Gary Flockhart: 2012 looks like being a good one

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IT’S that time of the year when music critics come over all Nostradamus and try to predict who the breakthrough artists of the year will be.

Not wanting to be left out, here’s who I’m having a bang on.

My first tip is Lana Del Rey and, while that seems a safe bet seeing as she’s already all over the place, let’s remember that this column said yonks ago that the Video Games singer would be one to watch this year.

The New Yorker’s major label debut is out at the end of this month and the backlash is already ferocious. Admittedly, her voice didn’t sound so great when she performed on last week’s Jonathan Ross show, but I still say she’s the one to put the house on.

Another sure-fire success looks to be Aberdeen lass Emeli Sande, who picked up the Critics’ Choice Award for this year’s Brits - which all but guarantees an explosion into the mainstream

Then there’s rapper Azealia Banks, who is working with Adele’s producer Paul Epworth. Another BBC Sound of 2012 shortlister, you’ll be hearing plenty more about her in the coming months.

But it’s not just the girls who will be grabbing the plaudits in 2012. Soul man Michael Kiwanuka, who has won comparisons to Bill Withers and Otis Redding, will undoubtedly make his mark. He’s uber-talented, that one.

Another male with a future is Labrinth, who releases his debut album in March. As the first non-talent show signing to Simon Cowell’s Syco label in six years, he’s a shoo-in for chart success.

With all the above and more to look forward to, 2012 is already shaping up as a good year for music.