The NME 100: essential emerging artists for 2022

Meet the NME 100, the essential new artists set to take over 2022. Your new favourite artist is waiting...

If trepidation was the prevailing emotion I felt when publishing last year’s edition of The NME 100, this year, I feel a huge amount of hope. Things will be totally different wherever you may be reading this from: many of you are yet able to see live music again. But this past year has proven that rising artists can not just make inroads during uncertain times, but soar. Fan communities from around the world have rallied around newcomers and supported them by buying records, grabbing merch, watching their live streams and, for the lucky few, even caught them live in the flesh.

So although we might be heading for another uncertain period, there’s flashes of promise – emerging artists are cutting through the noise and making a name for themselves. We hope that many of the musicians on this list will do more of the same in the coming months. As ever, this isn’t a list solely to dictate who will blow up and become megastars of tomorrow (although I have got my eye on a few), but to introduce you to new acts you might not have come across yet, hand-picked by our army of writers stationed across the globe. Open your mind, get stuck in, and come meet your new favourite artist…

Thomas Smith – Commissioning Editor (New Music)

Contributors: Alex Flood, Ali Shutler, Andrew Trendell, Andy Brown, Belinda Quinn, Ben Jolley, Carmen Chin, Daniel Peters, Doug Wallen, El Hunt, Ella Kemp, Gladys Yeo, Hannah Mylrea, Jackson Langford, Jake Tucker, James Balmont, Jared Richards, Jenessa Williams, Karen Gwee, Khyne Palumar, Kyann-Sian Williams, Matt Doria, Max Pilley, Mia Hughes, Mikey Cahill, Niall Smith, Nick Levine, Patrick Clarke, Rhian Daly, Rhys Buchanan, Ruby C, Sam Moore, Sophie Williams, Thomas Smith, Tristan Gatward and Will Richards

Yunè Pinku

Aby Coulibaly

Dexterous, soft-focus R&B from the Irish capital

From: Dublin, Ireland
For fans of: Erykah Badu, Solange
Why you’re going to love them: Growing up, Aby dined out on a musical buffet of ’90s R&B, neo-soul, and her dad’s stack of Senegalese records – and in her own music, all these threads knit together into an intricately woven web of touchstones with a contemporary twist.
Key track: ‘Taurus’ EH

Adora

Adora

K-pop all-rounder with an undeniable knack for sharp songwriting

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: GFRIEND, BTS
Why you’re going to love them: Adora has already cut her teeth working behind-the-scenes, penning and producing an extensive catalogue of bangers for some of K-pop’s biggest acts, including BTS, Tomorrow X Together and GFRIEND. Now, she’s ready to step out as a full-fledged solo musician with theatrical alt-pop that brims with personality. With an admirable track record of hits already, Adora has cultivated a reputation as one of her scene’s most versatile and talented newbies, something that will continue to shine through as she grows into her own sound.
Key track: ‘Make U Dance’ CC

Amaarae

Amaarae

A baby-voiced assassin in an alté world

From: Accra, Ghana
For fans of: Cruel Santino, Kojey Radical
Why you’re going to love them: Trying to break away from the alté sound that helped establish her name, Amaarae is now reshaping afrobeats by encapsulating all her favourite things about modern music into the scene, while never compromising on her individuality. The 27-year-old’s debut project ‘THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW’ was raved about, and now its lead single, ‘SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY’ is taking over TikTok as the soundtrack to plenty of viral videos.
Key track: ‘SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY’ KSW

​​Anz

​​Anz

Kaleidoscopic dance music from a club culture polymath

From: Manchester, UK
For fans of: India Jordan, Lone
Why you’re going to love them: Chock-full of rainbow synth melodies, uptempo breakbeats and ’90s rave pianos, Anz’s debut EP ‘All Hours’ sounded like a calling card for Manchester’s greatest club night when it was released in October 2021. The vibrant and eclectic record channeled the sounds of classic dance acts like Underworld, Autechre and The KLF on the fly, only to expertly repackage contemporary pop music sensibilities. She’ll be headlining Warehouse Project in no time.
Key track: ‘You Could Be’ JB

ArrDee

ArrDee

Rapper transforming TikTok virality into chart-climbing hits

From: Brighton, UK
For fans of: Central Cee, Aitch
Why you’re going to love them: ArrDee’s rise has been a remarkably fast one. His breakout ‘Cheeky Bars’ freestyle blew up on YouTube and TikTok barely a year ago; since, the Brighton rapper has featured on the remix of Russ Millions and Tion Wayne’s Number One single ‘Body’, and garnered chart success with his own singles, ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Flowers (Say My Name)’. The 19-year-old is quickly becoming UK rap’s new prince.
Key track: ‘Oliver Twist’ BDJ

Ayra Starr

Ayra Starr

Nigeria’s next afro-R&B chameleon

From: Lagos, Nigeria
For fans of: Tems, CKay
Why you’re going to love them: With a strikingly powerful tone, Ayra Starr’s voice can lend itself to any sound she wants; her debut record, ‘19 & Dangerous’, was ample proof of that. She’s loyal to the traditional afrobeats bassline, but varies her afro-pop sound perfectly by mixing in hints of R&B or trappy hit-hats. All of this comes with a confidence that few stars have so early on in their career.
Key track: ‘Bloody Samaritan’ KSW

Aziya

Aziya

A guitar hero of tomorrow channeling her rebel spirit

From: London, UK
For fans of: Wolf Alice, Jack White
Why you’re going to love them: Aziya recently told NME that she didn’t have any guitar-playing role models growing up, and she wants to change that for any that follow in her footsteps. By drawing from masters of the game like Prince and Blondie, she’s managed to craft a sound with a rebel spirit of its own; Aziya is fully aware that guitars can transcend worlds and open doors.
Key track: ‘Blood’ RB

Barkaa

Barkaa

Razor-sharp, truth-telling rap with hip-grinding beats

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Ms. Lauryn Hill, 2pac
Why you’re going to love them: Barkaa, a proud Aboriginal woman of the Malyangapa and Barkindji people, spins effortless, cheeky verses which tear down oppressive narratives while honouring Indigenous futures. Her thrilling rhythms bring to mind the confidence and directness of Rico Nasty and the incisive contemplation of Sa-Roc. Listening to Barkaa is like letting a cathartic, cleansing fire run through the senses.
Key track: ‘King Brown’ BQ

BIBI

BIBI

An unpredictable cocktail of genres and cheeky lyricism

From: Ulsan, South Korea
For fans of: DEAN, NIKI
Why you’re going to love them: Hand-picked by South Korean hip-hop legends Tiger JK and Yoon Mi-rae as their next prospect, this fearless star surprises at every turn as she weaves through a myriad of genres with ease. From trap-heavy hip-hop to sultry R&B and radio-friendly pop, BIBI’s captivating voice and edgy lyricism promises to show up for any and every occasion.
Key track: ‘Kazino’ GY

Binki

Binki

High-energy, genre-splicing bangers fizzing with imagination

From: Pennsylvania, USA
For fans of: King Krule, JPEGMAFIA
Why you’re going to love them: Genre has no place in Binki’s ever-changing world. His ambitious 2021 debut EP, ‘Motor Function’, saw him pair indie, rap and hardcore influences with refreshingly straightforward lyrics; he never once stuttered while delivering blunt assessments of his fears and anxieties. This challenging yet flat-out fun genre fusion, plus a belief in its transformative power, suggests that Binki is set on becoming as influential as he is subversive.
Key track: ‘Clay Pigeon’ SW

