The Underrated List – R&B

Sweeney x Elle

By Sweeney x Elle

Sweeney x Elle

2 May 2020

British R&B has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years, with a continuous momentum of up-and-coming talent flourishing frequently through the scene – many of which have achieved mainstream success. There’s an endless list of talent that without a doubt dominate the board, we have put together a few artists which we feel should gain more exposure for their undeniable artistry.


A2 is one of the UK’s best-kept secrets. Hailing from Croydon, South London the once mysterious figure fuses elements of RnB, Soul, Trap and Rap creating an atmospheric yet smokey sound that places him in a lane of his own. Resurfacing from time to time unleashing a brand new creation, it’s always been quality over quantity for A2. Looked too as one of the most respected artists in the game, his wordsmith is one of the main factors that set him aside from the rest. Enriched with raw and honest bars, A2 has the tendency to unlock certain thought processes within his music. Journeying back through his catalogue, it’s projects like 2017’s ‘Blue’ with features from U.S hitmaker 6LACK, 2018’s ‘Purple’ and more recently ‘All Spill‘ that not only project his ability to produce but also his all-around phenomenal artistry. Elle Evans

Bree Runway

Bree Runway is a multidimensional artist who has amassed a global following, with celebrities and peers being fans. The artist, from Hackney, is unapologetic in her style and owns all facets of her identity – we hear this loud and clear in the music. Bree released her statement EP ‘Be Runway’ last year, which gave way to upbeat anthem, ‘2 On’. Her latest record, ‘Apeshit’ saw her popularity rise with visuals that Missy Elliot, one of her inspirations, approved of live on the net. The blogs are hailing her as the newest British pop-star! Unafraid to break the rules, she does not conform to the generic expectations of a black, female artist. – Sweeney Gloria


Singer-songwriter and producer MNEK has been making major waves in music world for a hot minute. Having helped to create tracks for the likes of Dua Lipa, Beyonce, Little Mix and more, you may recognise the vocalist from tracks such as “Blinded By Your Grace Pt.2” alongside Stormzy, “Never Forget You” with Zara Larsson or even Gorgon City’s “Ready For Your Love”. MNEK made his debut back in 2018 with his album ‘Language’, filled from top to bottom with fresh R&B-Pop bangers with hits like “Colour” featuring Hailee Steinfeld. Standing at the forefront for black queer vocalists, MNEK’s aim is to change the overlooked perception and with an unbelievable slew of hits behind him, it’s only a matter of time until MNEK dives into full-blown stardom. Elle Evans

Tiana Major9

Tiana Major9 is a rising voice in British R&B/Soul. Backed up by ‘Major9’ in her stage name, referring to a chord she favours in Jazz, her musical stance is set in stone. The singer is rooted in Gospel, which, over time, tuned her ears to captivating melodies, rich tones and lyrics that embody love – all of which we hear in Tiana’s music today! She took the stage with Stormzy at the BRITs this year, performing ‘Rainfall’, and features on the Queen & Slim soundtrack with soul record, ‘Collide’. The Newham native is set to take the wider R&B scene by storm with faith in her pen and smooth, feel-good tunes! – Sweeney Gloria

Sinéad Harnett

Sinéad Harnett is one of London’s most beloved female songstresses. Topping the charts in the earlier leg of the last decade with the likes of Rudimental, Disclosure and many more, Sinead made her debut in 2017 with her hit album ‘Chapter One’ with a feature from no other than Wretch 32 and more recently with ‘Lessons in Love’ with appearances from Gallant on “Pulling Away” and GRADES on her hit single “If You Let Me”. Known for her smooth and angelic vocals not to mention those riffs – wow! Sinéad’s ability to create a selection of passionate and indulgent songs whilst boasting her range, and being able to merge influences from both classic and modern-day music doesn’t go unknown! Breathing life and beauty into each of her songs, it’s rare, in-fact almost impossible you ever hear a ‘bad’ track from the singer-songwriter. Elle Evans

Sharna Bass

Sharna Bass lingered around music for much longer than you may recognise. Getting her break in 2014, featuring on Clean Bandit’s ‘Extraordinary’, she landed a spot in the charts for the first time. In her music, she undoubtedly pulls at heart strings with records such as ‘Buss a 9’ and ‘Nobody’ that are emotionally aware and convey deeper messages. With influences such as Lauryn Hill and Sade, it is no surprise that the songstress holds traditional R&B values and remains authentic in her music. Making appearances on M Huncho and K Trap’s albums, proves Sharna’s versatility and credibility as an artist in our British music scene. With the recent release of her latest EP, ‘Beautiful Chaos’, all we can do now is watch this space! – Sweeney Gloria

Jacob Banks

Jacob Banks, known for his gruff, soulful and seasoned tone has been turning the heads of many since 2013 – including the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, Alicia Keys, Bella Hadid and more. Banks’s undeniable lyrical ability hasn’t gone unknown, weaving his unblemished storytelling over effortless harmonies and grooving beats, he’s bound to leave you mesmerised. The Nigerian-born, UK-based singer began discovering his talent at the age of 21. Inspired by John Mayer’s ‘Continuum’ album; in particular “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” Banks had a crave to express himself. Since then, Jacob Banks has developed like no other, with a phenomenal catalogue behind him, 2015’s ‘The Paradox’ featuring stand-out single “Monster” with Avelino, 2017’s ‘The Boy Who Cried Freedom’ EP to his debut album ‘Village’ with hit tracks “Slow Up”, “Unknown (To You)” and “Chainsmoking” are only some of the reason’s as to why Jacob Banks is so treasured. Enriched with an authentic soulful and passionate sound, Jacob Banks has proved himself time and time again to be one of the UK’s most imperative voices. – Elle Evans

Jvck James

Jvck James is a true child of R&B. He wowed us as a young hopeful on Britain’s Got Talent, proving that his vocal ability stretched far beyond his years. The artist has since anchored his space in music through the delivery of his introductory 5-track EP, Detour, last year. His debut project exhibited a butter-smooth tone — comparable to the likes of Frank Ocean — and a fresh, neo-R&B experience! Jvck James has sharpened his artistry time and time again, with an impressive appearance on critically-acclaimed ‘Colours’ and a secured spot on Mahalia’s American tour as a guest act. The East London talent has left a trail of records — see ‘Wave’ and his latest, ‘Overseas’ — that fuse 90s nostalgia, squeaky clean runs and a modern flair! – Sweeney Gloria