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From the thousands who applied and the ninety that made it onto the longlist, eight acts woke up to some good news this week as the finalists for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition 2022 were revealed. The competition, supported by PRS for Music and PRS Foundation, is initially judged by 30 UK-based music writers, including me, who each choose just 3 acts to progress to stage two. A second judging panel then pared the ninety down to a great eight who go on to compete in a special live final.

Congratulations to the eight finalists who are: Amahla, Crae Wolf, English Teacher, Lewis McLaughlin, Nia Wyn, Smoothboi Ezra, SOFY and Zola Courtney. Unfortunately, this means that none of my own three choices – Evadney, VEALA and TÁLTSIE – made the final cut but I remain fiercely proud of them all and I hope the added exposure they have received from being playlisted by Glastonbury has introduced their music to a wider audience. To get to the final is amazing but just to make it to the ninety is a fantastic achievement too. Cheers, as Guy Garvey would say.

This year’s invite-only final will take place in Pilton Village on 30 April 2022. You can listen to all final eight acts now on Glastonbury’s SoundCloud page. As a preview, here are three of them that particularly caught my ear.

Amahla “I Know What They’re Thinking”

London singer-songwriter Amahla brings smooth, soulful tones to bear which belie the layered anxieties of youth she voices so succinctly in this song.

English Teacher “R&B”

I’m not usually that big on spoken word led vocals but they seem a perfect fit for the energetic outpourings of Leeds four-piece English Teacher here.

Smoothboi Ezra “Stuck”

County Wicklow’s Smoothboi Ezra brings tenderness to a tale of a troubled relationship with a hint of the USA’s Tomberlin in the delivery.

So, the eventual winner of this epic contest will earn a slot on one of the main stages at Glastonbury 2022 and be awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS. Two runners-up will also each pick up a £2,500 PRS Foundation Talent Development prize. Glastonbury Festival and PRS should be applauded for giving unsigned artistes, frequently unknown outside their immediate circles, the chance to reach out to a wider audience through the annual Emerging Talent competition.

Next week’s Fifty3 Fridays will be back with the usual format highlighting new music chiefly from grassroots acts but I would like to sign off now with something seemingly unrelated. Nonetheless “Follow Me, Follow You” is a song that has stayed with me since seeing the very final act of Genesis in concert as reported in last week’s column. If it stays with me, it might stay with you too.


FIFTY3 champions
outstanding new music through Fifty3 Fridays and occasional features. 


Music is a great passion of mine. In my teenage years I was an avid record collector and concert goer. Stints as a booking agent, running folk clubs, promoting gigs and even a crack at artiste management followed. While it never became my main occupation, music was always on my personal radar.


Over the past 13 years I have written for the leading US music website Consequence and  for the  breakthrough artiste site,  site, BestNewBands. I am a judge for Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition and have reviewed the festival for both sites. I am now pleased to curate my very own music site.


Nothing gives me greater pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. You’ll find many of them on this site alongside the occasional legend of times past and I hope they will bring  you as much joy as they give me.

Tony Hardy



Selected dates in the London area:

Thu 30 Mar: Alex Hall, The Half Moon, Putney, SW15

Sat 8 Apr: Barbara, Prince Albert, Brighton

Wed 12 Apr: Big Thief, Eventim Apollo, London W6

Thu 13 Apr: Celeste, Pryzm, Kingston, Surrey

Wed 26 Apr: Lonely Ghxst, Pizza Express Live - Holborn, London WC1 See the Events page for all live shows in Kingston


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