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.
Sad Night Dynamite (UK)
GENRE: Indie, Hip Hop, Jazz, Electronic
AGE: 22 and 23
KNOWN FOR: They’ve been in the studio with FKA Twigs, Gorillaz are a huge fan, and Pa Salieu has asked to write with them. Their sound is fresh and different, and the production is big enough that it feels like it could fill stadiums. Although they are still very new to the music scene, you get the sense they’ll be going far. After the release of their mixtape in February, the band announced three UK headline shows – all selling out within hours.
LYRICAL THEMES: Surrealism, optimism, enjoyable self-awareness
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US, UK
LISTEN TO: “Icy Violence”
Pip Millett (UK)
GENRE: R&B, Soul
KNOWN FOR: Millett’s awareness took off in 2018 with the single “Make Me Cry,” which has had 14 million listens to date. Amongst those listeners, Jorja Smith added her to a playlist and continues to champion her. This year will be a big push for Millett, with a lot of backing from the label Sony. Her new EP featuring Ghetts is steadily gaining her more streams, and no doubt her upcoming shows will be ones to watch.
LYRICAL THEMES: Love, relationships, mental health
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, Netherlands, Australia, US, Germany
LISTEN TO: “Running (Feat Ghetts)”
Alfie Templeman (UK)
KNOWN FOR: Templeman plays every instrument heard on his early EPs from his bedroom. And, his Indie-Pop talents are now being recognized – in November 2020, he was shortlisted as a finalist for MTV Push UK & IRE 2021 as Best Upcoming Artist. His new music has been called one of the UK’s brightest lights with support from Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, Radio X, Beats 1, and more, shown by having three consecutive tracks that were Annie Mac’s “Hottest Records in the World” on BBC Radio 1. No doubt his new release coming this fall will follow the same trajectory.
LYRICAL THEMES: Pop hooks, romance
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, Australia, Mexico
LISTEN TO: “Happiness In Liquid Form”
KNOWN FOR: Listed as one of Billboard’s “Latin Artists On The Rise” and Pandora’s “Latin Artists to Watch 2020,” the attention and praise makes him poised to be the next Latin pop sensation. As a teenager, Figueroa was on Star Search, American Idol, and more recently acting in a prominent TV role in Guerra de Ídolos. His Pop credentials continue to add up!
LYRICAL THEMES: Love, Puerto Rican Heritage
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Spain
LISTEN TO: “Hasta el Sol de Hoy”
GENRE: Hip Hop
KNOWN FOR: As a Dublin rapper, it can be hard to expand out of your home country, but he has managed to reach far and wide as Malaki’s fan base is global. Most notably he is supporting Arlo Parks on her sold out tour. He is still developing as an artist, but with Arlo Parks’ strong fan base and the current growth of Irish Hip Hop, it’s likely he’ll follow in Kojaque and Rejjie Snow’s paths.
LYRICAL THEMES: Subjects effecting youth around him, violence, drug abuse, toxic masculinity
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Ireland, Germany, UK, Netherlands
LISTEN TO: “Fair Play”
Zoe Wees (Germany)
KNOWN FOR: Named YouTube’s “Artist on the Rise,” the singer-songwriter’s debut single “Control” has over 275M streams and 34M views of the music video. “Control” was also featured on the Spotify viral charts in 58 countries and hit the top 10 in the UK, US, and Canada. In addition to joining UK artist Tom Walker on a duet of his track “Wait For You,” she was invited to support Sam Smith at his live-streamed show in 2020 from Abbey Road Studios.
LYRICAL THEMES: Forthright feelings and complex emotions
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany
LISTEN TO: “Girls Like Us”
Joy Crookes (UK)
GENRE: Pop, R&B
KNOWN FOR: Crookes has released three EPs since 2017, she appeared on Later with Jools Holland, and she was picked by Beats to star in an ad campaign. She was nominated for the “Rising Star Award” at the 2020 Brit Awards and followed with a tour that sold out in hours. Her strong fan base is eagerly awaiting her upcoming debut album release.
LYRICAL THEMES: Mental health, relationships, politics
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, Netherlands, Australia
LISTEN TO: “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”
Meet Me @ The Altar (US)
AGE: 20, 22, and 22
KNOWN FOR: The band’s intentionally upbeat Pop-Punk anthem “Garden” created huge buzz on TikTok which led to the three-piece becoming recipients of Halsey’s “Black Creators Fund,” which provides Black artists with financial support, resources and a platform. They were then signed to their dream label, Fueled By Ramen, and are the first all-female Black and LatinX band on the roster. Their upcoming tour includes support slots with All Time Low and dates with The Used and Coheed and Cambria.
LYRICAL THEMES: Mental health, representation, self-reflection
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US
LISTEN TO: “Feel A Thing”
Remi Wolf (US)
KNOWN FOR: Wolf is beloved by an all-star list of Willow Smith, John Mayer, Nile Rodgers, and Beck. She approached Dominic Fike to write a song with her – he agreed. They created “Photo ID” which then went viral on TikTok. She received high praise from publications like the UK’s NME for her last EP, several dubbing it the best release of the year. Her debut album, Juno, is one of the season’s most anticipated releases.
LYRICAL THEMES: Freestyle comments on relationships, sentiments, surrealism
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US
LISTEN TO: “Photo ID”
The Marías (US)
GENRE: Indie-Pop, Rock, Soul
KNOWN FOR: The Marías’ debut album Cinema was written in their home studio during quarantine 2020. Their mix of Spanish and English lyrics, “makes the group relatable to a generation of young Americans who’ve grown up in homes in which both languages are spoken.” Single “Hush” has already charted on Billboard and Spotify was also remixed by their fan Still Woozy. Their first US tour already sold out – that tells us there is support and excitement from the fans (of which we’re certain there will be even more of very soon).
LYRICAL THEMES: Empowerment, lust, desire
COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US, Mexico
LISTEN TO: “Hush”
Stay up-to-date on new music and artists with playlists from the TMA Music team here. Happy listening!