This teen from Croydon has gone from the confines of other pop stars’ writing rooms to centre of her own stage. She was brought up on classic soul and jazz from the 1940s and 50s, but the Charli XCX protege is now pop’s go-to girl for futuristic soundscapes, specialising in spacious, Drake-like ballads.
Heaven, WC2, 9 May
Protoje, son of Caribbean musical aristocracy (his mother is singer Lorna Bennett and his father calypsonian Lord Have Mercy), is bringing reggae back to its roots. He infuses classic reggae traits – heady, sun-scorched sounds, lyrics about oppression and survival – with strands of ska and rocksteady.
Sheffield, 6 May; Glasgow, 7 May; Leeds, 8 May; Birmingham, 9 May; Bristol, 10 May; Brighton, 11 May; London, 12 May
3 Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon
The latest stage of Church’s cultural evolution has been an unexpected one: the child-classical-singer-turned-political-provocateur is now the queen of karaoke. These full-band covers shows provide a place in which Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name goes back-to-back with Beyoncé and the Cardigans. Any song is imaginable, apart from, probably, Pie Jesu.
O2 Institute2 Birmingham, 12 May
4 The Japanese House
Amber Bain’s ghostly electronica and moody delivery has more than just a sonic connection to the 1975. The band’s frontman Matty Healy is responsible for her discovery: he found her demos online while she was at school, which led to her signing to the same label.
Oxford, 9 May; Edinburgh, 10 May; Manchester, 11 May; Leicester, 12 May; touring to 18 May
In 2002, TLC’s run of multi-platinum hits stopped after years of squabbling and the sudden death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. With the success of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new album, Chilli and T-Boz step out of the shadows to deliver R&B anthems of empowerment to UK audiences for the first time ever.
Koko, NW1, 9 May