It can be notoriously difficult to break into the music industry at the best of times, without chucking a pandemic into the mix. But with a bit of patience, work and determination (and lot of balls), it’s still possible.
In Manchester, we’re lucky enough to have some of the most exciting up-and-coming artists and bands around. And so our Manc Audio x Open Beat Introducing series continues this week with a look at five artists that need to be on your radar in 2021.
These lot represent the emerging artists of the city – the ones with that patience, work and determination to make it.
Have a listen to their music, drop them a follow, like what you can, it all makes a difference.
Twenty-one-year-old Manta has been busying himself with song writing, producing and directing his own music videos all from his bedroom in Manchester. His debut single “Dream World” was done entirely from his house – including the video which features a load of messy red paint and we’re not envious of that clean up operation.
But Manta admits that music wasn’t always his chosen career path. He’d studied for years to get onto his chosen course in architecture at the University of Manchester, before realising it wasn’t the one for him. By the end of his first year, he dropped out of the course after falling into a dark place mentally. He found that music was a release and chose to explore that instead.
Manta’s lyrics dig deep emotionally, because of how much music has influenced his personal journey. His style has a lo-fo vibe which takes elements of hip-hop and pop, shown in his debut track “Dream World”.
So, with self-managing himself, self-producing and self-releasing, Manta’s DIY approach shows that you can do it on very few resources.
Hailing from Somalia, HMD (pronounced Hamdi) is now Manchester based, but has spent time living Denmark in the past. His music is heavily influenced by these places, but particularly by the area he grew up in in Somalia which is known locally for its poetry and storytelling, making HMD’s lyrical prowess a given.
The singer-songwriter likes to explore themes of identity, love and loss with clever lyrics that resonate with probably the majority of us. He channels a pop and R&B sound, which stems largely from his time in Denmark.
His latest track Many Maries shows why HMD is an exciting artist to watch this year – and we’re lucky to have him in Manchester.
Newcastle-born Sweets moved to Manchester to have a crack at his music career not too long ago – and it’s already paying off. He started out messing about with lyrics and freestyling with his mates and uploading beats to Soundcloud. Up in Newcastle, he became a member of DJ collective Well Irie, where he began MCing for their garage and grime events.
After making the move to Manchester, Sweets started playing open mic nights and gigging some of the smaller venues in the city. He says his experience of working the Manchester circuit was what really helped him find his voice and sound. Now, Sweets’ music is more mellow and refined, using hip-hop style beats.
He’s been working with a variety producers and writers over the past few months to create something very special that’s coming soon. In the meantime, his track “Ashtray Cowboy” is a taster of what’s to come.
Bolton-born Harriet Dagnall was raised on a musical diet of Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell – if you cut her, she says she bleeds “dad music”. But there’s nothing wrong with a good classic. Now, Harriet takes inspiration from The Japanese House, Marika Hackman and Rae Morris which all encompass beautiful vocals alongside timeless piano soundtracks.
Living in the city centre has allowed Harriet to immerse herself into the music scene and it’s enabled her to consistently perform and write which has massively developed her music. Her debut EP is out this year and we can expect something eclectic and exciting when it comes, as she doesn’t like to be confined by genre.
For now, have a listen to her new track “Tied Up” out now, and follow her on Instagram here to stay up to date.
Five-piece rock band The Demo from Middleton take inspiration from early 00s rock from both sides of the Atlantic. They cite The Strokes and Kings of Leon as their main influences though and try to put their own twist on this style.
Their key focus at the moment is not to play the big venues, but to refine and perfect their song writing – and fair play to that. But going off their latest selection of songs, it looks like they’re already there. Ever the perfectionists! But if you’re gonna do something, you might as well do it properly, right?
Have a listen to their latest song “Apart” for yourself and follow them here.
All five of these artists (plus loads more) are featured on our Manc Audio x Open Beat Introducing playlist which is on Spotify now! Have a listen below and follow The Manc Audio and Open Beat for more.