Blu DeTiger

Blu DeTiger

Funk-infused hits from TikTok’s favourite bassist

From: New York, USA
For fans of: Remi Wolf, Prince
Why you’re going to love them: Already a smash on social media for her viral bass-heavy covers of Janet Jackson and Megan Thee Stallion, last year’s ‘How Did We Get Here?’ EP proved DeTiger is more than just an online hit. Creating slick tunes that mesh funk, pop and electronica into one powerful package, her original material is made for dancing the night away in New York City dive bars, or alone in your bedroom while scrolling TikTok at 1AM. The choice is yours…
Key track: ‘Vintage’ HM

Blue Bendy

Blue Bendy

Towering art-rock sextet with a wickedly charismatic frontman

From: London, UK
For fans of: Pulp, Orange Juice
Why you’re going to love them: Hot on the heels of fellow Practise Music alumni Squid are Blue Bendy – an experimental art-rock outfit with a penchant for irregular rhythms, sweeping guitar chords and flowery flutes. Deep-toned, deadpan frontman Arthur Nolan is a charismatic presence who recalls a young Jarvis Cocker – and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos is already a noted fan.
Key track: ‘Spring 100’ JB

Bree Runway

Bree Runway

Fearless pop rulebreaker with killer hooks and jaw-dropping visuals

From: London, UK
For fans of: Doja Cat, Rina Sawayama
Why you’re going to love them: There are elements of rock, fluorescent-hued pop, hip-hop and R&B within Bree Runway’s music, and she’s equally adept at all of them. The Hackney-born artist’s proud celebrations of her artistry, worth, and wealth form inescapable melodies and magnetic, quick-witted verses; she has a winning sense of humour, and is not afraid to deploy it on takedowns of haters and dumbass exes that carry through entire songs. It’s no wonder that Missy Elliott, Rico Nasty, and Khalid have turned to her for collaborations: Bree’s voice is a fresh, essential one with so much to say.
Key track: ‘Hot Hot’ SW

Brooke Combe

Brooke Combe

Scottish indie star-in-waiting already mingling with the greats

From: Edinburgh, UK
For fans of: Blossoms, Amy Winehouse
Why you’re going to love them: The singer’s wildly popular social media covers of Arctic Monkeys and beyond gave her a surefooted start; now, she’s moving onto originals with an edgy indie feel, presented with a booming, commanding voice and recorded with members of Blossoms and The Coral.
Key track: ‘Impress You’ WR

Budjerah

Budjerah

Soulful First Nations pop wunderkind with a voice beyond his years

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Sam Cooke, Steve Lacy
Why you’re going to love them: Growing up on gospel thanks to his pastor parents, Budjerah Slabb melds old-school passion with slick R&B-pop production. Cinematic, powerful and timeless, his debut EP – released last March and produced by Matt Corby – is proof there’s a long career to come, while recent collaboration ‘Stranger Love’ with Australian club legends PNAU shows how his rich, track-stopping voice can command any genre.
Key track: ‘Higher’ JR

caroline

caroline

Rough Trade-signed eight-piece making sweeping soundscapes on the grandest scale

From: London, UK
For fans of: American Football, Talk Talk
Why you’re going to love them: They may have roots in midwest emo and Appalachian folk music, but caroline’s music stretches much wider than that. With cellos, deconstructed guitar lines and songs that breathe like a living organism, they make wonderfully atmospheric music that’s as beautiful as it is strange.
Key track: ‘Dark blue’ WR

Catcher

Catcher

Agony-tinged post-punk that will stop you in your tracks

From: New York, USA
For fans of: Sonic Youth, Iceage
Why you’re going to love them: It takes just seconds of Catcher’s music to see how they’ve managed to become one of NYC’s hottest guitar-wielding prospects. The fuzzy squall heard on their early singles is alive with the same gripping malaise that made Iceage and Protomartyr such pace-setting forces. And it’s made all the more impressive that the stony-faced gang have carved all this attention off the back of visceral live shows and just a handful of releases. Hop aboard early…
Key track: ‘Comparing Saviors And Friends’ RB

Cathy Jain

Cathy Jain

Achingly-cool teen who’s mastered the guzheng and the art of honesty

From: Wistaston, UK
For fans of: Taylor Swift, King Princess
Why you’re going to love them: The 17-year-old’s indicative Spotify playlist – handily titled Songs I Wish I’d Written – offers the same level of transparency and honesty her lyrics do: unsurprisingly, The Japanese House, Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers’ music all appear. Her recent ‘Artificial’ EP pays homage to those who inspired her, but there’s an individual spark blossoming – Jain recently told NME she wants to fuse her Chinese heritage into her upcoming work.
Key track: ‘Cool Kid’ TS

Cayenne

Cayenne

Effervescent bubblegum pop for PC Music heads

From: Singapore, Singapore
For fans of: Charli XCX, Slayyyter
Why you’re going to love them: As Cayenne, Celine Autumn makes effortlessly catchy pop that is at once easy to love and hard to forget. With producer and co-writer Jared Lim, the 23-year-old Singaporean channels the sharp sparkle of PC Music and the elements of ’00s pop, crafting fizzing songs and sticky melodies that still make plenty of room for big emotions including infatuation and heartbreak.
Key track: ‘Drivin’ Away’ KG

Central Cee

Central Cee

UK drill’s biggest breakthrough star repping the Wild West

From: London, UK
For fans of: Digga D, Skepta
Why you’re going to love them: Grafting hard at the rap game for some time now, Central Cee isn’t quite the overnight success many paint him out to be. Starting off as a grime artist, Cench is now in his drill era, and last year’s ‘Wild West’ mixtape boasts imaginative wordplay and otherworldly confidence But don’t box him in just yet – diving into whatever space he wants, he can be the formidable all-rounder that UK rap has been looking for.
Key track: ‘6 For 6’ KSW

COBRAH

COBRAH

Playful hyper-pop focused straight on the dancefloor

From: Stockholm, Sweden
For fans of: Grimes, Tove Lo
Why you’re going to love them: Bold, brash and deliciously filthy, COBRAH takes the most addictive threads of club-pop and turns the dial right up. It’s no wonder that her crowning joy so far –‘GOOD PUSS’ – became such a huge dancefloor mainstay last year.
Key track: ‘GOOD PUSS’ EH

Darkoo

Darkoo

Leading the next generation of UK afroswing

From: London, UK
For fans of: One Acen, Odeal
Why you’re going to love them: With her androgynous ways, Darkoo is not only fluid in regards to her gender, but also loves to dive between afrobeats, R&B and even drill – she even had a starring role on Russ Millions and Tion Wayne’s ‘Body’ (Remix). With a sound that is intrinsically British, Darkoo is ahead of the charge when it comes to all things afroswing.
Key track: ‘Gangsta’ KSW

Denise Chaila

Denise Chaila

Cutting-edge star of Ireland’s innovative rap scene

From: Limerick, Ireland
For fans of: Noname, Jamila Woods
Why you’re going to love them: Deftly blending Gaellic myths with “Lenje stories” (an ethnic group from Zambia) Chaila views difference as a gift, and language as a limitless tool. Through blending a heady mix of classical imagery, cultural references and tid-bits from Lord Of The Rings, her smartly witty rap details her own personal mythology, as heard expertly on last year’s EP, ‘It’s A Mixtape’.
Key track: ‘Anseo’ EH

dexter

dexter

Bedroom pop that reaches deep into the soul

From: London, UK
For fans of: Arlo Parks, Tom Misch
Why you’re going to love them: If dexter’s music were a movie, it would be a combination of (500) Days Of Summer and The Grand Budapest Hotel – equally immersed in colourful backdrops and heady introspection, thanks to her contemplative subject matter and indie quirks. Her ‘I Do Love a Good Sandwich’ EP was a shining example of how to leave a lasting impression under the guise of alt-pop and static-laden lo-fi beats.
Key track: ‘Still Got Time’ NS

