Meet The Next Wave: 20 New Artists Who Will Shape 2020

Trans-Atlantic tips to breakout this year...

The speed at which music travels seems to increase exponentially with each passing year.

As platforms rise and fall so the way we consume changes, providing ever more delicate fragments for a landscape already riven with complexities.

2020 is the first year in a new decade, and it's a suitable point to bring together the varied voices who we believe will shape the coming 12 months.

It's one of the most diverse lists we've ever published, moving from UK soul to Stateside R&B, arena-ready trap to street level drill, indie rock, bedroom pop, and beyond.

Dive in now.

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Lynda Dawn

The deep down and funky ‘Move’ – featured on the 13th instalment of Gilles Peterson’s ‘Brownswood Bubblers’ compilation – with its 90s R&B inflections are the perfect introduction to Lynda Dawn.

Her 2019 EP ‘At First Light’, produced by frequent collaborator Al Dobson Jr., traces boogie, soul, funk and jazz, as well as the inspiration Lynda draws from the afrobeat and highlife of her parents’ record collection, and the gospel of a childhood spent in the Pentecostal church. Expect serious power moves in 2020. (Emma Finamore)

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Porridge Radio 

Porridge Radio are the future. Well actually they’re the present, but you get the idea. They constantly deliver catchy rickety songs that are a beautiful amalgam of lo-fi ramshackle post-punk with uplifting pop peaks.

Latest single ‘Lilac’ speaks about being kinder to ourselves as well as others. What isn’t to get behind? (Nick Roseblade)

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US born, UK raised Celeste came to song-writing via a childhood love of Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, The Supremes and Destiny’s Child, paired with a penchant for penning her own poetry.

Warm, languid production make the experience of listening to her songs akin to sinking through silk, but it’s Celeste’s dreamy, soulful – and downright beguiling – vocals that are the star of the show.

Start with ‘Lately’ and you’ll want to devour the rest of 2019’s ‘Compilation 1.1’, trust us. (Emma Finamore)

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Arlo Parks

Arlo Parks writes the lyrics about life and heartbreak that we all wish we could – combine that with vocals which are a fusion of sultry goddess goodness and what I’d imagine liquid marble to sound like, 2020 need look no further when it comes to artists that deserve to and unequivocally will smash it this year.

You can catch Arlo on her European tour from January to March. (Laura Copley)

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girl in red

Get ready to helplessly fall for Oslo-based Marie Ulven’s doe-eyed bedroom-pop. With her witty yet intensely playful anthems, this queer Norwegian is edging towards indie-pop greatness.

Although it’s only recently that her music started to break through and gain attention, by the looks of it, 2020 will be girl in red’s year. (Lauren McDermott) 

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Honey Harper

Atlanta’s Honey Harper‘s cosmic country is reinventive. The inspiration from Gram Parsons’ is subtle while he creates his own soothing, dreamy, comforting sounds.

Growing up, he attended a Southern Baptist church, his father was an Elvis impersonator and he grew to love disco. His EP ‘Universal Country’ was released in 2017, and his debut album 'Starmaker' comes out in March. (Susan Hansen)

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Baby Rose

North Carolina riser Baby Rose has paid her dues. Working relentlessly, her natural talent took her into the Dreamville crew, featuring on label comps and touring with R&B chanteuse Ari Lennox. New album ‘To Myself’ saw the soulful riser grab her spot on centre stage, an emphatic display of her potential. 10 tracks of raw emotion, Baby Rose followed this with stellar single ‘August 5th’.

2020 is the year Baby Rose comes of age. (Robin Murray)

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Sam Wise 

A star in his own right, it was only a matter of time before House Of Pharaohs’ leading figure Sam Wise broke out on his own. His debut solo project, ‘Sorry You Were Saying’ (SYWS), was a cohesive and layered effort seeing the Kennington rapper blend the bass-heavy stylings of US trap with authentic UK flair, and lyrics brimming with personality, setting himself up nicely to take over in 2020. (Aaron Bishop) 

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Lola Young

There’s this touching sense of intimacy to Lola Young’s songwriting – at every turn, on every release, you’re left feeling as though she’s bared her soul, operating with a skin too few.

Endlessly beautiful pop songwriting, her barbed musicality pushes Lola Young into a distinctive plane, one that is sparse, intense, but oh so evocative. (Robin Murray)

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It’s perhaps disingenuous to describe Shygirl as a newcomer – her first release came in 2016 – but this coming year should see the London aesthete emerge from the shadows.