Up-and-coming musicians in Manchester to take over Band on the Wall for FREE shows this month
There’ll be three nights of gorgeous new music taking place across Manchester this month, as the students of Spirit Studios have their degree show.
Up-and-coming talent from the renowned music education provider will take to the stage at the much-loved Band on the Wall and at Spirit Studios itself – and the gigs are totally free.
Spread over three evenings, the degree show will include DJ sets, performances, and immersive audio-visual experiences and soundscapes.
Those showing off their skills have come from the studio’s Electronic Music Production and Performance and Music Production degree courses.
The final year students have been tasked with creating and producing music to show to a public audience as part of their major project.
The gigs at both Band on the Wall and Spirit Studios are free to attend, and will take place on 22, 24 and 29 March.
Then on Friday 24 March, the degree show will head over to Spirit Studios, just past Piccadilly, where guests can explore a range of sound installation, soundscapes, and multi-genre live performances in their very own studios and live venue.
‘An emo kid’s dream’ – Fall Out Boy’s insanely intimate gig at Band on the Wall, Manchester
It’s been five long years without new music from pop-punk icons Fall Out Boy – and rather than launching back into our lives with a huge arena show, the American rockers chose one of Manchester’s most intimate venues for their return.
The Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum group announced a very special intimate performance at Band on the Wall just last week, with tickets selling out in minutes.
The chance to see them performing in the 500-capacity venue is the stuff of a former emo kid’s wildest dreams.
Fall Out Boy are here to celebrate the release of So Much (For) Stardust, their first album since Mania in 2018.
They open the show with the first release from the new album, ‘Love from the Other Side’, the room immediately erupting in unified, punk-rock glee. The lads seemingly revel in the crowd belting back the lyrics of the two-week old track.
Then it’s a jump back 10 years with The Phoenix, a track taken from the album Save Rock n Roll, the record that brought them back together from their hiatus.
Despite Patrick Stump being the lead singer, and all individual members having their own long-standing fan bases, Pete Wentz takes the lead with crowd interactions, talking to us between songs and keeping us hyped during.
But of course, the 90-minute set gives each member their own time to shine. The band’s 19-song set plays out the band’s last two decades and shows just how far the emo veterans have come.
Three songs in, the four-piece explain they are ‘pretty f**king jetlagged’ and in true Manchester style, a member of the crowd shouts in response: “Do you want a tequila!?” Because if nothing else, us Manc lot know the cure for everything – booze.
The floor bounces underneath your feet as 500 fans jump, dance, and mosh in unison, as Wentz extends a salute accompanied by a grin from ear to ear – after years of selling out huge venues, you can only imagine how greatan intimate one of this size must feel.
The band perform with a backdrop of two sides of a smiley face, which they go on to explain represents the two halves of the new album, how it was built, and what it means. The second half of the record is based on the movie Field Of Dreams and the quote ‘If you build it, they will come’, acknowledging their five years of no music. Yet still, their fans are loyal as ever, as demonstrated by the enraptured congregation before them.
“It’s been a minute,” Pete says, “But we wanted to get it right so thank you for being patient, it’s almost here.
“Our band would not be a band at all, we probably wouldn’t be playing together if it weren’t for this city and what happened here for the music scene.” He makes nods to Manchester legends Oasis, The Smiths and Stone Roses and then jokingly says ‘anyway, here’s Wonderwall’. The crowd erupts, because who wouldn’t want to hear a live Fall Out Boy x Oasis mashup?
The end of the show is near but the band aren’t letting us Manchester lot go without us having something to remember as our own. After a quick intro from Pete, ‘Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet’ is played to their fans for the first time since 2009. The atmosphere in the room is unmatched and seriously nostalgic – I can almost feel my arm reaching for the heavy black emo eyeliner buried in my drawer somewhere.
The band end the show with ‘Centuries’ and ‘Saturday’, where Pete Wentz ends his night of crowd interaction by climbing into the arms of fans as we channel our teenage angsty selves, because even though So Much (For) Stardust isn’t a throwback record, this was undeniably a throwback show.