Octavian has been crowned the winner of BBC Music’s Sound Of 2019. The South London rapper was chosen by a panel of 136 influential music industry insiders made up of Radio 1 DJs, industry experts, artists including Ellie Goulding as well as previous alumni including last year’s winner Sigrid.
The 23 year old Londoner represents a true rags to riches story. After a turbulent upbringing which saw him homeless and drop out of the prestigious Brit School, Octavian has gone on to make his mark on the music scene, gaining recognition from industry leaders and tastemakers including Drake who put him in the spotlight after releasing a video of him singing along to ‘Party Here’.
His blending of styles from house, rap and drill to R&B, dancehall, grime and UK hip-hop have caught the attention of many. He received his first radio play in 2017 on Benji B’s show and has since been championed on Radio 1 & 1Xtra from the likes of Annie Mac, Phil Taggart and DJ Target. He released his first full-length mixtape Spaceman last year, with many calling it ‘refreshing’, ‘versatile’ and ‘forward thinking’.
Octavian says: “I get inspired and I try to make a new sound every day. It's going to be a very loud year for me. Loads of music, loads of visuals, loads of albums.”
Annie Mac says: “BBC Sound Of is always a wonderful opportunity to get a snapshot of the new music landscape in the UK and this year is really interesting. 6 of the 10 artists are women. And we have two rappers in the top five! I am delighted that UK rap music has got such great placement in the list - Octavian is a truly original and exciting artist, pushing the boundaries of the genre and it's great to see such a progressive artist getting such a huge accolade.”
Benji B says: “I was the first person to play Octavian on Radio 1 and 1Xtra in 2017. Octavian is not in any genre - he is absolutely in his own lane. He makes music that is unique to him, and that is one of the many things that makes him such a great artist. As well as the simple fact that the first couple of tunes he released into the world (Party Here & Hands) were some of the most futuristic, forward thinking, raw and inspiring tunes to come out of the UK in the last 2 years. Long live Octavian.”
James Stirling, Head of BBC Music & BBC Music Introducing says: "Huge congratulations to Octavian and to all the artists shortlisted for the BBC Music Sound of 2019. The quality of the music speaks for itself and BBC Music is incredibly proud to support them all across Radio, TV and BBC Sounds”.
Profiles of all 10 artists are available on the BBC Music Sound Of 2018 website.
The top five artists for 2019 are: