2019 has been another sensational and memorable year in music. From record-breakers to reunions to artists reaching stratospheric new heights, we’ve really seen it all this year.
There’s no doubt that 2019 has been the year of the woman, with the likes of Billie Eilish and Lizzo rising through the ranks and achieving astronomical success. Established artists including Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello and Halsey have continued to dominate with their latest releases, whilst Selena Gomez made her long awaited musical comeback, which saw her land her first ever number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
The men have also stepped up during 2019 with the likes of Post Malone, Ed Sheeran and BTS dominating on streaming services, whilst Stormzy achieved his first solo UK number one single with ‘Vossi Bop’ and delivered an iconic performance as he headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
2019 has also been a stellar year for reunions. Back in February, our teen hearts were fixed again when the Jonas Brothers announced their comeback, which was followed by their first ever Billboard Hot 100 number one, ‘Sucker’. The trio later released their album Happiness Begins, embarked on a mammoth tour, released a documentary, and much more.
British band McFly also made their long-awaited comeback with a one-off gig at London’s O2 Arena. They will be embarking on a huge tour next year and have also released The Lost Songs which should have formed part of their sixth album, much to the delight of their fans. Most recently, the Pussycat Dolls, albeit now a five piece, also announced their return with a jaw dropping performance on The X Factor: Celebrity. They too will be touring the UK early next year.
Finally, 2019 has also seen a number of newer artists rise through the ranks. Who can forget the moment they first heard ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X? The track, which also featured Billy Ray Cyrus and was later remixed to include the likes of Diplo, RM, and Mason Ramsey, spent a gargantuan 19 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100, breaking the previous record of 16 weeks as held by both Mariah Carey and Boys II Men’s ‘One Sweet Day’ and Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber’s ‘Despacito’.
Over in the UK, Australian singer Tones and I took over the chart with her single ‘Dance Monkey’. The track spent 11 weeks at number one and has broken the record for the longest-running Number 1 single by a female artist in UK chart history, surpassing Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’.
We also cannot forget Lewis Capaldi, who has enjoyed the most sensational year. From spending numerous weeks at the top of the UK singles and album chart, selling out tours worldwide, getting his first Billboard Hot 100 number one, and earning his first Grammy nomination, he has proven to be one of the UK”s biggest breakthrough stars, as we predicted last year.
In fact, during 2019 we’ve enjoyed watching a number of newer artists emerge and making moves in the industry. Here at CelebMix, we love championing fresh talent so we’ve rounded up 30 of our favourite up and coming artists who we believe will be ones to watch in 2020.
Harrison Armstrong, better known as MC Aitch, made a massive breakthrough this year particularly with his single ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’ which peaked at number two on the Official UK Singles Chart. The rapper released his AitcH2O EP earlier this year which also garnered commercial success and was supported by a UK tour. The only way is up for this Manchester MC and we can’t wait to see what he does next year.
Rising star Alaina Castillo might only be 18 years old, but this Texas songstress has made a huge impact with her music this year. Her first single ‘i don’t think i love you anymore’ has garnered almost three million views on YouTube whilst her debut EP antisocial butterfly has already amassed over five million combined streams. Having recently picked up support from Radio 1, we can expect to hear much more from Alaina come 2020.
Alec Benjamin has been on the scene for quite some time however, he really came into his own in 2019 following a re-released version of his song ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ featuring Alessia Cara. He’s also released a string of singles including the brilliant ‘Jesus In LA’ and embarked on a huge world tour including shows in Tokyo, Stockholm, Berlin, Warsaw, Paris and London.
Emerging alt-pop star Alfreda has delighted us with two great tracks this year, ‘This Room’ and ‘Anyone’. She has emerged as a confident artist whose confessional songwriting style has caught the attention of Clash, Official Charts and Spindle Magazine. With more new music on the horizon in 2020, it’s safe to say that this is just the beginning for Alfreda.
Anitta is already a well established artist in her native Brazil, and has racked up over 3.8 billion views. This year she released her fourth album Kisses through Warner Music Brazil and released collaborations with the likes of Becky G, DJ Snake, Sean Paul, Black Eyed Peas and more. 2020 will see Anitta release her first completely English-speaking solo album and we can only expect to see her continue to thrive to gargantuan new levels of success.
Filipino-British songstress Beabadoobee has had a fantastic 2019, releasing three EPs under the Dirty Hit label. With more than 36 million accumulative streams on Spotify, she was nominated for the Brit Awards’ Rising Star Award and has been shortlisted for the BBC’s Sound of 2020. Next year will see Beabadoobee support The 1975 on the UK leg of their tour, and there’s no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from her over the coming months.
19-year-old Cat Burns has really grown in confidence as an artist during 2019. Following the success of her Naïve EP and receiving plaudits from Clash, BBC Introducing London and gal-dem to name but a few, Cat showcased a new side to her artistry with her single ‘I Don’t Blame You’. We can’t wait to hear more from Cat in 2020, and with a string of new releases in the pipeline, it’s certain that Cat Burns is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more from.
