UK R&B continues to be a talking point on social media in 2023, but not necessarily for the right reasons. While its resurgence over the last decade is a major triumph, the genre is still fighting for its respect within the wider UK music industry. Yes, even after the major successes of the likes of Jorja Smith, Tiana Major9 and Ella Mai, the genre is still overlooked in mainstream spaces, namely The Brit Awards.

The esteemed award show understandably came under fire again this year for its Best Pop/R&B Act category as no R&B acts were nominated. Despite the challenges, though, the scene receives a lot of support from R&B enthusiasts around the world, who recognise the UK for being one of the leading countries for the genre in terms of the talent and music that is being produced year on year. Since this annual list began in 2016, there has been a non-stop stream of acts coming through who can stand toe-to-toe against artists from any other country.

A lack of mainstream support hasn’t stopped UK R&B from flourishing; in fact, it’s built up even more of a cult-like following and community online, which will help to ensure it continues to thrive—regardless of the obstacles it faces—and this should be celebrated. 

Here are 11 R&B/soul acts to watch in 2023.