Dora Jar

Dora Jar

Curious, intoxicating alt-pop that scratches the most bizarre of itches

From: California, USA
For fans of: Samia, spill tab
Why you’re going to love them: Much like the title of her song ‘Scab Song’ encourages, when you sit and pick away at Dora Jar’s music, beguiling moments emerge – quietly-stunning lyrics are obscured through a myriad of vocal effects, as if Dora’s testing not just the listener’s limits, but her own, too. Don’t just take our endorsement, though: a disguise-wearing Billie Eilish snuck into Dora’s recent London show to witness the magic live.
Key track: ‘Scab Song’ TS

Serena Isioma

Dreamer Isioma

Imaginative rap star with an infectious, justified confident streak

From: Illinois, USA
For fans of:
Syd, Tyler, The Creator
Why you’re going to love them:
“They will never find a cool kid like me,” Dreamer Isioma asserts on 2021’s ‘Really, Really’, and they could be right about that. The Chicago-based rapper and singer is an artist of great invention, refusing to be boxed in by genre boundaries and unafraid to put themselves in the hot seat of accountability in between hyping themselves up.
Key track:
‘Sensitive’ RD

Dvwn

Dvwn

A stirring, soulful resonance from the Land of the Morning Calm

From: Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
For fans of: Colde, slchld
Why you’re going to love them: Dvwn has the remarkable ability of crafting relatable moments that are stirring and comforting, much of it having to do with his soothing vocals, which skillfully guide listeners through his music’s emotional core. The Korean indie singer-songwriter may be inclined towards moodier, melancholic soundscapes, but not all his tunes are, as last year’s jazzy ‘Yeonnam-dong’ proves.
Key track: ‘phobia’ RC

Dylan Fraser

Dylan Fraser

Compelling candour from alt-pop hero-in-waiting

From: Bathgate, UK
For fans of: FINNEAS, Nine Inch Nails
Why you’re going to love them: With songs about anxiety, longing, hopelessness and regret, Fraser has a stark ability to pull listeners experiencing similar woes close to his own personal turbulence. His sound is as multifaceted as the feelings he channels, shifting between warbling synth-pop (‘Vipers’) and scratchy alt-rock (‘Nightmare’). His decade-spanning influences (which include Tyler, the Creator and Nine Inch Nails) converge into songs that always sound expansive – Fraser’s songwriting already feels essential.
Key track: ‘Nightmare’ SW

Eades

Eades

Pluralistic alt-indie for the perpetual foot-tapper

From: Leeds, UK
For fans of: The Lounge Society, Talking Heads
Why you’re going to love them: Rhyming with their hometown, Leeds quintet Eades are set to release their debut album in the midst of their city’s well-humoured musical renaissance alongside contemporaries like Yard Act and English Teacher. Their art-punk buffoonery is strangely sensitive to its own satire; you can trace a logic of sorts back to their own self-prescribed description of “David Byrne and Lou Reed’s dyslexic child playing out of a Motorola Pebl”, but their songs of despondency carry a quite different form of self-comfort. What begins as easy listening ends with one part brawl and three parts singalong – there’s a big, big sound and it’s coming for you.
Key track: ‘Reno’ TG

ekkstacy

ekkstacy

Lo-fi sad jams built from the ashes of SoundCloud rap

From: Vancouver, Canada
For fans of: Lil Peep, Chloe Moriondo
Why you’re going to love them: ekkstacy makes bleak songs that encourage you to wallow in your sadness, if only for a few minutes. There’s no silver lining within his lyrics, just raw heartbreak channeled through a fusion of SoundCloud rap, bedroom pop and snotty garage punk. Written as a form of therapy, ekkstacy’s music is earnest, experimental and perfect for when your misery needs company.
Key track: ‘it only gets worse, I promise’ AS

emir taha

emir taha

Trap-led R&B that bridges the east and west

From: London, UK
For fans of: Rosalía, Güneş
Why you’re going to love them: Turkish folk gets a south London trip-hop makeover with emir taha’s lo-fi beats. With just two EPs out in the world, he’s already surpassed 50million Spotify streams, bagged a Turkish No.1 and lists D.C. rapper Wale and producer Benny Blanco as fans. His mission, as he told NME last year, is crystal clear: “I want to put Turkey on the global music map. We deserve to be on there.”
Key track: ‘Baka Baka’ BR

ena mori

ena mori

Cerebral, emotional synth-pop

From: Manila, Philippines
For fans of: Christine and The Queens, CHAI
Why you’re going to love them: ena mori is how your personal fears and doubts would sound if processed into infectious, synth-inflected bops, coloured with dramatic orchestral arrangements and Björk-esque vocal trills. The classically trained Filipina-Japanese songwriter – who champions “sophisticated pop” – emerged with an exhilarating self-titled EP last year, and has a full-length debut dropping in 2022. Expect more lush and punchy tunes to both dance and brood to.
Key track: ‘TALK! TALK!’ KP

English Teacher

English Teacher

Off-beat indie-rock with a narrative focus

From: Leeds, UK
For Fans Of: Arctic Monkeys, Do Nothing
Why you’re going to love them: Blending deadpan storytelling with super-sharp instrumentation, English Teacher are for listeners who love knotty, dense lyrics but won’t compromise on the thrill of great hooks. Recently signed to indie label Nice Swan [Pip Blom, Sports Team], they’re smart, funny, and keen collaborative ambassadors for their local region. ‘Good Grief’ is their latest banger, but ‘R&B’ is where it all started – a searing lambast of the racialized expectations of what it means to be an ‘indie’ band in 2022. Cracking stuff.
Key track: ‘Good Grief’ JW

Enola Gay

Enola Gay

Electrifying post-punk venom from Belfast band with a sense of history

From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
For fans of: Fontaines D.C., The Stooges
Why you’re going to love them: The Iggy Pop-approved quartet Enola Gay have bulldozed their way into the post-punk scene in short order, taking no prisoners along the way. The winds of history howl through their guitar riffs, with a current of Irish republicanism underscoring their Black Lives Matter-inspired standout track ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ in particular.
Key track: ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ MP

ericdoa

ericdoa

Teen hyperpop innovator forging a path all his own

From: Connecticut, USA
For fans of: Jai Paul, 100 Gecs
Why you’re going to love them: A rare artist that doesn’t take himself too seriously, ericdoa’s pop crossover sound is dynamic and flashy, and intentionally overwhelms with off-kilter structures that keep you guessing. Beyond the eccentricities, two of the 19-year-old’s biggest calling cards are his confidence and authenticity; his brilliantly self-assured delivery suggests that he’s ready to conquer whatever the road to pop stardom throws at him. He’s already made believers out of us.
Key track: ‘Fantasize’ SW

Finn Askew

Finn Askew

A late night cruise through sun-soaked indie pop

From: Wellington, UK
For fans of: Post Malone, Juice WRLD
Why you’re going to love them: Finn Askew masterfully infuses high-energy vocals with mellow lo-fi beats, resulting in warm blends of thoughtful jazz (think Joey Bada$$) and punchy pop. Some of Askew’s hits sizzle with vibrant indie spirit (‘Tokyo’), while others (‘Roses’) are tinged with the melancholy of a late summer sunset – the kaleidoscopic sensations he conjures offer an enchanting entry point for a broad spectrum of music lovers.
Key track: ‘Tokyo’ AB

Flowerkid

Flowerkid

Intoxicating bedroom pop hellbent on making on you feel everything

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Frank Ocean, Phoebe Bridgers
Why you’re going to love them: Fusing shimmering, slow-burning beats – think The National, if raised in the TikTok era – with harrowing tales of self-loathing, suicide, religion and dysphoria (among other such cheerful themes), Flowerkid (aka Flynn Sant) cuts deep into your soul and twists the knife. There’s a radiant beauty to unearth from the rubble, though, as this prodigy of digitised balladry wields his fragility as a tool of empowerment.
Key track: ‘Vodka Orange Juice’ MD

