British Invasion: 15 Artists Who Shine

Our love affair with all things British goes beyond Idris Elba and Downton Abbey this year. Musically, we saw the likes of Emeli Sande, Lliane la Havas, Daley and Laura Mvula emerge as some of the most promising voices in soul and pop music. As we gear up to celebrate Sande at ESSENCE's annual Black Women in Music event, here's a look at 15 British artists we love.

Yolanda Sangweni Jan, 06, 2014

1 of 15 Michael Rowe

On top of her debut album Our Version of Events beating The Beatles' early sixties record for the most consecutive weeks spent on the U.K.'s top 10 list by a debut album, the 2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Music honoree has penned songs for the likes of Alicia Keys and Fantasia.

2 of 15 Hayley Madden/ Getty

Laura Mvula is the latest British import guaranteed to make a splash on American shores. The classically trained singer, songwriter and pianist from Birmingham has a velvet voice that is already earning her comparisons to Amy Winehouse. She released her EP, She, in late 2012 and her debut album Sing to the Moon in 2013 with one of Adele's producers.

3 of 15 Michael Rowe

A relative newbie, British soul singer already has our hearts, thanks to his duet with Marsha Ambrosius. Even Maxwell is a fan.

4 of 15 Araya Diaz/WireImage

We're obsessed with this "It Brit's" debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? The 2012 ESSENCE Black Women in Music honoree's folksy soul sound makes her one of the freshest voices of the season. 

5 of 15 Getty Images


6 of 15 Michael Rowe

This budding British singer-songwriter and producer already has a string of number one hits in the UK. His videos have garnered over 100 million views on Youtube. He's worked with the likes of Emeli Sande, Rihanna and Usher. Basically, he's mega-famous in the UK.

7 of 15 Alice Russell/ Facebook

This British powerhouse's brand of soul music is edgy, emotional and powerful. Watch this performance shot at ESSENCE and you'll see why she's certified soul.

8 of 15 Neil Lupin/Redferns via Getty Images

Ambrosius has become such a part of American R&B few can be faulted for forgetting she's actually from England. From her Floetry days to the present, Ambrosius has given us hit after hit.

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Bailey's dreamy and sensuous brand of soulful R&B has earned her a handful of Grammys. And we wouldn't be totally if we didn't admit we've been crushing on her hair ever since her 2006 debut.

10 of 15 Splash News

We first fell in love with this London girl when she came across the pond with her smash hit "American Boy" featuring Kanye West in 2008. Three albums and a Grammy later, we feel comfortable enough to claim her as our own.

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This X-Factor UK winner's soaring voice has earned her comparisons to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Stateside she made her chart debut with the ballad "Bleeding Love" in 2007. She has continued charming audiences in both the U.S. and U.K.

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The English singer was born April 23.

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Born in the U.K. to Ugandan parents, Kiwanuka's bluesy, soulful folk sound has earned him comparisons to the likes of Bill Withers and Richie Havens. His released his debut album Home Again in 2012 to critical acclaim.

14 of 15 Getty

The pop-soul singer's U.K. success of her debut album, Devotion, was duplicated in the U.S. earlier this year. Ware's sensuous soul is inspired by the likes of Sade, J. Dilla and Whitney Houston.

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The London-born slam champion and singer who, in 2002, graced the R&B scene as one half of Floetry, recently reemerged with a solo second album Floetry Rebirth.