Top Artists to Listen to in 2019
Start your year by expanding your musical horizons.
Hip Hop. RnB. Jazz. Soul. Rock. Pop.
Or perhaps what you seek is a blend of all these musical subtypes? If that’s the case, these exciting, genre-bending artists have got you covered!
Check out Hunter and Bligh’s list of Top Artists to Listen to in 2019:
Karly-Marina Loaiza, better known by her stage name, Kali Uchis, is a Colombian-American singer, songwriter, record producer, music video director, and fashion designer. She is one busy and talented bee, having flown to Australia for FOMO Festival and an intimate side-show at Metro Theatre, on the heel of her American Tour. In 2017, she was nominated for a Latin Grammy for “Record of the Year” as well as being nominated for “Best RnB Performance” with Daniel Caesar for “Get You” at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. In 2018, Kali released her debut critically acclaimed studio album, “Isolation”. Her music is genre-defying – both nostalgic and futuristic. Mixing RnB, Funk, Soul and Reggaeton into an eclectic, retro mix and sprinkling it with sunlight and dreaminess. Her image is extra AF – whether it’s her aesthetic music videos, fashionista sensibilities or dazzling dancing. Kali is unflinching and determined to achieve what she wants and how she wants it… And we can’t take our eyes off her.
Tahj Malik Chandler, or also known as Saba, is a gifted American rapper and record producer who grew up in the Austin neighbourhood of the West Side of Chicago. In 2012 he formed an independent and talented Hip Hop Collective called “Pivot Gang” with his brother Joseph Chilliams, cousin John Walt and friends MFn Melo and Frsh Waters. The rising group now consists of 10-12 members. Pivot’s name comes from an episode of Friends where Ross, Chandler, and Rachel attempt to carry a couch up the stairs to Ross’s new apartment. In 2016, Saba broke through with his guest appearance on Chance the Rapper’s Colouring Book single “Angels,” followed by his own studio debut, “Bucket List Project”. Just like emotions, his music is not a straight line, rather an unpredictable zigzag. Sometimes it’s mellow, other times joyful or explosive – often all in one song. But most of all, he encapsulates with his poetic lyrics, the harshness and realness of what it is to be human – processing wisdom way beyond his 24 years. In memory of John Walt – who was stabbed in Chicago in 2017 – Saba produced the harrowing and bittersweet album, “Care For Me”, in 2018, which paid tribute to his cousin and opened up conversations around such themes for people in Chicago.
Christopher Smith Jr, better known by his stage name, Smino, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer from St. Louis, Missouri. He often teams up with his friends Saba and Nonane, only recently performing Noname’s new song “Ace” on Jimmy Fallon. He’s flying to Australia for the upcoming Laneway festival and has announced his “Hoopti Tour” in March that includes shows in England, the United States, and Canada. Since being gifted bongos by his father at the wee age of 7, he has not stopped making beats, influenced by Jazz, Neo-Soul, Gospel and Rap, which form his sound today. He released his official debut, “blkswn”, in 2017, followed by “Noir” in 2018. Smino’s music explores the fluidity of language which he expresses through voice tricks. Making things you didn’t even know could work together rhyme, or words like “real freaky” sound like “Rafiki” (Lion King reference). Sometimes he sings like he speaks, and other times he shrieks, mumbles or even yodels, and it works so well. His often sassy and funny lyrics are painted with light and lively beats.
French Kiwi Juice
Vincent Fenton, known professionally as French Kiwi Juice (FKJ), is a French multi-instrumentalist, singer, and musician from Tours. His self-titled debut album, “French Kiwi Juice”, was released in 2017, followed by singles such as “Tadow” which features Masego, and his latest one, “Is Magic Gone” in 2018. He’s an accomplished and rising artist of the Parisian electronic scene, currently on a European tour, and has enchanted many with his smooth, carefree music. So if you’re going for a road trip, make sure to turn down the windows and feel the summer breeze in your hair while you listen to the mellow sounds of FKJ.
Kelsey Lu, or privately known as Kelsey McJunkins, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. After turning away from her life as a Jehovah’s Witness, and subsequently having her family abandon her, she left to New York at 18, with the mission to heal, find herself and her voice. Music is something that’s always been familiar to her especially growing up in a creative family – with her father a painter and mother a music teacher, Kelsey was given a violin at age 6, before moving onto piano and cello. Her EP, “Church”, was recorded in 2016, in a church – an interesting choice due to her devout upbringing. Since then, in late 2018, Kelsey has produced singles such as “Due West” and “Shades of Blue”, as well as a recent cover of “I’m Not in Love” in 2019; that’s hopefully the spark of a new album. Listening to Kelsey Lu is a full body experience especially with her cinematic music videos. Her bluesy, gentle yet strong voice elegantly bounces off the walls – the perfect artist to listen to whilst walking slowly on the shore of a beach. Kelsey Lu is authentic, mature, goes by her own pace and isn’t afraid to bare her soul to the world.
