Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, the renowned cultural and religious celebration of the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Yes, that very one who drove the snakes out of the country. Also, more popularly known as an excuse for Americans to wear atrocious shades of green and drink their weight in Guinness before noon. What a glorious holiday indeed. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we here at Ones To Watch are celebrating the only way we know how–by highlighting some of the best rising talent out of Ireland.
Emerging from Athy, Ireland, alternative pop band Picture This has easily become one of Ireland’s hottest musical exports. 2019 saw the release of the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album MDRN LV, which exemplified the anthemic yet profound sound we have come to expect from the Irish quartet. Having sat down with the Picture This for a Quick 6 interview ahead of the band’s upcoming North American tour, we can say with the utmost certainty, that this is one Irish band you need to be keeping your eye on.
Growing up as the only black kid on Dublin’s Northside, Rejjie Snow is without a doubt one of the most pivotal hip-hop figures to come out of Ireland. From his debut EP, Rejovich, to his debut album, Dear Annie, Snow has carved out a lane entirely unto himself that continually defies any simple classifications or expectations. Part hip-hop visionary, part experimentalist, Snow is an artist you need across every one of your playlists.
Dublin native Dermot Kennedy’s ineffable gift for songwriting is nothing short of striking. With his haunting voice and heart-rending songwriting, Kennedy paints sonic portraits that are rife with emotion. More than just emotionally stirring music, the Dublin native’s folk-driven meditations feel as if they are hinting towards tightly-held secrets that hold the key to truly understanding the human experience.
Irish-born artist Jess Smyth, more popularly known by the moniker Biig Piig, has proven to be one of our favorite musical discoveries of the last year. An effortless blend of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and neo-soul sonics, Smyth’s music is intoxicating. Her debut EP, Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol. 1, illustrates Smyth’s intrinsic gift for delivering songs that feel as if they have a life of their own. From the vignettes chronicling love and loss to illuminating the late-night city life of her upbringing, Biig Piig is building a discography of limitless promise.
NUXSENSE is everything you could want from a rising hip-hop collective. Comprised of YUNG PESO, Jehnova, luthorist (who just dropped his debut album, Hueco Mundo), Bogzy, AL-I, and sivv, the hip-hop collective may operate out of Dublin, but their roots extend across Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe. A shared immigrant experience and passion for music fuels NUXSENSE, who may just turn out to be Ireland’s answer to BROCKHAMPTON.
A singer-songwriter out of Dublin, Ireland, Sorcha Richardson is the very definition of a self-made artist. Relying on the Internet to self-release her music and handwriting notes to listeners, the evolution of this promising rising talent has been a sight to behold. Currently working towards her long-awaited debut album, Richardson has been teasing the project with charming gems of pop-minded songwriting greatness. We, for one, cannot wait for what this Irish talent has in store for us.
Out of a small town in Count Derry, Northern Ireland’s JC Stewart is weaving together a sonic story imbued with a magical quality. The soulful pop artist began writing music as a teenager, and it was not long before he realized that music was the only vehicle to properly express himself. And by no means are we complaining. Over the course of a series of singles, Stewart has demonstrated his knack from introspective songwriting that feels cinematic in scope.
Dublin rapper Kojaque is a man of many talents. The co-founder of independent label Soft Boy Records, a visual artist, and a growing facet of both the Irish and international music scene, Kojaque is clearly here to stay. In his own music, the distinctive artist waxes poetic about life as modern Dubliner atop sampling and jazz beats. The end result is a project whose MF DOOM influences can be heard loud and clear, all while presenting an entirely new artistic vision.