Although the music industry seems to become increasingly conservative every year, December at least encourages it to look forward and speculate who might break big over the following twelve months.

Here’s six new artists whom many industry insiders, both from the major label and independent scenes, are pinning their hopes on for 2017.

Rag N Bone ManRory Graham, a.k.a. Rag 'N' Bone Man, is heavily tipped for big things in 2017

East Sussex-born Rory Graham, a.k.a. Rag’N’Bone Man has been one of the most significant discoveries of the second half of 2016. Having served his time in a number of hip-hop collectives for the last few years before striking out on his own with his distinctively soulful, bluesy voice in 2015, his fourth official single ‘Human’ provided his big break this summer.

Penetrating the Top 5 in the British singles charts in July, as well as topping the charts in Austria, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, Graham then got introduced to the wider public in his native land by being named the Brit Awards’ Critics’ Choice last month ahead of the ceremony in February.

By the time that rolls round, his debut album, also called Human, will have been released (on February 10th) on Sony. The industry will be hoping that Graham can take the next step up and become a sensation.

Declan McKennaDeclan McKenna's reputation is snowballing

Singer-songwriter Declan McKenna is heading into 2017 having just turned 18 and with a bright future in front of him. 18 months ago, he won Glastonbury festival’s Emerging Talent Competition, which has been followed by a clutch of fine singles and EPs that have gradually upped his exposure and acclaim.

This year, he’s been hitting the festival circuit hard, and using his platform to speak out on current affairs and injustices. Latest single ‘Isombard’, for instance, focusses on police brutality. Hopefully 2017 will yield a full-length debut album!

CabbageManchester post-punk five-piece Cabbage

If you disregard the slightly daft name – chosen precisely because it’s an ‘anti-band’ band name – Manchester five-piece Cabbage are one of the most promising guitar-oriented acts in Britain.

With a handful of excellent EPs under their belt which are being compiled as a mini-album in time for January, their sound is redolent of the post-punk of their home city (most notably Mark E Smith and The Fall), their penchant for eccentric humour ought not to be misinterpreted as braindead prankster-ism.

The Japanese HouseAmber Bain, a.k.a. The Japanese House

The Japanese House is another artist to look out for in the new year. Actually the recording moniker of Buckinghamshire-born Amber Bain, her patronage by popular indie-pop act The 1975 is paying dividends for her mysterious, synth-laden pop. Think Beach Boys meets 4AD records, basically.

Supporting The 1975 at their massive end-of-year arena shows in December, and having her recent EP Swim Against the Tide produced by them, it’s hopefully a launch-pad for great things in the next twelve months.

Louis BerrySinger-songwriter Louis Berry

Louis Berry hails from Merseyside and has already declared his intention to be “the biggest male artist on the planet”. Signed after just one live show in 2015, he mines the same seam of retro-rockabilly that made Jake Bugg fleetingly popular. Furthermore, Berry’s stage presence has been remarked upon with breathless references to icons like Johnny Cash.

AJ TraceyAJ Tracey's years of hard work landed him a BBC Sound of 2017 spot

22 year old rapper AJ Tracey could be in for a stellar year if all goes well. Having been practising his verbal dexterity on the microphone since the age of six, the Brixton-born star has at last made the BBC Sound of 2017 poll, despite accumulating a number of popular EPs over the last couple of years.

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