eager to see what our fair shores have to offer. As we look towards the 2015 event, we're shining the spotlight at some of the people we think should consider getting in those applications.

Sasha Keable

A BRIT School alumni, Sasha Keable signed to Disturbing London days after completing her GCSE's. Since then, much of her time has been spent behind closed doors in development. First signs of music arrived with features on records with Disclosure and Zinc, and in late 2013 she released her highly praised debut EP Black Book, inked a huge five album deal with Polydor Records and performed two sold out headline shows in London. In May she released her second EP Lemongrass & Lime Leaves and looks set to release her debut album later this year with contributions expected from Dev Hynes.

Leo Kalyan

While it seems no one actually knows what Leo Kalyan looks like or whether he's actually a real person, over the last 6 to 12 months he has been releasing a steady stream of original songs and covers onto the internet to rave reviews, earning specialist spins on BBC Radio 1 from the likes of MistaJam and Annie Mac. Working with Karma Kid, MNEK and... well, himself (as he's also an incredibly skilled producer) his dreamy, sexy beats and smooth soulful vocals remind me of a cooler Frank Ocean meets Maxwell without trying too hard. Whether he'll actually turn up and show his face remains to be seen...

Sinead Harnett

You may recognise 24 year-old singer/songwriter Sinead Harnett. She's previously collaborated with east London BRIT Award-winning outfit Rudimental, and can often be seen with them on tour or during live performances. Prior to this, she also featured on Disclosure's breakout EP The Face on the opener 'Boiling'. Harnett inked a deal with Black Butter Records in last 2013 and will release her debut EP W.O.W and the dreamy and sultry single 'No Other Way' in August.


Kwabena Sarkodee Adjepong could be, if you want to keep it really simple, the new Seal. And when you listen to songs like 'Pray for Love', it's easy to see where those comparisons come from. You can instantly hear the same soul, the same grit and the same power as his older doppelganger. But that's not to say Kwabs isn't his own artist in his own right, oh no! As far as UK male singers go, he's in a lane all his own. There's no one else that quite sounds like him. Expect collaborations from Dave Okumu, Plan B and SOHN on his upcoming debut album due later this year.

K Stewart

Seemingly out of nowhere, Kate Stewart unveiled the none-too-shabby, Christina Aguilera-esque 'Tell Me 'bout That' in May and to date has racked up over 120,000 plays on Soundcloud. Before releasing her own music, Stewart spent much of her time on tour with Bondax as their singer and already counts MNEK, Joel Compass and BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac as early fans. Her debut EP will be released later this month with further collaborations with Bondax, Karma Kid and TCTS.


This London based duo consisting of singer Rebekah Raa and producer Nic 'Casually Here' Nell came together after their respective bands and projects disbanded or came to a natural close. Having originally crossed paths on a remix project, the two came together and released the infectious 'Girls' in 2013. Since then, the pair have worked together consistently and in November 2013 released their debut EP. A highly praised set at London's Camden Crawl in June of this year set the tone for things to come from Rainer as an album is currently in the final stages of production and due for release later this year.

FKA twigs

Gloucestershire-born, London based Tahliah Barnett - known to most as FKA twigs - has spent much of the last 12 months on the front page of many a blog and on top of a number of ones to watch lists including a spot on the coveted BBC Sound of poll. Following two critically acclaimed EPs. twigs moves into album mode this year with LP1, due for release next month via Young Turks, preceded by 'Two Weeks'. A former backing dancer, her rare live shows are something to be witnessed in person.

Raleigh Ritchie

24-year-old Bristolian actor Jacob Anderson made the transition to Raleigh Ritchie in 2013 after signing to Columbia Records. His Middle Child EP set the way for the critically acclaimed Black & Blue EP released in January. Lead single 'Stronger Than Ever' has seen a resurgence in popularity after being used in promotional spots for the launch of new UK TV station ITV Encore. To date, the track has peaked at number 30 on the Official Charts and is still receiving strong support from both BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. His energetic performances have earned him much praise with many of his recent gigs selling out in record time and capacity-reaching sets at various festivals across the country.


Earmarked as one of The Independent's Ones to Watch for 2014, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a Trinity College of Music graduate with the ability to play the cello, piano and guitar - all of which she showcased in a recent online session for SBTV. She's also a classically trained composer, writing for symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, big bands, string quartets and choirs as well as songs, soundscapes and pieces for solo instruments and tape, across a range of styles including jazz, classical, contemporary, R&B, soul, reggae and electro-acoustic. With early comparisons to the likes of Laura Mvula, Lianne La Havas and Sade, Ayanna released her debut solo EP Black Panther in early 2014. Following a world tour support slot on Indian sitar player (and Norah Jones' half sister) Anoushka Shankar, Ayanna is now currently hard at work on her follow up project.