A guide to the most exciting new music artists in Manchester in 2024

For decades, the city of Manchester has been a hotbed for some of the UK’s most iconic and influential musical acts. From the legendary bands featured in the cult classic film 24 Hour Party People – including Joy Division, Happy Mondays, and New Order – to contemporary favourites like Blossoms and The 1975, not to mention the enduring legacy of The Smiths and Oasis, Manchester’s music scene has consistently nurtured and produced a wealth of talent that has left an indelible mark on the industry.


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Who are Manchester’s most famous music artists?


The Smiths

The Smiths formed in 1982 and were part of a wave of bands that emerged from Manchester. Their music helped establish the city as a hub for alternative music and their popularity spread across the UK. Despite their short career, they remain one of the most influential bands in British music history, inspiring new generations of artists and fans alike.

The band had close ties to The Haçienda, a music venue in Manchester that played a key role in the city’s music scene. The Smiths played their first gig with the current lineup at The Haçienda after Andy Rourke replaced Dale Hibbert. 

Despite their relatively brief career, The Smiths remain one of the most influential bands in the history of British music. Their association with Manchester continues to be a source of pride for the city, although Morrissey’s opinions are controversial, and their legacy as cultural pioneers continues to inspire new generations of artists and fans alike.


New Order

New Order was a unique blend of post-punk, electronic, and dance music and was influenced by the emerging dance scene in Manchester. They were signed to the legendary Manchester record label, Factory Records, which played a vital role in the development of the Manchester music scene. Despite fallouts and differences, New Order continued to be a significant force in the Manchester music scene, particularly the city’s dance music scene. Their impact continues to be felt today, with their music being celebrated in clubs across the UK and inspiring countless musicians and fans.


Joy division

Joy Division emerged from Manchester’s thriving punk scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, gaining a reputation for their intense live shows and unique sound. Manchester’s influence is evident in their music, which evolved to incorporate more experimental and electronic elements. Their lyrics capture the mood of Manchester in the 70s and 80s, dealing with isolation and alienation. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” remains an iconic song of the post-punk era. Joy Division’s success helped put Manchester on the map as a musical centre and paved the way for other iconic bands. Their legacy is still felt today.


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Who are the top upcoming music artists in Manchester?


Pale Waves

Pale Waves is an English rock band formed in Manchester in 2014 (originally named Creek). The quartet, comprising lead singer and guitarist Heather Baron-Gracie, drummer Ciara Doran, guitarist Hugo Silvani, and bassist Charlie Wood, signed with Dirty Hit in 2017 and quickly gained recognition with their debut singles “There’s a Honey” and “Television Romance.”

They won the NME Under the Radar Award and ranked fifth in the BBC Sound of 2018 poll, solidifying their status as a rising force in the indie rock scene.

Pale Waves’ debut EP, All the Things I Never Said, and their first studio album, My Mind Makes Noises, both released in 2018, showcased their unique blend of dreamy melodies and gritty guitar riffs. Their subsequent albums, Who Am I? (2021) and Unwanted (2022), further cemented their place in the alternative rock landscape, with the latter peaking at number three on the UK Albums Chart.


Seb lowe

Next up is Seb Lowe, a young, up-and-coming musician from Oldham whose politically-charged music has been making waves in the Manchester scene. Starting his career as a solo artist, Seb has since expanded his horizons to include a full band, delivering his thought-provoking lyrics and challenging societal norms with a raw, passionate energy.

During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, Seb gained popularity on TikTok, and his music has become increasingly political in recent months. 

His choppy chords and angry, machine-gun-like guitar playing serve as a powerful vehicle for his message, resonating with a generation that has a lot to say. Seb has had the opportunity to perform alongside the likes of Inhaler and Blossoms on their respective tours, and he has headlined shows at venues such as New Century Hall.


Hot Milk

Hot Milk is an ambitious Northern emo band hailing from Manchester, formed in 2018 by Han Mee and Jim Shaw. Their music is characterised by energetic and upbeat guitar riffs, punchy drum beats, and catchy hooks, drawing inspiration from both classic emo and pop punk to create a nostalgic yet refreshing and unique sound.

The band gained popularity in the UK music scene after the release of their debut EP “Are You Feeling Alive?” in 2019, which received great reviews and helped them build a dedicated following. Hot Milk has toured extensively across the UK and Europe, supporting notable bands, and their latest single, “Glass Spiders,” showcases their growth and maturity as artists.


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Where can I learn music in Manchester? 

Female student playing guitar

For those seeking to embark on a career in the music industry, Access Creative College offers a comprehensive educational experience that combines theoretical knowledge with practical, hands-on training. At Access Creative College, you can choose from several exciting courses that will help you build a career in music from Level 2 courses through to Level 4, and their new dBs Institute which allows students to study at a degree level. These courses include Music Production, Sound Engineering, Music Performance, Assistant Recording Tech, and Artist Development.


What will I learn at ACC?

you’ll develop a comprehensive skill set that will set you apart in the music industry. Beyond honing your music composition and production abilities, you’ll learn to expertly craft soundscapes for various media formats, including film, television, and video games.

The college’s curriculum emphasises practical training in music production tools, equipping you with the skills to mix and master not only your own creations but also those of other musicians and artists. This versatility will be a valuable asset in your professional journey.

Access Creative College prepares you for the business side of the music industry. You’ll gain insights into the world of freelancing, understanding the dynamics of collaboration, and developing the organisational skills necessary to sustain a successful career as a musician.

Complementing your artistic development, ACC also focuses on refining your academic abilities, such as research techniques and critical thinking. This well-rounded approach ensures you are prepared for further education – whether that’s at university or via an apprenticeship.


Industry involvement

ACC has a huge roster of successful music industry accolades, with alumni including Ed Sheeran, Beth McCarthy, IAMDDB, Sam Bowden of Neck Deep and Amy Love of Nova Twins, to name a few. 

The courses are taught by experienced tutors and industry professionals who are passionate about helping students achieve their goals. They provide students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to succeed in their chosen field.


Where are the campuses?

Access Creative College Manchester offers aspiring musicians two fantastic campuses. The first is the New Century Hall campus, which is home to the dBs Institute. This state-of-the-art facility is equipped with music studios, Mac suites, and a beautiful venue on the top floor that can hold up to 1,300 people. 

The second campus, located on Oxford Road, is full of rehearsal rooms equipped with top-of-the-line equipment for recording, practising, and perfecting your music. Additionally, the Oxford Road campus offers many gigging opportunities for artists, allowing them to showcase their talents and build their careers. 

As Manchester continues to solidify its reputation for exceptional musical talent, it’s crucial to build space for those aspiring to carry on the city’s legendary status.

If you’re aspiring to work within the music industry, Access Creative College offers an industry-led experience that combines theoretical knowledge with practical, hands-on training. With state-of-the-art facilities, industry-experienced tutors, and a strong focus on developing well-rounded and current skills.

So, whether you’re a die-hard music fan or an aspiring artist yourself, keep an eye on the Manchester scene, for it continues to nurture and inspire the next generation of artists!

Last updated on: 21st June 2024