2018 marks the fifth year of The Edge‘s List, our annual recommendation of rising stars in music. Chosen by our writers and whittled down to just ten new artists, the selected musicians are at the first step of their careers but turned their sights toward fame. Some make it, others slip back into obscurity – but here are five of the choices that truly hit the big time.
Circa Waves (2014)
“There’s a certain rawness to Circa Waves which separates these lads from the rest of the indie-rock crop… they provide an undeniably tasty indie-pop-rock smorgasboard of music to throw yourself around a room to.” – Howell Davies, 2013
Liverpudlian indie rockers Circa Waves have become Edge favourites since featuring on our first ever list in 2014. A band that was the last shot for frontman Kieran Shuddal has risen to the challenge and released two albums – their 2015 debut, Young Chasers, was reviewed as “forty minutes of freedom”, while the second, 2017’s ‘Different Creatures’, is a “sophisticated departure from lavish indie pop”. Reaching 11 in the Albums Chart, Circa Waves are getting recognised more and more with each release. There’s more to come from this band yet.
Becky Hill (2015)
“[Hill] blends electronic beats with her ethereal vocals… With relatable lyrics and excellent production, ‘Losing’ is surely a sign of great things to come” – Hannah Mylrea, 2015
Despite appearing on The Voice several years earlier (2012), Becky Hill was tipped as one to watch on the List of 2015. After appearing on Wilkinson’s big hit ‘Afterglow’ and collaborating with Oliver Heldens on ‘Gecko (Overdrive’), Becky’s been one of the slower burners on the List, but her steady rise to fame has still turned heads. Her debut album is expected this year (maybe, probably), while her first studio EP Eko was well received in mid-2017. More locally, she kicked up a storm at last year’s Common People and performed at the last two SUSU Freshers’ Balls.
Alessia Cara (2016)
“Falling somewhere between RnB and pop… [Cara]’s sound is youthful, with gentle instrumentation offset by her bold and confident voice.” – Amy Wootten, 2015
From recording acoustic covers to peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, Alessia Cara has had one of the most startling ascensions to fame. Hailing from Brampton, Ontario, her sleeper hit ‘Here’ became one of the biggest pop tracks of the last five years after she appeared on the List of 2016. Moving on from EP Four Pink Walls, album Know-It-All is an impressive and versatile debut that shows what she’s really capable of. She also supported Coldplay’s massive Wembley Stadium show in 2017, proving that she’s just as skilled live as she is recorded.
Dua Lipa (2016)
“Dua Lipa is going to be a colourful addition to this year’s pop scene, with fans waiting on the edge of their seat for another fun track that acts as a time capsule to her floral utopia.” – Lewis Taplin, 2015
Alessia Cara may have seen a rapid rise to fame, but Dua Lipa has rocketed her way to stardom. The bubblegum pop of ‘Be The One’ earned her a last minute spot on The List 2016 when she’d released just two singles, but alongside the release of her self-titled debut, Dua has established herself as the new Queen of Pop by breaking the two-year drought of female no.1s with the incredible ‘New Rules’. Her effortless versatility on Dua Lipa is a reflection of how strong her trademark rasping vocals are, showing she can shine in understated soft pop as well as screaming bangers.
“His sound, aided by bass-heavy production from names like Tunji Ige, is fresh and modern, bringing R&B to 2017 rather than taking 2017 to R&B… Khalid’s promise is strong within a scene that has lost youthful direction in recent years.” – Hassan Bashir, 2017
When Khalid was put on our List for 2017, he seemed like an outside bet. A soulful Texan teen who had only released a handful of singles; we couldn’t have predicted the incredible year that loomed. But after featuring on Calvin Harris’ ‘Rollin’ and the Silence track ‘Marshmello’, Khalid’s debut album American Teen has been widely acclaimed and nominated for several Grammy awards. He’s ended the year contributing to a stellar Lorde remix of ‘Homemade Dynamite’, rising from nothing to household name in just a few months.