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Musicians To Look Out For In 2022: 10 Rising Artists You Need To Know
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List & Guides

Musicians To Look Out For In 2022: 10 Rising Artists You Need To Know

From offbeat pop mavericks to state-of-the-nation indie rockers, these musicians to look out for in 2022 all seem set to make history.

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Some of the best songs of 2021 came from both established artists and relative newcomers alike. As another new year dawns, it’s always worth keeping our eyes and ears open to up-and-coming artists who seem likely to be thrust into the limelight. Whether you are into pop, hip-hop or indie-rock, the sheer diversity of musical talent bubbling up to the surface means you are truly spoilt for choice for the best musicians to look out for in 2022 – but, luckily, there’s something for everyone. Here is a countdown of the rising stars that have caught our attention as ones to watch…

Listen to our Pop playlist here, and check out our musicians to look out for in 2022, below.

10: Reiley

With over 11 million TikTok followers and counting, the Faroe Islands-born 21-year-old Reiley launched his career as a songwriter with his iPhone-jingle-sampling debut single, Let It Ring, in March 2021. Quickly amassing over two million views on YouTube, the song is a canny pop fantasia of colour and imagination, bolstered by Reiley’s yo-yoing vocals and his quirky fashion sense. It’ll be fascinating to see how the singer’s fully-rounded social-media personality branches out into the modern landscape of contemporary pop, and, as one of our musicians to look out for in 2022, it will be worth watching how Reiley’s career develops throughout the year.

Must hear: Let It Ring

9: Courting

In recent years, the UK indie scene has seen a remarkable rise in post-Brexit acerbic social commentary, thanks to the likes of Fontaines DC, Idles and Sports Team. The Liverpool-based band Courting fits this mould, with frontman Sean Murphy-O’Neill’s thorny lyricism fuelling scrappy punk takedowns of modern British life. From musing on the perils of shopping at Tesco to pondering the possibility of sexual relations with Kanye West, this is a band whose tongue-in-cheek wit is as eye-opening as it sounds. Following the release of their debut EP, Grand National, in April 2021, we’re willing to bet you can expect Courting to go onto bigger and better things.

Must hear: Grand National

8: Priya Ragu

Hotly tipped as a rising star, Priya Ragu’s fearlessly broad-minded pop ambitions mix R&B, soul and hip-hop influences with South Asian flavours into a worldly melting pot. Born to Sri Lankan refugees, her stirring sonic recipe recalls MIA in its diverse and offbeat experimentalism, mixing genres and redefining how pop music should sound in the 21st century. Recently listed in the BBC’s Sound Of 2022, Ragu is poised to bring her tenacious musical vision to a wider audience, fighting for issues such as female empowerment and representation of ethnic minorities in the industry. Easily one of the most exciting musicians to look out for in 2022, the year could be hers for the taking.

Must hear: Chicken Lemon Rice

7: Dylan Fraser

Scottish singer-songwriter Dylan Fraser’s music has an indie feel but often dabbles in different sonics, such as electronic beats and rap-influenced vocal effects. Back in 2020, Fraser’s debut EP, The Storm, flitted across genres like a grasshopper in the wind while indulging in folk-based storytelling that reflected his upbringing in the Scottish town of Bathgate. An exciting new voice with an alternative edge, Fraser isn’t afraid to veer away from purely guitar-driven music, influenced as he is by acts as wide-ranging as Kanye West, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead and Lorde. With such a refreshing approach, at just 20 years old Fraser had yet to reach the peak of his abilities. Only time will tell just how far his innovations will go.

Must hear: Nightmare

6: Yung Filly

As well as becoming a popular YouTube personality ever since launching his channel in 2013, comedian Yung Filly is also a notable rap artist who scored a UK Top 40 hit with Hold, in 2020, with fellow YouTuber Chunkz. Now flying solo, the 26-year-old went viral after releasing his video for 100 Bags Freestyle, notching up 1.7 million views with a drill-influenced track that showcased his smooth-voiced rap flow. With over 900,000 YouTube subscribers to date, Yung Filly’s followers are now waiting with bated breath to see where his rap career goes next, particularly now that UK drill has gone mainstream since Body, by Russ Millions and Tion Wayne, went to No.1. If Yung Filly plays his cards right, 2022 could well be his year.

