10 newcomers you need to know

As rising stars such as Billie Eilish, Lewis Capaldi and Post Malone have proven it over the past 12 months that modern pop music – in its many forms – is in poor health today. It’s a reason to celebrate in itself, but the really exciting news is that there is already an array of new talent waiting to burst onto the international stage as we enter a whole new decade. Here are ten musical artists to follow in 2020.

Hear the best of this year’s newcomers on Apple Music, and scroll down for our 10 essential artists to watch.

Musical artists to watch in 2020: 10 newcomers to know

Polo & Pan

Seductive electro-popsters with cinematic leanings, Polo & Pan quotes artists such as Air, Giorgio Moroder and the legendary Serge Gainsbourg (“A presence that’s always there”) among their influences, but their own music is just as lush and exotic. The duo first joined forces after spinning the decks at famous Parisian club Le Baron and they turned heads with 2017 with Latin American flavors. Caravel album (published by Caroline International), which went gold in France. More recently they have explored psychedelic and tribal beats on the hypnotic ‘Genghis’ of 2019. Whatever these electronic wizards take out of their hats next, it’s sure to be heady, club-friendly, and very memorable.
Must hear: ‘Canopy’ (Listen on Apple Music)

Ryland james

Ryland James has previously been praised by Shawn Mendes and has toured extensively with Alessia Cara, but his famous 2019 singles – “Say Goodbye” and longing “In My Head” – prove he’s more than capable of hold out in such a prestigious company. The mission statement of the young Canadian singer-songwriter is to write songs that “have a profound impact on people” and his harmonious fusion of gospel, roots, gritty soul and anthemic pop suggest that he will keep his promise for the very near future.
Must hear: ‘In my head’ (Listen on Apple Music)

Maddie & Tae

Chic country singer-songwriters Maddie & Tae made their first breakthrough with the 2014 single “Girl In A Country Song”, which was followed by a well-received debut album, Start here. A whole new chapter began when the American duo signed with Mercury Nashville for 2019 One heart to another EP, which contains the famous ‘Die From A Broken Heart’. In her wake, Maddie & Tae opened for Carrie Underwood on her much-publicized Cry Pretty 360 tour, while new music and a recently announced U.S. tour with Lady Antebellum are already in preparation for 2020.
Must hear: “Die of a broken heart” (Listen on Apple Music)

Rhys lewis

Oxford-born, London-based singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis first rose to prominence with the highly acclaimed “Waking Up Without You” of 2016, but he gained a firmer foothold in 2019 Decca-published Between spirits EP, with the reflective headlines “Hold On To Happiness” and “Better Than Today,” which quickly surpassed 1 million streams on Spotify. Renowned for his vocal style – which drips with melancholy and quivers with emotion – Rhys Lewis is a dark horse. You definitely wouldn’t bet against him to stay the course in 2020.
Must hear: ‘Be your man’ (Listen on Apple Music)

Dermot kennedy

Dermot Kennedy first rose through the ranks the old-fashioned way, learning his trade playing in the streets and performing at countless open mic parties. Spotify, however, also played a big part in its success, with its self-released material attracting over 300 million streams and leading to a deal with Island Records in Europe and Interscope in the United States. The Dublin native’s craggy and lively vocal performance has universal appeal (GQ: “thinks Ed Sheeran, but darker with more melancholy”) and his recent debut album, Without fear, topping the charts in Ireland and the UK. With his signature singles “Power Over Me” and “Outnumbered” bearing the mark of future standards, it seems like great things are within reach of Dermot Kennedy.
Must hear: ‘All my friends’ (Listen on Apple Music)

Terrell Hines

Georgian-born rapper, singer, drummer and producer Terrell Hines admits his influences range from Andre 3000 to Tom is waiting and Four Tet, and he’s the pioneer of his signature chameleon sound, which spans hip-hop, alternative rock, pop and soul. Hines marked a high level collaboration with Beck on the dreamlike title song of the latter’s 2019 album, Hyperspace, while Atwood Magazine’s review of his solo debut, the Chemin Saint-Marc EP (released via Capitol in October 2019), said it was “a singular body of work that undoubtedly asserts Hines as one of the most exciting emerging artists around.”
Must hear: ‘Get up’ (Listen on Apple Music)

Jessie reyez

Canadian Jessie Reyez is an elegant singer and songwriter whose infectious pop is accented with R&B and hip-hop influences. Her breakthrough came through her association with the Toronto Remix Project, which first introduced her to Chicago hip-hop star King Louie. Their 2014 collaboration, “Living In The Sky,” received wide critical acclaim and led Reyez to co-write songs for Calvin Harris and Normani, as well as write Dua Lipa’s 2018 UK hit, “ One Kiss ”. Her own Being human in public EP was recently nominated for a Grammy, and with her debut album looming, it’s hard to believe 2020 won’t be Jessie Reyez’s.
Must hear: ‘Far’ (Listen on Apple Music)

Duncan Laurence

Charismatic singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence first showed his talent as a semi-finalist at the 2014 The voice of Holland. In 2019, however, he rose to prominence when he became the first Dutch artist to win the Eurovision Song Contest ever since Teach-In emerged victorious with “Ding-A-Ding” in 1975. Laurence’s Eurovision winner, the ballad ‘Arcade’, went on to go quadruple platinum in her homeland, while her single dashing follow-up, ‘Love It Don’ t Hate It ‘, saw him sign a major deal with Capitol Records in the fall of 2019.
Must hear: “Love doesn’t hate it” (Listen on Apple Music)

KAROL G

Soul Latin pop singer KAROL G is renowned for her euphoric mix of dance-oriented pop, reggaeton and R&B. Originally a competitor of Colombia El factor X in 2010, his first solo single, ‘Amor De Dos’ of 2013, with Nicky Jam, was followed by several hit singles, including the Bad Bunny collaboration ‘Ahora Me Llama’, which was also included on the debut album by KAROL G, unstoppable, in October 2017. Both this and his 2019 follow-up, ocean, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Top Latin albums chart, while the video for KAROL G’s recent collaboration with J Balvin and Daddy Yankee,’ China ‘, will likely be its first to reach a billion views on YouTube.
Must hear: ‘Ocean (Remix)’ (Listen on Apple Music)

YUNGBLUD

Reinventing himself as a hip-hop-influenced rock artist, Yorkshire-born Dominic Harrison first made headlines when his 2017 single “King Charles” drew comparisons to Jamie T and the first Arctic Monkeys. A subsequent deal with Geffen led to his debut album, 2018’s 21st century liability, while his striking Halsey and Travis Barker collaboration, “11 Minutes,” achieved platinum certification in Australia. YUNGBLUD’s 2019 EP, confident Underestimated youth, peaked at No.6 in the UK, while his upcoming seven-night stand at the O2 Forum in London suggests the Dominic Harrison star is on the rise as he faces 2020.
Must hear: “Original me” (Listen on Apple Music)

William N. Fernandez