During her BBC Radio 6 Music Breakfast Show (7.30am-10.30am), Lauren Laverne unveiled the BBC Radio 6 Music Artists of the Year 2023. This new annual event in the 6 Music calendar celebrates the musical achievements of 2023 and predicts the rising stars for 2024 and beyond.
The list, which is not ranked in any particular order, features both established musical legends and emerging artists from various musical genres, all of whom received support from 6 Music throughout the year.
The 6 Music Artists of the Year, listed alphabetically, are:
Christine and the Queens
The Last Dinner Party
Say She She
Lauren says: “The line-up for the inaugural 6 Music Artists of the Year is just bursting with music talent, innovation and inspiration. Huge congratulations to the acts who have all had an incredible 2023. I’m looking forward to following all your sonic journeys in 2024 and beyond!”
Camilla Pia, Assistant Commissioner, BBC Radio 6 Music says: “Artists are at the heart of what we do at 6 Music – from those just starting out in their career to the icons who we’ve known and loved for many years. So, we’ve created Artists of the Year to celebrate that – and to shine a light on those who have had great successes over the past 12 months and reflect on the moments that we’ve shared with this incredibly broad and exciting range of acts. Congratulations to everyone on the list, we’re so proud and honoured to have played a part in your stories.”
6 Music will be celebrating its Artists of the Year 2023 throughout this week (Monday 6th – Friday 10th November) and beyond. The programming includes an interview with Boygenius on New Music Fix Daily (Tuesday 7th November, 7pm-9pm) and an exclusive session with the band, recorded at Maida Vale Studios, available now on BBC iPlayer. Additionally, a session from blur, featuring performances of tracks including “Luminous,” “Oily Water,” “Colin Zeal,” and “Young and Lovely,” is now accessible on BBC iPlayer, recorded exclusively for 6 Music.
Alex James of blur joined Lauren her 6 Music Breakfast Show this morning to reflect on the band’s comeback this year. The interview is available here. In May, blur shocked 6 Music listeners and the music world by announcing The Ballad of Darren – their ninth studio album and their first in eight years – and premiering its first single, The Narcissist, live on Steve Lamacq’s show. The Ballad of Darren became the band’s seventh consecutive Number One album in the UK. blur also sold out Wembley Stadium twice and embarked on a global tour. This week, Huw Stephens will broadcast four exclusive session tracks from the band – Luminous, Oily Water, Colin Zeal and Young and Lovely – on Wednesday 8th November (4pm-7pm). The session is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.
Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, aka boygenius, released their debut album, The Record, in March and discussed it exclusively with 6 Music’s Matt Everitt in his New Album Fix show. They toured the UK for the first time in 2023, playing venues such as Gunnersbury Park in West London and Piece Hall in Halifax. Their USA performances this year included at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, as Phoebe opened for Taylor Swift for a stetch of her Eras Tour. A new acoustic session from boygenius, recorded at Maida Vale Studios, is available on BBC iPlayer. It will also be broadcast on Tuesday 7 November on New Music Fix Daily (7pm-9pm) – alongside an interview with the band – and again as part of an Artist Collection celebrating Phoebe Bridgers, available on BBC Sounds the same day.
Christine and the Queens
French singer and songwriter Chris gave the global exclusive performance of his new live show at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, as part of the 6 Music Festival in March. This summer, he curated the annual Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre, released his fourth studio album, Paranoïa, Angels, True Love and performed on the Woodsies Stage at Glastonbury. Mary Anne Hobbs will revisit highlights from Christine and the Queens’ 6 Music Festival performance in her show on Wednesday 8 November (10.30am-1pm).
Jacob Lusk of Gabriels has had an incredible year, including performing Are You Ready For Love on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage with Elton John, as part of Elton’s headline set in June. Gabriels then released the second part of their debut studio album, Angels & Queens – Part II, which reached Number Three in the UK Album Charts. The group will host a series of 6 Music Artist in Residence in December (Monday 18 – Thursday 21 and Monday 25 – Thursday 28 December, 9pm-10pm) and will join Craig Charles for an interview on his show later today (Monday 6 November, 1pm-4pm).
Jacob Lusk of Gabriels says: “This has been a year of blissful surprises, and this honor is another. Thank you to everyone who’s been rocking with us. We wouldn’t be here without you. May the fellas and I be a gentle reminder that there’s plenty of hope for you, and plenty of space too.”
