Discovery is the single most exciting aspect of listening to music. Nothing beats that spine-chilling sensation of listening to something truly special – truly unique – that you’ve never come across before. Each year, we pick our favourite up-and-coming artists who have given us just that – and who look set to make their breakthrough into the mainstream. The following 10 artists range from braggadocious Miami rappers to LGBT+ icons to genuine Geordie blokes and everything in-between, but they all have one thing in common: 2019 is all theirs for the taking. This is The Edge‘s List of 2019.
“Shame, shame, that’s the name”. The band have repeated this mantra at each and every gig they’ve played so far – from support act, to headliner, to mainstage – growing in ferocity and stage presence from one year to the next. Garnering a prestigious AOTY award from Rough Trade, landing interviews with The Guardian and Pitchfork, and even scraping the UK Top 40, Shame are poised for huge success in 2019 providing their follow up expands on this year’s excellent Songs of Praise. Alongside contemporaries like Goat Girl, IDLES, Preoccupations and Protomartyr, the band present music so thoroughly interwoven with its times that it can’t possibly be ignored – tapping into some deep-seated consciousness that some things just aren’t right.
The Japanese House
The Japanese House, a.k.a 23-year-old Amber Bain, is one of the most promising indie-pop artists out there. With her deep voice, harmonised to an almost hypnotic effect, lyrics that could be taken out of poetry books, and a carefully woven mix of guitars, keys, and electronic synths, Bain has created a unique, soft sound that is set to send you floating into a state of dreamy reflection. If her four shining EPs and fresh singles ‘Lilo’ and ‘Follow My Girl’ are anything to go by, The Japanese House’s debut album Good At Falling (out March 1st) might just be what shoots her to stardom, alongside her Dirty Hit pals The 1975, Wolf Alice, and Pale Waves.
Mikaela Straus, aka King Princess, hasn’t even had a full album out yet, but she has been making multicoloured waves. Debut single ‘1950’ was embraced by the LGBTQ+ community as a queer anthem in early 2018, with her EP Make My Bed dropping just a few months later. King Princess has burst onto the music scene and got our attention, with music that represents a new generation of non-binaries and non-conformists living in a world where it’s getting easier to celebrate and be wholly themselves. Under the mentorship of Mark Ronson and his record label, 2019 might be the year she takes over the world.
No Rome burst onto the scene in 2018 with dreamy breakout track ‘Narcissist’, featuring The 1975. Originally based in Manilla, the Filipino musician has since relocated to London to continue making music with Matty Healy and co., releasing debut EP RIP Indo Hisashi in August last year. It provides a flavour of what No Rome is about, combining soft, absorbing vocals with alluring electronic beats. Standout track ‘Seventeen’ gives off some serious Frank Ocean-esque vibes, whilst the aforementioned ‘Narcissist’ functions as an irresistible sing-a-long electro-pop banger. No Rome can be caught supporting The 1975 alongside Pale Waves early this year, but if he can replicate their recent success, it won’t be long before he starts selling out his own headline shows.
Following the culture of braggadocious lyrics and high energy sounds, City Girls have built a foundation upon which to thrive in the upcoming months. Signed to the same label as Migos, Cardi B and Lil Yachty, the duo of Yung Miami and JT have dropped two electrifying records in the last year with no let-up in momentum. City Girls have proven to have the work rate, management and music to make it big in hip hop and in 2019 you can expect their growth to continue.
Some say rock is dead. YONAKA are proving them wrong, showing the world how rock is done right. Fronted by lead singer Theresa Jarvis, their take on rock is fresh. The Brighton quartet are already making a big name for themselves, supporting Bring Me The Horizon on their UK tour in November 2018, and being featured in the line-up for festivals, such as All Points East. The industry also sees something in them too, as they are signed to Atlantic Records, who also have the likes of Ed Sheeran and Paramore on their books. 2019 is going to be a big year for YONAKA, hopefully with an album and a solo tour this year.
Holding Absence have burst into the alternative scene, obliterating ear drums with anthemic choruses and impeccable vocals from frontman Lucas Woodland. Technically, the band is incredibly talented, and can swoop from slow and emotional to hard-hitting and moshpit-worthy in the space of one verse. With tracks like the emotion-filled ‘Penance’ alongside the hugely epic new single ‘Like A Shadow’ in their arsenal, Holding Absence are destined for a great things in 2019. Given that an album has been hinted at by band members on social media, it is exciting to see what else Holding Absence could possibly have up their sleeve.
In the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of the Soundcloud-rapper genre (featuring shoe-string budget production, trap influences and mumbled lyrics) into the mainstream music scene. In the coming year, I would tip another rapidly ascending online star to make waves in the mainstream: Joji. Taking a slower, more emotive approach, Joji has built on the now-passé trap-and-mumble-rap combo of his earlier works and is now carving out a fascinating niche. With a unique ear for melody, and some inspired production that sets him apart from other artists in the genre, it is Joji’s potential to push his style onto a worldwide platform.
Maryland singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers has been on my radar for a good while now, and in 2019 she truly deserves to be in yours. Bursting onto the scene in 2016 when she left Pharrell Williams speechless with a demo of ‘Alaska’, Rogers has taken her time to produce her debut studio album Heard It In A Past Life (released January 18th). Intermingling delicate lyricism with accomplished vocals, precise acoustic instrumentation with eclectic synthesized beats, she’s able to craft a song for every occasion. From the forget-everything-and-party of ‘On + Off‘ to the graceful introspection of ‘Fallingwater’, Rogers proves with her debut why she’s a force to be reckoned with in 2019 and beyond.
The name on all the music critic’s lips right now: Sam Fender. The 21 year old Geordie has a powerful voice, with a vocal range that is sounds similar to Nothing But Thieves‘ frontman Conor Mason. The emotion in some of his more slowed down acoustic tracks, such as ‘Leave Fast’ are so raw; compare this to the guitar heavy track ‘Dead Boys’ it is a talent to have such a diverse vocal range for an artist that’s so new to the music industry. He has some pretty famous fans, including the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, who have previously sampled his vocals in some remixes of their own work. With a Brits Critics Choice award already to his name, he is definitely one to watch in the coming months and into 2019.
The List of 2019 – Playlist Edition
Of course, if you just want to dive into the discographies of everyone we’ve shortlisted for greatness this year, it’s all waiting for you in our shiny Spotify playlist. We’ll keep it updated throughout the year with new releases from our shortlisted artists, so it’s well worth a follow, too.