If you’re like me, discovering new music you love is one of the best feelings in the world. In our digital age, there is so much music coming out that it can be hard to sort through to get to the really good stuff. To save you search time, I’ve compiled a list of 10 artists from various genres, some more known than others, that you need listen to in 2018.
I first heard 6lack (pronounced ‘black’) when he opened for The Weeknd in Toronto, and I was immediately hooked. His music is filled with relatable storytelling about life and love that perfectly intertwines with bold R&B/Hip-Hop beats. His best-known song is ‘PRBLMS‘, which racked up over 175 million streams on Spotify. To new listeners, I also recommend ‘Worst Luck‘, an emotional ballad about being bad at love. In truth, this whole album is worth listening to if you like his sound.
2019 update: 6lack has now released his second studio album, ‘East Atlanta Love Letter’, is being featured on other artist’s work, and has been touring around the world! Rockin’ it!
I found Thutmose while lost in the Spotify ‘Related Artists’ loop. His song ‘WuWu‘ caught my attention, and after listening to ‘Summer’s Gone‘ and ‘Run Wild‘ with fellow artist NoMBe, I have to say that I am impressed with how diverse his music is. All his songs differ from one another, and every one of them is really good. It seems like his journey just begun, but I’m already excited to see what comes next!
2019 update: Thutmose has released his ‘Man on Fire’ mixtape and had his song ‘Memories’ featured on ‘Spider-man: into the Spider-verse!’. I’m still impressed with his music.
8. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish has been blowing up since her 2016 song ‘Ocean Eyes‘ went viral. A look at her lyrics demonstrates that she is a talented songwriter with a captivating voice. Her style is unique and refreshing. Did I mention she’s only 16 years old? She has me feeling like a bad bitch one minute with ‘Copycat‘ and the next minute I’m crying listening to ‘lovely‘, (which features Khalid). If you haven’t heard of her, now is the time to start listening!
2019 update: Billie is still killin’ it, continuing to release music, getting featured on show and movie soundtracks, and staying true to her image. I still recommend her music!
7. Dennis Lloyd
You may have heard his song ‘Nevermind‘ since it went viral on Spotify, htting over 200 million streams. He recently performed it on The Jimmy Kimmel Show and his performance received well-deserved praise. He seems to be an extremely down-to-earth and humble individual, which makes the attention his music is receiving that much more satisfying. Make sure you check out ‘Analyzing‘ and ‘Demons‘ – the less-known hidden gems in his music.
2019 update: Dennis Lloyd signed a record deal with Arista Records (owned by Sony Music Entertainment) and is set to appear at Coachella in April. He’s expected to release new music soon, and I for one cannot wait!
I was intrigued by this Finnish singer because his image, voice, and sound seem to contradict each other while simultaneously fitting together perfectly. His song ‘Sunrise‘ is a bittersweet love song that evokes genuine emotion in his listener, while ‘Over‘ conveys the painful feeling of losing someone after trusting them with the darkest parts of yourself. Although he needs a little bit of fine-tuning in both his music quality and online search-ability, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on!
2019 update: Snø appears to be having an identity crisis. He has released music under the names ‘$now’ and ‘Deadvoss’ on Spotify, but I’m not yet sure what he’s up to. I guess time will tell…
5. Jessie Reyez
The unique voice of Toronto-native Jessie Reyez stands out from the crowd, leaving you hypnotized and wanting more. She has been blowing up the R&B scene, best-known for her songs ‘Shutter Island‘ and ‘Figures‘, which leads with soulful vocals and simple guitar chords. If you haven’t heard of her yet, I recommend listening to hidden gems ‘Phone Calls‘ and ‘Cotton Candy‘.
2019 update: I am SO proud of Jessie Reyez. She released her first album, ‘Being Human in Public’ and stayed true to her unique sound and authentic attitude. She was featured on two tracks in Eminem’s 2018 album ‘Kamikaze’, as well as the track ‘Promises’ with Sam Smith and Calvin Harris. She’s doing incredibly well and managing to stay personable and humble despite her newfound fame. I ship it!
4. Jorja Smith
Jorja Smith recently released her first studio album ‘Lost & Found‘, which mixes sounds from R&B, pop, and soul. She was noticed by Drake and recently appeared on his track ‘Get It Together‘. Smith was also featured on the sountrack album for Black Panther on a track called ‘I Am‘, the song that got me hooked. I also suggest adding ‘Let Me Down‘ to your library.
2019 update: Jorja Smith released her album ‘Lost & Found’, and I have to be honest, I was not impressed. I’m still open to seeing what she has to offer in the future, but I was slightly disappointed. 😦
3. Always Never
This R&B producer/singer duo from Toronto caught my attention when I heard a remix of their song ‘Tragedy‘. I became an official fan after hearing ‘Millions‘, a single from earlier this year. Their songs combine chill R&B beats with soft vocals, resulting in a sound that is vaguely reminiscent of The Weeknd’s early music.
2019 update: Always Never released their self-titled first album. I found it to be quite repetitive which was disappointing because I would have loved to hear them do more with their sound. They still have great potential, but hopefully they’re able to channel their creativity a little more with future music.
Grandson is creating politically-charged, powerful Rock & Roll music, and it’s clear that this is what the people want. Considering that he only had 9 singles before releasing his first EP, it’s remarkable that he is already sitting at 2 million monthly listeners and over 45 million song streams on Spotify. He caught his big break with ‘Blood // Water‘, a song that criticizes corporate greed and corruption, and it is not undeserved. His music is fuelled by activism and has the power to spark potentially painful but important political conversations in today’s youth.
2019 update: Grandson is still as woke as ever, but has yet to release new music! We’re getting impatient, friend!!! @grandson
1. Snoh Aalegra
Snoh Alegra is probably one of the most interesting artists on this list. She has worked with big names in the industry, was mentored by Prince for two years, and has been sampled on Drake’s ‘Do Not Disturb‘. Her sound is soulful, sexy, and emotive, and I became obsessed when I heard ‘Nothing Burns Like the Cold‘. Truth be told, I’m surprised that she doesn’t have more of a following considering the quality of her music. I have a hard time choosing one song to recommend, but if I must, I suggest ‘Under the Influence‘.
2019 update: Snoh is graciously slaying the game. Her song ‘Nothing Burns Like the Cold’ was featured in the new iPhone X commercial and she is featured on Boogie’s new album, ‘Everything for Sale’. She also has new music planned for 2019. I can’t wait!
Did you discover new music with this list? Share it with a friend! Leave me a comment and let me know which artists you would add! 🙂