Pool Valley // Ones to Watch in 2021

Move over, Beyoncé!

On our ‘Ones to Watch’ list this week, our team have placed their bets on artist who will steal the spotlight in the upcoming year.

With an ever-changing powerplay in the music scenes and songs that seem to go viral overnight, we will be keeping a close eye on these artists/bands.

Ranging from empowering indie artists to international creative minds, stirring up the music scenes all over the world. The list includes Brighton-staples, such as Royal Blood, but also complete newcomers that made the best of 2020 to make it big this year!

These are our personal ‘Ones to Watch’. Enjoy!


Frenetik with ‘Infrarogue’ Picked by Vincent Mongay “Frenetik is a young rapper from Belgium. Amazing flow, lyrics and strong voice. In 2020, he released a few singles including ‘Infrarouge’ which got featured on a COLORS show. In January 2021, he’s releasing his first mixtape ‘Jeu De Couleurs’ which to me is going to help him take over the upcoming french rap music scene. Don’t sleep on him!”

Monticolombi with ‘World I See (ft. Steven Bamidele)’ Picked by Seth Mayhew “Mover and groover Monticolombi is a master of versatility and energy, imagination and conviction, poetry and simplicity - style and STYLE.”

Holly Humberstone with ‘Vanilla’ Picked by Angelika Juszczyńska “Holly appeared kind of out of nowhere in early 2020, under the wing of Apple Music's internal management company Platoon. In a year she has gained millions of listeners across the globe, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel live, supported Lewis Capaldi on tour and was announced as VEVO DSVR featured artist. Holly breaks through with her bittersweet lyricism, vocal softness, musical delicacy and apposes it with a very significant image which resembles the ones we see whilst looking at the people in a skatepark. In my opinion, Holly is the next artist to appear on the festivals' main stages and entertain crowds of thousands of people, without a horde of backup dancers, over-the-top costumes and all of those 'fireworks'.”

Sam Wills with ‘Traingazing’ Picked by Ingvild Nordal Rekstad “With over a million streams on 'Traingazing' on Spotify, Sam Wills is someone you want to know about. His songs are inspired by neo-soul and have an amazingly comforting voice to listen to. Innovative bass lines and elegant harmonizing keep me wanting to explore more of what he has released so far. Sam Wills is on my Ones to Watch for 2021 due to his creative and inspiring music, and I will keep an eye out for new music he releases in the future.”

ARXX with ‘Call Me Crazy’ Picked by Fanny Farkas “The new, pink, sad, girl power sing-along indie song we've been waiting for.”

Violet Skies with ‘Lonely’ Picked by Angelika Waszut “With beautiful lyrics and voice of an angel, I'd definitely say Violet is the one to watch in 2021. While representing women in music through sheWrites (which she co-runs), Violet writes, records and produces music with lyrics and melody that just give you the feeling of a big warm hug. After working with FINNEAS last year and releasing her newest EP, I am more than sure she's already got something big planned for this year.”

Royal Blood with ‘Figure It Out’ Picked by Sophia Metliss “This year my one to watch would have to be Royal Blood, who are also a Brighton based artist as you’ll probably know. They’re hopefully releasing the new album which I’m super excited for, so I reckon they’re going to smash it this year.”

China Bamboo with ‘Ambivalence (For You)’ Picked by Sam Purcell “’Bubblegum Goth’ group, China Bamboo have already caught the attention of Phil Taggart, formerly of BBC Radio 1. Their unique blend of 80’s style synths with spacey guitars tie in perfectly with the dreamy vocals of lead singer Ruby Waltham. Their latest single ‘Ambivalence (For You)’ has already reached over 20,000 streams on Spotify and has really boosted the profile of this great band. Having already supported the likes of The Sherlocks at Brighton’s legendary Concorde2, the return of live music will mean big things for China Bamboo!”

Hospital Bracelet with ‘Happy Birthday’ Picked by Erin Percy “Hospital Bracelet have a unique riff-driven sound, taking influence from pop-punk and emo but creating something that sets them apart from their peers. Based in Chicago USA, the band began as a solo project of singer and guitarist Eric Christopher (they/them), but in fall 2019 they enlisted drummer Manae Hammond (she/her) and bassist Arya Woody (they/he) to expand the acoustic sound into full band tracks. Happy Birthday was a 2020 re-release and the leading single for their 2021 debut album ‘South Loop Summer’. This band has an exciting new sound and a talent for creating interesting hooks alongside meaningful lyrics that I hope will set them up for a long career, and I expect 2021 will see them start growing into a staple part of the alternative music scene.”

