The Hot 100 2015: 10–2

Chvrches, Nicola Sturgeon, Kathryn Joseph and The Arches make our top 10 of Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2015

Since 2003, we’ve been compiling our annual list of Scotland’s most influential figures in arts and culture. Typically, this year’s Hot 100 list is a fine showcase of local talent – from film and TV stars to emerging comedians and theatremakers. Meet the class of 2015...

10 C Duncan

Receiving an unexpected but well-earned Mercury Prize nomination for his debut album Architect, the 26-year-old Glaswegian pop songwriter, classical composer and painter Chris Duncan came out of nowhere to become one of the most deservedly celebrated Scottish musicians of 2015. (DP)

9 Chvrches

credit: Danny Clinch
In September, the Glasgow electro-pop trio returned with their critically acclaimed second album Every Open Eye, a top five hit, while singer and List alumnus Lauren Mayberry carried on her good form in dealing with pervasive misogyny in fearless, righteous fashion. (DP)


The musical collaboration so perfect we didn’t know we needed it until it was already in our ears. Scottish art-pop foot-stompers Franz Ferdinand teamed up with theatrical alt-rockers Sparks to create the FFS juggernaut. Their self-titled debut album and a host of UK-wide dates followed, including a spot at the EIF to much critical acclaim. And plenty of idiosyncratic dancing. (KS)

7 Young Fathers

credit: Jannica Honey
After winning the 2014 Mercury Music Prize, Edinburgh’s Young Fathers continued to blur boundaries and confound expectations on second album White Men Are Black Men Too. The trio brought a dizzying mix of off-kilter rhythms, sparse electronica, hip hop and indie to life at a series of gigs across the UK, Europe, America and Africa. (HN)

6 Armando Iannucci

Set behind the closed doors of the White House, Veep has moved on from being a US version of The Thick of It to become the smartest, funniest comedy on TV. And Glaswegian Iannucci is the writer / creator behind the razor-sharp satire. (HN)

5 Sarah Munro

In the year of probably her most significant achievement as Glasgow’s head of arts – the Turner Prize coming to Tramway – Sarah Munro left to become director of Gateshead’s BALTIC Centre. She leaves a significant legacy from her time as head of arts, director of Glasgow’s Tramway and boss of Edinburgh’s Collective Gallery, including the co-production of 2014’s milestone, the nationwide GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland. (DP)

4 Nicola Sturgeon

credit: Scottish Government
There is no more influential figure in Scotland today than Nicola Sturgeon. During the 2015 election campaign, such a buzz surrounded her that English voters could be seen on TV lamenting the fact they couldn’t vote SNP. Following the party’s election triumph, Sturgeon exchanged quips with comedian Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour ranked her top of its Power List ahead of Anna Wintour and Angelina Jolie, and Sturgeon capped off her year interviewing Val McDermid at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. (SH)

3 Kathryn Joseph

credit: Jannica Honey
In June, Aberdeen’s best-kept musical secret Kathryn Joseph (pictured here with musical partner Marcus Mackay) became the first woman to win the Scottish Album of the Year award, for Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled. Her collection was judged to be ‘the most outstanding’ Scottish album released between January 2014 and March 2015, which we reckon is pretty outstanding indeed. She teamed up with Scottish Ballet to create the video for her single ‘The Bird’, and performance-wise, she appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and has played gigs up and down the country. Let’s hope by 2016, the Kathryn Joseph secret is well and truly out. (RM)

2 The Arches

Two and a half decades of theatre, art, clubs and music that helped breathe life into Glasgow’s internationally renowned cultural scene are now lost beneath a heap of licensing restrictions and police visits: we still can’t believe it’s gone. The semantic whys and wherefores have been raked through elsewhere, so all we want to say is that the Arches and the communal spirit involved in efforts to save her were part of what makes Glasgow great. It’ll be a long time before her memory – or the training, experience and inspiration afforded those who worked, created or partied there – has left the bloodstream of the city. (DP)

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