Mari Mathias

Mari Mathias grew up in the rural village of Talgarreg, just a stones throw away from the Ceredigion coastline. She sings in her native welsh tongue and puts her own contemporary take on traditional folk melodies. After releasing her first EP “Ysbryd y ty” in 2020 dedicated to her grandmother, she has now released her Debut album “Annwn” on March the 20th with Jigcal Records. The LP is a collection of unique folk songs inspired by traditional tales and melodies. This concept album infuses electronic sounds, field recordings, cinematic soundscapes with samples from her great-grandfathers cassette tapes, in which he recorded hours of home life and traditional songs.

Over recent years Mari has supported acts such as Gruff Rhys, Meic Stevens and Plu. She has performed everywhere from the St.Fagans Museum to HubFest, Immersed Festival, Clwb Ifor Bach, Swansea Fringe & The Big Cwtch. Her most recent single “Rebel” was awarded track of the week on BBC Radio Cymru & “Annwn” was played by Adam Walton on BBC Introducing, Radio Wales , where he stated “Absolutely jaw-dropping, just a sense of mythology and welsh folk music. It’s not an easy thing to do , to record something that evocative.”

Having graduated from the Forte Project, she is now performing with an exciting ensemble of young folk musicians on her new material.

Małgola, No

Małgola, No is a is a DIY singer-songwriter and producer from Poland, currently based in Cardiff. On her songwriting palette, all shades of pop music are mixed. If you value wit and catchiness same as nostalgia and experiment, this show is for you!

Megan Owen

Based in South Wales, Megan Owen is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who discusses her battle with mental health and self-acceptance through her lyrics. After years of posting piano covers on social media, Meg made her debut release at twenty years old with her EP “11:10”.

“It just sounds real, you know she means every word, and this is a feat not many musicians can pull off” Spaced Out Music Blog on ‘her’.

“She brought her beautiful vocal style to the stage and filled the room with ambient sounds accompanied by her guitar. Her songs told stories of love, heartbreak and finding her way in the world.” Nawr Mag

Sorry Stacy

A self taught producer, songwriter and singer originating from Estonia, sorry stacy is now based in Cardiff and creates conceptual electronica influenced by Björk, Kate Bush and Grimes.

Mali Hâf

Delegates only show: Introducing Cardiff’s Mali Hâf

Pentire

Pentire are an indie band who make pop songs for the post-jangle generation through the smiles and sweat of the mosh pit. This four-piece tell cheap lager-soaked stories of student life, a smalltown upbringing, and the innocence of youth.

Niques

Niques is a singer/rapper born and bred in Cardiff who specialises in R&B and Hip Hop. She’s inspired by the 90s era and implements that into her music to make it nostalgic but current. Her lyrical content ranges from personal experiences to social commentary as she takes inspiration from her current and previous environment.

Alexandra Alden (Malta)

Maltese-born Alexandra Alden, like many, is on a search for belonging. She navigates ironic tales about the end of the world, the gentle wisdom of the butterfly effect as well as the immensity and beauty of nature through her music, with a sense of urgency and awe, that leans towards an ethereal indie folk pop sound with contrasting, darker elements. Her new album ‘Leads to Love’ is a testament to her success, leaving a trail of enthusiastic reviews in her wake, seemingly with every performance.

Alexandra has lived in three different countries and moves house at least once a year- not necessarily due to her own choosing. For some reason, she can’t seem to stay put in one place for too long. It’s in the midst of these transitions that Alden’s songs come to life, signalling the end of a chapter and the start of a new one.

Set against a backdrop of bohemian house-parties attended by musicians and artists, grubby short-term rentals and long hours of secluded writing in various rooms (and countries), Alden exudes a maturity beyond her years but understands her own naivety. Her songs saw a string of number one songs in her home-country as well as the growth of a steady cult following.

She has already performed at the infamous De Roma in Antwerp to sparkling local reviews, as well as Dutch TV broadcast ’2 meter sessies’ that has been visited by the likes of Radiohead, Nirvana, James Taylor and many more. In February, Alexandra began the first leg of her European 2022 tour with performances in Gothenburg, Stockholm and finally at Future Echoes Showcase Festival in Sweden.

