New year, new sounds. With 2018 out of the way, it’s time to refresh the playlist by adding some new tunes by up and coming acts that will be making waves in 2019. By the speed of how fast the internet is going these days, hundreds of new music pop up daily. Let us run down some of the emerging acts that we think deserves to have a breakout year in 2019 on top of being in your playlist while going to work or school. We got you artists that cover all genres with a little something for every occasion. Let’s go!
1. Bad Bunny
2018 saw J Balvin’s star shining brightly with Beyoncé, Cardi B and David Guetta. We predict 2019 will follow the same footstep for fellow Latin artist Bad Bunny. Already owning hits with Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and Drake individually, this 24-year old artist from Puerto Rico is already on his way to becoming the next best Latin crossover. His deep vocals over hip-hop influenced Latin songs is accompanied by his unique sense of style stands out like no other. His debut album X100PRE was released just before the end of 2018 allows him to continue on to grace us with more Bad Bunny in 2019.
2. King Princess
Born in 1998, King Princess is a singer-songwriter and producer hailing from Brooklyn, New York. This openly gay artist is signed to Mark Ronson’s label Zeliq Recordings sings about LGBTQ dynamics and feminism. Her father is a recording engineer, which allows her to learn various instruments and the production process. King Princess debuted in early 2018 with “1950” before her second single “Talia” came out and even gained a tweet from Harry Styles that the world took notice. She released her EP titled Make My Bed in June 2018 and is expecting to drop the debut album this year. We can’t wait!
3. Pink Sweat$
Philadelphia native Pink Sweat$ is one of the new faces in R&B that is getting the attention he deserves. Known for his falsetto vocals and dramatic story-telling, the 26-year old is stripping off all the things you think you know about R&B by giving us raw emotions and energy on top of the distinctive pink persona he carries with him. Pink Sweat$ gives room to the beautiful melodies and lyrics to shine with his debut EP simply title Volume 1. He has a remarkable vibe that is reminiscent of a stripped-down Frank Ocean that we can’t wait to witness more in 2019.
4. Puma Blue
At first listen, Puma Blue will remind you or a more romantic version of King Krule. He started off by releasing music on Bandcamp before releasing his EP titled Blood Loss in October 2018. It is a collection of smoky and woozy bedroom tunes with that tinge of jazz that made his artistry so much more appealing. His distinctive style that is inspired by Jeff Buckley, D’Angelo and Billie Holiday has made him a name to look out for in 2018 and will surely make him the new household name this year.
This former member of girl group Fifth Harmony is stepping out on her own and have been gaining so much buzz for her upcoming solo debut album. Normani has already collaborated with amazing artists such as Khalid, 6LACK, Quavo, WizKid and Calvin Harris that got the world take notice. At only 22 years old, this Atlanta artist is said to be working on new music with Missy Elliott, Kehlani and Pharrell Williams. We cannot wait for Normani to slay us all and rule the pop charts when she finally releases her solo album due early 2019.
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Ruel is a 15-year old singer-songwriter that released his debut EP titled Ready in June 2018. Ruel’s brand of pop-soul songs will instantly draw you in immediately for its catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics. From the ballad “Say” to R&B-infused “Not Thinkin’ Bout You,” Ruel has captured the attention of Legend Elton John, was the opening act for singer Khalid’s tour, performed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and recently won the Breakout Artist award at the ARIA awards. It won’t take long until the world knows who Ruel is.
7. Billie Eilish
Already touted by many platforms as one of the most exciting acts to blossom last year and Apple Music named the 18-year old Billie Eiish as their Up Next artist in September 2017 one month after she released her debut EP called Don’t Smile at Me. This alternative pop rose to fame with her debut single “Ocean Eyes” and was the opening act for Florence and the Machine. She is said to release her full-length album this year that will feature her signature dreamy indie pop sound that will surely get us crying more.
8. Jessie Reyez
This artist from Toronto, Canada has been involved with music since Jessie Reyez was young but it was her heartbreak single “Figures” released in 2016 from her Kiddo EP that caught everyone’s attention. In 2018, she released her second EP called Being Human in Public and it was a solid collection of tunes about relationships. Jessie Reyez slowly gained a lot more following by appearing alongside Black Atlass on the soundtrack to Fifty Shades Freed, received two nominations at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, as well as collaborating with artists like Eminem, Calvin Harris, Shawn Mendes and more. She is only getting started and 2019 is going to be epic for Jessie Reyez.
9. Devin Dawson
Devin Dawson will be kicking off the year with his debut album titled Dark Horse that will blend his signature country, rock and pop to showcase his versatility. The 29-year old’s storytelling skills led him to his hit song “All on Me” that charted the Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. This singer from Orangevale, California has come a long way since being discovered after his mashup of Taylor Swift songs on her friend’s YouTube channel. Devin Dawson is on his way to a good start in 2019.
Australian band Parcels relocated to Germany and gave us some fantastic tunes in 2018. This very exciting band is protégés of dance duo Daft Punk, which is why their debut has been so amazing so far. The funky five-piece band doesn’t sound like any other bands out there right now and that is quite a feat to achieve. Parcels managed to merge the millennial angst with fun into their remarkable debut album released in October 2018. They even have actress Milla Jovovich for their latest wicked new music video for “The Strangers”! Expect to hear more from this electropop band in 2019!
Image: Billie Eilish
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
Kevin was the former editor of two music and lifestyle platforms in Malaysia. He is an all-round music enthusiast from the '90's R&B to K-Pop.