To say Years and Years have had a good week would be a huge understatement. The electro soul pop group from London have just been topped as the BBC’s Sound of 2015, beating a list of 15 talented rising stars in the music industry. Previous winners of this accolade, that predicts the promising new sounds of the year ahead, have included Sam Smith in 2014, Haim in 2013, and Adele in 2008. If those acts indicate anything, it’s that the young group from London have a lot to live up to. However, with the lead singer Olly Alexander putting his favourable acting career on hold to pursue his musical endeavours (he’s appeared in Skins, The Riot Club and God Help the Girl), it’s clear the group means business. The lead singer recognised the great level of expectation that comes hand in hand with the prize when he said, “We’ve got to make the most of it and deliver.” The other acts to make it into the top 5 of The Sound of 2015 were English singer-songwriter James Bay, unsigned grime artist Stormzy, Atlanta’s musical indigo child Raury, and spoken word artist George the Poet. Big things can be expected of the coming months.
With their singles, “Desire” and “Take Shelter,” having already dominated the airwaves of 2014, the band consisting of Alexander, synth player Emre Turkmen, and Mikey Goldsworthy on bass know a thing or two about producing some top class dance anthems. Unlike many other electronic songs, Years and Years have the unique gift of reflecting raw emotion and complexity in their tracks. For example their single, “Memo,” with Alexander’s soft, stirring vocals create a real sense of melancholic longing: “Are you gonna hurt/ Are you gonna burn/ Gonna answer me.”
Years and Years formed back in 2010, with Goldsworthy and Turkmen recruiting Alexander after hearing him singing in the shower. The trio were originally signed to the French music label Kitsuné, releasing their single “Real” back in February of 2014, with the music video featuring well-established British actors Ben Whishaw and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. Since then they’ve signed to major label Polydor Records, releasing their most famous singles “Take Shelter” and “Desire.” The bands major influences come from the likes of Jai Paul and Diplo, as well as some 90’s R&B.
The band secured support slots on the tours of two of the most talked-about artists in 2014, Sam Smith and Clean Bandit. They now have a headline UK tour that is completely sold out, with two shows in New York in January, so 2015 is already looking like it’s going to be a huge year for the band, and we’re only a couple of weeks in. If you haven’t heard them already, there’s no doubt you can’t get through the year without listening to their soulful dance records. Years and Years’ new single “King” is out March 15th.