Black Country, New Road with ‘Sunglasses’ Picked by Matt Smith “’Sunglasses’ is a track I discovered back in summer while aimless walking around a field during lockdown. It’s effectively two songs in one - the first half is a beautiful gentle guitar-led poem with a sprinkling of dreamy saxophone and the second half is a full forced punk anthem. ‘Sunglasses’ is the debut standalone single from the London-based 7-piece and the precursor to their 2021 album ‘For the First Time’, a further expressions of the band’s beautiful post-punk poetry.”

Cannons with ‘Fire for You’ Picked by Isabelle Elers “Behind an instrumental vail of upbeat serenity, of which one could easily hear in clubs globally, lies a profoundly melancholic story of love and heartbreak. After signing with music powerhouse Columbia Records in October 2020, I would personally expect to see their intricate style of music becoming more widely popular over the course of this year.”

Mothica with ‘NOW’ Picked by Jasmin Daehmlow “I discovered Mothica last year through Instagram, shortly before she released her latest album ‘Blue Hour’. The themes of her song feature vulnerable topics, such as mental health and her addiction, and send a message of self-love – which I personally love. Her genre could probably be described as dark pop, following the likes of Lorde and Billie Eilish. She is probably one of the most independent artists I know, having written, produced and performed her latest album by herself. With more music to come in 2021, I wouldn’t want to miss any of her releases!”

The Choco La's with ‘Old Magic’ Picked by Zain Khan “The Choco La’s, Dorking based indie trio ‘singing about life in 3-part harmony’. Definitely ones to look out for, their new releases landing them spots on BBC 6 and Radio X.”

Cassia with ‘Sink’ Picked by Owen Parkhouse “Cassia have been tearing up the indie scene since their headline slot at The Great Escape Festival in 2017. Having released multiple singles and their first EP ‘Movers and Shapers’, the band released their greatly anticipated album ‘Replica’, to wide appraise. Since then, Cassia have toured the UK, US and Europe, building their fanbase and going from strength to strength. Their most recent UK tour was a sell-out and included shows at The Scala in London and a homecoming show at Manchester’s Ritz. Having played 35 festivals in 2019 including Reading and Leeds, All Points East, Truck Festival, Y Not, TRNSMT, they show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.”

NOISY with ‘Put A Record On’ Picked by Niamh Beggan “My pick for ones to watch are NOISY, a Worthing based band with a really unique sound. My favourite track is ‘Put A Record On’ which again, really makes you want to ‘get up and go’. They combine a mix of genres to create a sound that I personally haven’t heard before. They’ve been together as NOISY for just over a year (I think!!) and have done really well for themselves so far, so I definitely think that the only way is up for them in 2021.”

Bel Cobain with ‘Emocean’ Picked by Amielia Adlington “I think she's one to watch, as her work has consistently been progressing over the past few years. With her most recent release in 2020, a collaboration with a few other artists, she has really showcased her voice. Her voice is so soft it sounds ethereal and I think her releases in 2021 are ones to keep an eye out for.”

illuminati hotties with ‘freequent letdown’ Picked by Sam Forster “illuminati hotties is the raucous brainchild of former sound engineer Sarah Tudzin, a refreshing energetic band that brings an assortment of styles and production techniques to the table. Described by Tudzin as “tenderpunk”, the music is exactly this. It’s harsh, brash and in your face at one moment, then honest and vulnerable at the next. The band epitomises this with ‘freequent letdown’. Its confident assertive sound portrays an authentic intelligent story of feeling you’re not enough. It’s these oxymorons that make the music so gripping and evocative. After departing from her label and self-releasing their new mixtape in 2020, it’s clear that 2021 has a lot in store for the band.”


So many interesting and upcoming artists! Have you heard any of them before or have you just found your new favourite artist? Let us know!

Also, check out the Pool Valley 'Ones to Watch' Spotify playlist:

Have we missed anything? Your band perhaps? We love to hear new music so if you have a track that we should know about, send it over! We will be featuring up-and-coming artists as much as possible so if that is you, send a Soundcloud link and press release to - we look forward to hearing some tuuunes.

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