Words: Dylan Murphy
Feel like shit, just want precedented times back.
We did it! We got through an absolute mess of a year. While no magic button cured the ills of 2020 at midnight on December 31, the entrance into the new year always brings reason for optimism and an excuse to rid yourself of the baggage of the previous 365 days.
With social inequality, injustice and our relationships with other people being put under a microscope, 2020 called for arguably more upheaval than ever before. With this in mind, we spoke to a host of artists about their aspirations, predictions and dreams for 2021. They also detailed the inconveniences, eyesores and blemishes they are leaving in the steaming hot garbage pile that is 2020.
London-based RnB songstress JGrrey is hot of the back of a banging collaboration with Conducta. With new music in the works and a renewed sense of optimism, she explained what needs to be left behind in 2020.
“Racism. Anybody who is against inclusivity, anything badmind. Leave it in 2020. It’s been a rough year already, just leave it there. Let’s keep it pushing in 2021.”
Moving on to what we need more of in our lives JGrrey’s 2021 is staying committed to preserving the planet and injecting some 2000s energy into the world.
“I’m going to need to see a lot more of Paris Hilton in 2021. I just need her spotlighted again. I’m bored of seeing Kim Kardashian and all of them man. I need Paris Hilton back in my life” she said.
“I think a lot of people are realising we haven’t looked after this planet or ourselves very well up until recently. So I’m hoping this year people will just start to take the way we look after the planet seriously.”
NiNE8 Collective head honcho Lava La Rue had a busy 2020. Dropping a slew of music videos, documentaries, a song with Deb Never and keeping things ticking over in capital it’s likely to be more of the same from the DIY multi-hyphenate.
Reflecting on the year, Lava considers potential scientific findings of phone usage and warns about our social media intake going forward.
“I feel like everyone’s developed an unhealthy relationship with their phones as a result of this the pandemic, and we’re going to start seeing the psychological long term effects from that. Maybe scientists will have some sort of breakthrough realisation to help prevent some of the side effects of social media gratification.”
She is however, more clear about what she wants to leave in 2020.
“Covid-19 ideally haha. But that doesn’t look like that’s the case. Deffo Boris Johnson at least.”
“I’d love all the 36 mafia legends to come hard with an album return since they’re all getting sampled to oblivion by Soundcloud producers. And all the rocksteady legends too. We’re all still, very much, waiting for the Rihanna album.”
Indie daydreamers Easy Life make the kind of laid back stoner summer anthems that are ideal for whisking yourself away from a relentless news cycle.
A year on from finishing second in the BBC Sound of 2020, they recorded a collaboration with Arlo Parks and shared their Junk Food EP.
Cutting no corners with what they’d erase from day to day life, the boys tell us they need to see the end of “Lockdown, amazon-bingeing, haircuts at home, social distancing, divisiveness, loneliness, hate, world hunger and war. Please no Covid-21.”
Trying to inject a bit of cheer into the world they are manifesting some special moments.
“Scientist will discover not only liquid water on Mars but underwater Aliens (picture Busted’s year 3000) who have only managed to discover Easy Life’s music somehow. We will get sent as Earth representatives to play the first-ever Mars show which will POP OFF.”
“We should get a Live Aid style tiny desk with everyone involved. I’m thinking Elton, Stevie Wonder, Ariana, Mariah, maybe Bublé, some big soulful vocal session to heal us all and bring everyone together.”
NAYANA IZ has had time to reflect after a stellar year. Dropping her SMOKE & FLY EP and featuring on COLORS, the genre-blurring artist isn’t afraid to pull in parts of her Indian heritage in her music. It results in a unique left of field rap sound that feels genuinely fresh and new.
Maintaining that youthful energy she feels change in the air in 2021.
“I think what a lot of people were forced to do with all these lockdowns was to really look into themselves and as a result, I’ve felt people have become way more understanding and conscious of their actions. In a world that moves so fast, especially being in any way connected to the music industry it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, stop feeling and to be less present. I’ve seen light in a lot of peoples eyes again, I wish the best for us all in 2021. I think it’s going to be different in a good way! More light.”
Sad Night Dynamite were quietly one of 2020’s most exciting emerging acts. Sprinkling a little bit of colour into an otherwise dry year, the pair from England hosted an NTS radio show, shared a slew of weird and otherworldly songs about alternate universes and demonic sailors and even wrote one from the top of a mountain. Imagine Gorillaz minus the animation and the eery vibes cranked up to one thousand.
Not known for putting a front, the boys keep it real when they tell us what they want to see less of this year.
“Spending every Saturday night sitting in a puddle of tears staring into nothing.”
They were even blunter when it came to what they plan to do when the vaccine lands.
“I’m going to burn the substantial pile of used tissues I’ve accumulated and light the biggest fire the world has ever seen.”
When we ask what they hope scientists would discover they tell us, “Hopefully a big button that can end climate change.”
Queens native María Isabel weaves considered ruminations through a myriad of understated songs that were an essential part of our 2020 self care routine. Dancing between english and spanish, there is a certain star power that’s hard to put into words, but slaps you in the face in the opening track ‘The 1′ in her debut EP Stuck In The Sky.
Maintaining the same sincerity that is littered throughout her catalogue, she is appreciating the little joys in life after a difficult year.
“The craziest thing about last year is realizing that we take the smallest things for granted. It’s not wild by any means but I really just want to start travelling again.”
Looking towards a potential performance could be the antidote to the ills of last year she tells us, “I feel Giveon is long overdue for a Tiny Desk. We’d all find some healing in his voice.”
Leaving a parting comment she says, “I hope it’s the year that we stop using phrases like “I’m so anxious or I’m so depressed” as an alternative for being nervous or sad, when they mean two different things.”
Northern Ireland’s JC Stewart weathered the storm of 2020 and put himself on a healthy upward trajectory with a gripping performance at Other Voices, his When The Lights Hit The Room EP and his most recent single ‘Break My Heart’.
2020 wasn’t all bad and JC picked up a couple of other unexpected skills.
“I for one have learned a lot of general knowledge through the medium of zoom quizzes so I’m excited to start entering the world of professional pub quizzing and becoming the champion of the Portrush quiz scene.”
Zoom was one of the past year’s big winners, but Jedward made a comeback as the Twitter kings of Ireland and JC would love to see them go one step Further.
“Honestly, I would love to see a super group made up of Jedward, The Cheeky Girls, LMFAO and Chico. But only singing very very serious ballads about the dangers of climate change.”
But while he’s happy to quiz it up this year and see Jedward’s Twitter account become a sentient being that will write its own songs on climate change there is something that he needs to feel the full wrath of cancel culture.
“The 5k challenge. I would rather sit in a bath full of angry hedgehogs than run another one of those monstrosities.”