Six of the very best
It’s hard out here for solo artists – they’re trying to achieve all the same things as bands, but haven’t got a trusty gang by their side to get there with. Not that this lot have let that stop them from getting up to all sorts of great things. Not one bit. One of them will be taking home the award for Best British Solo Artist supported by VO5 at the VO5 NME Awards 2018, but just who will it be?
The VO5 NME Awards will take place at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on February 14.
Who?: UK pop’s new queen.
What have they done in the last 12 months?: Dua’s gone from being our Best New Artist in 2017 to properly bossing it in every way. She’s setting records, topping charts and selling out huge venues, all off the back of one album.
Why do they deserve to win?: She makes writing infectious pop songs sound totally effortless, as one listen to ‘New Rules’ will tell you.
What have they done in the last 12 months?: Liam’s been through a renaissance of sorts, especially following the critical panning of Beady Eye. But his debut solo album ‘As You Were’ is all kinds of glorious, his live shows a communal, belt-along party, and his Twitter insults are getting better by the minute.
Why do they deserve to win?: He’s a Godlike Genius – need we say more?
Who?: World-conquering nice guy.
What have they done in the last 12 months?: Er, how about completely dominated everything, and headlined Glastonbury with a set-up that was basically just him, his guitar and some loop pedals? In between all that, Ed somehow found time to cameo in Game Of Thrones too.
Why do they deserve to win?: For breaking a ton of records and becoming ubiquitous in modern pop – not an easy thing to achieve.
Who?: Grime hero who’s become one of the biggest musicians in the country, let alone the genre.
What have they done in the last 12 months?: Released his debut album ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’, which became the first grime album to reach Number One in the UK, got nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, picked up three MOBO Awards, and made a short film.
Why do they deserve to win?: He’s an artist who – as well as being a dab hand at writing great songs – is loyal to his fans. This year he’s collaborated with an unknown rapper to help him lie to his mum, bonded with his older supporters, and performed at the funeral of a fan’s dad after being asked on social media. Top guy.
Who?: Unassuming Croydon rapper whose music has a strong message.
What have they done in the last 12 months?: Released one of the year’s best debuts in ‘Yesterday’s Gone’, brought his mum onstage at his packed Glastonbury set so she could “get the cheer she deserves”, become a model, written the foreword for a book about dyslexia, been involved with campaigns to encourage men to look after their mental health, and kicked a fan out of his gig for making sexist comments to his support act. Phew.
Why do they deserve to win?: See all of the above. How could you not vote for him?
Who?:One of British music’s most forward-thinking artists.
What have they done in the last 12 months?: We’re still waiting on a third album, but she’s still given us the goods via two banging mixtapes, and lustful cracker ‘Boys’.
Why do they deserve to win?: Charli is proof that pop doesn’t need to play it safe, and her self-directed video for ‘Boys’ was a timely two fingers up to the male gaze.