In July, Loraine performed an exclusive session for 6 Music’s New Music Fix Daily, previewing tracks from her September 2023 album, Gentle Confrontation. Her tracks including I DM U and Déjà Vu have featured on the BBC Radio 6 Music playlist this year. Loraine presented her own show on 6 Music with SHERELLE, sitting in for Gilles Peterson (Saturdays, 3pm-6pm) in February. SHERELLE’s Deep Dive into Loraine James, broadcast during her weekly show (Saturdays 11pm-1am) in October, is available on BBC Sounds here. Loraine has also completed a UK tour in 2023. Today, she provides a special All Queens Mix for Mary Anne Hobbs (10.30am-1pm).
Loraine James says: “Thank you BBC Radio 6 Music for choosing me as one of your Artists of the Year! You guys have been a supporter of my music from the early days so this means a lot.”
The Last Dinner Party
Following the release of their debut single, Nothing Matters, the London indie rock band appeared on Steve Lamacq’s show in July for their first ever performance on radio. Over the summer, the band performed at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Latitude and Green Man festivals and they will tour with Hozier in December. This week, they present 6 Music’s Artist in Residence (Monday 6 – Thursday 9 November, 9pm-10pm). Their recent debut performance on Later…with Jools Holland (BBC Two) is available on BBC iPlayer.
The Last Dinner Party says: “We are so excited to be one of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Artists of the Year 2023, thank you. Growing up and living in England, you see the BBC everywhere so it feels absolutely massive to have the support of 6 Music. We are really grateful.”
The jungle and drum and bass artist released her second EP in two years, Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against tha Wall, this year and her tracks Conveniency and Off Wiv Ya Headz have both been supported on the 6 Music playlist. In 2023, Nia Archives appeared at Glastonbury, Primavera in Barcelona and opened for Beyoncé at Tottenham Stadium. She will soon curate a takeover of Manchester’s The Warehouse Project. Her set from Primavera was broadcast exclusively on New Music Fix Daily in June and presenters Tom Ravenscroft and Deb Grant will give listeners another chance to hear the mix on Thursday 9 November (7pm-9pm).
Say She She
The Brooklyn-based vocal band have had their tracks Astral Plane and C’est Si Bon featured on the 6 Music playlist this year and joined Craig Charles (weekdays 1pm-4pm) for a session in August. They released their second album, Silver, the following month and are set to tour the UK in 2024. Craig will revisit highlights from the band’s session during his show on Wednesday 8 November (1pm-4pm). Say She She’s debut Later…with Jools Holland performance, from the current BBC Two series, is available on BBC iPlayer.
Say She She says: “We can’t believe we are one of the BBC Radio 6 Music Artists Of The Year!!! Thank you to 6 Music for spinning our songs for the people and making all our wildest discodelic dreams come true!”
Antony’s first ever radio play was on Craig Charles’ 6 Music show (weekdays 1pm-4pm) and he has since had tracks including How Did You Get Here?, The Words To Auld Lang Syne and Twist Forever (with Jacana People) appear on the 6 Music Playlist. The spoken word and indie hip-hop artist performed at Band on the Wall in Manchester for the opening night of this year’s 6 Music Festival and in session on New Music Fix Daily in July. The spoken word and indie hip-hop artist recently made his UK TV debut alongside The National, Jorja Smith, Wreckless Eric and Say She She on BBC Two’s Later…with Jools Holland. Antony was a guest on Lauren’s 6 Music Breakfast Show this morning and he will share a poem on Craig Charles’ show tomorrow (Tuesday 7 November, 1pm-4pm).
Antony Szmierek says: “Simply put, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without BBC Radio 6 Music. Its desire to seek out interesting alternative music meant that the demos I’d knocked up over lockdown found not only a home but an audience, and I quickly went from listener to playlisted artist. The support of producers and presenters has given me a chance to do the impossible, and I’ll always call 6 Music home.”
Steve Lamacq broadcast the Scottish band’s Independent Venue Week performance – their first show in four years – at Norwich Arts Centre at the start of 2023. In February, they released their Mercury Prize nominated album, Heavy Heavy, and embarked on an international tour which continues into 2024. They also opened for Depeche Mode at their Twickenham Stadium concert in the summer. Huw Stephens will hear from the band and revisit highlights from their Norwich Arts Centre gig during his show today (Monday 6 November, 4pm-7pm). Lauren will celebrate Young Fathers in her regular 6 Music Salutes feature tomorrow (Tuesday 7 November, 7.30am-10.30am).
Young Fathers says: “It’s been a good year and we want to say thank you to BBC Radio 6 Music for all the support and for playing our songs throughout. Love. Young Fathers.”
Later today, Tom and Deb, on New Music Fix Daily (7pm-9pm), will spotlight each of 6 Music’s Artists of the Year, hearing from more 6 Music presenters about their love of these acts.