Haim top BBC Sound of 2013 list


Haim: 'The UK has really embraced us'

Haim, a trio of Californian sisters who have been compared to Fleetwood Mac, have come top of the BBC Sound of 2013 new music list.

The list, which aims to showcase the best new acts for the year ahead, was compiled using tips from 213 UK-based critics, broadcasters and bloggers.

Now in its 11th year, previous winners include Michael Kiwanuka, Jessie J, Adele, Mika, Ellie Goulding and Keane.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens said Haim had a "contagious enthusiasm".

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Watch the top 15 acts on the Sound of 2013 site

How the list is compiled

"Haim have an unapologetic passion for music that shines in their songs," he said. "They're brilliant musicians who have a real talent for tunes that merge their tales of growing up in the 21st Century with a classic songwriting ability."

The sisters have already supported British artists Florence and the Machine and Mumford and Sons live.

Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, who are aged between 21 and 26, started playing music as children when their parents enlisted them into a family covers band.

The sisters all play guitar, drums and sing and are still occasionally known to pull their mother and father on stage.

Haim's songs pay homage to feelgood, freewheeling '70s rock and anthemic '80s synth-pop, gaining a modern sheen by borrowing rhythms from contemporary R&B.

The 213 tastemakers - ranging from music magazine editors and newspaper critics to influential bloggers, DJs and radio and TV producers - each named their favourite three new acts.

They were free to choose performers from any country and any musical genre.

Artists who had scored a UK top 20 single or album before 11 November 2012 were ineligible, as were those already well-known to the UK public - for example by featuring in the final stages of a TV talent show or already being a member of a successful band.

Previous Sound of... winners

  • Sound of 2012: Michael Kiwanuka
  • Sound of 2011: Jessie J
  • Sound of 2010: Ellie Goulding
  • Sound of 2009: Little Boots
  • Sound of 2008: Adele
  • Sound of 2007: Mika
  • Sound of 2006: Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Sound of 2005: The Bravery
  • Sound of 2004: Keane
  • Sound of 2003: 50 Cent

The tips were compiled into a longlist of the top 15 artists, which was published in December, and the top five have been revealed this week.

In second place were London R&B duo AlunaGeorge, with uncompromising New York-based rapper Angel Haze in third. Birmingham soul singer Laura Mvula was fourth and Glasgow electro-pop outfit Chvrches completed the top five.

It is the first time that the top five acts have all been female or fronted by women.

Este Haim said: "It's the craziest thing to think we're on a list with so many amazing artists. This year the five bands that were in the list were all female fronted, right?

"We love the UK - the last time we were there, we were there for almost a month and a half. The UK is like a second home."

NME magazine's new music editor Matt Wilkinson, who took part in the poll, said Haim "have a knack for writing amazingly catchy singles, they're a killer live band and they talk the talk miles better than most other new bands".

"It's a rare and exciting combination," he added.

Michael Kiwanuka was top of the Sound of 2012 list. The London troubadour sold 500,000 copies of his debut album Home Again around the world last year and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

The other previous winners are: Jessie J (Sound of 2011), Ellie Goulding (Sound of 2010), Little Boots (Sound of 2009), Adele (Sound of 2008), Mika (Sound of 2007), Corinne Bailey Rae (Sound of 2006), The Bravery (Sound of 2005), Keane (Sound of 2004) and 50 Cent (Sound of 2003).

Other artists in the top five in previous years include Frank Ocean (Sound of 2012), The Vaccines (Sound of 2011), Marina and the Diamonds (Sound of 2010), Florence and the Machine (Sound of 2009), Foals (Sound of 2008) and Plan B (Sound of 2006).


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  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    Oh fellow commentators... please don't keep insulting us with the 'all modern music is crap' nonsense. I've been watching Top of the Pops from the 70s recently and there was some right crap then along with the great stuff. Just like now, you just have to stop being so sniffy and seek it out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    New acts can't win. If they go down the X factor route, the moaners claim they are talentless. If they carve out a career from the bottom up they are accused of being record label puppets.

    People seem to forget the Beatles were rejected by labels, styled, only wrote half their first album and were accused of being Everly Brothers wannabes.

    Would you call them talentless clones?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    How depressing; is Haim’s weedy pop really the best the “tastemakers” can come up with. Just because someone in the band plays a Gibson SG it doesn’t it doesn’t make it “freewheeling '70s rock”.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Absolutely love this band and thought they had no chance of getting to the top of a poll like this! With Palma Violets, Peace, Swim Deep and ASAP Rocky all looking to be huge this year, it could be a very exciting time for music.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Give me music of the 1960s and 1970s any day. The fact that it is played regularly decades later is proof of its quality and endurance. Most of the music mumbled or screamed out these days by one-hit wonders will be forgotten very quickly, as the emphasis is too much on visual imagery, and a tiresome beat.


Comments 5 of 11


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