Gabriels

Gabriels

Nu-gospel and soul mashup lead by a once-in-a-generation vocal

From: California, USA
For fans of: Anohni, Sault
Why you’re going to love them: However well-versed you are in music, both old and new, we reckon you’ve never heard a voice quite like Jacob Lusk’s, who can exude tenderness, rage and beyond in the delivery of a single line. Elton John, the patron saint of new music, described the trio’s debut EP ‘Love And Hate In A Different Time’ as “one of the most seminal records I’ve heard in the past 10 years”, which, you know, is fair enough.
Key track: ‘Bloodline’ TS

glaive

glaive

Glitchy guitar anthems from hyperpop scene-stealer

From: North Carolina, USA
For fans of: The Kid LAROI, aldn
Why you’re going to love them:
Despite still studying – and having only started making music at the beginning of the pandemic – glaive’s rise to a leading name in hyperpop has been meteoric. Alongside being a key force in nudging the subculture into mainstream places, he’s become a labelmate of Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, collaborated with childhood hero Travis Barker and has brought his glitchy anthems to life on stages across America. Pop’s future is in safe hands.
Key track:
‘i wanna slam my head against the wall’ BDJ

Glass Beams

Glass Beams

Transfixing, dubby ambient beats that always step in the right direction

From: Melbourne, Australia
For fans of: Khruangbin, Bent
Why you’re going to love them: Glass Beams’ beguiling debut EP ‘Mirage’ offers four songs of supple, undulating beauty as mysterious as the masked trio that made them (one track, ‘Taurus’, was handpicked by Jayda G for her DJ-Kicks mix). You could call them hi-fi kraut by way of George Harrison’s sitar, but after the last trickles of sound snake away like plumes of purple smoke, you’ll realise Glass Beams are making much more than that.
Key track: ‘Mirage’ MC

Grandmas House

Grandmas House

Bristol punk trio determined to cause chaos

From: Bristol, UK
For fans of: The Slits, Amyl & the Sniffers
Why you’re going to love them: The delirious sense of anarchy is never far away with Bristol punk trio Grandmas House, whose self-titled debut EP was the fastest, rowdiest eleven-minute listen of 2021. Poppy Dodgson’s raspy, provocative vocals are half-Siouxsie, half-Cobain, while the band scorch their way through gloriously direct arrangements at break-neck speed.
Key track: ‘Girl’ MP

Grazer

Grazer

Hook-driven dream-pop steeped in nocturnal bliss

From: Melbourne, Australia
For fans of: Beach House, DIIV
Why you’re going to love them: Romantic partners Matt and Mollie craft delicate, pulsing shoegaze that’s dripping with pristine melodies and an after-hours atmosphere. Even the songs that edge closer to melancholy don’t lose their radiant beauty, especially when the pair sing together.
Key track: ‘Without You’ DW

Grove

Grove

Rave-ready bangers with a razor-sharp edge

From: Bristol, UK
For fans of: Lynks, Scalping
Why you’re going to love them: Grove’s music hits hard in more ways than one. While crafting sparky cuts that draw on dancehall, jungle, drum‘n’bass, hyperpop and more, she also weaves her experience as a queer Black woman into the fabric of her work; influences include events in her hometown, like the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in 2020. Uncompromising and infectious, there are few voices in left-field music as authoritative right now as hers.
Key track: ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Whack’ PC

Grrrl Gang

Grrrl Gang

Sticky-sweet melodies and giddy rock euphoria for broken hearts

From: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
For fans of: Car Seat Headrest, Lush
Why you’re going to love them: This Indonesian indie trio understand rock music’s ability to restore broken hearts and exorcise demons. With hooky anthems that make you want to jump, yell and let it all out, Grrrl Gang’s vibrant songwriting touches on love, loneliness, and living within your own daydreams. Above all else, their music evokes that singular youthful feeling that both anything and nothing is possible in this chaotic world.
Key track: ‘Honey, Baby’ DP

HighSchool

HighSchool

Infectious and brooding indie rock laced with an addictive nostalgia

From: Melbourne, Australia
For fans of: The Cure, New Order
Why you’re going to love them: Channeling against any self-indulgent fads of post-everything, a classic type of songwriting permeates this trio’s debut EP, ‘Forever at Last’. Priding itself on industrial gothic rock with its nose deep in the Manchester sound of Joy Division and The Chameleons, with echoes of The Smiths and The Cure, it’s the light hitting a brutalist building, the fuzzy nights and the heady mornings. It’s as stylish as it is overtly atmospheric; synths that seem to leak down from the ceilings into dingy basement nightclubs and lyrics that pick at the flies between hedonism and angst. HighSchool have a headline-ready euphoria that gives into none of the gimmicks.
Key track: ‘New York, Paris And London’ TG

Honeyglaze

Honeyglaze

Dynamic indie-Americana with the Speedy Wunderground seal of approval

From: London, UK
For fans of: Broadcast, Big Thief
Why you’re going to love them: The latest Brixton Windmill-lurking band to be welcomed into the Speedy Wunderground [Black Country New Road, Sinead O’Brien] family boast a sound as tender and sweet as their name implies. Tumbling guitar arpeggios, laid-back rhythms and mercurial vocals are the order of the day on their forthcoming debut album – and they’re an even dreamier prospect live.
Key track: ‘Burglar’ JB

Horsegirl

Horsegirl

Scuzzed-out lo-fi rock with an emotional core and an experimental edge

From: Illinois, USA
For fans of: Porridge Radio, The Microphones
Why you’re going to love them: On the surface, it appears Horsegirl are merely making winsome lo-fi Indie rock, but when you take a long, hard stare into the fuzz, you’ll find a band of plunging emotional depths, the kind of hypnotic, entrancing songwriting which comes around very rarely. Add to that the occasional foray into lush shoegaze wig-outs and you’ve got a band ripe to be adored.
Key track: ‘Billy’ PC

Infinite Coles

Infinite Coles

Spacey R&B ready for the ball

From: New York, USA
For fans of: Princess Nokia, Wiki
Why you’re going to love them: Infinite Coles is the son of hip-hop legend Ghostface Killah, but doesn’t want to let that define him. Identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, Coles strides farther from his dad’s grimier ’90s persona, and instead bridges the gap between R&B and the ballroom; it’s a sound so futuristic and intergalactic, you won’t find it anywhere else.
Key track: ‘Rapture’ KSW

IrenegarryIrenegarry

Breezy, salt-stained beach-pop gold

From: Madrid, Spain
For fans of: Mxmtoon, Beabadoobee
Why you’re going to love them: Born in Alicante and now based in Madrid, Irenegarry’s first hit was an equally potty-mouthed Spanish cover of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’, and since then she’s caught the ear of Hope Tala’s producer Jamal Hadaway with her unique spin on pared-back, vintage-tinged pop.
Key track: ‘Dime Que Me Calle’ EH

Jet Vesper

Jet Vesper

Dazed, sun-drenched lounge funk that makes retro stylings sound like the future

From: Canberra, Australia
For fans of: Kirin J Callinan, Alex Cameron
Why you’re going to love them: Late last year, songwriter and producer Jet Vesper arrived with a slick take on ’70s funk that utilises funky synths to indicate a future full of endless Californian sunshine and carefree afternoons – little surprise that he flits frequently between the UK, Australia, Spain and the US. If debut single ‘Clockwise’ is anything to go by, Vesper’s music is destined to slip down as smoothly as its cocktail namesake, and leave you just as woozy.
Key track: ‘Clockwise’ MP

