Black History Month: Inspirations from the UK Music Scene


Let’s celebrate the current music careers of two of the UK’s most successful artists right now: Stormzy and Dave. Both artists can be considered inspirations within UK black culture, with their performances and projects over the last few years evidencing this.


Stormzy’s Glastonbury 2019 set was historic. Not just for his incredible performance but, that he was the first black British solo artist to headline at the festival. His set gave me goose bumps throughout! I was flabbergasted to hear in an interview on The Jonathan Ross Show that he had major problems with his audio early-on in the set which lasted the duration of his performance; you could not tell at all. What’s more, is that recently it was announced that his stab-proof vest (designed by Banksy), which the Croydon-born artist wore for his Glastonbury set, is now one of the nominations for the Beazley Designs of the Year. It is clear Stormzy is truly an exceptional musician and Glastonbury 2019 will not be forgotten!

Stormzy’s successes have also been displayed through his numerous awards and his number 1 songs in the UK Official Charts (Vossi BopTake Me Back To London, and Own It). He has around 30 awards to his name; including being voted Best British Male Solo Artist on two occasions at the Brit Awards (2018 and 2020) and receiving 6 MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards. His first album, Gang Signs & Prayer (2017), also became the 1st number 1 ‘pure’ grime album in the UK Official Charts. Hopefully Stormzy has many successes in the future and continues to make history.


Santan Dave is an inspiration to me personally, with his debut album, Psychodrama, helping me through mental health struggles during Sixth Form. Songs from his album that didn’t get into the UK Official Charts, such as PsychoScrewface Capital and Voices, are regular songs played on my Spotify, alongside charted songs such as Streatham and Location. The personal aspect of Dave’s songs has made him my favourite artist by a landslide, not to mention his exuding talent emphasised by his brilliant wordplay; this was shown most recently in Children of the Internet, “Your software’s better and your phone knows everything/If anything, it’s getting George Orwell-ian”.

Dave has won his fair share of awards as well, most notably for Psychodrama. The Streatham-born artist won both the Mercury Prize 2019 and the Best Album at the Brit Awards 2020, where he also performed his incredible song, Black. Santan Dave also has a UK number 1 single to his name, Funky Friday, alongside the UK rapper Fredo. However, I think most people remember Dave for his set at Glastonbury 2019 where he brought a fan on stage to rap Thiago Silva with him. This was an extremely heart-warming performance, and the rapper repeated this at Reading festival, which I experienced first-hand. The energy in the whole festival tent exploded when the person from the crowd began rapping AJ Tracey’s verse in Thiago Silva, an experience that I will never forget!


Overall, both Stormzy and Dave have both displayed their musical prowess in their careers, as well as their fantastic personas. Both artists have an amazing future ahead of them, and have already won numerous awards for their music despite still being in their 20’s. I cannot wait until both artists’ next massive projects, of which will probably be as successful as their previous.



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Label Music Editor 2020-21

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