From 2018 to 2020, Alden sat as a judge on X Factor Malta which saw her become a household name, where she also became known for her outspoken, bold statements in favour of Women’s Rights and Environmental Sustainability as well as striking fashion choices. Alden is never one to shy away from engaging with her audience.

The 2022 ’Leads to Love’ album tour seeks to engage with new audiences and will be supported by the Arts Council Malta.

BLÁNID (Ireland)

Singer/songwriter BLÁNID is a fresh new voice on the UK music scene. Hailing from Ireland, she fuses indie folk, jazz and modern tones. With a hauntingly powerful voice and confessional style, she etches unforgettable stories on the listener’s ear.

BLÁNID had an extraordinary 2021. Her debut single “Fool’s Gold” released in March was met with critical acclaim, with plays on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Ulster & Foyle, BBC Radio Kent and 4 plays on BBC Radio 1 (Power Down Playlist & The Chillest Show), where it was described as a ‘cinematic masterpiece’ alongside her ‘completely captivating’ voice. BLÁNID also appeared as a featured vocalist on Netflix’s anime Witcher film soundtrack (The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf).

Her most recent single “Dead Men Dancing”, has been featured on BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Ulster and RTÉ 2XM. BLÁNID’s next track ‘Hollow’ will be released on 29th April with an EP to follow later in 2022. With comparisons to Kate Bush and Sinéad O’Connor, BLÁNID is “well on her way to stardom” (Earmilk).

“completely captivating” Sian Eleri Evans, BBC Radio 1

Artshawty

Artshawty is a singer/songwriter from Wales who makes dreamy bedroom pop and lo-fi music with producer Volcano Szn. She was awarded with a grant from BBC Horizons this year as well as being selected as one of Forte Project’s 10 artists of 2022 and hopes to release her debut album this summer.

Unity

Unity grew up in Mid Wales on a diet of guitar bands, discovering funk and HipHop via the Beastie Boys. Influenced by Taskforce and Kae Tempest, Unity delivers poetic lyrics over HipHop beats.

A DJ, Bgirl and Graffiti Writer, Unity began her lyrical journey via spoken word, winning Swansea’s poetry slam (2018) with her poetic delivery of real-life stories. She went on to support Hollie McNish, Verb T, Kae Tempest and Blak Twang, feature in a BBC Sesh lyrics video and as guest MC for Hiphop-Jazz fusion band Dirty Alex.

Unity’s debut EP ‘Progress is a Process’ (2020) speaks about loss of coal-mining communities, mental health, domestic abuse and addiction. ‘Garden of my Soul’, (2021) is a dedication to love and grief. ‘Diving Deeper’, her debut album and first release through Bard Picasso (Nov 2021) flows with themes of water, the earth, and our innermost journeys as we respond to nature’s cycles.

Through her lyrics, onstage, and with her community work, Unity aims to empower other artists. Recognised for her understanding of Hiphop culture and its application in community settings, Unity is a founding member of Ladies of Rage, and has written a chapter for a global Hiphopography book (2022).

PHOTO CREDIT: Suhmayah Banda

Aisha Kigs

An artist who’s energy cannot be contained. A combination of R&B and Neo Soul with a Hip Hop flare. Vocalist, songwriter, rapper and all round performer. With a dance and musical theatre background, dramatics are both played out on the stage, and through the music; a presence you cannot deny. Her background sees her combining elements of Dance, House and Funk creating a sound which is all her own. Influenced and inspired by heavyweights like Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Beverly Knight, Beyonce and Janelle Monae.

SZWÉ

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sizwe ‘SZWÉ’ Chitiyo is a 22 year old artist based in South Wales. After starting his music career 14 years ago, Sizwe played acoustic sets around South Wales before venturing into soul, RnB and Hip hop.

Fig.

