We’ve got together at Gigs and Tours HQ to predict who we think will be the next big thing for 2018! After much deliberation, we’ve selected our top 10 artists who we think will own 2018, perfect for you new music hunters, or those of you trying to stay ahead of the game!
Billie Eilish might just make you believe in magic…
It’s the best explanation for this silver-haired 15-year-old siren whose breathy, soulful, and spirited croon immediately casts an unbreakable spell. The Los Angeles songstress resembles something of a fairy tale heroine—albeit one with a Tyler, the Creator obsession, Aurora inspiration, wicked sense of humor, and inimitable fashion sense filtered through a kaleidoscope of hip-hop, grunge, and glam tendencies ready to practically levitate above any runway. It’s this kind of je nais sais quoi that fueled the meteoric rise of her debut single “Ocean Eyes.” Produced by big brother Finneas O’Connell, a whopping four-and-a-half years older than she is, the siblings uploaded the track to Soundcloud in 2015, and it became a veritable phenomenon, generating 40 million cumulative Spotify streams and 5 million YouTube/VEVO views.
“When I write, I try to become different characters,” exclaims Billie. “You can write a song about being in love with someone, but you don’t have to be in love with anyone. You can write a song about killing someone, but you don’t have to have killed people. ‘Bellyache’ is one of those characters.” Billie’s “gloom pop,” as she appropriately dubs it, is nothing short of magic as it continually surprises.
“I don’t want to ever write or sing the same way everyone else does,” she leaves off. “It’s just me, and I’m always going to be myself.”
Sam Fender burst on to the scene with debut single ‘Play God’ in March 2017 and was hailed as one of Annie Mac’s New Names on Radio 1. Sam’s grit and fresh lyrical take on modern society stand him out from a busy genre and display an insight beyond his years.
He picked up the guitar at the age of 8 and the Newcastle native first made a name for himself on the live circuit some years later, securing support slots with some of the most well respected bands and songwriters on the planet (Catfish and the Bottlemen, Hozier, Willy Mason, Ben Howard, Daughter, Michael Kiwanuka). He’s toured with the likes of Nick Mulvey, Vant and George Ezra and this year went across Europe alongside both Bear’s Den and Declan McKenna.
With cutting and insightful social commentary Sam is uniquely bringing the venom back into indie hook laden songwriting. It’s not only his lyrics that have grabbed the headlines but his beyond powerful vocal that’s drawn comparisons with Springsteen. He’s said to carry the indie spirit of The Maccabees, the live energy of Foals and the lyrical prowess of Arctic Monkeys, 2018 looks to be the year of Sam Fender.
Born in Bedford but based in London, singer-songwriter Tom Grennan first found fame as the guest vocalist on Chase & Status’s track When It All Goes Wrong. A Hottest Record on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 Show, the track gave Grennan the chance to cut his teeth in the Radio 1 Live Lounge and on BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland.
After moving to London for university, Grennan would gig around London with his acoustic guitar. His inclination towards blues and soul can be heard on his debut EP, Something In The Water, which was produced by Charlie Hugall (Florence + The Machine, The Maccabees) and showcases his raspy, emotive vocals.
His recent tracks ‘Royal Highness’ and ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’ have received worldwide praise, we think it wont be long until Tom Grennan is a household name.
Rex Orange County
Alex O’Connor, better known by his stage name Rex Orange County, is an English singer-songwriter. O’Connor grew up in Haslemere, a suburb in the southern county of Surrey. At 16, when his peers transferred to the local high school, O’Connor was accepted to London’s renowned music college The BRIT School, where he began writing music.
His genre is a fluctuating hybrid maundering between contemporary jazz, r&b and electronic. His wide influences include Thundercat, King Krule, KAYTRANADA and Toro y Moi. He claims “if i could do anything close to Frank Ocean musically, then that’s it.” However, Rex Orange Country has made it clear he doesn’t identify as a rapper.
Pendulum-swinging between loved-up verses and rap refrains, Rex’s music refuses to be pigeonholed. “You don’t have to be perfectionist about stuff,” he claims. “Nothing has to be perfect. Why take it so seriously when anyone in the fucking world can make music? Make it obvious you did it.” If there’s one thing that defines his early material, it’s a personal stamp O’Connor applies at every opportunity. This is his personality epitomised, spilled out in multicolour.
This autumn rising star Elli Ingram celebrated her critically acclaimed debut album, “Love You Really”, with an exclusive sold-out show at London’s Omeara. Having cemented her reputation as an extraordinary live performer, Elli now announces her first UK headline tour, kicking off early 2018.