Rapper Brian Allen, who goes by Brian Fresco, is a rising artist from the prominent Chicago Hip Hop collective SaveMoney, which also features artists like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Fresco first discovered music as a fourth grader at Chicago’s Beasley Academic Center, which led him to recognising his path. In 2013, he released his debut mixtape, “Mafioso”, but after moving out of his parents house and having a kid, his career was put on hold, until he got a call from a well known Chicago MC, Tree, who he then collaborated with on the “Soulmoney” EP. In the last couple of years, Fresco has been constantly challenging himself by experimenting with his sound and dishing out projects consistently. He released “Casanova” in 2017 and his latest, more autobiographical project, “Love Scars”, in 2018, featuring artists like Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Twista and BJ the Chicago kid. Through his music, he’s managed to bring together members of SaveMoney, which is quite special, and is known for busting out impressive rhymes and having fun with it – always performing with energy and flair.
Circa Waves are an English indie rock band formed in Liverpool in 2013. The band consists of vocalist and guitarist Kieran Shudall, guitarist Joe Falconer, bassist Sam Rourke, and drummer Colin Jones. In 2018, they released their single “Movies” and are currently on tour in Europe. Their newest, “cinematic” album, “What’s it like over there?” is set to be released in April. Their music is fresh, catchy, and has older undertones to it – reminiscent of an iconic rock-pop band.
Mikaela Straus, known by her stage name King Princess, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Brooklyn, New York. She is signed to Mark Ronson’s label Zelig Records. Having grown up in the studio, her musical talent was apparent from a young age and overtime she has created her own unique sound. Her breakthrough song was “1950” in 2018, followed by her second single “Talia”. Her melancholic voice brings about goosebumps as she sings raw and relatable lyrics about love, loss and other teenage emotions. At 20, she is seen as a “Queer Icon”, (her song “Pussy is God” being particularly resonant with the community), careful to note that she doesn’t speak for the queer community as a whole, because she doesn’t want to take up all the room when it comes to representation.
Pink Sweat$ is a Philadelphia singer and songwriter who is rooted in R&B and Soul. His music consists of sweet melodies and memorable lyrics – bound to be crowd favourites. His first single “Honesty” hit #23 on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, #10 on Spotify’s US Viral Chart and soon after releasing “Honesty”, he dropped his EP “Volume 1”. Pink Sweat$ isn’t afraid to be vulnerable; admitting that as part of “the hood mentality” where he grew up, men don’t talk about their feelings. Knowing that this isn’t healthy, he used music as a portal to self expression. Soft and stripped back, he sounds like a mix between The Weeknd and Daniel Caesar, with his own unique twist of course. So if you want a smile put on your face, listen to Pink Sweat$.
Melbourne singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Georgia Flipo, known as G Flip, fell in love with drums at age 7, to then go on a US tour as a drummer in her early 20’s. Deep down Georgia always wanted to do more, so when the band coincidently broke up, she knew what she had to do. In 2017, she locked herself in her room for a year, learning how to write and produce her own songs. She blew up after the release of her 2018 single, “About You” that acts as a Summer Anthem. Since then she has released other singles such as “Killing my Time” and in 2019, “Bring Me Home”. Her addictive, raw pop songs are the kind of music you’d shake your head to in your room. Watch her perform at Laneway Festival in Sydney!
imbi the girl
Imbar Nassi, formally known by their stage name as imbi the girl, is an Australian non-binary singer, songwriter, rapper and poet. Imbi’s poetic blend of Hip Hop, RnB and Soul creates chill music that expresses positivity, personal truths and self-love. The body-positive, gender revisionist artist turns heads while also providing a path for other artists to be open and honest with themselves and others. In June 2017, imbi released their debut single “Acidic” which was soon followed by the release of “V.I.P” later that year. In April 2018, imbi was announced as a winner of the Triple J Unearthed and NIDA competition, followed by the release off their debut EP, “For Me”, which they described as “a small taste of the goodness that is yet to come.” Imbi has performed at festivals such as Listen Out, Groovin the Moo and is scheduled to support Odette on her national tour throughout April and May in 2019.