Voting for the VO5 NME Awards 2017 is open now
This year, the Best Solo Artist category at the VO5 NME Awards 2017 is being split up into male and female. It’s a chance to celebrate even more great music, as shown by the shortlist for Best British Male Artist supported by the Pilot Pen Company. Who will win in the end though – grime superstars like Skepta and Kano or indie heroes like Jamie T? We’ll find out in less than a month’s time.
On a roll from his 2014 comeback album ‘Carry On The Grudge’ and 2015 EP ‘Magnolia Melancholia’, Jamie T kept up his prolific streak with fourth album ‘Trick’. With a vibe that harked back to 2007 debut ‘Panic Prevention’ and songs about prophets of doom, America and femme fatales, it surged with Clash-like riffs and giddy freedom. Live, it slotted amongst his old tracks with ease, ramping up his already exhilarating gigs to even rowdier heights.
Kano may be associated with the grime resurgence and have peers Giggs and JME on his fifth album ‘Made In The Manor’, but he made his comeback on his own, rather than jump on the coattails of the scene. His first album in six years, it earned him Best Album at the MOBO Awards as well as a nod in the shortlist for the Mercury Prize.
London soul singer Michael Kiwanuka left it four years between his 2012 debut ‘Home Again’ and last year’s follow-up, ‘Love & Hate’. That wait proved to be the right move, with the songs on the Danger Mouse-produced record showing a more confident and stronger songwriter without losing the charm of his earlier work.
Of all the comebacks to happen this year, Richard Ashcroft’s was not the one we were anticipating. But he surprised us with a new album in ‘These People’, an album of quality folk-rock that takes on weighty issues like death, revolution and terrorism as if the former Verve man had never been away.
2016 was definitely Skepta’s year. He was at the forefront of the grime revival, spearheading the movement with impeccable album ‘Konnichiwa’. There weren’t many better moments in music over the last 12 months than watching up pick up the Mercury Prize, bringing his parents, siblings and crew on stage with him. True proof that hard work will always eventually pay off.
The Bradford singer truly left behind his boyband past this year with debut solo album ‘Mind Of Mine’. Far more sexually-minded than One Direction’s catalogue, it was a statement of maturity – Malik is no longer a squeaky clean teen heartthrob. He capped off the year in fitting form then, revealing a collaboration with Taylor Swift to be featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming Fifty Shades Of Grey sequel.