My tip for 2011: Brummie songstress Claire Maguire

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It’s that time of year when all the lists heralding the bright new names that are destined to hit our ears in 2011 are announced.

It’s amazing how many of them never live up to the hype that surrounds them.

One name though that I think we will be hearing a lot from is Clare Maguire. The big-voiced girl from Birmingham has been nurtured and cultivated by Universal Island for the past two years after they signed her for an undisclosed (read ‘rather large’) fee off the back of some MySpace demos.

Her debut album, Light After Dark, is out next month along with a new single called The Last Dance. She has a touch of Florence mixed with Annie Lennox and Kate Bush, if that helps position her for you.

n Talking of Kate, Ms Bush will release a new album this year. The singer, whose last record was released in 2005, is said to be putting out a new album this year with long-time label EMI.

n Bono’s decision to invest in Facebook.com has paid off. The U2 frontman’s share in the social networking site is now worth £485 million.

The rocker purchased 1.5 per cent of the company for £130m last year.

n Take That’s reunion is to be debated at an academic conference. The two-day event will take place at Salford University in June, one week after the group’s stadium tour begins.

It is billed as ‘an interdisciplinary conference examining the theme of break-up and reunion in popular music acts, focusing on Take That’.

It promises to examine ‘the narrative structures that characterise Take That’s journey’ and the psychological and social roles that reunions fulfil.

Here are some questions I hope they’ll find the answers to:

n How many ligaments did Jason Orange tear after he tried doing the same dance moves in 2010 that he first did in 1994?

n How many dubious excuses has the band’s producer given to Howard, to explain why his voice wasn’t on a certain track after the band had recorded it?

n What was the prime motivator for the band getting back with Robbie – millions of fans, or millions of pounds?