With Spanish and Portuguese roots, Fig. is adding a new element to the fast growing South Wales hip hop scene. Originally from Caerphilly in the Welsh valleys, now based in Cardiff, Fig. blends the sounds of traditional hip hop, grime and garage with his own dark vocal tones and melancholic lyricism. Focused on rooting himself in his own experiences and local dialect, he gives a unique outlook on life experiences that hit home while also giving a fresh outlook on the ever changing world around him.

Jimbo

Jimbo is a versatile artist from Cardiff who can create a track with vicious flows or deliver hard hitting lyrics over kicked back melodies. Jimbo is an artist that is definitely one to watch.

Charlie J

Charlie J is a music producer, rapper and songwriter based in Bridgend, South Wales. Growing up in a unique family, as a triplet with two mothers and living in a number of places around the world, these unique experiences helped shape Charlie as an individual and artist. With one of his brothers excelling at school, and the other excelling in sport, this caused him to embrace his creative side, where from an early age he enjoyed poetry and art, with a passion for music developing soon after.

Taking the chilled, pleasant vibes of Australia, where he was born, contrasting with the poorer but supportive Morecambe, Lancashire, where he spent his teenage years, Charlie offers a unique insight into the events and lives of the people he met growing up. With the honesty and storytelling of Loyle Carner and sonics inspired by artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, Charlie J provides a breath of fresh air into the UK hip hop scene. He is due to release his next EP, “A Moment’s Notice” March 31st after a string of singles released in the last year.

Original TitanTeeth

Original TitanTeeth is a hip hop musician hailing from South Wales, UK and a member of the WheezeTeam HipHop Collective. TitanTeeth brings a unique style of hard, gritty instrumentals with an ominously dark element to his creations, followed with lyrics of experience and well thought rhythms. Consistently working to better his musical ability, TitanReeth continues to release tracks and mixtapes and network with other Artists across Wales. A lover of music in general, with influences around the globe .

Benji Wild

Benji Wild began honing his rap skills as a child of the early 00’s. Rapping on street corners across Cardiff, and taking part in rap battles wherever he could find them, he was soon establishing himself on the scene. By his late teens he found himself couch surfing across the UK, following the bassline music scene, and this adventure would eventually lead to the Greek island of Crete, where he lived for a year as resident MC in the clubs for the summer season. The experience of travel, absorbing new cultures and new sounds, and being able to perform for a living, was just the taster required, and he returned home more motivated than ever to find a path into music.

Shortly after this he met a Cardiff MC by the name of ‘Traxx’, who was looking for new collaborators, and this soon evolved into the grime-punk group Astroid Boys. Whilst momentum was growing, in 2013 they had to hit the brakes. Jumped on the streets of Cardiff after a show, Benji found himself in prison for a short stretch, due to a street fight that regretfully got out of hand. ‘It really was the last thing I wanted to happen in life at that point. It was such a sobering and humbling experience. Perhaps in the long run, it was the thing that has made me focus my energies so much on music, and makes me want to make the most of the opportunities I have now.’

Astroid Boys eventually delivered multiple tours, sharing stages with the likes of Kano, Enter Shikari, and ICE T, and growing a global fanbase along the way. It was a positive experience which has without doubt helped to shape Benji as an artist and a person, and inspire him to now find his own path with his own project.

Growing up in a low income, and, in his own words ‘an unconventional household’, in an area of Cardiff renowned for crime, it wasn’t the easiest of environments, but it was during these formative years that Benji threw himself into music and discovered that music was the only future he could see. ‘I’ve poured everything into this debut album. My upbringing, the good and the bad times, and hopefully people will connect. Feels a long time in the making, but I know the real journey is only just about to begin.’

Benji Wild’s debut album ‘Skull & Bones’ is released worldwide on Friday 3rd December 2021, available on all major platforms.

Paperhouse

An evolving collaboration of artists from Wrexham to Cardiff led by musician Andy Hickie. Driven by synths, psychedelic guitars, banging beats and a splash of catchy vocals. Who knows what a PAPERHOUSE live show has in store?

