By Yasmin Ettobi
If 2017 was a spectacular year for music, then 2018 is only going to be better. We already have confirmation of albums from some of our favorite indie overlords (shoutout to The 1975 and Arctic Monkeys) but that isn’t the only thing we have to look forward to in the upcoming year. Whether it be on your Spotify Discover Weekly playlist or playing on the radio, some artists seem to keep popping up everywhere we go. As far as 2018 goes, here are some predictions for which rising stars are going to dominate the industry and our hearts in the upcoming months.
How does one become a pop sensation with only four songs on Spotify? That’s a question to ask 19 year old Clairo. The lo-fi singer/songwriter’s musical career started long ago, as she released music on Soundcloud at the young age of 14. Flashing forward to 2017, the amount of recognition and admiration centered around tracks such as “Pretty Girl” and “Flaming Hot Cheetos” has skyrocketed. Teenagers around the globe relate to the beautifully straightforward and simple style that Clairo brings to her music, and her popularity is growing at an astonishing rate. “Pretty Girl” currently possesses over 4,000,000 streams on Spotify, and in late December she played a show with Tyler, the Creator, BROCKHAMPTON and Steve Lacy. It’s safe to say that Clairo isn’t going anywhere, and we’ll hopefully get to hear more music from her in the New Year.
If you haven’t heard of BROCKHAMPTON at this point, where have you been? This Los Angeles-based boyband is known for pushing musical boundaries in a number of different ways, and they’re only getting stronger with time. BROCKHAMPTON’s 2017 consisted of the release of three albums in the span of six months, a North American tour, and the production of a full-length film (which is yet to be released.) BROCKHAMPTON caters to a largely teenage fanbase of the LGBTQ+ community and people of color because of lyrics and online presences that don’t shy away from topics of racism, homophobia, and other forms of injustice. In a fusion of hip-hop, alternative rock and R&B, the group succeeds in producing irresistibly catchy tracks such as “GOLD,” “STAR” and “GUMMY.” In 2018, we already have another tour of the United States to look forward to from BROCKHAMPTON, along with a film and another album, entitled Team Effort.
Jorja Smith has been correlated with musical greats such as Rihanna, Amy Winehouse, and Lauryn Hill. If these comparisons alone don’t inspire you to keep an eye out for her in 2018, them I don’t know what would. You may have heard Smith’s smooth, soulful voice in Drake’s 2017 project More Life, or featured in the Kali Uchis single, “Tyrant.” The 20 year old England-native also toured with Bruno Mars for a portion of his 24K Magic North American tour. The hypnotic way in which Smith’s vocals melt across vintage yet fresh-sounding instrumentals is most definitely something bound to blow up in the upcoming year. Not only should we expect new music from her in 2018, but also watch out for a headlining North American tour from Smith, which may be coming to a city near you.
Rex Orange County
Another Brit making it big in the music industry recently, there’s something undeniably magical about Rex Orange County’s music. Armed with a boyish yet soulful voice, regal orchestrations, and love-soaked lyrics, Alex O’Connor has a knack for creating songs which make life feel like your favorite coming-of-age movie. 2017 has been quite the year for O’Connor, some of his accomplishments including the release of his sophomore album Apricot Princess, and his multiple features on Tyler, the Creator’s latest project, Flower Boy. After having to unfortunately cancel his set at Camp Flog Gnaw, Rex Orange County is finally making an appearance to the United States in 2018, so far with two sold out shows in both Los Angeles and New York City. With the amount of talent, elegance and charisma O’Connor’s musical endeavors hold, Rex Orange County could easily become a household name in the future.