So I’ve changed the title once more - away from Online and Digital specifically to just Music in general. And the focus here is wider and more eclectic than ever before - touching on different countries and continents even - different dialects and languages.
If I were to name just one overarching trend it would be the continued growth/proliferation of the ’street’ forms of hip-hop - Grime and Trap in particular, and there are quite a few new up-and-comers in those areas, while I feel many of these artists will struggle to get out of the ’mandem’ ghettos and up into the mainstream.
In previous years I have been very strict on only allowing ’brand new’ artists into my ’Breakthrough’ category - and that criteria typically meant they could not have yet delivered their first proper album. But such is the nature of music that not everyone gets a fair crack of the whip even on second or third attempt.
My ambassador for 2020 shall be Canadian Alexandra Ashley Hughes AKA Allie X who has actually been working on her career for a while and has even participated in TV talent contests while by no means being a product of one - but more of that later. I actually struggled to arrange my selection of 35 breakthrough artists in any specific meaningful order - so I chose to simply list alphabetically and single out Allie X as this year’s poster-child as such.
I still stand by this selection - there are always other albums creeping in and out of my consciousness - including Jenny Hval's 'The Practice of Love' which just missed out on a mention in my end-of-year roundup. Bille Eilish still edges it for me overall - she is still The figurehead and poster-child for 2019 as far as I'm concerned :
I've already commented several times that on any particular day a different song or two would be uppermost in my mind - but I still really like all of the following. Possibly 'Bury a Friend' should be a little higher in the list, but 'Gone' is still a great signpost for 2019 :
As mentioned in the intro I decided to cast a slightly wider net this year. I trawled through all the usual New Artist recommendations - and many of those lists had 100 candidates on them - so I compared and contrasted extensively and exhaustively - and settled on these 35 listed here below.
In contrast to previous years I've permitted artists who already have published album/s to feature - as long as they've still to reach mainstream acceptance and exposure. Typically the past this has been some fairly young hotshot, and my choices have not always necessarily born out long-term either - such is the fickleness of the music industry.
What has to be said is that all the varieties you will ever have loved are available in abundance today - all types of rock, metal and electronic, hip hop, house, soul, boogie and reggae - and near enough most major genres are represented in this year's selection - with the exception of country, hard-rock and metal really :
Genres : Afrobeat, Alternative Rock, Boogie, Chip-Hop, Chip-Tunes, Disco, Deep-House, Dream-Pop, Electronic Pop, Electropop, Experimental Electronic Pop, Funk, Gospel, Hip Hop, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, House, Jazz, Kwaito-House, Neo-Jazz, Neo-Kudura, Pop, Pop-Punk, R&B, Roots Reggae, Soul, Trap, Synth-Pop, Synth-Rock
Countries Represented : Angola, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Iceland (x2), Ireland (x2), Jamaica, Portugal, Sweden, UK (x18), Ukraine, USA (x5)
I like all of these obviously - not necessarily all to the same degree, but each of these artists has more than the one good song in them. I'm a big fan of supporting new music - and hopefully those who read this can find a new artists or two to explore and support. Note that the youngest artist featured here is 15/16 and the oldest is 34 - so a span of age and experience too!
2020 is looking pretty exciting on the release-front with lots of my long-term favourite artists releasing this year - and probably quite a few surprises besides. I'm looking forward to each and everyone of these in particular - with Georgia's sophomore album the most imminent :