As we close the book on one year and start another, we’re getting super excited about all the new music and new artists we’ll discover. This time next year, you’ll have heard of a whole new wave of artists and may even be stanning some of them! Just look at Lewis Capaldi – he went from a smalltown musician to a global phenomenon in 2019! We’ve picked out 20 small artists we’ve loved in 2019 that are our ones to watch in 2020, so keep your eyes peeled and ears open – we think big things will be happening for them!
You may be familiar with Miquela under her social media handle @lilmiquela. She’s been making waves in the digital world, with numerous big names even stanning her, and now she’s ready to dominate the music industry! She’s been dropping singles for a few years now but has recently hinted on The Zach Sang Show that a bigger body of work is to come in 2020, perhaps an EP or even an album. Miquela’s given techno-pop a whole new lease of life and we’re ready for R&Beep to be the music trend of the new decade.
Dylan had a pretty good 2019 after working on her EP ‘Purple’ which released back in October. She was named as BBC Introducing’s ‘Track of the Week’ on BBC Radio 1 for her iconic bop ‘Sour Milk’ and has been working super hard ready for the new year. The 19-year-old self-proclaimed “indie fuck” writes some pretty moody songs which still somehow empower you. Dylan first started working on music almost two years ago over the Easter holidays when she should have been studying (rebel alert!) and has recently signed under the same label as a little known singer-songwriter named Ed Sheeran, so you know she’s destined for greatness.
4th & Orange
If you’re looking to escape the cold of Winter, 4th & Orange are ready to heat up your new year! Merging pop elements with reggae, 4th & Orange delivers a slice of California coastline to your speakers. Consisting of Garret Douglas (lead vocals), Chris “DJ Irey” Garcia – (keyboards/producer), Ricardo Ramirez (guitar), Jacob Lucero (bass) and Sam Ward (Drums) this year saw the band make their musical debut with their summery single ‘Girl Next Door’. They’ve since released an additional three singles and are gearing up for plenty of 2020 performances including Reggae Rise Up in Florida and Arizona Roots Music & Arts Festival. We’re loving the tropical sound of this band and can’t wait to see them thrive this year!
Cari Fletcher, known mononymously as FLETCHER, first found fame when she competed on the premiere season of the US version of The X Factor where Paula Abdul formed the group, Lakoda Rayne. A few years later and FLETCHER has been venturing out on her own, where she found success with her single ‘Undrunk’ last year, where it became the number one most added song in the Top 40 and spent six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. She’s since released her EP ‘You Ruined New York City For Me’, which sees the honest singer-songwriter tell the tales of her past relationship, calling out those who cheat and writing open letters to former lovers.
She’s set to tour with none other than Mr Niall Horan on the US leg of his ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ world tour this March, meaning those lucky ticket-holders will truly get to see FLETCHER for the incredible artist she is up-close.
Johnny Utah is the moniker of 23-year-old Jacob Scullenger and the name you will be soon familiar with in 2020. The indie-funk artist is set to be one of the hottest acts of the new year, following the success of his 2019 singles ‘Honeypie’ and ‘4Tounce’. He is a multi-instrumentalist who has been around since 2017, releasing a series of EPs and singles full of all styles and moods while staying loyal to the lo-fi pop roots and love washed lyricism. Johnny Utah is like the comedic kid in your class who had you all in stitches and his sense of humor shines through in his music videos. He’s set to release a debut album this year, so get ready to stan!
Pop-rock singer Camryn has been playing it lowkey as she’s had her head down, on the grind in the studio to perfect her mature sound and now she’s ready to shine once more! Since being in the industry before her teens, the singer-songwriter has had a lot of time to learn from the best of the best and now in her 20’s is finally finding her feet in the music she wants to create in the long-run. She recently dropped her bop of a single ‘EZEZ’ as well as performing some shows in Los Angeles, and is ready to take on the new year with upcoming music she’s been working so hard on. We can hardly wait!
If your music New Year’s resolution was to listen to more KPOP, we recommend checking out HINAPIA. The 5-piece girl group made their debut back in November with their digital single album ‘New Start’, where their single ‘Drip’ reached number 18 on Billboard’s ‘World Digital Song Sales’ chart. The group is made up of previously debuted KPOP idols, Minkyeung, Gyeongwon, Yaebin, and Eunwoo of the previous 10-member group Pristin, along with new member, 18-year-old Bada. HINAPIA’s debut follows on from a big year for KPOP girl groups and are ready to take the world by a storm in 2020.
We recommend listening to: Uh, well ‘Drip‘ is their only song but enough to get you eager for upcoming releases!
