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Top 20 for 2020: East Midlands Emerging Artists

Updated: May 3, 2020

Acoustickle introduces Nottingham to many local artists...

The East Midlands is rippling with RnB, jazz, soul and hip hop talent. Who released music in 2019, and who’s going far this decade? In NO particular order, here is Acoustickle’s Top 20 for 2020


She's a walking Hip Hopera, with RnB-soul runs melting into classical vocal excellence and relatable lyrics. Morgan is a stand out performance and studio artist who joined us on the first Acoustickle tour, and kicked off our 10th Birthday season with a sublime performance at Peggy's Skylight alongside Jaz Karis. LINK

MAJOR RUSE A trio of diverse jazz and hip hop heads from Leicester and Nottingham, their energetic performances switch between progressive and traditional jazz elements, throwing textures together in their own memorable style. Major Ruse performed across the country, at festivals, released single Berlin, and opened many doors for themselves last year. LINK


One of the undebatable GOATs of Nottingham, Jah has continued to evolve, releasing music and poetry consistently to his growing fanbase. We have a good feeling about Jah Digga’s career right now, especially after he launched Poets Off The Endz and then a BBC documentary about his life under the same name came out in 2019. LINK

SAFFRON GRAY Gospel girl Saffron bubbled up on the local scene last year, with live appearances at Replenish Open Mic gaining her well deserved attention before she dropped debut project Levitation, produced by AndréTheProducer. Saffron is cultivating her own lane as a Nottingham born artist, linking with some of the city’s finest RnB based talent. LINK ANDRÉTHEPRODUCER An underground good boy with bad boy style, demand for André is steadily growing, as his own take on hip hop, RnB, trap, grime, Afrobeat and urban flavours, doubled with his skills as a drummer gives him a producer edge that could take him to the top this year. He’s also vocals many of his own tracks. LINK MAE MONYPENNY Hailing from Derby, studying in Nottingham, and winning the national Youth Music Award, Mae had a super exciting end to 2019 as part of the Circle of Light project which catapulted her into the spotlight. We predict Mae Monypenny, her loop station and microphone will be international by the end of 2020. LINK CHAWE

A Swaziland export living in Nottingham, Chawe releases Afrobeat hip hop and urban music but he’s also an incredible keys player, dripping RnB, soul and gospel. Already in demand as a session player for those in the know, it’s only a matter of time til he’s a world music artist in the truest sense. LINK

XHOSA COLE BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018, Birmingham’s Xhosa Cole works a lot with our friends in Leicester, hence making it on our East Midlands list. He’s a saxophonist, flautist, composer, and bit of a rebel, rocking his roots proudly as he makes a mark in the jazz world. LINK

SANE Leicester based poet Sane is bursting with metaphors and similes, spinning the ordinary into the abstract, and putting sense into the perplexing human condition. He’s flows like a rapper and is certainly a wordsmith with many talents, but we think his spoken word is what he’s going to be known for. Watch this space. LINK MELONYX

The official musical link up of Georgia Copeland and Nadia LaToya. Their harmonious collaboration is the sexy, soulful, hip hop and RnB duet Nottingham has longed for. The pair joined Acoustickle on our first tour, went to We Out Here Festival and performed various shows across the country, ending 2019 with Terri Walker in their corner. LINK NICOLETTE SHAÉ

Derby’s young mover and shaker, Nicolette has launched her own op