UK R&B Acts To Watch In 2023

UK R&B continues to be a talking point on social media in 2023, but not necessarily for the right reasons. While its resurgence over the last decade is a major

uk r and b artists to watch in 2023

Image via Complex Original/Artwork by Willkay

uk r and b artists to watch in 2023

UK R&B continues to be a talking point on social media in 2023, but not necessarily for the right reasons. While its resurgence over the last decade is a major triumph, the genre is still fighting for its respect within the wider UK music industry. Yes, even after the major successes of the likes of Jorja Smith, Tiana Major9 and Ella Mai, the genre is still overlooked in mainstream spaces, namely The Brit Awards.

The esteemed award show understandably came under fire again this year for its Best Pop/R&B Act category as no R&B acts were nominated. Despite the challenges, though, the scene receives a lot of support from R&B enthusiasts around the world, who recognise the UK for being one of the leading countries for the genre in terms of the talent and music that is being produced year on year. Since this annual list began in 2016, there has been a non-stop stream of acts coming through who can stand toe-to-toe against artists from any other country.

A lack of mainstream support hasn’t stopped UK R&B from flourishing; in fact, it’s built up even more of a cult-like following and community online, which will help to ensure it continues to thrive—regardless of the obstacles it faces—and this should be celebrated. 

Here are 11 R&B/soul acts to watch in 2023.

Jim Legxacy

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For fans of: Brent Faiyaz, The Weeknd, Drake

Essential tracks: “candy reign (!)”, “Eye Tell (!)”, “dj”, “old place”, “hit it light it twist it”

Jim Legxacy’s sound is hard to pinpoint, exactly. R&B is clearly present in the melodies, but he’s more experimental than most R&B acts, delving into different styles that all come together to create something truly unique to the ear. With a string of releases under his belt, the South East Londoner has grown his fanbase and laid down a marker as one of the next big names from the UK music scene. After dropping two of his biggest tracks to date in last year’s “Eye Tell (!)” and “candy reign (!)”, and with new track “old place” currently doing the rounds, anticipation is sky-high for a new Jim Legxacy project. In 2023, watch Jim continue to build his legacy.


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For fans of: Destiny’s Child, SWV, Little Mix

Essential tracks: “Immature”, “Cardboard Box”, “Feature Me”, “Summertime”, Losing You”

There’s a new girl group in town, and they go by the name of FLO. Backed by crisp harmonies, infectious melodies, and top-notch production, what’s not to like about Stella, Jorja and Renée? Working closely with songwriter/producer/all-round genius MNEK, the London-based trio have cultivated a sound that pays homage to R&B’s glory days without being too reliant on nostalgia. They recently won two of the year’s most prestigious honours for rising musicians: the BBC Sound Of 2023 poll, and The Brits’ Rising Star Award. With the backing of music critics, along with their undeniable talent, a rapidly growing fanbase and huge crossover appeal, there’s no reason why FLO can’t be the next big thing to come out of the UK.

Lost Girl

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For fans of: Jorja Smith, Tamera, MORGAN

Essential tracks: “Trust Issues”, “Forever”, “Rockabye”, “I Won’t Give Up”, “Lazy Love”

Fusing old-school garage with silky R&B vocals, Lost Girl debuted in 2020 with “I Won’t Give Up”, and she continued with this formula on follow-up singles to great success. The Berkshire native ended 2022 by stepping more into her R&B bag with “Trust Issues”, showcasing her versatility and the ease in which she’s able to switch between different genres. Capturing the moody, lo-fi R&B aesthetic perfectly, the track has quickly become a fan favourite and paves the way for what could be an exciting year ahead for the rising artist. Based on “Trust Issues”, this next phase of Lost Girl’s career could be her best yet. 


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For fans of: Odeal, BenjiFlow, Ragz Originale

Essential tracks: “22”, “XO”, “Body” 

Born in North London to Nigerian parents, JayO fuses R&B, Afrobeats and hip-hop to great effect. He’s been bubbling in the UK music scene for a while now but took huge strides in 2022 after the release of “XO”. His first release on The Flight Club Records, it became his most popular single at the time. But 2023 will surely be an even bigger year for him—JayO is currently having a huge moment with new single “22”. After a snippet went viral on TikTok and was shared by the likes of Kylie Jenner, it was officially released at the end of February and became his most streamed track of all time in a matter of days. With no signs of slowing down, the song’s success appears to be the start of a big year. 

Eric IV

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For fans of: Nippa, Blxst, IAMDDB

Essential tracks: “Choices”, “True Colours”, “Paper Plans”

Hailing from North London, Eric IV makes R&B music with a hip-hop edge and people can’t seem to get enough of it. After several releases over the last few years, he stood out last year with the singles “Paper Plans” and “Choices”: both songs are super-infectious and their visuals are distinctly British, looking more like grime or rap freestyle videos than anything you’d expect from an R&B artist, but that’s just part of the appeal. Eric VI is doing things his way, and that’s not likely to change.