You’re probably already familiar with Young Bombs since they’ve done a ton of remixes of your favorite artists (Lady Gaga, Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez, and Billie Eilish to name a few) but now Tristan and Martin are taking on making their own original music. 2019 saw the Canadian EDM duo release five singles which are total bangers and when we spoke to them about their 2020 plans, they said we could expect “more music and less clothes”. DOPE.
Koffee is the pseudonym of 19-year-old Mikayla Simpson, the Jamaican born artist who is bringing Reggae to the new generations. Classing herself as somewhere in between a singer and a rapper, Koffee first gained attention from posting a video of her singing an original song which she had written in honor of the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who then shared the video. She’s since been on the rise – releasing her debut EP ‘Rapture’ in March 2019, which earned her a GRAMMY nomination She also hopped on the remix of Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s ‘I Don’t Care’ alongside Chronixx, so she’s definitely getting some love from the bigger names! Koffee is set to tour with none other than Harry Styles in 2020 for the Mexican dates of ‘Love on Tour’. We can’t wait to see what she does in the next 12 months!
Another KPOP group set to take 2020 by a storm is DUSTIN. The seven-member boy group consisting of Kim Yoon, Hwani, Seunghan, BEL, JJ, Siu and Daon will be making their debut on January 6th with their digital ‘Burn’, and if their teaser is anything to go by, it’s gonna be lit. They performed at ‘South Korea Joins MassKara Festival 2019’ back in October and have already gained a following. Now is the perfect time to join ‘TheStan’ (the name of their fandom) before they explode onto the scene!
We recommend listening to: ‘Burn’… when it drops!
2019 was a pretty great year for BENEE. Her track ‘Glitter’ quietly became a viral hit on TikTok, resulting in over 250,000 TikToks and an increase of 2 million streams for the song, which is now certified Gold in both New Zealand and Australia. She dropped her EP Stella & Steve which has received a sum of praise from various tastemakers and she just got off touring the US with Conan Gray!
After sharing a number of self-released GarageBand covers on SoundCloud, BENEE found herself writing and recording at Golden Age Studio with producer Josh Fountain during her senior year of high school. She’s already been making herself known back home in New Zealand and Australia after releasing her Platinum-Certified breakout single ‘Soaked’ in 2018 and we believe she’s ready for world domination in the new year. You can find BENEE’s music making itself at home in between the genres of indie-pop and R&B, creating a sound that’s unique to her.
The rap game appears to have earned a new contender! Over the past few months, you may have seen the name “Aitch” starting to pop up around the place, particularly if you reside in the UK. The rapper hailing from Manchester, England started his career not too long ago, just freestyling with his group of friends on the schoolyard. After being signed with Entertainment Company Northern Quarters, Aitch released his career-defining ‘Straight Rhymez’ Freestyle which accumulated over 5 million views within 5 months.
Only bursting onto the scene in 2019, Aitch (real name Harrison Armstrong)’s short career has already seen him perform with the likes of Wiley and Bugzy Malone as well as receiving co-signs from global figures such as Stormzy, Virgil Abloh, Charlie Sloth and Lil Dirk, all at the tender age of 20. We’re super stoked to see what 2020 has in store for him and hope to see him make it international in the very near future.
Donna Missal is another of our ones to watch for 2020. Last year she dropped her two singles ‘Get Well’ and ‘You Burned Me’ which we totally fell in love with, and it turns out we aren’t the only ones either. Donna joined none other than Lewis Capaldi on the beginning of his European tour towards the end of 2019 which continues this year. Speaking about her, Lewis said in interviews: “you can’t take your eyes off her when she performs because she’s overflowing with passion. She’s got a great voice that’s like being punched in the face in the best possible way, it’s so powerful and it knocks you back.” Honestly, we can’t think of a better way to describe Donna’s vocals than that! Having released her debut album 2018, we’re hoping that 2020 is the year our ears are blessed with a bigger body of Missal’s work. One can surely hope!
Adding some glitter and pizzaz into 2020 is Miss Benny. Creating glittery synth-pop, Miss Benny (the persona of Ben J. Pierce) sashayed onto the music scene about a year ago with his debut single ‘Rendezvous’ which showcases just how talented he is, as he wrote and produced the song himself. Three singles in, we are loving what Miss Benny is serving. We’re not quite sure what the finer details of his 2020 plans are but according to Twitter, we can prepare ourselves for a longer body of work from Miss Benny in the next 12 months and after regularly serving bops in 2019, we can hardly wait.
