It was the year the boy next door learned to roar. Ed Sheeran, that superstar in a flannel shirt, left the Rolling Stones and U2 coughing on fumes as his Divide tour soared to a record-shattering gross of £378m. George Ezra graduated from floppy-haired debutante to bona fide superstar, his “Shotgun” single owning the airwaves and becoming the most streamed rock song on Spotify in the UK. As 2018 ended, meanwhile, a new contender looked set to emerge in Elton John-championed Newcastle troubadour Sam Fender. He was winner of both the Brits Critics’ Choice Award and the BBC Sound Of prize – reliable barometers of talent poised for imminent stardom (previous BBC Sound Of picks include Adele and Sam Smith). He will face stern competition, however. Kindred strummers Dermot Kennedy and Lewis Capaldi are also tipped to break big in the months ahead, each bringing their own blend of soulful lyrics and sensitive falsettos. The boys are back with a vengeance. Join Independent Minds For exclusive articles, events and an advertising-free read for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a month Start your free trial Get the best of The Independent With an Independent Minds subscription for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a… Read full this story
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