Artists to Look Out for in 2016
By Osbert Moor
Kiiara is an artist who has a lot of hype around her, and it’s easy to see why. The Illinois native has developed a style which she can truly call her own, and a string of successful tracks released on SoundCloud throughout the last year have shown that she is no one-hit-wonder. Whether it’s Kiiara’s debut track “Gold”, her most recent offering “Say Anymore”, or any number of other tracks like “Intention” or “Feels”, Kiiara has shown her ability to harness emotion through the power of her vocals, alongside crisp, clever production. Her glitchy, electronic, sampling style is a winning formula and is coming at the perfect time, with electro-pop starting to take on a bigger role in mainstream music. Keep a lookout for her incoming EP “Meet Me In The Cornfield” and watch this space. With the right backing and management, Kiiara has the potential to go far.
SG Lewis has had a massive 2015. His track, "Warm", resulted in his big breakthrough, and even featured on the HBO show Ballers and in the 2015 film Point-Break. Lewis’ year continued to move from strength to strength with the release of his critically acclaimed EP, “Shivers”. The four track EP contained the same dreamy magic that much of SG Lewis’ songs have, and the subtle, yet powerful, beats made the EP an instant winner. Now signed to PMR, alongside Jessie Ware and Disclosure (to name a few), and with talk of a second EP release in the summer, 2016 can only be a big year for SG Lewi
EDM’s latest prodigy Steve James, 17, had a 2015 which most teenagers could only dream of. His enormous SoundCloud following lead to a total of over 20 million plays on his online remixes last year, resulting in James supporting the Chainsmokers on part of their ‘Friendzone Tour’. As if this wasn’t big enough, the 17 year-old moved out to LA to help co-produce and co-write on Justin Bieber’s latest number 1 album “Purpose” and its title track. To round out the year, Steve James released his first original track, “Renaissance” in late November to much excitement. I doubt this is the last we’ll hear of Steve James.
Choosing artists to look out for in 2016 is slightly difficult because what might be seen as a big moment for one artist, might not be for another. So many artists are at different stages of their career that it’s hard to say exactly what ‘making it big’ would look like to each individual musician. I say this because some people might say that Jack Garratt has already made it big, which is probably fair. 2015 saw him release his EP “Synesthesiac”, debut big singles like “Breathe Life”, tour with Mumford and Sons, win the Critics' Choice category at the 2016 BRIT Awards, the BBC Sound Poll of 2016 and make it onto MTV's Brand New 2016 shortlist.
So what more can we expect from the man who names Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul among his best mates? Well Garratt’s debut album “Phase” is due to release in February this year so it’s hard to say exactly what we can expect, but I can say with mild confidence that 2016 could be Jack Garratt’s biggest year yet.
2015 gave the first taste of song tracks from Dua Lipa’s as yet unknown debut album, set to drop in 2016. Lipa’s signature dream-pop/electro-pop sound has caught some attention, and with tracks like “Be the One” and “New Love” performing well, hype for his first LP is growing. The London-based singer works with Warner Bros. Records and utilises the same management team as Lana Del Rey, so it’s no surprise she’s starting to do well. You can hear a hint of Lana in Dua Lipa’s sound but she’s definitely doing her own thing and her year culminated with a spot on the BBC Sound of 2016 Shortlist. I have a suspicion 2016 could be a big year for Dua Lipa.
LÉON came bursting onto the 2015 music scene out of absolutely nowhere with her debut EP, “Treasure”. The EP was huge, and amassed 7 million streams in its first 7 week on Spotify, with the title single “Treasure” a particular favourite of mine. A lot of people are tipping this girl for big things and I’m no different. Since her EP released, LÉON has signed with Columbia Records and announced an LP will drop in 2016. A seal of approval from Katy Perry probably hasn’t done her any harm either.
· Allie X
· Alessia Cara