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Years & Years win the BBC ‘Sound of 2015′ poll

The results are in, and Years and Years – charming purveyors of soulful synth-pop from London – have landed at the top of the BBC’s annual ‘sound poll’…

If you’ve never crossed paths with the poll before, each year, a group of music industry experts collectively piece together the BBC’s official longlist of acts likely to gain considerable traction over the twelve months which follow.

It’s very significant to be selected: previous poll alumni – including Ellie Goulding, Adele and Sam Smith – owe a certain amount of their initial rise to superstardom to the barage of media attention the poll itself generates. Although the longlist is eventually condensed into a shortlist of five acts, it’s an exciting prospect for every member of the initial group, and a seminal moment in the industry calendar every year.

Years & Years have rolled everything interesting about electronic production underneath well-crafted ‘pop’ hooks with bags of conviction, and, most importantly, consistency. Since we caught up with them last February, the trio have developed an impressive, and very discernible, electro-pop ‘sound’.

Their singer, Olly Alexander – central, in every image of the act used – is a man with delightful vocals, and top marks from many of the blogs for his charismatic delivery. Not a bad outcome, considering that his recruitment, by fellow bandmate, Mikey, occurred during the aftermath of a house party, when (amusingly) Olly could be heard singing really well in the shower.

Interestingly enough, Alexander also had to put aside the promise of success in another creative field to commit himself to the group: prior to Years & Years, Olly appeared in several mainstream films, including ‘The Riot Club’ and ‘God Help The Girl’. There was nothing half hearted about his move towards music, however: Alexander felt that an actor is never really able to use his own voice, which is a promising ethos to embark with in an industry where so much leans towards being ‘contrived’, as opposed to being ‘considered’ in a creative and positive sense.

What really stands out, as you take in the band’s repertoire for the first time, is the way that the each member of the group channels a vivacity into their particular area of responsibility, and yet, everything – from the writing to the live set up – is brought together in a very balanced manner. Any polish and synchronisation retains a remarkably organic character, which adds to their underlying appeal. Speaking to the BBC, synth player, Emre, revealed that this ‘authenticity’ is something they will endeavour to retain as they progress.

In light of their success, Notion chose three additional tracks to add to your Years & Years collection (already likely to contain Zane Lowe’s recent ‘next hype’, ‘King’).


This sexy little cover of Blu Cantrell’s classic track, ‘Breathe’…

…and this heartfelt, unplugged version of their original track ‘Take Shelter’

Follow Years & Years:




The following acts (with their SoundCloud profiles linked) made the BBC’s longlist this year:

George The Poet

James Bay




Rae Morris







Sunset Sons

Wolf Alice

Years & Years


On 9th January 2015, Years & Years were declared the overall winners of the Sound of 2015 poll on BBC Radio 1.



Alex Cheatle / @ZyraMusic

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