The one and only Lulu James is back, priestess of self-proclaimed 21st Century Soul, with a proper EP in the works. Beautiful People is a first taste of it and sees the Newcastle diva shine amidst of a brooding production that could have easily been produced by SOHN (apart from that swirly bass perhaps). Ironically she opens the song with the lyric “remember when you said / loving me is not easy” - seconds later, however, she sings the more fitting “no one else compares to me”.

Lulu James turns neon in celebration of her forthcoming new single Sweetest Thing, a wobbly slice of soulful, sparky contemporary pop. It’s another hit for the rising star, who has released a series of impressive singles so far, with a debut album in the works. Sweetest Thing is probably the most radio-friendly of them all, sung in a voice so graspy it’s literally impossible not to sing along.

Lulu James hits all the right spots again with new single Sweetest Thing, with pulsing synths complementing her voice. With a subject like sweetest thing, the song is inevitably some sort of love lullaby, but with a very sexy SFW-twist thanks to the playful, (minor) “booty-shaking” production.

High priestess Lulu James reigns in her (dance) temple in the video for Step by Step, a video in which she takes on several characters along with two dancers/servants. Includes some very impressive shots, like the girl-gone-bad ones bathed in red and black as the devil.

A pushy bass is what puts Lulu James in the next gear in her new single Step By Step - sure, she’s always hinted at a more dance-oriented sound, but Step By Step is the one that will probably have you stepping towards the dance floor to bust some moves. Of course her sound is still classy and soulful, everything but your regular dance track, with her voice still reigning above the deep bass.

Lulu James looks both sexy and ferocious in the video for her latest effort Closer, the kind of tune that lifts us of our asses and takes them to a ’90s inspired rave dancefloor. Hell, she even has a fur tail to whip with - that’s step 1 on the road to success right?

Vocal powerhouse/one to watch Lulu James signed to RCA after the success of Be Safe and Stuck, two songs that showed this big-voiced lady is capable of laying down infectious vocals on heavy tracks, with a tasty result. New single Closer hints towards the ’90s but sounds incredibly 2013 at the same time, a mix of modern soul and electronics with a touch of sweetness.

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Women have always been the more intriguing race when it comes to music (in our humble opinion), so it was very hard to narrow down our list to just five acts. Because of it being so hard we decided to make a small exception for this list and tip six acts instead of five. We present you our Sound of 2013: The Girls.

PS: Solange and Sky Ferreira are obviously going to be huge (HUGE) but we left them out this list because a) it would be stating the obvious b) they both released a lot of things already and we focus on acts that have barely anything out.

PPS: This was our last Sound of 2013 post - you can find all of them right here.

Lorine Chia

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Cameroon-born R&B-singer Lorine Chia surprised us earlier this year with one hell of a mixtape titled Lorine which has been on repeat ever since we first heard it. It’s classic R&B mixtape with classic R&B influences - she doesn’t need any gimmick to shine, something we admire in this 19 year old girl. We really do hope more people recognise the talent of Lorine Chia; 2013 might just become her year.

Laura Mvula

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As soon as we heard the first note of Laura Mvula’s debut single She, we were sold. A soothing voice, beautiful harmonies and touching lyrics - it was hard not to fell in love with this lady. Her four track EP was more of the same overwhelming beauty; a full-length will probably definitely break our hearts.

Laura Welsh

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The second we heard Laura Welsh sing, we fell in love with her. It’s pretty obvious she has lots of potential (yes, we can tell that from yes a handful of songs) and is destined to become quite big in 2013. She reminds us of Florence + The Machine in a way, but her music is far more intimate and romantic. “It’s the sound of her hearts getting louder” sings the 20-something in Hollow Drum - we think that basically says it all.

D E N A

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D E N A made us dance all throughout the year. When we first heard her ages ago she got us moving already thanks to Boyfriend and Games, but Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools made us climb on that bar for sure. Our personal summer hit of 2012, we’re eager to find out what she does to our body in 2013 (in a non-sexual way, of course).

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conquered the blogosphere in a rush with her infectious Pilgrim, which eventually led to a bidding war (and Sony winning it). This Copenhagen-born singer is being called “the Danish Grimes” but is far more rhythm-oriented and a lot less blips and bleeps than the latter. We’re eager to hear what MØ has up her sleeve but confident we’ll be dancing as soon as we hear it.

Lulu James

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Lulu James is a London singer with tunes that dabble inbetween pop and dubstep without sounding too much like either of them - the result is an energetic, soulful sound. She sure has the voice to sing on such heavy tracks, plus the production is this well done it’s a great balance of, eh, everything.

Lulu James looks like an expensive model in the video for her new single Be Safe on Black Butter, which balances inbetween pop and heavier electronic music like dubstep or garage. We’ve been listening to this on repeat ever since we heard it for the first time about two weeks ago. "Use me as your guide to the right path without the cracks.."

Bathed in a big production, Lulu James’ voice stands tall in Be Safe, her new single for Black Butter. The track is produced by Hostage and Kidnap Kid, who are both known for a more “heavy” kind of electro, leaning towards dubstep mostly - Be Safe is definitely dubstep-oriented track, yet it’s so full of soul a term like “21st Century Soul” (used by Lulu James herself) is a far better fit.

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