Neither the Belfast-born singer nor the West Yorkshire-based band he fronts have had much time for glancing backwards. Skinny Living sold out venues across the country, landed a plum support slot with Jake Bugg at Leeds Arena (after a search for local talent) played festivals from The Secret Garden Party to the legendary Isle Of Wight and now landed a contract with RCA Victor, the label synonymous with David Bowie. In recent months, they’ve toured in the Philippines (where the locals had taken photos of the band from the internet and made them into huge posters), worked with some of the UK’s top producers and songwriters and are about to play to 65,000 Justin Bieber fans when they support the US star in Hyde Park.

However, their story isn’t one of rags to riches so much as one of grinding poverty, troubling situations and relentless hard graft. It’s also one of synchronicity, chance meetings, and unflinching belief that their glorious acoustic soul – with its echoes of Bill Withers, the Isley Brothers and Paolo Nutini – will out. As it is doing, with a timeless, gentle beauty and lyrical wisdom far beyond the band’s years.

New single ‘Why’ – which lead singer Ryan describes as “a really heartfelt ballad about a time in my personal life” has been given a more contemporary sheen by in demand producer/electronic artist LostBoy, who was able to recapture the “special feeling” of the band’s initial demo but make the song sound huge and modern. Another potential single, ‘Fade’, was co-written with and produced by Ivor Novello/Brit Award winner Steve Robson, whose lengthy track record of pop hits stretches from Cher to Busted to Westlife to One Direction to Olly Murs and Ed Sheeran.

Skinny Living Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Watch the video for ‘Only I’ below:

Plus support from CELESTE

Celeste has earned raft of supporters in the short few months since making her radio debut as one of Annie Mac’s ‘New Names’ – Mac’s selection of the best new artists to watch out for – and finding herself on the BBC 1Xtra playlist a few months later with ‘Daydreaming’. The rising vocalist returned on ‘Milk & Honey’ this year, receiving plaudits from Interview Magazine, who shot with Celeste in London, DIY Magazine, The Line Of Best Fit and a host of other top titles. ‘Milk & Honey’ was also chosen as a Breaking Track by Beats1’s Julie Adenuga further cementing Celeste as a hot prospect in 2017.

Celeste idolised the vocal prowess of Aretha Franklin, Minnie Riperton, Etta James, The Supremes, Marlena Shaw and Tina Turner as a child – and she quickly learned to sing with similar heart. Having moved to Brighton from LA, Celeste developed a love of instrumentalists such as Thelonious Monk, Alice Coltrane, and Sun-Ra, and the film scores of John Barry. All of these early influences have come together to create Celeste’s unfeigned, honest, and heartfelt writing style.

Celeste Links: Facebook | Twitter

Watch the video for ‘The Milk and The Honey’ below:

Plus support from SEBASTIAN TREE