From: New Jersey, US
For fans of: JPEGMAFIA, Tame Impala
Why they belong on C23: There are few forces in music as singular and distinctive as 070, real name Danielle Balbuena. The New Jersey native’s emotive vocals – heard on collaborations with Fred again.., Raye, Swedish House Mafia and more – convey pain, strength and strife all at once. Their two albums, 2020’s ‘Modus Vivendi’ and 2022’s ‘You Can’t Kill Me’ are simply spellbinding listens.
From: New York, US
For fans of: Remi Wolf, MUNA
Why they belong on C23: After taking off on TikTok at the height of lockdown for her uber-funky bass covers, Blu DeTiger has established herself as a genuine force with the original tracks she’s released since. Her debut EP ‘How Did We Get Here?’ was described by NME as “a wildly animated effort”, and the 25-year-old has since continued to carve out a slick artist identity, while proving how expansive her beloved instrument can be.
From: Michigan, US
For fans of: Girl In Red, Paramore
Why they belong on C23: The Detroit singer/songwriter already has three albums under their belt at the age of just 20, which is testament to the prolific former bedroom pop artist’s relentless creative streak. After making their name with the kind of guitar-led, coming-of-age songs that could be found on 2018 debut ‘Rabbit Hearted’ and its 2021 follow-up ‘Blood Bunny’, Moriondo changed tack on album number three, 2022’s ‘Suckerpunch’, by fearlessly embracing experimental pop. It was, of course, a resounding knockout triumph.
From: New York, US
For fans of: Durand Jones and The Indications, Leon Bridges
Why they belong on C23: The sheer conviction of every Danielle Ponder performance is what every new artist surely strives for. Having first trained for a career in law, Ponder knew that music was where her heart and head desired; a love for the blues and classic soul helped her find a voice, heard sumptuously 2022’s ‘Some of Us Are Brave’
From: London, UK
For fans of: Bonobo, Four Tet
Why they belong on C23: London Grammar multi-instrumentalist Dot Major initially made his name as one-third of the chart-bothering electronic pop trio, who dropped their last album ‘Californian Soil’ in 2021. While the band are still very much active, Major is also venturing out as a solo artist and producer by turning his hand to dance music. The early signs look very promising: featuring a heady mix of airy synths, big beats and euphoric drops, Major could very well become a newcomer to keep an eye on in the dance music world.
From: London, UK
For fans of: Kojey Radical, Lil Uzi Vert
Why they belong on C23: A multi-talented rapper, dancer and visual artist, London’s FelixThe1st cites both Slipknot and KISS (their on-stage face paint having inspired Felix’s own look) among his most important influences. An unapologetic presence on record in the vein of his heavy rock heroes, Felix broke through from the UK’s underground rap scene in 2021 with ‘Own Brand (Freestyle)’, which has since clocked up nearly 100 million Spotify streams after it went viral on TikTok. He’s pretty confident in his own ability, too: he’s previously promised NME that he’ll be bringing about a “revolution” to the music scene.
From: Alabama, US
For fans of: Glorilla, Doja Cat
Why they belong on C23: The Alabama rapper is emblematic of a restless, innovative mindset. Speaking to NME last year, she said that she’s always wanting “to reinvent myself. Once I’m done with something, I move on”. Her 2022 debut album ‘You Still Here, Ho?’, showed just that, a thrilling, diverse take on her scene and beyond, showcasing a talent with further room to grow.
From: Koforidua, Ghana / Canberra, Australia
For fans of: Danny Brown, King Krule
Why they belong on C23: Arresting and multi-dimensional, Genesis Owusu’s 2021 debut ‘Smiling With No Teeth’ introduced the world to a singular new talent. Melding hip-hop, G-funk, industrial beats and jazz, the artist born Kofi Owusu-Ansah has grown to become recognised as an artist’s artist, having recently toured with Tame Impala and Paramore. Yet while he’s a widely-respected collaborator, Owusu has a voice and vision all his own.
From: California, US
For fans of: The 1975, Bastille
Why they belong on C23: Already armed with an enviable talent for writing accessible festival and arena-ready anthems, the Long Beach-based indie-pop trio then returned in December 2022 with their second album ‘Conditions Of A Punk’. Their most musically mature and vulnerable offering yet, Half Alive’s heart-on-sleeve creation understandably connected far and wide – don’t expect their reach to stop expanding any time soon.
From: Brooklyn, New York
For fans of: Maggie Rogers, Hayley Kiyoko
Why they belong on C23: NYC-born and raised singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Mikaela Straus has a predisposition to being bold. She grew up in the studio before taking on the moniker King Princess and channelling her whip-smart lyricism over tantalising pop arrangements. In 2019, she debuted with her critically acclaimed LP, ‘Cheap Queen’, and has kept the momentum rolling, evolving from playing in scrappy city streets to a Grammy-award nominated artist, all while staying true to herself and her sound.
From: London, UK
For fans of: Fever Ray, Young Fathers
Why they belong on C23: The London duo take joy at pushing boundaries on each and every release. Their debut ‘I Love You Jennifer B’ was powered by a desire to please themselves and, in turn, forged one of 2022’s greatest introductions. When the next generation of pop provocateurs find themselves looking for inspiration in how to be limitless creators, Jockstrap’s vision will be the blueprint.
From: New York City, US
For fans of: Remi Wolf, Arlo Parks
Why they belong on C23: The NYC six-piece – consisting of multi-talented vocalists, songwriters and producers – are a tight group of pals, and their camaraderie and shared honesty almost always shines through on record. ‘After Dinner We Talk Dreams’, the band’s soothing second album, contained an array of breezy, understated indie-pop gems featuring the kind of hooks that’ll stick around long after your first listen.
From: Toronto, Canada
For fans of: Yungblud, Blink-182
Why they belong on C23: Drawing such admirers as Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, Renforshort has emerged in recent years as one of alternative pop’s next great leaders. After releasing her determined debut album ‘Dear Amelia’ in July 2022, she told NME: “This album is the honesty I needed to hear growing up as a young woman.” Chances are that a whole new generation of music fans have taken Renforshort’s message and music to heart.
From: Amsterdam, Netherlands
For fans of: Bicep, Jagwar Ma
Why they belong on C23: Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers originally both worked in film before they formed Weval. But when the Amsterdam-based pair hit it off on the music side of things, the film industry’s loss was music’s big gain. Weval have since gone on to become an established force in Europe’s electronic music scene, with their long-awaited new album ‘Remember’ set to take its listeners “on a high energy journey of nostalgic memories and euphoric emotions”.
Words: Erica Campbell, Sam Moore, Thomas Smith, Sophie Williams