2018 was a great year for music in a number of ways - artists like Janelle Monae, Cardi B and Ariana Grande shot to the tippy-tops of their game, Robyn came back, Travis Scott released a banger of a record and Australian music rose to new heights on the world stage.
2019 is set to be even stronger with a heap of artists we're excited about like Tame Impala, Flume, Alex Lahey and Billie Eilish teasing new music. But who are the young stars set to take over your night sky? Here are our picks for 10 artists who are gonna blow the hell up this year.
Tayla Parx has already had a number one single but you may not have heard of her yet. She was a co-writer on Ariana Grande’s thank u, next but she’s also kicking goals with music of her own. Last year, she dropped her debut project Tayla Made and then followed it with her greatest cut yet Me vs. Us. It’s an ‘80s-tinged jam that effortlessly bridges pop and R&B with the sort of melodic sensibility that only a truly great pop writer could display.
Dominic Fike is a mystery in some ways. He released a bunch of songs on SoundCloud right before going to jail. When he got out he was a cult hero with those songs dropping on Spotify as the Don’t Forget About Me, Demos EP. 3 Nights is a surefire hit and it’s already been heavily spun on triple j. With a sound that sits somewhere between Post Malone, Ed Sheeran and Young Thug, there’s no way Fike won’t be huge this year.
With Troye Sivan off overseas living the life as a bonafide superstar, it’s about time we had a homegrown popstar to champion here. Mak is the man for the job. He’s making soaring, twilight pop songs that would sounds just as glossy in the clubs as on the radio. The Brisbane muso finished the year on one of the best local songs of 2018 with Flicker. With a blaring synth on board, he made the sort of triumphant moment that solidifies your fate as a new artist.
New York rapper Pardison Fontaine spent much of 2018 tapping away in the background. He penned songs for Cardi B and Kanye West before dropping a hit of his own Backin It Up with Cardi. It’s his biggest hit to date, charting inside the top 50 in the US and suggesting that he’s got more than enough star power to step out on his own. His lyricism is better than most of his peers right now and should ensure he spends 2019 pumping out big tracks.
We really can’t see 20-year-old Brisbane artist Jack Gray failing in 2019. Gray has got the look and sound to be a big commercial crossover this year and he’s already started his campaign. Last week, he dropped Drunk Talk, a pulsing, lovelorn anthem that’s an extension of the aesthetic he built for himself last year. 2018’s My Hands was in a league of its own powering to big streams with a pulsating beat.
It’s a big call to name an artist with one song to their name as one to watch but such is the strength of Yorke’s debut release First Light. The Byron Bay artist launched her career with one of the most pure pop songs around, combining honest songwriting with an instantly accessible chorus. If she can keep that balance of organic songwriting and commercial appeal, she’s going to be everywhere in 2019.
Harlem rapper Melii had a big moment last year with Icey which has now racked up almost 5 million streams on Spotify. This year, she’s following that up with her debut project, which she’s already started revealing through first single HML. Her sound sits somewhere between rap and R&B, giving us the strength of Cardi B and the soul of Kehlani. She’s also bilingual giving her huge crossover potential. Worldwide domination is imminent.
Perto's still only 16 years old but with such a strong production style and attitude in spades, we wouldn't be surprised if he was the next big Aussie EDM export since Flume. He's already released a frankly magnificent flip of Kodak Black's ZEZE as well as official remixes of Valentino Khan and Sean Paul, with heaps of new music on the way this year. Plus he's already running in Diplo's crowd, hanging with him, Flosstradamus and Post Malone when he's over Stateside. Jealous much?
With a DGAF attitude and nearly always a cigarette hanging from his lips, Turquoise Prince is Australia's secret rap/hip hop gem that the world has yet to mine. TP is unique because there's two sides to him - one, a rapper with a rough, rapid flow and two, an R&B crooner singing sweet nothings in your ear. He'll switch from one to the other at lightning speed, but it's the charm with which he plays to both strengths that we love. Sunday Sesh remains one of TP's coolest tracks, but this year's ERIC BANAS is a brutal track with fire lines like "I'm sick of Aussie rappers rapping like they grew up in the States / The industry is full of fakes that I came to violate". Oof.
After bringing her party-starting groove-pop to the airwaves last year thanks to the bangin' Molotov and Tension, 2019 is set to be the year Kira Puru shows Australia and the world what she's made of. She's on more and more festival line-ups and given the huge reception to Molotov, which we think may sit pretty in the Hottest 100 this year, Kira's finally getting the recognition she so deserves. We're so here for Kira and how unapologetically herself she is.