While the 90 acts remaining in this year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition chew nails as they await news of the eight who will appear at the live final, it’s an opportune time to think back to some of the other entries that caught my ear while judging Round One. I had a list of over 170 acts to hear and watch but could put just three of them through. My final choices – Sophie Morgan, The Harriets and Truly Ford – all stood out for the strength of their songwriting and performance. To say the least, this is a tough call so here are six other emerging artistes I heard through the process who really impressed me too.
Tygermylk is the moniker of singer-songwriter Hayley Harland who has recently joined forces with drummer and Kings of Leon fan, Aurora Bennett, (pictured above) in a shift towards indie rock territory. I loved Hayley’s new song “Beast” but it is still a work in progress so meanwhile the admirable “I Killed the Bees”, inspired by a weird dream and evoking some echoes of Laura Marling, demonstrates Hayley’s highly tuned songwriting craft.
Brighton-based four-piece, Twilight Driving, left a deep impression with its rich, fulsome sound and bright, powering melody lines. “Between the Sheets” is a polished gem of a song and in common with the band’s live work, features some inspiring harmonies. Check out Twilight Driving’s YouTube channel too for an immaculate stripped back version of the band’s song “Soft & Pink”.
The innate chemistry between Wednesday’s Wolves - Oxfordshire duo Chrissy Renker and Ysabelle Durant – is simply magical. The delicacy of the pair’s harmonies called to mind some of the best work of Lily & Madeleine; on “Dear” the Wolves are so close they are almost clothed as sisters while, in tandem with the duo’s wider repertoire, the song itself is delightfully abstract and intriguing.
Wonderfully observational, witty and blissfully imaginative, “Bad Indie Movie” more than lives up to the oddity of its titular promise. Tsarzi describes her work as eccentric pop and spins tales of odd characters and romances gone wrong on her 2018 debut album, Last Decade of Love. Fans of Regina Spektor are likely to love Tsarzi just as much.
A regular at country music festivals, Jade Helliwell is a truly accomplished singer-songwriter from Leeds, whose style and quality speaks more of Nashville than the West Riding. “Drive” caught my attention as an exceptionally lush piece of country pop, delivered with great confidence and panache.
“Clear” is quite a production number, replete with violins, cello and a mini choir of backing vocalists. It’s a gorgeously expressive song, wonderfully sung by Sam Lyon who has been plying her singer-songwriting craft since the tender age of 14. As a bonus, if you needed one, Sam is from God’s own county of Cheshire of course!
Photograph of Sam Lyon by Joel Gardner