By Sorcha Collister, TMA’s Manager for Music Partnerships, UK
TMA Music has compiled the following recommendations of artists to watch based on data, dialogue with music industry partners, and signals from social media. Our goal is to provide you with a sneak peek of who is on the rise to spark new ideas and celebrate the joy of new music.
Here are some of the artists on our radar right now.
Ayra Starr (Nigeria)
GENRE: Afro-Pop, R&B
KNOWN FOR: Starr’s hit track “Away” spent two consecutive weeks at number four on Nigeria’s TurnTable Top 50 and went to number 17 on the US Billboard Top Triller Global chart. The lead single from her album Bloody Samaritan peaked atop the Top 50 chart, becoming the first solo song by a female artist to reach the number-one position. Starr debuted on Pandora’s Predictions chart, and on August 28, 2021, she ranked number two on Billboard’s Next Big Sound.
LYRICAL THEMES: Romance, heartbreaks, and empowerment from the teen viewpoint
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: France, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, UK
LISTEN TO: “Beggie, Beggie”
Chloe Moriondo (US)
GENRE: Indie Pop, Skate-Punk
KNOWN FOR: Chloe is a singer-songwriter hailing from Detroit who got her start playing on YouTube, where she’s amassed over 3M subscribers since 2014. Her second album, Blood Bunny, has received critical acclaim and was featured in the New York Times as a Critic Pick. She embarks on a headline tour in the UK this spring (2022). With both NME and People naming her one of 2021’s Artists To Watch, she’s definitely going to be big!
LYRICAL THEMES: LGBTQ, relationships
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, US
LISTEN TO: “Silly Girl”
GENRE: Pop, Punk, Rock
KNOWN FOR: GAYLE was discovered on TikTok when her song, “abcdefu” exploded onto the scene. The massive breakup anthem recently hit #1 on Billboard Global 200 Songs chart. Last year GAYLE signed a major deal with Atlantic Records.
LYRICAL THEMES: Female Empowerment, heartbreak
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Australia, Brazil, France, Indonesia, UK
LISTEN TO: “abcdefu”
Central Cee (UK)
GENRE: UK Drill, Rap
KNOWN FOR: Londoner Central Cee is one of the biggest new names in UK rap right now. He has two Mobo Awards and was nominated for three Brits, including best newcomer this February. He is also on the BBC’s Sound of 2022 list which predicts the biggest new stars of the year, and to highlight his appeal in the US, has a co-sign from rapper Big Sean.
LYRICAL THEMES: Events in his life, love and observations
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Australia, UK, Netherlands
LISTEN TO: “Obsessed With You”
GENRE: Reggaeton, Dancehall
KNOWN FOR: Koffee got the attention of Columbia Records after releasing her first single “Burning” on Instagram in 2017 where it went viral and signed with them in 2019. Her 2019 EP release Rapture won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2020 and made her the youngest and first woman to win a Grammy in that category. Now touring with Harry Styles.
LYRICAL THEMES: Growing up in Jamaica, love, positivity
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Canada, France, Netherlands, UK
LISTEN TO: “Lockdown”
Magdalena Bay (US)
GENRE: Indie-Pop, Synth-Pop, Retro-Futurism
AGE: 26 and 26
KNOWN FOR: This LA-based indie-pop duo have made a splash with their “hypnotic, ephemeral” tracks. Their most recent album, Mercurial World has clocked 35 million streams and counting, with TikTok including them as an ‘Emerging Artist of the Year.’
LYRICAL THEMES: Love, relationships, nostalgia
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, US
LISTEN TO: “Hysterical Us”
GENRE: Alternative Rock
AGE: 25, 25, and 26
KNOWN FOR: The very popular Los Angeles-based trio recently released “Especially You” from their forthcoming album produced by Ariel Rechtshaid (Vampire Weekend, Adele). They are touring North America from April – July including a stop at Coachella. The band gained huge popularity with “Are You Bored Yet?” (~700M global streams) and it doesn’t hurt that singer/guitarist Dylan Minnette also stars in the popular Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why.
LYRICAL THEMES: The trials of entering adulthood, heartbreak, self-discovery, and nostalgia
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US
LISTEN TO: “Are You Bored Yet”
GENRE: Afrobeats, R&B
KNOWN FOR: Born in Nigeria and raised in the UK, Tems quit her job in 2018 to pursue a career in music. In 2019, she self- released the single “Try Me” which became a hit and went viral. It wasn’t long before she attracted the attention of Khalid, who asked her to collaborate on a remix. In 2021, she was signed by RCA, had three Grammy nominations and collaborated on a track with Drake.
LYRICAL THEMES: Empowerment, coming-of-age, relationships
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Canada, UK, US
LISTEN TO: “Replay”
Silvana Estrada (Mexico)
GENRE: Indie-Pop, Mexican Indie
KNOWN FOR: A native of Veracruz, Silvana Estrada marries her honeyed alto with Latin American and North American sounds into a style that is decidedly all her own, one she describes as “musica de raíz” (“music of the root”). Her album Marchita has been likened to “poetry in real time.”
LYRICAL THEMES: Heartbreak, self-love
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Mexico, Spain
LISTEN TO: “Te Guardo”
Olivia Dean (UK)
KNOWN FOR: Dean began her career as a collaborator of Rudimental and since going out on her own she has been named Amazon Music’s ‘breakthrough artist of 2021’ and chosen for the annual Vevo Dscvr ’Artist to Watch 2021’ program. Dean released new EP Growth in July 2021 with singles “Be My Own boyfriend” and “Slowly” and she drove around the UK for her 2020 tour in a brightly-coloured van turned into a stage on wheels to perform socially-distanced gigs.
LYRICAL THEMES: Personal experiences, relationships
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Australia, Netherlands, UK, US
LISTEN TO: “What Am I Gonna Do On Sundays”
Here’s a Spotify playlist with all of these up-and-coming artists and their songs to listen to. Check it out here. Enjoy!