Sia’s rise to stardom seemingly happened overnight, but one look at the Australian artist’s years of involvement in the music industry tells another story entirely. She originally found her start in the mid-90s as a singer in an acid jazz band, which would eventually disband in 1997.
The next page in Sia’s story reads like that of too many overlooked talents in the music world at large. She would spend the next two or so decades releasing five studio albums with little mainstream traction and would subsequently decide to step away from the limelight in favor of songwriting for other notable artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna. While Sia could have very much continued a long and prosperous songwriting career, it was only a matter of time before she stepped back into the limelight with her phenomenal breakthrough album, 2014′s 1000 Forms of Fear.
Sia is without a doubt one of the hardest working and most talented voices in the world of modern of pop music, and to many, she’s living proof that dreams truly are attainable for those continuously pushing ever-forward. So, in honor of one of the brightest voices in modern pop, we hand-selected a few artists who are on the road to becoming the next definitive voice in pop music. These are seven Ones To Know if you’re a fan of Sia.
The term wunderkind gets thrown around a lot in a music world where rising stars are emerging at increasingly younger ages. However, wunderkind feels like no exaggeration when describing the likes of Billie Eilish. The 16-year-old artist delivers song after song that reminds the world why Eilish is such an interesting act to follow. Unrestrained by a singular genre, Eilish tackles typical pop conventions with such liquid acrobatics that it gives ample reason as to why the terms art pop and dark pop were created in the first place. Combine this excellent approach with her ethereal and immaculate vocal delivery, and the rest is history. In the same way that Sia brought a new and interesting take to popular music, Eilish has spent the last year doing the very same with her constantly evolving and consistently transfixing debut EP, don’t smile at me. Only time will tell just what new innovations this wunderkind will bring to pop music.
The first thing one often notices about Molly Kate Kestner is her voice. It’s a seemingly simple thing to notice about any artist, but the fact that it bears mentioning is a testament to the emotional nature imbued in every one of her tracks. Kestner first received massive attention while she was still in high school, during which her original song “His Daughter” went viral on Youtube, racking up over 7-million plays in a matter of weeks. Since the release of her viral Youtube sensation, Kestner has landed a deal with Atlantic records, played a residency at the infamous Hotel Café in Los Angeles, and has released a number of singles that continue to provide further evidence for the singer’s impressive ability to craft beautifully arresting numbers with the utmost minimal of tools. If all of that wasn’t enough, Kestner recently co-wrote “Move You” for Kelly Clarkson, establishing the rising star as a fully-fledged multi-talented artist.
The youngest on the list, the 14-year-old prodigy Grace VanderWaal is in a class all her own. VanderWaal first began composing her very first songs at the astonishing age of three, and in the coming years would continue to polish her innate talent for crafting transcendent pop music. The young singer-songwriter would first amaze audiences across the world during the 11th season of America’s Got Talent, where she would win the competition at the impressive age of 12. While VanderWaal’s age may be all one needs to give credence to the notion that she is both figuratively and literally the future of pop music, the singer-songwriter contains a wealth of talent well beyond her years. VanderWaal’s sweet yet developed voice coupled with her inherent sense of musicality lends her songs a palpable level of prowess, a prowess that allows VanderWaal to stand as an equal to any seasoned veteran in the world of pop.
It’s no secret that Sweden has a history of releasing some of the best pop music the world has to offer, and Swedish indie-pop powerhouse is poised to leave her name amongst that hallowed history. While Sia’s unique brand of pop was informed by her upbringing in sunny Adelaide, Australia, LÉON’s particular brand of pop abounds with the essence of her native Stockholm. The entirety of it all is a perfect blend of catchy pop tunes with irresistible hooks and poignant melancholic lyricism. And LÈON is more than just a beautiful voice with serious songwriting skills, although her stunning voice would be more than enough, she’s the epitome of a leading front woman. Before LÉON was the artist we’ve now come to know and love today, she was the 17-year-old front woman of a ten-piece hip-hop and soul band where she clearly cultivated her performance skills. If that’s not enough to convince you, then go ahead and check out a special All Eyes On Performance of LÉON done by yours truly.
In the earliest stages of Sia’s career as a global-spanning pop icon, the world lacked a clear picture of who Sia really was, as the enigmatic artist opted to remain a mystery hidden behind a series of elaborate wigs. Sia was an artist hidden in plain sight. In a similar vein, Poppy is budding pop star hidden in plain sight, although Poppy’s camouflage is the very titular Poppy character itself. Poppy is a multimedia star, commanding a loyal and rabid fan base through the strange and mesmerizing YouTube videos she releases that garner millions of plays, and at the same time Poppy is a budding pop star who makes delightful and effervescent pop music. However, in both iterations of Poppy, there is an underlying deeper sense of creation at hand, with Poppy in her Youtube videos often acting out nonsensical skits similar to the ones may find in an arthouse cinema project. While the strange yet enticing enigma of who Poppy really is as an artist may always remain a question, the fact that she creates irresistible pop music is certainly no question at all.
A clear parallel can be drawn from Sia and Julia Michael’s history of working in and surrounding pop music. The former penned hits for the likes of David Guetta, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, and the latter penned hits for the likes of Justin Bieber, Tove Lo, and Selena Gomez. Michaels could have continued helping to create some of the most successful pop music out there, but there came a moment in the creation process where she found herself breathing life into a song that came from the innermost parts of her soul. It was a song that she simply couldn’t imagine being performed by anyone else but herself. The creation in question was the breakout hit “Issues,” a wholly infectious pop number with electrifying production that introduced Julia Michaels to the world in glorious fashion. With the release of Michael’s debut album, 2017’s Nervous System, and a GRAMMY Award–nomination in 2018 for Best New Artist, it’s likely that Michaels very well may follow into the steps of a similar songwriter turned pop star.
Jazz informs the beginnings of both Dagny’s and Sia’s music career. Sia found her start in a local Adelaide jazz band in her native Australia, while two jazz artists in Norway would raise one of the most promising voices in modern day pop, Dagny. The Norwegian pop princess has a special talent for delivering radio-worthy pop hits that never feel tired or trite, rather every one of Dagny’s songs contains at its core the very essence of what makes pop music so popular in the first place. Dagny never fails to deliver a song that is anthemic in nature, marvelous in its production, or bursting at the seams with the spellbinding energy that exists solely to the genre. Simply put, the Norwegian pop princess knows how to craft an amazing pop song with staying power, which by no means is an easy feat. If there was one complaint to be had with Dagny’s music, it’s that there’s not more of it.