2020 has been a strong year for Callum Beattie with a number of releases including the stunning re-release of his track ‘Some Heroes Don’t Wear Capes’. A poignant tribute to his father, the track is a personal and emotional release which perfectly captures Callum’s talent. The singer-songwriter has supported Razorlight, The Kooks and Blossoms this year whilst also performing at BST Hyde Park. Next year, Callum will continue his rise by releasing his debut album People Like Us, whilst also embarking on a headline UK and Germany tour.
British-Jamaican songstress Celeste has grown from strength to strength this year with her soulful music. Not only has she gained critical acclaim for her singles including ‘Strange’, ‘Lately’ and ‘Father’s Son’, but she’s also supported the likes of Michael Kiwanuka, Janelle Monae and Neneh Cherry on tour. Earlier this month Celeste also won the BRIT Awards’ Rising Star Award for 2020. She will be embarking on a headline UK tour next April and we can’t wait to hear more from this talented artist.
Since competing on the 11th series of The X Factor UK, Danny Dearden has been busy making a name for himself in the industry. This year alone, he has collaborated with a number of artists including Aexcit, Michael Calfan, Erlandsson and more, lending his delightful vocals to the tracks. Danny has also been busy songwriting, working with artists including his fellow ones to watch NXTGEN. We can expect more music and gigs from Danny in 2020 and we’re excited to see what he releases next.
Since winning the eleventh season of America’s Got Talent, young singer-songwriter Grace VanderWaal has enjoyed a steady rise to fame, releasing her self-written material which has gained her fans across the world. Earlier this year, Grace released her second EP, Letters Vol.1, which showcases a more personal and mature sound from the multi-talented artist. Next year will see Grace take on the role of the ukulele-playing Susan ‘Stargirl’ Caraway in the Disney+ movie Stargirl, whilst she also plans on releasing even more new music – we can’t wait!
Bursting onto the scene with her debut single ‘Wasted Love’, Holly Baby has already made big waves in the music industry. Her intoxicating girls anthem features NLE Choppa and we can expect even more urban pop tracks from Holly which have been inspired by a broken heart. With new music on the horizon throughout 2020, this is only the beginning for Holly Baby.
Hip-hop and rap artist Isaiah Dreads has continued to rise throughout 2019 particularly following the release of his EP No Ego. Not only did the EP garner critical acclaim, but the rapper has continued to deliver with epic freestyles which prove he is an artist to watch. With more tracks and music videos on the horizon, 2020 is looking bright for Isaiah Dreads.
A number of K-Pop artists have risen through the ranks this year but one that we’re particularly championing are girl group ITZY. Having only made their debut back in February, the girls have already made a huge impact with tracks such as ‘DALLA DALLA’ and ‘ICY’ which carry empowering and positive messages. Over the past few months, ITZY have won numerous awards including a MAMA Award for Best New Female Artist and will be heading out on an American showcase tour in January. We’re so excited to hear much more from this girl group in the future!
Austrian-American artist James Hersey has enjoyed a stellar 2019, particularly with the release of his Innerverse mini album and ‘My People’ with Jeremy Loops. Most recently, he released a new track called ‘Hands On Me’ featuring ELI, which has proven to be a hit with fans and critics alike. James will be releasing his debut album next year so we can expect many more bops from the artist in the near future.
Self-confessed ‘professional sadboy’ JC Stewart has made big moves this year and is set to continue doing so throughout 2020. With the backing of Radio 1 and artists including Lewis Capaldi and Niall Horan, JC has wowed music lovers with tracks such as ‘Bones’ and ‘Have You Had Enough Wine?’. Earlier this year he sold out a four show residency at The Islington London and in May next year he’ll be playing his biggest Irish headline show to date at The Academy Dublin. Showcasing a vulnerable and relatable artistry, we cannot wait for more music from this Northern Irish singer-songwriter in 2020.
South London singer-songwriter Joy Crookes treated music lovers well throughout 2019 with the release of two EPs, Reminiscence and Perception. Additionally, she has taken her unique blend of jazz, soul and pop to the world’s biggest stages including Glastonbury as well as headlining her own UK and European shows. All of this earned her a nomination for the BRIT Awards’ Rising Star Awards 2020, and it’s safe to say that Joy will continue to put herself on the map over the coming months.
JP Saxe made his debut back in 2017 however, the talented artist has enjoyed a truly special breakthrough moment this year thanks to his spectacular collaboration with Julia Michaels called ‘If The World Was Ending’. The track has amassed over 44 million streams on Spotify with a further 46 million views on YouTube. With more new music due at the beginning of 2020, we’re anticipating even more magic from JP.