Bold, uncompromising, and vital, singles such as ‘UCKERS’ reside in a dimension of their own, with Shygirl’s potent voice colliding with future-driven production from frequent collaborator Sega Bodega.

Definitely not one to miss. (Robin Murray)

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Black Country, New Road 

Black Country, New Roads are the final part of a triptych of exciting young bands, alongside Black Midi and Squid, reinvigorating British rock music.

The London seven-piece have built up an astonishing level of buzz off just two sprawling singles that weave pop culture commentary into knotty post-rock. One listen to their electrifying live performances should demonstrate that they are a band of rare talent. (Conrad Duncan) 

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The songwriting of Beabadoobee may be deeply indebted to the dreamy sounds of 90s alternative rock but she brings more than enough warmth and humour to elevate herself above mere pastiche. As her songs have become more elaborate, they have lost none of their unpretentious charm.

And on last year's Space Cadet EP, her gently romantic indie-rock sounded as natural as breathing. (Conrad Duncan) 

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Joesef hails from the less than glamorous surroundings of Glasgow's East End, but he's been tipped to go onto much more salubrious things since the very beginning.

Comparisons to mega-sellers like compatriot Lewis Capaldi abound, but in truth, Joesef's sound is much more soulful, with his delicate yet powerful voice more indebted to Al Green than to Adele. (David Weaver) 

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Drill upstart Poundz has that golden touch. The rapper’s catalogue may be slim, but everything he releases goes viral, pitting street level rhymes against an ability to form immediately infectious chorus lines.

‘Opp Thot’ became one of 2019’s biggest underground cuts, with Poundz reinforcing his abilities with the likes of ‘Skeng Bop’ and ‘Mourinho’.

Just watch him go. (Robin Murray)

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Baby Keem

Last year seemed like the year of the baby with acts such as Lil Baby and DaBaby appearing in the charts but alas in 2020 there will be a new addition to the family.

Baby Keem who hails from Las Vegas already has production credits with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, the incredible Beyonce and much more.

With his latest EP ‘Die For My Bitch’ spewing out the club banger ‘Orange Soda’, Baby Keem is ready to be at the forefront with some healthy collabs under his belt. (Debbie Ijaduola)

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Sheff G 

With international Drill becoming a phenomenon last year, there’s no surprise that more drill artists will blow up this year – one being Sheff G.

With only 55,000 subscribers on his YouTube page, he still manages to rack up views in the millions showing that this figure in the underground scene is ready to hit the mainstream. (Debbie Ijaduola)

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Duke Deuce 

With a healthy rollout of songs that went viral last year as well as being signed to Quality Control (that houses the likes of Migos, City Girls, Lil Yachty and more), it seems like 2020 could be Duke Deuce’s year.

His latest single ‘Crunk Ain’t Dead’ which is inspired by his Memphis hometown has ignited a challenge across social media platforms and been an outright club banger and it seems like there is more on the way. (Debbie Ijaduola)

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Joy Crookes

One of Joy Crookes’ most infectious qualities is the sheer ease with which she tackles challenges. There’s a refreshing quality to her work, whether that’s linking with Dublin rapper Jafaris on ‘Early’ or that initial soaraway demo version of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.

Ineffable 21st century soul, she takes R&B tropes and twists them into highly personal shapes. (Robin Murray)

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AMA is a young singer-songwriter from west-London, having gained our attention in 2019 with swirling R&B track, ‘Slip.’ The 19 year-old first took to the scene in 2018 with statement single, ‘Monochrome.’ In September she dropped her debut EP 'Screenluv', track-listing six quirky electronic bops.

2020 only sees the musician moving with flying colours… and some more bangers. (Laviea Thomas) 

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Biig Piig 

Born in Ireland, raised in Spain, and cutting her creative teeth in London, Biig Piig makes music mirroring her multifaceted upbringing.

Her ease skipping between sounds – from boom-bap beats to funk, from house-leaning tracks to slower, slinky neo-soulful numbers – and weaving her silky-smooth vocals between Spanish and English, reflects this background, as well as the fluid approach of Nine8 – the collective of singers, producers and rappers that she’s a part of, along with Lava La Rue.

Expect more of the unexpected from Biig Piig in 2020. (Emma Finamore)

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