7 European music acts you need to know about

Lauren John

Eurovision is around the corner, so you'll be listening to European pop soon whether you want to or not. Here are 7 acts from across the continent that are making more than just a wave right now

There’s never been a better time to freshen up those playlists, and there’s something for everyone in this collection of new, or under the radar acts to listen out for this year.

Mardi Gras (Italy)

Mardi Gras band

An intriguing mix of pop, rock, and soul, with a hint of Irish country and grunge. Sound confusing? It’s not meant to be, and is all packaged up in accessible, catchy hooks, and lyrics with powerful messages at their soul.

Their fourth album is in the works, and if recent releases are anything to go by, it’ll be well worth the wait. UK mix-master Stuart Epps (Elton John/Oasis) added the final magic touch to uplifting “From Zero To One”, while a re-working of “Satellites and Me”, is now a soaring lockdown duet, featuring the vocal talents of fellow Roman, Claudio Desideri.

With US and European airplay, and long-standing connections with Ireland, this band has been heard far and wide, but where will they pop up next?

Vola (Denmark)

Vola band

You may be familiar with this Danish-Swedish band from their European tours, or UK festival appearances at Bloodstock and Damnation, but if you’re new to the name VOLA, then welcome.

A band of contrasts, their tracks pulsate with heavy metal rhythm, softer yet powerful vocal harmonies, and lyrics straight out of a movie script. Don’t expect light-hearted with VOLA, they tackle tough subjects head-on, fictional or not. One minute a vanished relative, the next a failed relationship, all from a band that’s put in the hours to develop their sound. New album Witness will lay testament to that, when it’s released on May 21.

M-Team (Malta)

M Team

Matthew James, Micimago, Kungene, and Mr M have got most bases covered when it comes to writing and recording, which makes MTEAM an exciting prospect. They only bought their multi-instrumentalist, DJ/Producer, and genre-crossing vocals together last year, and have proven a pandemic can’t stop creativity.

The soul disco groove of debut 1991 was written over video calls, hitting the “Best Of 2020 Airplay Chart” at No 1 on local radio. They’ve also explored urban pop with “Are You With Me”, and released an anthem of togetherness, “LOVE”. A band for our times, not just in vibe and style, but the way they reflect life and what it should be in their songs. MTEAM’s new single “Living In A New World” is out now.

Helena May (Austria)

Helena May

With one foot in London, and another in Vienna, Helena May is the ex-pat choice for your funk-soul needs. Taking inspiration for Jamiroquai, and earning her stripes on the London scene, Helena is looking to make her mark with a debut album, out later this year.

The first singles are out and ready to stream, with some creative videos to match. “Diamond 101” celebrates contemporary dance, while darker, electronic “Funkalicious” pays tribute to Batman. With these videos, musicians from the UK and Austria, and experience singing in a Funkestra, this soloist is bringing the groove in every sense.

Tusse (Sweden)

Tusse

This 19-year-old is no stranger to the stage as a winner of Swedish Idol in 2019, but Tusse will soon face an even bigger audience as Sweden’s entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. His entry “Voices” should go down well with voters, who always enjoy a rousing pop song with a message. “Voices” is about coming together, and everyone having a voice, and could be just the start of something new for this Swedish-Congolese singer.

Let’s see how he scores in Rotterdam, but you will see from a talent show rendition of Whitney classis “How Will I know”, Tusse is fearless is tackling a big song.

Wyvern Lingo (Ireland)

Wyvern Lingo

With a band name based on a secret childhood language, and a musical style as original, Wyvern Lingo is unique by name and nature. This all-female trio may be known to some as support act to “Take Me To Church” hit-maker Hozier, and make a soulful, closer to home choice.

Early 2021 has already seen them release album Awake You Lie, along with the first single from it, “Only Love, Only Light”. With a nod to R&B vocal harmonies from the 1990s, an Irish pop lilt, and chilled piano, this is music to feed those relaxation playlists.

Lia Hide (Greece)

Lia Hide

Urban Dictionary describes dark-pop as upbeat with gothic undertones, but you get even more from Greek songstress Lia Hide. There’s hints of Tori Amos, Bjork, and Evanescence in her vocals, and dramatic instrumentals that could be straight out of a silent movie.

In pandemic times Lia took part in big online music festivals hosted in Italy and Slovenia, and promoted Fairytales Remixed, collaborating with various producers to rework tracks from previous albums. With a new release due autumn 2021, dark-pop should be on the airwaves, and hopefully on music stages once more.

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