Junior Varsity

Junior Varsity

LA’s word-of-mouth sensations entering a bold new phase

From: California, USA
For fans of: Turnstile, Dominic Fike
Why you’re going to love them: Much of their young career has been dominated by hype and mystery, but it’s all part of the plan. Initially the band preferred to keep their music exclusive to the pop-up gigs rather than jockey for positions on Spotify playlists with their competition. When they finally relented and released their self-titled EP on Warner Records last summer, they caused a bigger distraction by defacing the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles with a picture of a cow. Typical.
Key track: ‘Cold Blood’ TS

Kam-Bu

Kam-Bu

Versatile and vital emerging force in UK rap who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is

From: London, UK
For fans of: Leon Vynehall, Vince Staples
Why you’re going to love them: It already seems likely that, when it comes to evaluating the UK’s best new rap talents of 2022, Kam-Bu will be in the final reckoning. Having turned plenty of heads last year with his powerful debut EP ‘Black On Black’ (which included a collaboration with Leon Vynehall, and was inspired by Fela Kuti), the Nottingham-born, south London-raised rapper’s impactful and conscious lyrics, which shine a particularly damning light on broken Britain, have already positioned him as a vital voice in these trying times.
Key track: ‘Are You On?’ SM

King Stingray

King Stingray

Beach-primed indie rock with a deep connection to culture

From: East Arnhem Land, Australia
For fans of: Beach Fossils, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Why you’re going to love them: King Stingray have music running in their veins, with guitarist Roy Kellaway and lead singer Yirrnga Yunupingu being descendants from founding members of legendary Australian band, Yothu Yindi. They’ve taken their bloodline’s musical ethos of fusing Indigenous Yolŋu language and instruments with sun-drenched and searing guitars – and given it a modern makeover. King Stingray’s music is consistently upbeat and thrilling, but never compromises on rich storytelling.
Key track: ‘Milkumana’ JL

Lime Garden

Lime Garden

Brighton guitar gang making danceable indie gems

From: Brighton, UK
For fans of: Warpaint, Sorry
Why you’re going to love them: It’d be pretty impossible to go to a Lime Garden show and not immediately want to go home and form your own band. They have such a nonchalant swagger, sense of fun and irresistibly good tunes that it just makes you want to be up there yourself as one of them. Few bands can achieve that this early in their career.
Key track: ‘Clockwork’ WR

Los Bitchos

Los Bitchos

Party-starting psych-funk jams ready to spice up your night

From: London, UK
For fans of: La Luz, Khurangbin
Why you’re going to love them: This band were made to soundtrack your next big rager. Inspired by the Colombian genre Cumbia, the London-based – but very international – four-piece sprinkle disco sparkle, funk bounce and psych noodling onto those foundations to create something fresh and with an intoxicating power that makes you feel like you’re permanently three shots deep.
Key track: ‘Good To Go!’ RD

Lucy Blue

Lucy Blue

Gentle and wise indie-pop confessions full of both tricks and treats

From: Dublin, Ireland
For fans of: Daughter, Phoebe Bridgers
Why you’re going to love them: Dreaming of all the people she could be to impress the person she wants to be noticed by, Lucy Blue crafts soft, shapeshifting stories with butter-smooth vocals and stripped-back, twinkling production. Well, that’s what you get half the time – before she switches gears with distorted beats and harmonies on earthier, rock-inflected coming-of-age love songs too. Unpredictable and spellbinding in constantly changing ways.
Key track: ‘See You Later’ EK

Luna Li

Luna Li

Celestial indie-pop harnessing the power and serenity of nature

From: Toronto, Canada
For fans of: Michelle, Crumb
Why you’re going to love them: Her introspective gems are perfect for reflecting to, with the Korean-Canadian multi-instrumentalist inviting you into her own musings on friendship, isolation and more. There’s an ethereal quality to her songwriting that makes it feel like you’re entering a dream-like alternate universe, and that you’re on that journey with a comforting new friend.
Key track: ‘Cherry Pit’ RD

M(h)aol

M(h)aol

Gritty post-punk with both an important political consciousness and a sense of fun

From: Dublin, Ireland / Bristol, London, UK
For fans of: Goat Girl, Pillow Queens
Why you’re going to love them: M(h)aol are outspoken about the importance of intersectional feminism, and it’s from this point of view that their music tackles various tangled strands of oppression. Whether exploring the construct of gender on ‘Gender Studies’, the dismissal of women in music on ‘No One Ever Talks To Us’, or institutional religious misogyny on ‘Laundries’, vocalist/lyricist Róisín Nic Ghearailt does so with a powerful and focused presence.
Key track: ‘Gender Studies’ MH

Mandy, Indiana

Mandy, Indiana

Cinematic industrial-punk with enough pizzazz to fuel the Northern powerhouse

From: Manchester, UK
For fans of: Battles, Giant Swan
Why you’re going to love them: Strip all romanticism from the French language to then power up your typical post-punk lashings with tormenting industrial noise-rock, and you’ll be met with Mandy, Indiana. They’re primal and full of spite, but when paired with a strobe-heavy dancefloor, become art-house punkers worthy of the biggest stages and the widest screens.
Key track: ‘Alien 3’ BR

MAY-A

MAY-A

Your go-to artist for sparkling and crushingly honest indie-pop

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Baby Queen, Lorde
Why you’re going to love them: Maya ‘MAY-A’ Cumming first found an audience by talking about her life on YouTube, but it’s clear music is her true calling. With last year’s brilliant debut EP ‘Don’t Kiss Your Friends’, the 19-year-old displayed a rare gift for writing super-catchy and emotionally literate indie-pop bangers. ‘Apricots’, a wrenchingly tender song about getting to grips with your sexuality, deserves to become a Gen Z queer anthem.
Key track: ‘Apricots’ NL

Melin Melyn

Melin Melyn

Playful indie-poppers illuminating the roots of Welsh history

From: Cardiff, UK
For fans of: Orange Juice, Parquet Courts
Why you’re going to love them: Melin Melyn’s music is a finely detailed tapestry of the Welsh language, culture and ideas; the six-piece’s debut EP ‘Blomonj’ is charged with impossibly punchy indie choruses and Celtic inflections that mirror the rich musical traditions of their country’s people. This band’s forward-thinking vintage vibe is lyrical, joyful and bright, and sounds like an excitable gang of best pals getting together in the studio and having the time of their lives.
Key track: ‘Dewin Dwl’ SW

Miso Extra

Miso Extra

Playfully unique rapper and producer cooking up fresh new sounds

From: London, UK
For fans of: Gorillaz, M.I.A.
Why you’re going to love them: The Misoverse – as Miso Extra terms their creative world – is a place of unbridled creativity, bringing together old school hip-hop, forward-thinking beats and a rich smorgasbord of inspiration from both her English and Japanese heritage. The latter come into play in multiple ways, not least in language – the producer, singer and rapper switches between the two with captivating effect. With all of those ingredients combined, she’s left with something that feels brilliantly independent of anything else going on in her peers’ work and that keeps you on your toes with every listen.
Key track: ‘1013’ RD

msftz

msftz

Dreamy, light-hearted K-indie sprinkled with romance and vulnerability

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Stella Jang, Lee Hi
Why you’re going to love them: Originally making her start on SoundCloud, msftz is a rising singer-songwriter who understands the effectiveness of her quirky, honest songwriting and doubles down to drive the point home. The rawness of her lyricism blends effortlessly with her syrupy sweet voice and twinkling, piano-driven instrumentals, making the 23-year-old a truly refreshing standout in the South Korean scene.
Key track: ‘Heart’ GY

Nia Archives

Nia Archives

Silky vocals set to bubbly drum’n’bass beats

From: Manchester, UK
For fans of: Redlight, Roni Size
Why you’re going to love them: Raised on a steady diet of reggae, rocksteady and old-school jungle, Nia Archives’ dancefloor-ready nu-jazz packs in every one of her diverse influences. The resulting belters, like the spectacular single ‘Forbidden Feelings’, make for a fresh and vibrant new sound.
Key track: ‘Forbidden Feelings’ AF

