Tracey (born Ché Wolton Grant) is a highly regarded rapper, songwriter and producer, rising first to popularity in 2016, when he was listed by The Guardian as one of the best new acts of the year. After a series of successful albums, Tracey also turned his hand to politics, endorsing the Labour Party in the 2017 election and voicing concerns about climate change. His music frequently covers topics such as racism, social inequality and more, with the rapper using his platform to draw attention to the criminalisation of Black men and the Grenfell tragedy.
Singer-songwriter Charli XCX has been a familiar face on the music scene for more than a decade. She has historically combined her musical career with advocacy, signing open letters for LGBT+ rights and appearing in the gender equality documentary The F-Word and Me. Most recently, the musician collaborated on a track with Dutch DJ and music producer Tiesto for new song ‘Hot On It’, which was released this June.
One of the UK’s most well-recognised rappers, Dave Omoregie has become known for the powerful social messages within his tracks since the beginning of his musical career. Growing up in Streatham, South London, Dave has noted that he turned to music in order to turn away from much of the social issues around him. He has also previously collaborated with fellow nominee AJ Tracey.
A multi-award-winning singer-songwriter, Sandé inspires people across the world with her powerful music, finding influences in legendary artists such as Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill. Having grown up in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Sandé has spoken openly about how difficult it was to be the only mixed-race family around and how she found her identity in music. Now, having performed at the White House and the Olympics, she continues to trailblaze in the stead of her heroes.
Rapper Lady Leshurr first rose to prominence through her ‘Queen’s Speech’ series of viral freestyles, quoting early influences such as dancehall DJ Sister Nancy and Bob Marley, and other prominent reggae artists her parents brought her up on. Her work in grime has led to her receiving a British Empire Medal. Lady Leshurr has since appeared in adverts for Olay and has become the first Black British woman to lead a campaign for the company.
The Japanese-American singer is known for her theatrical stage performances and soulful indie tunes. Mitski is a notoriously private person and has spoken out about the pressure she feels as an Asian-American woman in a white-male-dominated industry. Mitski’s biggest hit, The Only Heartbreaker, has topped 2.5 million views on TikTok and was even added to Barack Obama’s famed favourite songs list in 2021.
The Filipino-American singer is the Gen Z answer to No Doubt and Avril Lavigne, combining grungy and emotive lyrics over pop beats. Despite being only 19, Rodrigo has already made a name for herself as an activist, using her platform to discuss issues such as the shocking repeal of abortion law Roe v. Wade and the pandemic. Her hit single Drivers Licence alludes to the idea of not fitting into Western beauty standards.
The UK’s biggest and most loved rapper, Stormzy is the trailblazer for the current British grime and hip-hop scene. This winner of countless awards gave a legendary headlining performance at 2019’s Glastonbury, where he wore a Banksy-designed Union Jack stab vest to highlight the rise of knife crime in London. On top of his outstanding music career, he has funded the Stormzy Scholarship for Black British students at Cambridge, covering tuition and maintenance for up to four years.