Discovering a new musical artist or genre that you really connect with can be an incredibly exciting feeling. Now that the likes of YouTube and Spotify are so accessible, it’s getting easier all the time to discover new music. New artists are also finding it easier to gain exposure on these platforms without a huge record deal. Whether you’re all about big guitar riffs, a fan of fingerpicking or just love drum and bass, we’ve taken a look at some of the artists who you might be hearing a lot more from this year.
Pop – Sigrid
The BBC ‘Sound of…’ award is often the precursor to success. Last year’s breakout artist Rag ‘N’ Bone Man came second in 2017 and Adele took the title in 2008. This year has seen Norwegian popstar Sigrid named as the winner. The 21-year-old singer signed with Island Records in 2016 and her single ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ achieved international success pretty soon after. The songwriter wrote her breakout single after being embarrassed and patronised in a writing session with several older men, who talked over her and treated her like her ideas were useless. During her interview with the BBC in January 2018 she said “the song isn’t about me being a diva going, ‘Oh, you don’t respect me.’ It’s just like, ‘Just be polite and nice. That’s all I’m asking for.’” She’s not looking so useless now! Sigrid has already performed at the legendary Glastonbury Festival, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize concert. This year is shaping up to be a busy one as Sigrid will tour the UK and play a handful of dates in the US. She plays the iconic Bowery Ballroom in New York in April, which is surely a ‘bucket list’ moment! Sigrid may be from a small town in Norway but she could well be on her way to big things!
Blues – Gary Clark Jr.
It’d be hard to imagine a musical world in which artists such as the legendary, almost mythical, Robert Johnson hadn’t started the blues movement. Artists from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to John Mayer and Bruno Mars have been heavily influenced by the genre. Austin-born guitarist Gary Clark Jr. has been on the scene for a couple of years, with a style that could help to push blues back into the mainstream. His debut major-label album, the hip-hop tinged ‘Blak and Blue’ and its follow up ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’ were well received. Eric Clapton rates Clark Jr. as one of the best young guitarists around – not a bad recommendation! Clark Jr. has been on tour with ‘Slowhand’ Clapton several times and will and join him at BST Hyde Park in June. In January, he bagged his first ever charted single in the States with his cover of The Beatles ‘Come Together’ and the song featured on the soundtrack to the blockbuster Justice League movie. In 2018, we could see Clark Jr. release his third studio album and perhaps make more of a step towards the big time!
R&B – Khalid
At just 20 years old you’d be forgiven for thinking that Khalid Robinson is a relatively inexperienced singer and songwriter – you’d be wrong! He had a turbulent start to life, moving from army base to army base with his parents. His father was then tragically killed by a drink driver whilst Khalid was still young. These experiences seem to have helped to put a wise head on his shoulders. Having started writing and creating music whilst he was still in high school, Khalid debuted with the single ‘Location’ which hit number two on the Billboard R&B chart. His second single ‘Young, Dumb and Broke’ took things to the next level and landed him his first worldwide smash hit! With his blend of dance beats, synthesisers and tales of growing up, Khalid seems to have made a big impression already. Ahead of his debut album ‘American Teen’ being released in March 2017, he sold out a 21-city run of shows in the States. The album then went on to hit number one in both the USA R&B chart and in Australia. In 2018, we’ll be seeing Khalid head to the UK where he is playing four shows, including two nights at the Apollo in London.
Rock and Alternative – Tash Sultana
Australian artist Tash Sultana has gone from busking on the streets to playing arenas and stadiums thanks to her superb musicianship. She can play over twenty instruments and combines all of these into her live show! Sultana is a solo artist and doesn’t have a band with her onstage but uses all of her talents to help create a rich sonic sound when playing live. Clever use of loop pedals and layers of sounds fill out the songs and give her room to show off her vocal talents. Her sound has been described as anything from soulful right through to soothing or rocking. We’re yet to see an album but last year her debut EP ‘Notion’ made an early impact. The EP hit number eight in the Australian charts. She’s featured on numerous American television talk shows, which shouldn’t do any harm to her growing reputation! Her touring schedule for 2018 shows no signs of slowing down either. As well as kicking off the year with some shows in her home country, she will head to the States for 16 dates – including two at the legendary Coachella festival! It might be worth keeping an eye out as Sultana is ‘currantly’ planning a trip to the UK and Europe in September.
Country, Americana and Folk – Tyler Childers
There’s no doubt that country and Americana music is finding a strong foothold in the UK. The juggernaut Country2Country festival hits London’s O2 Arena for its sixth year in March and fans are finding a whole host of American artists adding the UK to their regular touring schedule. Following the release of his debut album ‘Purgatory’, people seem to be gravitating towards Tyler Childers for his heart-on-your-sleeve, storytelling songs. The album is teeming with mountain songs about his home state of Eastern Kentucky. Despite this traditional approach, Childers also wanted it to have a modern feel which would relate to a younger audience and be “something I’d want to listen to”. The end result is a rich tapestry of tales that could transport you straight to the Kentucky Appalachians. It probably didn’t do him any harm that the album was co-produced by Grammy award-winning country musician Sturgill Simpson! Early 2018 sees Childers on tour in the UK, bringing his songs over the Atlantic for the first time.
There is a world of wonderfully diverse music out there to discover! Just plugging in your headphones can open up the door to an abundance of different genres and sounds. If you’ve been inspired to pick up an instrument and start making your own tunes then you might want to think about getting your gear covered. At The Insurance Emporium our Music Insurance comes with a 25% Introductory Discount and offers 100% of the Sum Insured/Market Value for Loss or Accidental Damage. If you’re looking to let loose on stage then get in touch with The Insurance Emporium and see if we can hit the right notes for you!
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