Nick Mono

Nick Mono

Giddy guitar anthems that make sense of a hectic adolescence

From: London, UK
For fans of: Easy Life, Rex Orange County
Why you’re going to love them: Nick Mono’s breakout single is an ode to Skins’ ‘Effy Stonem’, which should tell you everything you need to know about his thrilling tunes. Full of rousing urgency and with an emphasis on energy over genre, his woozy, guitar-led tracks are a scuzzy blend of confusion, fear and ambition – perfect for both the pre-drinks or the crippling comedown.
Key track: ‘Effy Stonem’ AS

Nippa

Nippa

Trap-injected R&B gems oozing with charisma from UK’s next leading crooner

From: London, UK
For fans of: Brent Faiyaz, PartyNextDoor
Why you’re going to love them: Nippa’s music is tactical. On his self-titled EP, you’re greeted with neo-soul tropes à la Musiq Soulchild before you’re hit with his bouncy trap rhythms and concrete-bound street etiquette. In his batch of earworms – ‘Pay The Price’ and ‘Ride Or Die’ – the 21-year-old impresses, amalgamating two well-loved genres to concoct his own sound.
Key track: ‘Situation’ NS

Nonô

Nonô

Kaleidoscopic pop queen on a mission to promote musical freedom

From: London, UK
For fans of: Kali Uchis, Rihanna
Why you’re going to love them: Nonô wants to be a superstar and has the drive to get there. At 18, this brilliant Brazilian artist moved 6,000 miles to London from São Paulo to further her music career by immersing herself in the capital’s thrillingly diverse cultures. It’s now paying off with a series of kaleidoscopic releases that weave elements of bossa nova, funk carioca, R&B, rock and pop into a unique sound that Nonô describes simply as “free”. She even teamed with DJ and producer Marcus Layton for an infectious, club-ready cover of Gorillaz ‘Feel Good Inc’.
Key track: ‘LA LA LA (2 Dollar)’ NL

Nukuluk

Nukuluk

Anarchic and wired-up experimental hip-hop from the New Weird Britain scene

From: London, UK
For fans of: Danny Brown, SOPHIE
Why you’re going to love them:
Answering all the questions as to where south London’s Windmill scene could go next from spawning generational bands such as black midi, Goat Girl, Black Country, New Road and more, come experimental hip-hop/electronic collective Nukuluk, taking on those infamous spinny nights with an otherworldly sound. Caught in the tug and thrust of vocalists Syd and Monika, their debut EP ‘DISASTER POP’ ricochets like gas particles from ambient to chaotic hyper-pop and off-kilter rap verses that play like Danny Brown reading Virginia Woolf’s poetry. Battling mid-track from loud to quiet, it’s somehow both earthy and intergalactic, a surge of heat and energy ready to explode.
Key track:
‘Ooh Ah’ TG

Paris Texas

Paris Texas

A vicious melting pot of hip-hop and furious guitar riffs

From: California, USA
For fans of: Young Thug, Bring Me The Horizon
Why you’re going to love them: Deliberately rough around the edges, Paris Texas (rapper Felix and producer Louie Pastel) make aggressive music that pulls from both post-hardcore and punky hip-hop without losing any of the bite. They have a song called ‘Heavy Metal’, for goodness sake. Their high-octane music has already evolved beyond the traditional brute force of other rap-rock hybrids with smart, cinematic flourishes throughout their hammering melodies.
Key track: ‘Heavy Metal’ AS

PawPaw Rod

PawPaw Rod

An absolutely baked fusion of ’70s soul and hip-hop

From: California, USA
For fans of: Bill Withers, Thundercat
Why you’re going to love them: In 2021, Rodney Hulsey’s sun-soaked debut EP fused filthy funk bass with sweet guitar licks à la the melody-packed ’70s soul of Bill Withers and Gil Scott-Heron. Flecks of hip hop and a super-laid-back vocal style give it a refreshingly modern spin – and the end product reeks of a West Coast fug in the most intoxicating way.
Key track: ‘Glass House’ JB

PinkPantheress

PinkPantheress

Enigmatic hitmaker updating UK garage for a new generation

From: Bath, UK
For fans of: SOPHIE, Katy B
Why you’re going to love them: This bedroom-pop alchemist conquered TikTok while cloaked in mystery – though we now know what she looks like, we still don’t know her real name. Not that it’s proved an obstacle so far; she’s already notched up two UK Top 40 hits with slinky singles that repurpose classic UK garage beats for super-savvy Gen Z pop fans. With breakthrough single ‘Pain’, she shows she’s brave enough to sample Sweet Female Attitude’s iconic banger ‘Flowers’, and talented enough to pull it off. The future is hers for the taking.
Key track: ‘Just for Me’ NL

Pinkshift

Pinkshift

Rock-out-ready emo that perfects a nostalgic sound

From: Maryland, USA
For fans of: My Chemical Romance, Mannequin Pussy
Why you’re going to love them: If you’re an adult who spent your youth obsessed with the Warped Tour emo gang, tacking up posters of Gerard Way and Hayley Williams on your bedroom wall, then Pinkshift will awaken something long-dormant inside you. For a new generation of kids who haven’t yet fallen in love with rock music, Pinkshift could be the band that comes along and changes everything. Their angst is perfectly-placed, their riffs are rock-out-ready, and they balance their nostalgic sound with a completely endearing passion and joy.
Key track: ‘i’m gonna tell my therapist on you’ MH

Piri and Tommy Villiers

Piri and Tommy Villiers

DIY dance duo with a formidable TikTok following

From: Manchester, UK
For fans of: PinkPantheress, Peggy Gou
Why you’re going to love them: It’s unsurprising that IRL couple Sophie McBurnie (vocalist Piri) and Tommy Villiers (producer, also in indie-pop band Porji) met at uni, because their funky dance-pop numbers are the perfect soundtrack for your sticky student nights out. PinkPantheress and Charli XCX are already fans – soon you will be too.
Key track: ‘soft spot’ AF

Priestgate

Planet Giza

Enigmatic funk-rap from a cultural metropolis

From: Montreal, Canada
For fans of:
Brockhampton, André 3000
Why you’re going to love them:
Made up of Rami B, Toni Stone and Doom X, Planet Giza are R&B heartthrobs in the making. Their recent single ‘When The Moving Stops’ harks back to the glory days of The Neptunes’ chart domination, while ‘FTW’ contains the kind of whistling riff that conjures up the finest of Southern Crunk. Having worked with renowned producers Kaytranada and GoldLink, a funky edge is blossoming wonderfully in their work – one for cranking loud at summer pre-drinks.
Key track:
‘When The Moving Stops’ JW

Priestgate

Priestgate

Gothic dream-pop to destroy small-town boredom

From: Driffield, UK
For fans of: Swim Deep, bdrmm
Why you’re going to love them: Following in the footsteps of Todmorden’s Working Men’s Club and Hebden Bridge’s The Lounge Society, Priestgate are the latest bunch to burst out of a sleepy Yorkshire town with a noisy mission. Their glimmering dream-pop was written with the sole purpose of kicking against those rural trappings and, in doing so, the gang hit upon a formula that speaks to a wider generation. Their glossy, anguish-packed sound echoes all the youthful abandon of peak B-Town.
Key track: ‘Bedtime Story’ RB

Prima Queen

Prima Queen

Transatlantic duo dealing in reverb-drenched, harmonious deep cuts

From: London, UK
For fans of: Alvvays, Lucy Dacus
Why you’re going to love them: Having recently inked a deal with Nice Swan, alternative duo Prima Queen look to follow in their labelmates footsteps in 2022 with their brand of lyrically-taut storytelling and slinky earworms. Led by best friends Louise Macphail and Kristin McFadden, Prima Queen’s ethereal sound, which shimmers with delicate vocal interplay and glacial instrumentation, already takes them to regal heights.
Key track: ‘Milk Teeth’ EK

