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Get to Know Ray BLK, the British-Nigerian Winner of BBC Sound of 2017

Ray BLK, one of our 10 UK artists to watch, is set to take over 2017.

Ray BLK, one of our 10 U.K. Artists to Watch in 2017, recently won the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.


On the five-strong shortlist were also Jorja Smith, Rag’n’Bone, Raye and Nadia Rose, who also features on OkayAfrica’s list.

Ray BLK, whose real name is Rita Ekwere, was born in Nigeria but moved to London when she was four.

She grew up in Catford in South London, a place she's said her friends have described as a “ghost town,” but to her has been a source of pride and material for her music.

Her latest 7-song project, Durt, released in October last year is tight and focused, and over which The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill figures are a presiding spirit.

“50/50,” an instructive pairing of song and video, is a compaction of steel and brittle as she informs a suitor who is too busy “selling food” to pay her adequate attention. The video, more than the song, is strongly indicative of her working-class roots, which she appears to either revel in or present as found.

Other videos so far released are “Chill Out,” alongside SG Lewis, which features a powerful presentation of Jamaica’s much maligned gay and transgender community and “My Hood” with Stormzy, whom she became friends with after appearing at the same talent show a year before both artists rose to prominence.

Previous winners of the BBC Sound Of the Year poll have been Adele and Sam Smith.

Music

Listen to Tems' New EP 'If Orange Was A Place'

The buzzing Nigerian is also announcing her signing to Since '93/RCA Records and her placement as Apple Music's Up Next artist.

Tems is striking while the iron's hot and sharing her new 5-song EP, If Orange Was A Place.

The new release comes a few days after she dropped its lead single, "Crazy Tings," an addictive and bounce-heavy track produced by Ghanaian beatmaker GuiltyBeatz.

If Orange Was A Place also features a single guest appearance from American singer Brent Faiyaz — who lends his vocals to "Found" — and production from Jonah Christian. It was mixed and mastered by Spax.

The new EP comes alongside the news that Tems has signed to Since '93/RCA Records and been announced as Apple Music's latest Up Next artist.

Tems has been a highly-buzzing name in the last month with her feature on Drake's Certified Lover Boy, in which she appears on the song "Fountains," and for the massive popularity of her single alongside Wizkid, "Essence," which recently got a Justin Bieber remix.

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