New Artist of the Week: Jafaris

Plus songs to hear from Micheal O’Shea and Billie Eilish

What Singer/rapper/actor poised to make a breakthrough

Where Dublin

Why Since appearing as member of the teenage band in John Carney's 2016 film Sing Street, Percy Chamburuka has set about making his musical success for real.

Hooking up with Diffusion Lab, an independent music production, management and label developing artists in the fields of R&B, pop and rap like Hare Squead, Soulé, Rushes and Flynn, Jafaris' music quickly turned heads as can be heard on his debut 2017 single Love Dies – a smooth R&B tune about the dissolving of a romance that was as catchy as it was well-produced.


The same year, the Velvet Cake EP built up momentum with four tracks of R&B and rap infused with Diffusion Lab's electronic pop sensibilities. With some sporadic and impressive live shows and a lot of time in the studio since then, Jafaris showcased a higher-energy rap style on 2018's jazz-band Found My Feet, accompanied by a thrill-seeking video by Nathan Barlow.

Last month, Jafaris announced that his debut album Stride would be released on March 8th with Time, a song blending the various strands of his sound into one neat pop package. It caught the attention of Spotify playlist curators – he received the coveted cover art feature and placement on one of the platform's biggest playlists, New Music Friday. Allied to a Choice Music Prize Irish song of the year nomination for his collaboration with Saint Sister and Kormac, 2019 looks to be a true breakout year for Percy Chamburuka.


Billie Eilish: Bury A Friend

Putting the weight of pop music on a 17-year-old's shoulders is a risky move but nothing has phased LA singer Billie Eilish since she was signed as a 14-year- old. Any fears that the weight of expectation would be too much were allayed by Bury A Friend, the first track from her debut album, a dark and slick slice of weird pop music that may turn out to be one of the pop singles of the year. Produced by her brother Finneas, Eilish's ominous music makes Lorde sound like The Little Mermaid.

Micheal O’Shea: No Journeys End

Dublin shop and label All City have been doing some great work in documenting the almost forgotten gems of Irish music. Last year's Quare Grooves brought back Ireland's rare groove and punk-funk music of the late 1970s and '80s. Their follow-up is a reissue of the debut album of Michael O'Shea, a nomadic and experimental artist who recorded music with an instrument he made himself out of a door, strings, chopsticks and effects pedals. No Journeys End is a 15-minute excursion of sound informed by Asian, African and Irish folk textures.