Must hear: 100 Bags Freestyle

5: Mia Rodriguez

Sydney-based TikTokker turned pop star Mia Rodriguez upped the ante with her 2021 single, Billion Dollar Bitch, a delectable hype track full of booming bass and Latin-esque swagger featuring Yung Baby Tate. Moving beyond her e-girl origins to embrace an image as a goth-tinged glamour doll, Rodriguez is a quirky and eccentric starlet-in-waiting with contemporary R&B appeal, making her one of the most promising musicians to look out for in 2022. Already a big star in her native Australia after winning Best New Artist at this year’s Rolling Stone Australia Awards, if there’s anyone who can create a breakout globe-conquering hit that takes the rest of the world by storm, it’s Rodriguez.

Must hear: Billion Dollar Bitch

4: Yard Act

As if fronted by the long-lost son of The Fall’s Mark E Smith, Yard Act’s darkly humorous and sardonic breed of post-punk could well bring indie back from the brink. Anchored by lead singer James Smith’s withering social observations and riotous character sketches à la Jarvis Cocker, the Leeds band should immediately be considered among the UK’s top musicians to look out for in 2022. With quintessentially British ire and satirical barbs lampooning Middle England, Yard Act look set to be a festival highlight and – dare we say it – possibly garner themselves a Mercury Prize nomination. Anything’s possible for these lads.

Must hear: The Overload

3: Gabriels

Six months after his mesmerising performance of Love And Hate In A Different Time during lockdown on Later… With Jools Holland, in June 2021, singer and choirmaster Jacob Lusk dropped his first and second EPs before the year was out. As if channelling the spirits of Curtis Mayfield and Bobby Womack, the LA-based soul singer performs under the banner of Gabriels, and truly astonishes with his angelic singing voice. Songs range from piano-based jazz and gospel-tinged soul, full of pain and longing, albeit smothered in artful and sultry production touches. Straddling the line between the traditional and the experimental, a full-length record by Gabriels would be nothing short of majestic, and that’s why he makes our list of the musicians to look out for in 2022, in the hope that his debut album will follow.

Must hear: Love And Hate In A Different Time

2: Wet Leg

There’s been a lot of fuss made about Wet Leg – and for good reason. Hailing from the Isle Of Wight, their bolting-horse of a debut single, Chaise Longue, was a spoken-word indie-punk gem. As singers Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers trade brazenly quirky lyrics with a dash of surreal humour (“Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?”), the song surprised many by making it onto the US Alternative Songs chart – not that we should be shocked to find there’s an appetite for unusual guitar music nowadays. Judging by their follow-up singles Wet Dream and Too Late Now, the band have shown they have more than a few tricks up their sleeve. With their debut album is due for release in March 2022, Wet Leg better brace themselves because this year will likely get them off the chaise longue and onto the festival circuit. It’s time to hit the big time!

Must hear: Chaise Longue

1: Thomas Headon

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Thomas Headon is a 21-year-old bedroom-pop songwriter who will appeal to fans of The 1975, Alfie Templeman and Harry Styles. Headon’s emo-inflected voice and sun-kissed melodies skirt the boundaries of commercial pop but root themselves in clean indie sounds. For those of us who long for the return of guitar bands, you can’t deny there’s something refreshing about the sugar-coated breeziness of Thomas Headon’s songwriting, which often recalls 80s power-pop in its sunny disposition. With a growing fanbase and looks that are likely to attract an army of fans with a hankering for watermelon-sugar highs, Thomas Headon deservedly tops our list of the most promising musicians to look out for in 2022.

Must hear: Nobody Has to Know

You’ve seen the most exciting musicians to look out for in 2022, now relive past gloried with the best songs of 2021.

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