From viral sensations to promising up-and-comers, 2018 is producing an incredible crop of new artists that remind us why we listen to music at all. Here are some of our favorites so far.
- This 14-piece boyband of rappers, producers, vocalists, and designers recently signed a $15 million record deal with RCA after releasing their Saturation trilogy independently in 2017.
- Their latest album, Iridescence, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
- With their genre-defying sounds, their diversity, and their size, they challenge the idea of a traditional boyband.
On repeat: “J’OUVERT”
- The first female signee to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, the D.C. native started out uploading covers to YouTube and original songs to SoundCloud.
- Her first project, Pho, which was released in 2016, gained a major following and hit No. 20 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart.
On repeat: “Whipped Cream”
- The LA-based singer first established a fanbase when he auditioned for and found success on The Glee Project, making it into the top 12.
- His single, Drew Barrymore, a catchy R&B-infused pop track hit the charts this year and has gained attention from artists like Taylor Swift, who included the song on her Apple Music favorites playlist.
On repeat: “Drew Barrymore”
- Although only 20 years old, this bedroom pop artist has already opened for Tyler, The Creator, performed at Lollapalooza, and signed a 12-song deal with Fader magazine’s label.
- She first gained attention with her song “Pretty Girl,” which she wrote and recorded in two hours and filmed on a home video. She was inspired by the DIY attitude that many artists have today, such as Brockhampton.
On repeat: “Pretty Girl”
- Since his debut EP The Sound Experiment in 2016, this Nigerian-born, London-based artist has previously toured with Chance the Rapper and James Bay.
- He started playing drums at the age of four, but also plays guitar, piano, the harmonica, and sings.
- On repeat: “Broke”
- Hailing from New Jersey, this rising star first developed an interest in singing when her father ran a makeshift recording studio in their home and recorded the family making Christmas albums for her grandparents.
- She has already performed at several major music festivals, including Riot Fest and Bumbershoot.
- Zane Lowe from Beats 1 Radio premiered her first single before she was a signed to a major label.
On repeat: “Keep Lying”
- She first gained popularity in 2008 when she was featured on Lupe Fiasco’s single “Hip-Hop Saved My Life.” Since then she’s toured with Kanye West, Rihanna, and N.E.R.D., and has released a solo album and two EPs.
- Although primarily an R&B artist, she has worked with over 30 major songwriters like Carly Simon, Bob Dylan, and Carole King.
On repeat: “Pink Lemonade”
- This 20-year old rapper from Harlem is jointly signed to both Travis Scott’s and Kanye West’s record labels.
- He first started making music at the age of 11, when he was in a rap group called the MillYorkers with his friends.
- His breakout track, “Mo Bamba,” which has peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard 100, was written in about 20 minutes and recorded in one take.
On repeat: “Mo Bamba”