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2014 Artists of the Year | No. 3 | Clean Bandit

BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra Director of Programming, Rhys Hughes, on bringing Clean Bandit to the forefront of dance music.

by Rhys Hughes
Dec 15 2014, 11:00pm

THUMP is celebrating 2014 in tracks, albums, artists, events and moments with our first annual yearbook, #YRBK14. Our Artists of the Year include well-established acts alongside some exciting newcomers. Rather than tell you why these particular ten won the year, we asked a few of their fans to do it for us. A pivotal moment in Clean Bandit's year came when their record, "Rather Be," scored a UK No. 1, thanks in part to hearty support from the nation's top radio station. The beeb's programming director, Rhys Hughes, offers his take on how and why this quarter broke out in 2014. 

At Radio 1, we pride ourselves on being able to bring new talent to our audience and Clean Bandit are just one of the many artists that we've supported throughout 2014. We've consistently playlisted them from the early stages of their career and there is no doubt that they're one of the year's biggest success stories.

They're a unique proposition in the sense that they fuse their classical background with a more electronic sound which has seen them break into the mainstream with some great singles. "Real Love" and "Extraordinary" are brilliant pop songs and there was a time in the summer where you couldn't go anywhere without hearing "Rather Be" —it is undoubtedly one of the songs of the year and a complete earworm!

Another thing that has impressed me about them is their ear when it comes to collaborations. They've done tracks with another of 2014's breakout stars, Jess Glynne, alongside Stylo G and Rae Morris (who has been tipped for big things next year) which is testament to their versatility and songwriting prowess.

Live, Clean Bandit are a special group and at Radio 1 we've been able to feature them in a live setting numerous times throughout the year. We've had them in the Live Lounge playing their own songs and also versions of both Lorde's song "Royals" and Jungle's "Busy Earnin" which went down brilliantly with our audience.

They also performed at BBC events all year from Radio 1's Big Weekend in Glasgow in May to the BBC Music Awards this month. In September they took part in a unique collaboration with the BBC Philarmonic live from BBC North. For that, they lined up alongside a 70 piece orchestra and performed a 45-minute "symphony" of arrangements of their songs. We broadcast the whole thing live on Radio 1. It was an incredible moment for the band and definitely one of the highlights of the year for the network, it's going to be exciting to see where they go from here.

Rhys Hughes is the Director of Programming for BBC Radio 1 and digital station 1Xtra. He lives in London. Connect with Rhys on Twitter and with Radio 1 and 1Xtra on SoundCloud.

THUMP Artists of the Year | Porter Robinson |FKA Twigs | Clean Bandit I Kiesza SOPHIE Gorgon City |Kygo Bassnectar Theo Parrish Diplo, Skrillex and Jack Ü