David Grubb

Eclectic folk with a dark identity. David Grubb brings together an array of seemingly disparate musical elements to create a uniquely diverse sound, challenging the audience’s perception of genre. David has been described as “A musician who doesn’t play by anybody else’s rules” (RnR Mag), and his melodies “highly melodious, appealingly catchy, even hypnotic at times” (The Living Tradition). His most recent album ‘Nano’ (recorded 2019, released 2020) is an instrumental commentary on the dark side of modern society, inspired by the current political, environmental, and economic landscape. David’s ability to bridge genres has made him a flexible and valuable musician, working with the likes of Novo Amor, Jim Ghedi, Hailaker, and Toby Hay. Fresh from a headline show at Celtic Connections, he is now working on his latest project for which he was awarded a Creative Retreat through Britten Pears Arts

Izzie Walsh

“So original and individual, Izzie Walsh” Bob Harris: BBC Radio 2

Darren Eedens

Canadian born, and Cardiff based. Unapologetic for the denim and the 4 string banjo.

MINAS

Minas is the project from Cardiff musician and producer James Minas.

His songs tell stories of a chequered past over a mix of deep melodic soundscapes and loud, aggressive stanzas. Covering subjects from personal struggles with mental health to finding a place in the society we have. Minas alongside his live band are garnering a reputation for their ferocious and lively shows and 2022 is set to be the most exciting year yet for them.

As a producer James is building a new sound around the South Wales scene and beyond with a number of artists spanning different genres, but as an artist he presents brutal honesty, going against his natural defences to present the most open and vulnerable version of himself.

Minas was born in Athens, grew up in the circus with parents who were heavily involved in the 1980’s Punk scene and then moved Wales as a teenager. Minas aims to create music that discusses these things and ends with an empowering feeling of hope, something we all need in right now.

Alpha Chino

Alpha Chino are a 4-piece band from North Wales – They got together three years ago and quickly began creating catchy, alternative pop/busker songs drenched in slide guitar, funked up double bass and thoughtful vocal harmonies. Diverse acoustic buskers or full band set up, Alpha Chino are at home on the road.

The band self-released their first 3 singles, the latest receiving BBC Radio Wales air play. Adam Walton’s reaction to hearing it was “Yes please!, that is so good!”

The band have played at FOCUS Wales, pulled a large crowd at the Greenman Festival Banjo stage, hustled a few shows at Shambala and continue to blag gigs across the country.

Mickey Callisto

Mickey Callisto is unlike anything around at the moment, he is a self-aware beacon of positivity who celebrates being yourself in the purest form. A new kind of popstar, he makes psychedelic, bedroom-made synth-pop bangers whilst he has separated the ego from the self, seeing everyone as equal and bringing a refreshing outlook and experience that is set to break out in 2022.

Born in Sunderland, Mickey’s first foray into music was teaching himself opera after being inspired by Durham Cathedral Choristers and the classical requiems at the age of seven. After his voice broke and he was no longer able to pursue that particular musical path, Mickey was soon taken by Freddie Mercury. At school they put on ‘We Will Rock You’ and after quick Google his life was changed. Alongside Freddie, he was inspired by some of the legendary frontmen like Mick Jagger and Robert Plant, taken by the stage presence of these performers.

The stage name Mickey Callisto comes from his love of space and astronomy – Callisto being a moon of Jupiter. It’s a persona he first thought of when he was fourteen. He would draw pictures of the character he had in mind. It was round this time he started to teach himself piano, though he couldn’t quite nail the sound he had in mind, it was soon after that he joined a psychedelic rock band, playing keys and synths. Mac Demarco and Tame Impala soon entered his world and he began to explore the warm psychedelia and lo-fi -bedroom pop of these acts at home, making tunes on Nord.

A life-changing night out at The Whites Hotel in 2019 saw widescreen Italo disco make an instant impact, and dressed in a £30 ski suit he bought from Affleck’s Palace in Manchester, he has never looked back, blending the synths and chords of Italo-disco with lo-fi pop and the classics such as ABBA and Pink Floyd to create something that he has been pursuing ever since.

