Happy New Year everybody. Welcome to 2016 which from a music stand point promises to be very exciting. I’ve picked out twenty brand new artists I’m excited about and that I believe you should get accustomed to in 2016.
This year the lovely Billie Marten of Yorkshire turns 17 but by her birthday she has already toured the UK, had music playlisted on Radio 1 and amassed a lot of support on line (13k Facebook followers, 5.6k Twitter followers). That’s a hell of a resume already but ignore her age because she writes with the intelligence of somebody much wiser. Her music has the charm and wit of Laura Marling with the sweetness in tone of Lucy Rose with more of a traditional folk twinge to her voice than both of those talented ladies. With a debut EP already out, I think we have a lot to look forward to next year from Billie. I believe she will be music we go to in the darkest and loneliest hours.
Dallas newcomer Post Malone is somebody I’m really excited about heading into 2016. White Iverson was the perfect debut single, impressing people in the same way that ILoveMakonnen’s Tuesday did and with Drake, Rihanna, Kanye and more releasing albums in 2016, there is plenty of room for Post Malone to sneek a few guest spots and grow his profile even more. What I love most about Malone though is that his chilled trap and pop mix sounds like an integral sound and a natural progression from styles that have been prevalent over the past few years, meaning he could hit the top soon.
Very few voices intrigue me more as we enter this year than a London boy brought up in Gospel with a fresh twist, Samm Henshaw. Already supporting the likes of James Bay on tour and already signed to Sony there is no doubts that something special is about to happen with Henshaw. And whilst we wait to see if he will release a big breakthrough record there’s absolutely no harm in falling for his already released music like Autonomy and Only Wanna Be With You.
Danny L Harle
One of the more mystical picks on my Tips list is producer Danny L Harle who has been on the scene the past few years primarily working as one of the big names behind PC Music. If you’re unaware PC Music are a fantastic independent label which releases British dance and pop music which sounds like the sort of cheesy ringtone music you’d hear on the back of a stagecoach bus in the mid noughties. With all music though, it manages to sound relevant to now. With Danny, he has just released his debut EP featuring the fantastic Broken Flowers (and even better rework Awake For Hours). I have a feeling he could be about to spread his wings and leave the nest.
To call Loyle Carner a rapper doesn’t quite seem enough as he has a really infectious way of telling his stories with his soft South London tone. We’ve already had a fair amount of tracks from him so far but he seems to be going into 2016 with the intention to make it his year. His beats are hazy like dreams and you can really get yourself lost in his tales of life. Whilst most spoken word artists and British rappers are an acquired taste, Loyle Carner is very pleasant on the ears, so just get stuck in.
Gliding the fence between indie pop and indie punk perfectly, the wonderful Misty Miller is one of my favourite new artists to look out for beginning 2016. Her music is very easily accessible and as a character she certainly has a lot to offer, and is very likeable. We’ve already had a brilliant EP called Sweet Nothing in 2015 as well as brilliant singles Next To You and Happy which you need in your life. If you get a chance too make sure to listen to Best Friend which is a hugely emotional punk ballad. If you like your more rocky Florence & The Machine tracks then Misty is for you.
From all of the artists I have heard working in the North East music scene this year, Cape Cub are one that I have loved from the get go. Singer main member of the group, Chad, has a superb falsetto and ability to craft warmth in dark, empty music much like their early track Lantern, new single Keep Me In Mind and the incredible, Hype Machine topping slow ballad, Swim. Perhaps they need a bit more time than most in this list but I really believe in what Cape Cub are doing and I want to see as many people be affected by their music the same way I have. Fans of Coldplay and soft emotional rock will dig these lads.
In 2016 Reggae music will return and as far as exceptional new artists go, Kiko Bun will be at the British forefront of that. He has already proved his worth with the jam of the century Sometimes and the equally beautiful Where I’m From so I can’t wait to hear more. With other acts like Jamie XX, WSTRN and Popcaan bringing the vibes in, I see Kiko having a fantastic year. If you loved that late year banger from WSTRN called In2 or even if you just like the Sunshine, you will love Kiko Bun.
You will already no doubt recognize the powerful lungs of Conrad Sewell from his vocal feature on Kygo’s Firestone, which proved to be one of the bigger advert tracks of last year. In the UK, Conrad is no more than that so far but in Australia he has broken through charting with great hits like Start Again and my personal favourite of his, Hold Me Up. Now that his sister Grace has hit the UK properly with You Don’t Own Me, it is Conrad’s turn so make sure you get on him early. I reckon if you like John Newman you will love Conrad.
This dude is a producer coming out of Vancouver who is making some of the crispest and catchiest EDM on the planet. He caught my attention early last year Kuaga which initially was a pretty decent track before vocals were added onto it to make it a huge Summer record. From there he has remained quiet in the UK but has released a few more tracks on line to acclaim from EDM fans. Landmines is beautiful and No More is a great anthem which will no doubt appeal to fans of Pendulum, Madeon and Porter Robinson.