No Brit School alumni, Elli developed her impressive vocals first in her bedroom, then gigging in her hometown of Brighton. Drawing comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Adele, she grew up in a musical house: her dad performing in a classic rock cover band, her mum listening to Joni Mitchell, reggae and ska and her sister playing piano. Now, having toured Europe with Chase & Status and sung to a crowd of more than 10,000 at Glastonbury, she says the stage is where she feels most at home: “It’s the best feeling. I feel relaxed and safe in a weird sort of way. Especially when it’s dark and you can’t really see anyone and it’s just me. I love it.”
Jerry Williams is an unsigned, self-funded and self-releasing 21-year-old Indie pop singer songwriter from Portsmouth who draws her inspiration from her life growing up and the lives of others around her,
Jerry started writing music from the age of 12 whilst studying classical guitar in which she got to Grade 8 standard and played her first ever gig at 17 at the Eastney Cellars Portsmouth. Jerry has self-released 3 E.P’s and is currently producing her debut album.
- “Jerry Williams is like a female Alex Turner, and I mean that sincerely and in the best possible way. Her talent is raw, poetic, easy, unforced and compelling. Her lyrics are smart, her melodies warm and delicious, together they spin a sugar coated bitter pill of reality”. – Fresh On The Net
Aquilo are English musical duo Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher, who grew up as neighbours in Silverdale, Lancashire. They were both part of rivaling rock bands in their hometown and worked on their musical projects individually before collaborating as Aquilo.
Aquilo’s music have been described mainly as alternative, as well as electronica, dream pop, ambient and indie. They are known for producing “soft, calm electro-pop” and has been descibed as “fragile dream pop laced with subtle electronica and soulful vocals.”
With their larger than life cinematic sound, Aquilo have released three EPs and a debut album Silhouettes; produced by highly regarded Icelandic producer Ólafur Arnalds and the ever brilliant SOHN. With much critical praise, solid radio support and almost two million monthly Spotify listeners, Aquilo are fast cementing themselves as one of the most exciting new prospects in pop.
Mist is the rap phenom hailing from Birmingham. Throughout 2016 he began a rapid ascent to the top of the UK Rap scene with the release of a number of anthemic and widely playlisted records including ‘Smokey’, ‘Karla’s Back’, which gained an impressive 4 million views online, and the equally presidential collaboration with MoStack, ‘On My Ones’, making him a contender for the biggest UK rap artist of the year.
The year culminated in the release of the ‘M I S to the T’ E.P which made its iTunes debut at number 4 on the official chart and rose to the top spot of the album chart. Visuals for the lead track ‘Aint The Same’ were released via GRM Daily and within a week hit 1 million views. The view count on the cinematic visuals, which were shot in Dubai, became the latest in the epic and impressive impact on YouTube that saw MIST gain over 20 million views online and become the main talking point of UK Rap.
Hailing from Halifax, The Orielles are sisters Sidonie B and Esmé Dee Hand Halford and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade whom they met at a house party just a few years ago.
“We met Henry at a house party a few years ago,” says Sid about the beginnings of the band. “I mean, it’s a bit lamer than that sounds. It was a friend of our parents, she was having a 40th birthday party, and we went along, and Henry was there too, with his parents.” They’ve been writing songs together ever since, Esme singing and on bass, Sidonie on drums, Henry on guitar.
The then teenagers bonded over their shared love of alternative US bands from the 90s such as Sonic Youth & Pixies as well as pioneering filmmakers including Quentin Tarantino (The Orielles have cited his work in their songs and consider his work a major lyrical and aesthetical influence). Keen proponents of the DIY aesthetic, they learned their instruments on the road through gigging and the band have spent the past few years polishing their sound, with a steady string of singles previously released.
At 12 years old – the age most of us are aimlessly riding bikes or trying to avoid homework – Mahalia was picking up a guitar and penning love songs. With her entrancing, soulful tones, wise yet relatable wordplay and intuitive sense of melody, it quickly became clear that she had a natural sense of musicality, and that she’d be doing this for the rest of her life.
Mahalia released her debut single “Sober” back in July, which to date has amassed over 2 million streams, and saw her grace the Berlin online platform COLOR’s last month, where her performance of “Sober” accumulated over 250k views in just five days!
Now 19 and based in Leicester, Mahalia is ready to fully unleash what she’s been brewing for so many years into the world. In the time since she first picked up that guitar, she’s dropped a scattering of releases – from 2012’s indie-flecked acoustic dream “Head Space” to 2015’s gorgeously understated 4-track EP ‘Never Change’ – and last year’s genre-flipping mixtape “Diary of Me”. But for Mahalia, it feels as if she’s just getting started.
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