Eva Stone

With a voice as pure as diamonds and tough lyrics which belie her 22 years, bluesy-soul singer Eva Stone evokes the spirit of Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy. Though she is yet to release any music officially, songs she has posted online have earned her a session for BBC Introducing and a support slot on Sound Of 2014-nominted singer-songwriter George Ezra’s January tour.

Stone grew up in Newcastle as Amy Holford. Her grandfather played the box in a skiffle band, and she started playing music during family singalongs around bonfires. Later, she cut her teeth in what she calls the local area’s “huge and supportive” music scene and, at 19, joined a rock band of middle-aged men playing the likes of BB King and Muddy Waters. At this point she started listening to the raw emotion of that whole genre which would later influence her musical style. After dropping out of university in spring 2013 Stone was picked up by TV presenter and music manager Jameela Jamil, who encouraged her to move to London.

Stone grew up to a soundtrack of Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry and Sting. But it was hearing Eva Cassidy at the age of 10 that inspired her to start singing. It also gave contributed to her stage name: “I found a synergy with her and her music and her voice”. Stone’s grittier side comes from a love of chain-gang blues and gospel music saying, “There’s something really powerful about that music that inspires me."

Often accompanied by simple acoustic guitar strums, Stone’s voice is sometimes reminiscent of Laura Marling’s husky whisper, especially on BBC Introducing session track "I Won’t Wait". Other tracks showcase her range, including Take Runaway, a feisty blues track which combines a spry falsetto with a Janis Joplin-esque snarl. Occasionally, you can catch a hint of Stone’s heritage in the odd Geordie vowel.

Still very early days for Eva but with her incredible voice and enormous range she's definitely one to watch for the future.