Now that January is well underway, it is about time we have a look at a bunch of new(ish) artists who have the potential to make it big in 2019. This is our list of 15 most promising artists for the new year! Scroll to the bottom of the page for a Spotify playlist with tracks by all 15 artists!
15. Summer Walker
Summer Walker from Atlanta, Georgia had a big year in 2018! The upcoming R&B singer actually released her debut album Last Days of Summer. Let us hope those were actually the first days of Summer, because this lady has got a gorgeous, sultry voice and her understated tunes are so well executed. She gained a lot of online buzz with the tracks ‘Girls Need Love’ and ‘CPR’. We might have to wait a little bit for new material, but let us at least spread the word about Last Days of Summer.
Must listen if you like: SZA, Ella Mai
14. Lewis Capaldi
Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi (1996) is slowly but steadily conquering the UK with his piano based ballads and raw vocals. He was already named by the BBC and Vevo as promising new artist at the start of 2018, but it wasn’t until the last months of last year that his gorgeous singles ‘Grace’ and ‘Someone You Loved’ brought Capaldi the audience that his captivating voice deserves. With two EPs released in the past two years, his debut album should not be too far away!
Must listen if you like: Hozier, Rag’N’Bone Man
Ruel (16 years old, born in London to a British mother and Dutch father, but raised in Australia) is the youngest artist in this list, but he more than earned his place. The singer and songwriter has got an incredibly soulful voice for his age, which takes centre stage on the electronic pop and R&B productions as well as the piano based ballads. His debut EP Ready was released last year and earned him the ARIA Breakout Artist Award (part of the major Australian music industry award show). The rest of the world will hopefully follow in 2019.
Must listen if you like: Khalid, Sam Smith, James Bay
12. King Princess
King Princess (real name is Mikaela Straus, 20 years old, from Brooklyn, New York City) is one of those acts that is praised and tipped for big success on almost every single music platform. Signed by Mark Ronson, King Princess dropped her first EP Make My Bed last year. The single ‘1950’ with its honest lyrics, laidback production and impeccable hooks, went completely viral and showed that there is a big need for ballsy, fresh queer artists. King Princess is outspoken, inventive and she has the tunes to back her up!
Must listen if you like: St Vincent, Perfume Genius
Skott, born Pauline Skott, is a singer and songwriter from Sweden, whom Spotify tipped me about. Her ethereal track ‘Mermaid’ would always play after one of my playlists selected by the streaming service and I completely fell in love with it. It turns out that the singer who grew up surrounded by folk music and incorporates that into her progressive pop sound, has a lot more up her sleeve than the 2017 track. Last year she launched the Stay Off My Mind EP with a perfectly breezy title track. Can we have a full album this year please!?
Must listen if you like: Lana Del Rey, MØ, Lykke Li
10. Amber Mark
New York based artist Amber Mark (24 years old) has an incredibly eclectic style going on. The travelling she did with her mother at a young age graced her sound with influences from bossa nova, Indian music, jazzy rhythms and much more. Mark’s base is an old school, soulful take on R&B. She has released two EPs to date and although there is no word on a debut album yet, the stars seem to be aligning for her career in 2019. The all kinds of brilliant 2018 single ‘Love Me Right’ deserves to smash internationally!
Must listen if you like: Sade, Lianne La Havas, Solange
Nona (25 years old from the Netherlands) is an upcoming songwriter who recorded her first material in a studio in New York. She has just released four tracks so far, but her official debut album is scheduled for a Spring release. Raised in a music-loving family, her style ranges from blues to pop and from soul to rock, all convincingly performed by her deep, emotive, slightly raspy vocals. Both the vintage soul sound of ‘It’s Alright’ and the bluesy pop of ‘Last To Know’ burst with hit potential!
Must listen if you like: Amy Winehouse, Beth Hart, Douwe Bob
Megan Bülow, releasing music under just her last name, has already seen more of the world than most do in their whole lives. She was born in 1999 in Germany, but spent a lot of time in Canada and is currently based in the Netherlands. At the age of just 17 she dropped her first EP Damaged Vol. 1 with the brilliant electro pop banger ‘This Is Not A Love Song’. In 2018 a second part followed with the dark, but oh so catchy tune ‘Sad And Bored’. More recently she went back to her guitar based roots on the gorgeous ballad ‘Two Punks In Love’. This lady has got talent and potential in bucketloads and 2019 might well become her year!