Mikaela Mullaney Straus, better known as King Princess, is signed to Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records label and released her debut album Cheap Queen in October. Amidst her singles this year, King Princess also teamed up with Mark for a track called ‘Pieces of Us’ on his Late Night Feelings album. She has also spent a lot of the year on the road, with notable performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella and Glastonbury in addition to her own headline tour. Next year she will be joining Harry Styles on the European leg of his forthcoming tour, where she will continue to share her impactful music with the world.
Lost & Found
Production duo Lost + Found burst onto the scene this year with their take on Mariah Carey’s ‘We Belong Together’, with vocals from RuthAnne. The duo, made up of former The Wanted star Tom Parker and singer-songwriter Ollie Marland, gained critical acclaim from a number of tastemakers and followed up with a second single called ‘Ghosted’. From their social media, it seems that this exciting new duo have a lot in the pipeline for 2020 and we couldn’t be more ready to hear what they have in store.
Max & Harvey
Social media sensations Max & Harvey have been gaining popularity for a while, particularly following the release of a number of bops including ‘Stranger’ and ‘Electric’ with Jayden Bartel. They also competed on The X Factor Celebrity, finishing in runner up position. With even more new fans behind them following their TV stint, it’s safe to say that 2020 looks set to be a thrilling time for this young duo, especially with their forthcoming UK tour in February.
Boyband NXTGEN rose to fame at the beginning of the year when they competed on the latest series of The Voice UK. Cian, Joel and Sonny might be familiar to some as they were previously in another boyband called Yes Lad, who competed on The X Factor UK. However, as a trio they have grown from strength to strength particularly with the support of their mentor will.i.am. NXTGEN have released a string of singles throughout the year, and with a growing back catalogue behind them, we predict that 2020 will be a huge breakthrough year for the band.
Real Like You
Real Like You were put together on the latest X Factor series, X Factor: The Band with the girlband triumphing over their boyband competitors during the live final. Made up of Kelli-Marie, Jess, Halle, Virginia, Luena and Seorsia, the girlband wowed with an original song called ‘Be Like Them’ and won a recording contract with Simon Cowell’s Syco label. Whilst they’ve yet to release an official single, if ‘Be Like Them’ is anything to go by then Real Like You could be very special indeed. We’re intrigued to see what this six-piece will do next!
Japanese-English artist Rina Sawayama is signed to Dirty Hit and has been making waves in the industry for a few years now. However, she really came to our attention this year with the powerful ‘STFU!’ which came with its own mini-movie music video. Rina also supported Charli XCX on her UK tour, where she got the chance to showcase her incredible artistry. We’re looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for her and have a hunch that 2020 really will be her year.
Sasha Sloan is another artist who has been making waves for a long time, however, she really came into her own with her third EP Self Portrait, which was released in October. The singer-songwriter truly tapped into her emotions, delivering a lyrically powerful EP packed with potent melodies. Not only has she released her own beautiful tracks, but Sasha is making a name for herself in the industry as a songwriter to the stars. Her credits include songs for Camila Cabello, Anne-Marie, LANY, Charli XCX, Idina Menzel and more. There’s no doubt that 2020 will continue to see Sasha flourish as an artist in her own right as well as a sought after songwriter.
Former The Wanted singer Siva Kaneswaran made his highly-anticipated solo debut in 2019 with the dreamy ‘Breathe In’. The track comes with a soaring chorus and was the perfect first release from the Irish artist. Having loved his debut offering, we can’t help but hope for even more new music from Siva in 2020.
Following her rise to fame on the tenth series of The X Factor UK, it’s been a long wait for the debut single from contestant Tamera Foster. Having dropped her last name, the songstress finally released her first track this year and it’s certainly made her one to watch for 2020. Oozing with soul, ‘Romeo’ has an indie-RnB vibe to it and gives us a small taste of what’s to come from this rising star.
Tiggs Da Author
With a few years of releases under his belt, Tiggs Da Author has continued to rise throughout 2019 with the release of his MOREFIRE mixtape which includes his Not3s collaboration ‘NASTI RIDDIM’. Over the past twelve months, he has gained critical acclaim from the likes of The Independent, Complex UK and Radio 1. Next year, Tiggs will release his highly anticipated debut album and will no doubt enjoy even more success with his electric music.
Transatlantic duo Weslee, made up of producer Josh and vocalist Emma, have established themselves as one of the most refreshing and uniquely dynamic acts in today’s international music scene. Receiving praise from the likes of Annie Mac, Clara Amfo and Huw Stephens, the duo have released a string of singles this year including ‘London Love’, ‘Venus’ and ‘Peaches’. They also headlined BBC Introducing’s show at The Lexington, and performed their own headline show at Omeara. They will be releasing an EP next year so expect Weslee to appear in all of your go-to playlists.
Irish band Wild Youth have enjoyed a remarkable 2019 following the release of their debut EP, The Last Goodbye. Not only have the band been touring with their own headline shows, but they also had the opportunity to support The Script on their UK tour earlier in the year. Wild Youth have shown a lot of promise over the past twelve months, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing what they do next in 2020.