There’s always room for upcoming bands in the world and Telltale is one we’re excited about. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia Telltale is a four-piece punk rock band consisting of John Carter (vocals), Bryce Marshall (guitar), Tim Fogg (Bass), and Travis Slack (Drums) who have been making a name for themselves while supporting the likes of Forever Came Calling, Slaves, Settle Your Scores, Neverkept, Young Culture, and Sink the Ship. 2019 saw them release their album Timeless Youth, a record full of stories relating to growing pains that every generation who reaches their early 20’s can relate to. While their plans for the new year aren’t quite clear yet, we have confidence in them being a punk rock prodigy and keeping the genre alive and well for the foreseeable future.
After KPOP girl groups slaying the year of 2019 of course, we’re excited to tell you about another one! Everglow made their debut back in March and consists of six members; E:U, Sihyeon, Mia, Onda, Aisha and Yiren. They released their single album Arrival of Everglow with the single ‘Bon Bon Chocolat’. The single peaked at number six on the World Digital Songs Sales Chart chart which was the first sign of proof that they are a force to be reckoned with. Their comeback in August saw them release their second single album Hush with lead single Adios which earned them a number two peak on the World Digital Song Sales chart.
They may have been around for less than a year, but that didn’t stop them from earning a number of award nominations, also landing them their first music program broadcast award on The Show! Given their success from the get-go, we have a strong feeling that 2020 will double the luck of Everglow!
Isabela Merced is a triple threat: she’s a singer-songwriter, actress and producer. Oh, and she’s just 18. Her music is a concoction of her fierce attitude, catchy pop hooks and Latin melodies enriched from her roots. This year she dropped her single ‘Papi’ – the first song under her stage name which pays tribute to her grandmother Yolanda Merced and her Peruvian heritage – which, quite frankly we’ve failed to get out of our heads, not that we’ve actually wanted to because it’s a certified bop. The music video, which dropped about a month ago, has already accumulated 9.3 million views, so it’s pretty clear that we’re all craving more Isabela, and something tells us that 2020 Miss Merced will be feeding us well.
American-born British singer Celeste is has been announced as the recipient of the Rising Star Award at the BRITs 2020 and is set to perform at the ceremony this coming February. Back in November our ears blessed with the ‘Lately’ EP, followed closely with her debut compilation album ‘Compilation 1.1’. And it’s not just us who became fans of Celeste this year, as Sir Elton John added ‘Strange’ and ‘She’s My Sunshine’ to his Personal Apple Music playlist. Not bad going, right? The end of 2019 saw soul singers get even more well-earned recognition, including the BBC Music Award for BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year and Amazon Music Ones to Watch 2020.
If like us, it was love at first listen, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Celeste is embarking on her first headline tour in April which is also when her debut studio album is pegged to release. We can hardly wait!
2019 was quite the year for Nicole Bus. Before we were blessed with her debut album Kairos which she co-produced, her single ‘You’ track jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in just eight weeks on Billboard’s Adult R&B Song chart matching the fastest-rising Adult R&B No. 1 for a debut hit. Her single ‘Mr Big Shot’ also peaked in the top 20 of the US Adult R&B at number 19.
Now, Nicole is gearing up for her 18-city ‘The Arise and Shine’ tour across the US, which includes dates in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco and takes place through February and March. The tour is the perfect chance to witness Bus’s greatness up-close so you can see for yourself why we believe she’s one to watch in 2020.
Last, but by no means in any way least, is Alaina Castillo 2019 saw the Texan singer-songwriter gain a diehard online following with over 900,000 fans with over 700K YouTube subscribers and counting. She earned herself 3 million TikTok plays in only 2 weeks, solidating the fact that her fans aren’t here to play! This year saw Alaina release her debut EP ‘Antisocial Butterfly’; a collection of songs that explores how she was feeling during specific events. It’s also home to her single ‘i don’t think i love you anymore’, which earned her 2.5 YouTube views in the short space of a month and was also recently added to none other than Billie Eilish‘s personal playlist on Spotify.
In the evergrowing rise of “Spanglish” music, Castillo proudly showcases her Latin roots through merging her love of dance and hip-hop sounds to create her own unique sound which we simply cannot get enough of. After establishing herself to her Gen Z following in 2019, we are hyped to see what 2020 brings for Alaina.
Phew! What a list. We hope you’re as excited as we are to discover some incredible artists in time for 2020!
Are you loving any of these artists? What up-and-coming artists would you put on your ‘ones to watch’ list? Let us know down in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!
Featured Image: Jazmin Williams
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Creative Director of The Honey POP. Disney and pop culture enthusiast.