And he is?
Alex O’Connor, a 19-year-old from Surrey making woozy, head-in-the-clouds tunes that have as much in common with the smooth R&B of Frank Ocean as they do the jazz-tinged indie rock of King Krule or Mac DeMarco.
What are his credentials?
He’s gone from regular teenager to one of the UK’s most exciting new acts in little over two years. Since uploading his first full-length collection, the lo-fi ‘bcos u will never be free’, to SoundCloud in 2015, Rex has done some impressive things, including collaborating with Tyler, The Creator on his ‘Flower Boy’ album, and appearing in backing bands for Skepta. Oh, and he put out his second LP, ‘Apricot Princess’, last year, which has truly catapulted him from one-to-watch territory to one-to-never-take-your-eye-off, not even for a second.
Why does he deserve my undivided attention?
He makes music for those stomach-flipping moments when you start properly falling for someone; all big declarations of emotion, crippling self-doubts and reflecting on past relationships. And what’s more exciting than new love?
OK, but what about the music?
It’s not just the lyrics that have a romantic effect. ‘Apricot Princess’ begins with an elegant string section that makes you feel like you’re in the embassy ball scene from ‘My Fair Lady’, even if you’ve been hitting the sesh hard. Plus, the 2017 record has so many varying influences (indie, soul, jazz, Latin, hip hop, R&B, and more) you could make an excellent drinking game out of it.
Sounds great. What’s next for him?
Big things. He just came in second on the BBC’s Sound Of 2018 poll behind pop-superstar-in-waiting Sigrid, so expect him to blow up even more.