Must listen if you like: Charli XCX, Billie Eilish, MØ
07. Alec Benjamin
Alec Benjamin (24 years old, from Phoenix, Arizona) had a big year in 2018, but 2019 looks like it is going to be even better. The singer-songwriter saw his track ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ gain over a 100 million streams. Last week he dropped a new version with Alessia Cara’s vocals added. With two mixtapes to his name with absolutely beautiful songs like ‘If We Have Each Other’, ‘Water Fountain’ and ‘Boy In The Bubble’, Benjamin proves he certainly is no one-trick-pony. His lyrics hit hard, he raps just as well as he sings and his melodies are ready to to be discovered by the general public.
Must listen if you like: Ed Sheeran, Halsey, Shawn Mendes
Astræa (originally from Minnesota, but based in London) gained millions of streams with covers of ‘You’re Not Alone’ and ‘Mad World’ and released her official debut single ‘Anybody Out There’ at the end of last year. With a classical background and a stunner of a voice, she perfectly describes the feeling of loneliness in a somehow soothing manner. In an interview with A Bit of Pop Music she promised us “more piano-led pop tracks, some ballads, and some with more full on electronic and cinematic production”. Give us the things that we love, Astræa!
Must listen if you like: London Grammar, Marina, Kate Bush
05. Sam Fender
Sam Fender (22 years old, North Shields, UK) was longlisted for BBC’s Sound of 2018 and received the Brit Award Critic’s Choice for 2019. Every bit of praise is well deserved, because Fender makes compelling indie rock well beyond his years. His melodies are catchy and lyrically he does not shy away from touching upon heavy subjects. His track ‘Dead Boys’ is about male suicides in his hometown, discussing the effects of toxic masculinity in society. He currently has an EP and a string of singles to his name and an album is supposed to drop in 2019. I can’t wait to hear what more this talented lad has to say!
Must listen if you like: Blossoms, Bruce Springsteen
04. Ava Max
Ava Max (25 years old, born in Wisconsin with Albanian roots) had one of the biggest surprise hits at the end of last year with the insanely catchy tune ‘Sweet But Psycho’. The track reached number 1 in the UK, Sweden, Germany and a handful of other European countries. The straight up pop bop is rising in the USA at the time of writing and Ava Max might well be one of the names that is going to bring that glorious genre back to the top. Having already worked with the likes of Jason Derülo and Vice, she seems to have the right amount of backing within the industry too! We can’t wait to hear more from the ‘Sweet But Psycho’ hit maker!
Must listen if you like: Carly Rae Jepsen, Rita Ora
03. Grace Carter
Grace Carter (21 years old from Brighton, UK) is ready to conquer the world with an incredibly powerful and soulful voice. Her songs however are fragile and introspective, mostly based on just piano. She released the Why Her Not Me EP last year, of which the title track is her most impressive work to date. It is completely impossible to not feel all the feels when Carter belts out the chorus without holding back. Would Beyoncé already be aware that there is another Miss Carter around who is about to steal some of her shine?
Must listen if you like: Lianne La Havas, Rebecca Ferguson
Lauv (24 years old, from San Francisco) might not exactly be considered a brand new artist anymore, but if the BBC can still nominate Ella Mai for their Sound of 2019, I could easily get away with this too. So you might know Lauv from his international hit single ‘I Like Me Better’, which appeared on I Met You When I Was 18 (The Playlist), a compilation of his work so far. The producer, songwriter and singer has since released the beautiful duet ‘There’s No Way’ with Julia Michaels and with a collaboration with Troye Sivan dropping soon, there’s no way that Lauv is not going to become one of the biggest break out stars of the year!
Must listen if you like: LANY, Maroon 5
01. Freya Ridings
Freya Ridings (24 years old from London) already released two live albums before the gorgeous piano ballad ‘Lost Without You’ started to storm the British charts. The song has the potential to smash internationally too. Can we all please make that happen!? Freya has a gorgeous. deep voice with incredible power, somewhat reminiscent of the sound of London Grammar’s Hannah Reid. Last year’s single ‘Ultraviolet’ proves that Freya’s soundscape is bigger than just piano ballads and moreover that she is a great songwriter too. Her studio debut is expected to be released in May and if everything we heard so far is anything to go by, it might become one of the records to beat this year!
Must listen if you like: London Grammar, Adele, Florence + the Machine