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For fans of: Odeal, AMARIA BB, JVCK JAMES

Essential tracks: “Notice Me”, “No More Love Songs”, “Weekdays (She Freaky, She Sneaky)”

“There ain’t ever gonna be another me/I just mix some dancehall with a little R&B,” Nottingham’s Skeete sings on “Notice Me”, his most streamed song to date. These lyrics sum up his sound well: an R&B artist at the core, he also incorporates dancehall influences—and always with a strong melodic punch. Skeete has been steadily building his audience since 2017 and closed out 2022 with “Weekdays (She Freaky, She Sneaky)”, which has become one of his most popular releases, so it’ll be interesting to see what else he has in store for 2023 and beyond.


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For fans of: Giveon, Sampha, KAYTRANADA

Essential tracks: “Better”, “Great Escape”, “Are We Alive”

Diedrick has less than five songs to his name, but what has been heard so far is enough to mark him out as one to watch. Possessing a rich, baritone voice, his songs are captivating, drawing you in by each riff and run. He grew up listening to R&B legends such as Usher, Joe, Chris Brown and Mariah Carey, and his connection to classic R&B can be heard throughout his music, alongside more contemporary sounds. His first two singles, “Better” and “Great Escape”, were both helmed by UK producer J Warner and are stunning R&B ballads that recall the likes of Giveon, while his most recent release, “Are We Alive”, has a bouncy KAYTRANADA-esque feel to it. But one aspect that remains the same is his distinctive vocals—a focal point on each song, ensuring that he stands out from the crowd.

Saint Joshua

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For fans of: Daniel Caesar, Maxwell, Kwaku Asante

Essential tracks: “Palo Santo”, “Trip.”, “Fake Friends”, “Stuck On You”, “Even If We Don’t”

With slick production and soulful vocals, Saint Joshua is a great addition to the Brit-R&B scene. His official debut single, “I Like”, arrived in 2021 and he’s built a following over the last two years through the release of more singles and several EPs. With carefully crafted vocal arrangements highlighting his lush harmonies and intricate background vocals, his sound is skilfully executed. Saint Joshua announced himself as an artist to watch after the release of last year’s “Palo Santo”, and he hasn’t looked back since. It was his first single to surpass a million Spotify streams, and it should be the first of many, with more recent tracks “Trip.” and “Even If We Don’t” proving he has a lot more to offer.

Morgan Munroe

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For fans of: Mahalia, NAO, Jazmine Sullivan

Essential tracks: “Space”, “Mutual”, “Look What You Done”, “Don’t Roll With Me”, “Last Night”

Leicester-born Morgan Munroe stands out with her fly-girl lyrics and confident attitude as much as she does for her sweet-but-strong vocals. She began making waves after a feature on UK rapper Kamakaze’s single, “Last Night”, in 2019. After a series of follow-up releases, she made a lasting impression in 2022 with the release of her debut album, Elvira. Showcasing Morgan’s powerful soprano voice over laid-back beats, the nine-track project blends classic and contemporary R&B superbly. A year prior to the project’s release, Morgan Munroe was named as one of four winners of the inaugural OnlyFans Creative Fund and received a £20,000 prize to assist her music career. A worthy winner and money well invested, Elvira features Morgan’s most sophisticated music yet and hopefully is indicative of what’s to come over the next few years. 

Sophie Faith

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For fans of: Tiana Major9, Sinead Harnett, YEBBA

Essential tracks: “Heart Is On My Sleeve”, “Something I Said”, “You Are The Best Thing”

Sophie Faith has been on the rise for a while: born in Brighton and based in London, she’s established a fanbase through a number of solo releases, her rounds on the live circuit, and a multitude of collaborations with artists from different parts of the world. With a strong emphasis on her poignant voice—the star attraction—last year, Sophie Faith unveiled her debut EP, The Right Side Of Wrong, which showed the world what a great talent she is with “Heart Is On My Sleeve” (co-written by the Stormzy) and “Something I Said” among her very best. Check that project out and thank us later.


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For fans of: Kelela, BANKS, FKA twigs

Essential tracks: “Understand Me”, “Roof”, “Exile”, “Would You”, “All Over Again”

Kehina’s atmospheric brand of R&B comes with dreamy soundscapes and delicate vocals, calming and otherworldly in equal measure. Born and bred in LDN with Algerian, Sudanese and Turkish heritage, she had an eclectic musical upbringing that has resulted in a diverse sound, weaving her way effortlessly from electronic and dance to lo-fi R&B while still maintaining a strong cohesion between her songs. Last year saw her release her best music yet in the form of a debut EP called I Wish I Was Here, which only whet our appetite for what’s next to come. Keep it locked.

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