Clubbing has been central in helping Mickey find his confidence, a place where he has experimented with his moves and look. The results have been thrilling. His mesmerising live show is quickly becoming an essential act. Sol-out shows in his adopted hometown of Liverpool have seen Mickey become a cult figure there, but he is certain to soon break even further.

2021 saw Mickey Callisto release his first tracks – ‘Destructive Love’ and ‘This Is The Real World’. Pure, unabashed tracks full of emotion, they marked Mickey out as an act to watch and already labels are taking notice.

Asha Jane

Introducing Cardiff’s multi-disciplinary artist, Asha Jane.

The Honest Poet

The Honest Poet (THP), South Wales based singer/songwriter, has unique soulful vocals which emanate raw emotion. Drawing his inspiration from his life, cultivating each story from an honest viewpoint. Poetry plays a significant role throughout the entirety of THP’s music. Infusing hip hop, spoken word and soul combining with open and honest lyrics.

“It’s definitely pop music, in the Hip-hop and RNB bracket for sure, but his perfect support slow would probably be an Ed Sheeran show.” Kaptin Barrett, Boomtown

‘Amazing mix of soulful vocals, poetic lyrics & a slick hip hop beat’
Abbie Mcarthy, BBC Introducing

Amelia Coburn

Since being nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards, Teesside’s Amelia Coburn has travelled and worked in Mexico, France and Russia and used the inspiration of the places and people she encountered to inform her unique brand of neo-folk. Drawing on European folk music and Tin Pan Alley jazz, Amelia’s distinctive voice is a captivating tool in her musical storytelling and she writes highly evocative, narrative driven tales of, amongst other subjects, vengeful widows, sleep paralysis and staying up all night in Dublin. Voted as UKE Magazine’s Best Breakthrough Artist 2021, she has gained national airplay in the UK and beyond, including BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and RTÉ 1.

From supporting the late folk legend Vin Garbutt to Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and indie rock band The Wedding Present, the roll call of people she has shared a stage with shows the diversity of her appeal. With previous performances at Cambridge Folk Festival, Costa del Folk and Czech Ukulele Festival under her belt, a clutch of new songs set for release across 2022 will see her establish herself further as one to watch for years to come.

“A fabulous voice, beguiling stage presence”Mark Radcliffe, Radio 2
“Absolutely genius!” Tom Robinson, 6Music
“Amelia’s is a voice that needs to be heard”RnR Magazine

Ben & Dom

Ben & Dom are an a cappella singing duo from South London. Ben takes the high notes and Dom takes the low notes (most of the time). The intricate blend of their harmonies comes from a close friendship and shared love of singing together. Ben & Dom weave their voices around songs old and new, performing original material alongside new interpretations of folk songs. Their lyrics touch on friendship, nature and what it means for two men to sing together in this modern day.

Ben & Dom are part of the EFEx mentoring scheme for 21/22. They will be performing at Focus Wales, Cambridge Folk Festival & the EFEx showcase. In April 2022 the duo will launch their debut EP ‘Shoulder’ and will be performing the project around the UK. The duo are also working towards their first full length album for release in early 2023.

Mandane DS

Mandane DS is an 19 year old Portuguese rapper living in Wrexham, North Wales. With a huge passion for music, Mandane DS experiments with many genres including Afrobeats & Rap with a Portuguese influence. Having released 6 singles already as an individual artist racking up thousands of streams online including 1.4k views on “Don’t Take Me Wrong”, Mandane DS is determined to continue to build his fan-base but also to define who he wants to be as an artist. He has performed a number of times with Larynx Entertainment both in their LIVE & LOADED sessions as well as collaborating with Avant Cymru as apart of their Hip-Hop for Better Mental Health project. He has also featured in playlists curated by The Shutdown Show & SKL Entertainment. In summer 2021 he was selected as an artist as part of the Building Blocs music scheme organised by BLOCS. He has also performed in the past with FOCUS Wales for the OUT OF FOCUS project in 2021.

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