FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: GLASTONBURY EMERGING TALENT FINALISTS
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.
I STAND WITH UKRAINE