The most high profile name on this belongs to this bloke, Jack Garratt who is the BRITS Critics choice winner for this year. He’s already given us a plethora of great singles from The Love You’re Given, through Chemical and Weathered to newest single Breathe Life. Most of these have been playlisted on Radio 1 amongst others, so why is Jacky G on this list? I put him as a Tip for 2016 because I have a really good feeling that we’ve actually on seen glimpses of what’s to come from this extraordinary diverse artist. We will get Garratt debut album in 2016 which I am super excited for. In the meantime here is one of his lesser known records, Worry.
Up next on my 20 for 2016 Tips list are the brilliant Mancunians Sping King who made history last year by being the first artist played on the worldwide radio station Beats 1. Zane Lowe called on something forward-thinking, exciting and full of new music excitement and their track City is exactly that. They have not let this get to them though and have taken their time making new music. We got a little bit of that towards the end of the year in Who Are You? which echoes some of the best 80s Punk sounds whilst still maintaining a new, much needed indie rock ethos. The sax solo is also damn sweet.
I’ve always had an incline that New York City was pretty darn funky but I had no idea that they could make me groove like this. The NYC disco funk duo The Knocks have been kicking about for a few years and first caught my attention with 2014’s Classic. They seemed to take forever away and I was wondering if they’d ever return but the gorgeous gospel disco feel good tune Collect My Love was a welcome return and with the announcement that their debut album The 55 will be out next year, it was impossible not to think they’re destined for big things in 2016.
Clean Cut Kid
I love a bit of oddball indie rock and despite the genre seemingly being about being ‘cool’ there have been lots of my favourite bands make a huge name for themselves being their own kind of cool. I’m talking about Vampire Weekend and Phoenix and MGMT. Clean Cut Kid are one of those rare bands with real charm and charisma in their tunes and the incredible Vitamin C proved that last year. A debut album is surely on its way so now is the time to get them into your life.
A certainty to do incredible things in 2016, Kehlani is presently one of my favourite artists. Her name was unavoidable in reviews from SXSW 2015 which led me to finding FWU, an absolutely sublime vintage sounding piece of Cali hip-hop, as it was drenched in sunny vibes. She gave us a full length mixtape album last year called You Should Be Here and followed that up with a few teasers at the end of the year which is surely for a proper debut album to follow this year. The R&B/Hip Hop world is in safe hands this year with Kehlani leading the American break out artists. And she’s *ahem* extremely hawt stuff.
I have nothing but absolute love for Reading’s Sundara Karma, the best new indie band in the UK. They have more than proven themselves and deserve a place on this list with two great EPs in 2015 with such great summery tunes like Vivienne, Flame and my personal favourite Loveblood. Fans of The Maccabees and early Peace will adore them and they already have a good following on social media so these guys are going absolutely everywhere.
From the moment I saw London’s spoken word newcomer Kojey Radical support Young Fathers on their UK tour I knew that he was onto something special. I was utterly captivated his whole set listening to all of the stories he was telling us with his gruff deep voice aside the slow reminiscent riffs, heavy percussion and subtle synths. From here he has put out his first few proper releases such as the excellent Bambu and the newer Open Hand. There’s no doubts he is continuing to get more confident and he seems to be building towards this being his year, so listen out for more of his vital stories hitting the net.
It feels for me that we’ve not had a great new proper rock band in years with the exception of Royal Blood, but then they have a lot of indie sensibilities. What I mean is where is the next Muse or Enter Shikari? From what they’ve released so far, I think we have the answer with Fort Hope who blend tremendously chunky riffs with operatic falsetto. There’s just enough of Shikari’s electronics and the drama of System of a Down. Basically Fort Hope have the perfect blend of all of my favourite heavy bands. And what we’ve had so far has been top notch. Skies is brilliant tune which changes it’s pace through-out but Plans, our debut single from them, was a game-changer.
From the first fuzz of Jitter I knew Grace Mitchell was something that I’d be talking about heading into 2016 as a vital pop star.The rest of the song confirmed that, and her Raceday EP kind of made it a bit too obvious, but yes, Grace Mitchell is going to be huge. She hails from Oregon and makes electronic pop music with an urban edge. As I stated her debut track Jitter, which was immediately Zane’s World Record on Beats 1, is a storm of a record with an epic glitch-pop chorus. Her follow up single No-Lo shows great songwriting talent as the song gives a new take on being heartbroken. 2016 is Grace Mitchell’s to take and if you’re a fan of label mates Lorde or Taylor Swift you might just have your new favourite singer in Grace.
Okay so globally Troye Sivan is already a megastar but I do honestly believe that his time in the UK is still to come and his name will be household in the UK by Summer. He has just released his debut album Blue Neighbourhood which is sublime, full of potential singles and smooth cuts. His voice is delectable and sweet and overall the guy is very likeable. Radio 1 have already tested the waters playing Happy Little Pill and Wild but wait until the UK gets Youth as a single. As I say, I do believe Troye could be the biggest new artist in the UK for the first half of the year. Here is Wild if you don’t believe me.
And that concludes my thoughts on who I think will take 2016 by storm from the music world. I do believe that this year’s crop is really strong and a lot better than last years. From an abundance of credible indie bands (when there were only a few last year) to real pop stars to intelligent rappers with important stories to tell, 2016 is shaping up to be special. Make sure you know these names, you’ll be hearing about them a lot more. If you want to hear more I’ve put some alternative tracks by all into a Spotify playlist for you below.