Prospa

Prospa

Keeping the rave alive with big drops and block-rockin’ beats

From: Leeds, UK
For fans of: The Chemical Brothers, Bicep
Why you’re going to love them: Prospa’s Harvey Blumler – one half of the London-based, Leeds-born pair – told NME last year that his “whole outlook” on dance music was dramatically changed by witnessing The Prodigy annihilate the stage at Glastonbury in 2009. There’s a strong chance that Blumler and his bandmate Gosha Smith will inspire a whole new generation of rave-heads in 2022 with their gigantic approach to dance music, which draws on all of the best bits of ’90s house, rave and breakbeat while reframing those sample-driven influences to excel in the modern-day dancefloor/rave space.
Key track: ‘Ecstasy (Over and Over)’ SM

The Rills

The Rills

Quickfire Midlands guitar bandits lifting indie out of the landfill

From: Lincoln, UK
For fans of: The Cribs, Arctic Monkeys
Why you’re going to love them: For all of its flat-horizoned beauty and history, Lincolnshire has often fallen short of giving us some indie stars (Holly Humberstone aside). Enter bright, young Yellowbelly upstarts, The Rills, who pen guitar bangers about teenage boredom, smalltown ne’er-do-wells and living for the weekend. It’s a heady dose of reality and one hell of a laugh.
Key track: ‘Skint Eastwood’ AT

Sad Night Dynamite

Sad Night Dynamite

Production duo bringing a sinister edge to British alt-pop

From: Glastonbury, UK
For fans of: Gorillaz, Mura Masa
Why you’re going to love them: The UK charts would suggest that shit-hot producers are in danger of outshining the stars that hop on their tracks, but Sad Night Dynamite offer an exception: they can both stand their ground and slither into the background when required. Their self-titled debut mixtape was a monstrously good listen, and they now count Gorillaz as fans, and FKA twigs and Pa Salieu as collaborators. The future will sound however Sad Night Dynamite will want it to.
Key track: ‘Krunk’ TS

Sarah Kinsley

Sarah Kinsley

Rich pop anthems evocative enough to move you to your core

From: New York, USA
For fans of: Robyn, Maggie Rogers
Why you’re going to love them: Sarah Kinsley’s studied production skills turn complex themes of growing up, loneliness and loss into immediate and intimate melodies with an abundance of feeling. The New Yorker’s songs may consist of just a few synth elements and homemade sounds from her bedroom studio, but this naked instrumentation mirrors the transparency of her lyrics. 2021’s ‘The King’ EP is overflowing with emotions and self-doubt, offering tenderness that could help even the most anxious amongst us escape from the world.
Key track: ‘The King’ SW

Seori

Seori

Heavenly R&B-tinged pop to help you escape to a divine new world

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Billie Eilish, Lorde
Why you’re going to love them: Seori’s already marked herself out as the next in-demand singer in Korea thanks to her stunning vocals, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world follows suit. Her songs swoon with emotion, be that loneliness (‘긴 밤’), romance (‘Dive With You’) or grief (‘I Wanna Cry’), while she cushions that rich feeling with wobbling production and gorgeous melodies that make you want to contemplate life under starlit skies.
Key track: ‘긴 밤 (feat. GIRIBOY)’ RD

SHERELLE

SHERELLE

DJ, producer and label boss known for room-shaking sets

From: London, UK
For fans of: The Prodigy, India Jordan
Why you’re going to love them: No matter where in the world she’s playing, a SHERELLE set is guaranteed to be a monstrous night out. But, not content with being 2021’s most in-demand DJ, she also began flexing her production muscles, released a brilliant debut EP, launched her own label, BEAUTIFUL – which celebrates Black & LGBTQIA+ talent in the scene – and topped the year off with a stellar mix for iconic London club, Fabric. Unstoppable.
Key track: ‘160 DOWN THE A406’ BDJ

Shygirl

Shygirl

Future club classics from south London innovator

From: London, UK
For fans of: Caroline Polachek, Danny L Harle
Why you’re going to love them: Shygirl’s sound is a pick-and-mix bag of shining pop-hooks, ultra-modern club beats and industrial sounds. From last year’s banging ‘Alias’ EP, to brilliantly filthy slowthai-collaboration ‘BDE’ and her recent contribution to Lady Gaga‘s remix album ‘Dawn Of Chromatica’, everything Shygirl does is slick, future-facing and made for the dancefloor.
Key track: ‘Cleo’ HM

SIPHO.

SIPHO.

Idiosyncratic songwriter with multitudes, deliberately avoiding categorisation

From: Birmingham, UK
For fans of: Frank Ocean, The 1975
Why you’re going to love them: Cutting-edge pop, jazz, R&B and soul are all touchpoints for the Dirty Hit signee, but he thrives most when shunning categorisation altogether. On his modest output so far – particularly on recent single ‘BEADY EYES’ – he’s a smooth rapper, a bonafide crooner, and undoubtedly a star of the future.
Key track: ‘BEADY EYES’ WR

STAYC

STAYC

Bubblegum pop through the eyes of K-pop’s next generation of revolutionaries

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: TWICE, Apink
Why you’re going to love them: They’ve only been in the game for a little over a year, but STAYC make going viral look almost too easy. The six-member group are in possession of one of the most distinctive sounds in K-pop, and their debut EP landed the five-star treatment from NME in September. In addition to tongue-in-cheek lyrics, their blend of sheer pop optimism and artful production by in-demand duo Black Eyed Pilseung is a winning formula for these emerging heroes.
Key track: ‘Stereotype’ CC

STONE

STONE

Scouse punk to make you question if the late-night benders are still worth it

From: Liverpool, UK
For fans of: Sports Team, The Mysterines
Why you’re going to love them: STONE know that there’s more to life than the ice at the bottom of the glass. On their breakthrough single ‘Leave It Out’, frontman Finn Power sings from first-hand experience: “Now it’s 3AM and you don’t even know your name / Third time this week mate, it’s your life going down the drain.” There’s a better life out there and it’s gripping as they work through the anxiety to find it. Labelling their sound ‘scally rock’, the delivery is so street-Scouse that you’ll be pulling a wheelie around the Albert Dock belting their lyrics in no time.
Key track: ‘Leave It Out’ RB

Surya Sen

Surya Sen

Sample-heavy hip-hop-infused house groovers

From: London, UK
For fans of: Channel Tres, ABSOLUTE.
Why you’re going to love them: Leading a new wave of British Asian talent thanks to a playful blend of hip-hop and house, the north London-born rapper and producer’s NME-referencing debut single ‘Jessica’ blew up in the underground club scene late last year, and Chemical Brothers-sampling follow-up ‘Here We Go Again’ is grooving hip-house at its best. Signed to iconic dance imprint Skint Records [Fatboy Slim], a forthcoming debut mixtape is sure to propel his ascendance in the dance scene.
Key track: ‘Jessica’ BDJ

SwitchOTR

SwitchOTR

The fearless, fun-loving future of UK drill

From: London, UK
For fans of: Pa Salieu, NiNE8
Why you’re going to love them: There’s so much community in every one of SwitchOTR’s fast and furious drill tracks, it’s a miracle Vin Diesel hasn’t popped up to talk about family yet. Avicii-sampling breakout single ‘Coming For You’ is part social-commentary, part wide-eyed statement of ambition that sees SwitchOTR taking the genre into brighter areas, while his back catalogue sees him, much like Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, manage to make the mundane seem exceptional.
Key track: ‘Coming For You’ AS

