Now that a new year is upon us there's so much excitement about what next 12 months could hold. One such excitement is all the new artists that are vying to make it big in 2018. Here are just eight acts we believe you should keep your eye out for.
Who: A 16-year-old L.A. native, Billie Eilish has been heralded as “pop’s new hope” by multiple outlets and even nabbed herself a spot on the BBC Sound of 2018 poll. Pop her music might be, but light it certainly isn’t. Her voice has a chilled but charasmatic quality as she delivers deliciously cutting and comic lyrics with astute wryness. Take, for example, her track Bellyache, an earworm if there ever was one, but a song that’s actually about bipolar disorder and killing people (which, she says, is all fictional). It’s all devilishly dark, ripe with humour and wonderfully irresistible.
You might like her if you like: Tove Lo, Lorde, Sigrid, Julia Michaels, Dua Lipa
Key track: Ocean Eyes is the song that got her noticed, but Bellyache is where Billie Eilish comes alive.
She says: “I hope to show people that they shouldn’t care what other people think of them. I am really weird and, you know what? I like it, it’s special to me, and it’s fun to be weird. It’s you and it’s your life. Do what you want.”
Who: Having appeared on songs with Chase & Status, Sigma and Wretch 32, 2018 is the year for Jacob Banks to stand on his own two feet. His voice has a raw huskiness to it that pushes all the singer’s emotions to the forefront. His latest EP and first major label release, The Boy Who Cried Freedom, has bluesy textures but is firmly facing forward in terms of production, displaying Jacob’s emotive and honest songwriting.
You might like him if you like: Michael Kiwanuka, Hozier, Otis Redding, Rag’N’Bone Man
Key track: Unknown (To You) is the sort of song that people dream of writing.
He says: “I think you can expect a journey of emotions. It’s not – I’m not speaking on the same thing over and over again. I take myself through a bunch of emotions from as young as I can remember until now. You just expect to hear many layers of myself, and me just being honest through all these emotions.”
Who: A Japanese born singer songwriter, Rina Sawayama grew up in London aged 5 where, thanks to her heritage and London’s melting pot of cultures, she has shaped a pop sound that’s instantly recognisable but also sharply futuristic. Think Max Martin meet Timbland meets cyberpop meets J-Pop meets an internet movement that’s not even happened yet, and you’ll land right on the singer’s EP, RINA. Unsigned and potentially planning to stay that way, Rina Sawayama is quite possibly the new leader in a new landscape of pop music.
You might like her if you like: Britney Spears, Charli XCX, Solange Knowles, Utada Hikaru
Key track: The power-chords of Take Me As I Am will transport you back to 2001 and vintage Max Martin, while the song’s lyrics are a deeply personal affront about celebrating racial heritage. Amazing.
She says: “I feel like I'm trying to do something new here, so I've got to just push through and do it on my own.”
Who: The latest wannabe musical behemoth by industry mogul Simon Cowell, PRETTYMUCH could potentially be the boyband to occupy the space that, commercially, One Direction did. Forgoing the former’s pop-rock and classic rock inspired sound though, PRETTYMUCH are living in the middle of Justin Timberlake’s FutuerSex/LoveSounds era, and all the better for it. What’s more, it seems that people have finally woken up to the fact boybands should totally be doing dance routines again. Why? Because dance routines bloomin’ rule!
You might like her if you like: Justin Bieber, NSYNC, Justin Timberlake
Key track: No More, PRETTMUCH’s latest, is a mission statement if there ever was one. That mission: world domination.
They say: “We’re going to continue to switch it up, but at the end of the day, it’s still all going to make sense because it’s all going to be PRETTYMUCH.”
Who: Signed to Dirty Hit, the record label founded by Jamie Oborne, the manager of the 1975, Pale Waves have more in common with their label mates than meets the eye. The group, fronted by Heather Baron-Gracie, have been taken under the 1975’s charismatic frontman’s wing. Matty Healy has taken Pale Waves on tour of the United States, co-produced their first two singles and even directed the video for their track Television Romance. The band’s sound is, in fact, quite similar to the 1975’s – they’re an alternative band, sure, but they have incredibly glittery and 80s-tinged pop sensibilities.
You might like them if you like: the 1975 (obvs), Hey Violet, Carly Rae Jepsen
Key track: Television Romance is a great introduction to the band, albeit one that sounds very similar to their label mates. Rather, check out My Obsession for a hit of simmering melancholia.
They say: “With the album, I think we’re just going to show another side to us which is a lot more emotional and not as – I don’t know how to put it… Just, like, a bit more intense.”
Who: Picking up fans as illustrious as Taylor Swift, Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy is already selling out shows and carving out a place for himself in that somewhat saturated male-artist-with-a-guitar market. Thankfully, his voice is so good that it places him front and centre, while songs like Moments Passed do interesting things production-wise that prove he has more tricks up his sleeves.
You might like them if you like: He’s been described as a balance between Bon Iver and Drake, but add in some Hozier and Jack Garrett and you’ve got yourself a deal.
Key track: Definitely check out Moments Passed, which is both haunting and sonically arresting.
He says: “The beautiful thing is that everything is happening naturally and nothing’s forced so I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.”
Who: A former Disney star who sings songs about wanting to kiss girls, Hayley Kiyoko is the sort of artist that makes pop music exciting. The songs are SO catchy and their dripping with such uninhibited honesty that it’s hard not to relate. The production, too, is a bit wonky, avoiding clichés. It’s all rather unexpected and that makes the whole thing all that more intriguing.
Key tracks: Get introduced by listening to the confessional Feelings. The bass line is incredible and it has a two part chorus that almost illegal it’s that good.
She says: “I strive to inspire hope through human compassion and through music. Hope leads me through my lyrics, stories, and melodies. You must continue on, and know in your heart you are not alone, and have confidence that love will find its way back to you.”
Who: Whatever you do, don’t call Brockhampton a “hip hop collective”. They are – and they want you to know it – a boyband. On the surface, sure, they might not seem like a traditional boyband, but in other ways Brockhampton are quite traditional. Each of the 14 members has their own distinct style and something unique to offer the group, be it production, vocals, design or digital skills. Heralded by Kevin Abstract, the group met, mainly, on a Kanye West fan forum, leading them co-opt the moniker “the internet’s first boyband”. The music, which grapples with topics like the LGBTQ community and homophobia, racism and the state of society, verges from bombastic to subdued, as it veers around with refreshing if reckless abandon. They’re prolific, too. In 2017 the group put out three (!) albums, one of which even charted at Number 57 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Key tracks: There’s a lot of material out there, but Boogie will make you feel alive.
They say: In a tweet, founder Kevin Abstract wrote: “No we still haven't signed and everything comes from us and we make all of the art in our house with each other and kiss sometimes." Sounds about right.
More: See every Number 1 single from 2017 below