Sycco

Sycco

Lush, groovy pop and candid introspection

From: Brisbane, Australia
For fans of: BENEE, Tame Impala
Why you’re going to love them: Sycco makes technicolour bedroom pop that feels like a psychedelic wonderland. Sasha McLeod loves herself some reverb and fuzzy vocals, but her insightful, vulnerable lyrics always shine through. Sycco is always willing to go there, whether it’s contemplating her own heartbreak on ‘Dribble’ or losing herself in an angry yet liberating stream of consciousness on ‘Time’s Up’. She demonstrates refreshing emotional intelligence in every song, ensuring her glittering sound never fades.
Key track: ‘Time’s Up’ JL

TeeZee

TeeZee

Skepta-endorsed Nigerian carrying the flag for west Africa’s alté movement

From: Lagos, Nigeria
For fans of: Burna Boy, Skepta
Why you’re going to love them: TeeZee ticked off two big career goals in 2021 by linking up with idols Skepta and Kid Cudi on the former’s song ‘Peace Of Mind’, and further global exposure is inevitable. The London-via-Lagos artist, one of the key figures in west Africa’s alternative alté movement, seems destined to make big waves with his forthcoming solo project ‘Arrested By Love’, whose triumphant and vibrant afro-fusionist vision is complemented by big guest appearances from Davido, Pa Salieu and Backroad Gee.
Key track: ‘BADI’ SM

Teezo Touchdown

Teezo Touchdown

Weird and wonderful Tyler, the Creator-approved provocateur

From: Texas, USA
For fans of: Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty
Why you’re going to love them: “People get scared and dismissive when they hear something that’s new or weird, but, after a while, it starts becoming the norm,” Teezo told NME last year about his Marmite appeal. But the Texan rapper isn’t bothered about the haters: he’s too busy sampling Panic! At The Disco, sticking nails in his hair and collaborating with Tyler, The Creator on the latter’s ‘Call Me If You Get Lost’ to worry about anything as trivial as that. We get the feeling that, in 2022, more people will be with Teezo’s punk-leaning brand than against it.
Key track: ‘I’m Just A Fan’ SM

Tems

Tems

Buttery afro-R&B wrapped up in soul-piercing euphoria

From: Lagos, Nigeria
For fans of: Tiwa Savage, Jorja Smith
Why you’re going to love them: Hailing from Lagos, a busy, culturally diverse metropolis, Tems’ music ushers the long-standing contemporary R&B dynasty into a new age, shaking things up by layering her music with funky afrobeat and alté nods. With dancefloor fillers like ‘Crazy Tings’ and vocal statement pieces like ‘Interference’, Tems’ music is a syrupy R&B fortress rife with diversity; no wonder Drake poached her for an appearance on his ‘Certified Lover Boy’ album last summer.
Key track: ‘Free Mind’ NS

The Umlauts

The Umlauts

European art-punk ravers sent from the future

From: London, UK
For fans of: Suicide, Grimes
Why you’re going to love them: Formed after meeting at Wimbledon College of Art, but hailing from across central Europe, The Umlauts are a Brexit-defying rush of cyborg punk, raving and art rock. Drawing on the Germanic beats and ’70s synth sounds of Kraftwerk and Neu! but with LCD Soundsystem’s dancefloor tendencies and the futuristic curiosity of Alan Vega, this four-piece are a bi-lingual band from tomorrow – forever questioning what the fuck is going on, and loving every second it. Ich liebe dich, The Umlauts.
Key track: ‘The Fact’ AT

VLURE

VLURE

Ripping up the post-punk rulebook with raging electro-noir glam

From: Glasgow, UK
For fans of: Echo & The Bunnymen, The Murder Capital
Why you’re going to love them: Venues of the world beware – VLURE are making up for lost time. Their upcoming EP ‘Euphoria’ has been emboldened by the prospect of getting back out and playing live, something which vocalist Hamish Hutcheson likens to “therapy sessions”. Get ready for sweat-filled ragers, packed to the brim with ’90s industrial-rave motifs and a cathartic, party-starting energy.
Key track: ‘Show Me How To Live Again’ BR

Wallice

Wallice

Breezy, ballsy genre-smashing queen with a keen eye on coming-of-age’s eternal chaos

From: California, USA
For fans of: Soccer Mommy, Japanese Breakfast
Why you’re going to love them: Everyone knows how intense coming of age feels, but Wallice is making sure her high-octane whip smart bangers have got the pace and pep to match. Bitter cuts about betrayal – platonic, she’s been in a happy relationship since she was 16 – sound euphoric one second and furious the next. There’s a tinge of ’00s alternative heroes and a nod to the current indie rock revival (and cowboy hats), but Wallice is at her best when she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
Key track: ‘Wisdom Tooth’ EK

Warren Hue

Warren Hue

Genre-bending rapper set to be 88rising’s next big star

From: Jakarta, Indonesia
For fans of: Aminé, Brockhampton
Why you’re going to love them: Rapper, singer and producer Warren Hue has shown incredible versatility since ‘Omomo Punk’, his first single for 88rising, an electrifying moment where emo-rap meets post-punk. He’s the label’s secret weapon, a rap explorer ready with refreshing sounds and oddball energy; his singles so far have traversed moody soul, Chicago house, party trap, and even Ye-inspired electro-rap. It’s hard to predict what’s next, and therein lies the beauty of Hue’s artistry.
Key track: ‘Omomo Punk’ DP

Wet Leg

Wet Leg

Saucy post-punk with its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek

From: Isle Of Wight, UK
For fans of: Shame, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Why you’re going to love them: Fun might not always be considered the ‘coolest’ thing in some music circles, but Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers’ brand of innuendo-filled absurdity sticks two fingers up at anyone who cares about such a notion. Whether they’re offering to worry your mother or detailing old flames on the chirpse with screenings of ’90s crime-comedy Buffalo ’66, the duo are managing to have the best time as Britain’s most hyped new band – and look outrageously cool while doing so.
Key track: ‘Chaise Longue’ RD

Willow Kayne

Willow Kayne

Rap-punk fun with precisely zero fucks to give

From: Bristol, UK
For fans of: The Prodigy, Remi Wolf
Why you’re going to love them: Throwing a gleeful middle finger up to the haters, Willow Kayne is a triple threat. Rapper, singer and impressive holder of onstage court, she has already taken in festivals like Alt+LDN and Live At Leeds with the presence of a headliner, setting her up for own run of shows in the coming months. Come for the playful sense of nostalgia, but stay for the bars; this artist is going to inspire some serious Gen Z minds.
Key track: ‘Two Seater’ JW

Wunderhorse

Wunderhorse

Hugely melodic, grungy Americana from a man destined for big things

From: London, UK
For fans of: Bruce Springsteen, Ride
Why you’re going to love them: Former Dead Pretties frontman Jacob Slater will soon be a star of the small-screen: he plays Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook in Danny Boyle’s forthcoming biography series, Pistol. If his acting’s anywhere near as good as recent singles ‘Poppy’ and ‘Teal’ – which drift from fuzzy ’90s psych-rock to the Americana stylings of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Elliott Smith – then he’ll be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in no time.
Key track: ‘Teal’ JB

Yunè Pinku

Yunè Pinku

’90s club bangers seasoned with intense vocals

From: London, UK
For fans of: Ninajirachi, Ross From Friends
Why you’re going to love them: Yunè Pinku feels like an artist out of time, pulling from a variety of UK underground cultures and wrapping them up with her pensive lyrics. The results are tracks that compel you to the dancefloor, even while she sings about social anxiety, FOMO and other teenage woes. ‘What You Like’, a collaboration with Australian producer Logic1000, is a lo-fi dance track that – like Pinku – is attention-grabbing stuff.
Key track: ‘What You Like’ JT