It’s a big day, folks. Legendary Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger turns 76, capping off another 365 days of stardom in a nearly six-decade long career as a poster-child of rock and roll. Fronting a band is a glamorous job, but certainly not an easy one. We here at Ones to Watch have a lot of respect for those bandleaders that can work a crowd into a frenzy and make thousands of people sob by the sheer power of their artistry.
In honor of Mick Jagger’s illustrious career as a paragon of performance, we’re here to introduce 12 front(wo)men that are on track to carry on our favorite rock legend’s legacy as entertainment icons. Happy Birthday, Jagger!
Josh Taylor (half•alive)
We’ve had half•alive on our radar ever since the release of their funk-injected indie-pop number “still feel.” in 2018. Since then, we haven’t been able to take our eyes off of the band’s magnetic frontman, Josh Taylor. Serving up glassy falsetto hooks while backed by the band’s hypnotic retro grooves, Taylor glides through underplayed, cool-as-can-be choreography to lead a show that that will have you buzzing long after the final curtain.
Jordan Miller (The Beaches)
As a hobbyist musician, I have a lot of respect for musicians who can juggle singing, playing an instrument, and absolutely owning the spotlight all at once, and nobody does it quite like Jordan Miller of The Beaches. Miller delivers fiery vocals while playing a driving rock bass, flawlessly balancing the high-energy performance required of a frontwoman while maintaining the rock-steady precision of an expert bassist. Peep her bringing down the house with The Beaches on Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Garage Gigs.’
Winston Surfshirt (Winston Surfshirt)
With a name like Winston Surfshirt, there’s no way this guy wouldn’t be the coolest cat south of the equator. Surfshirt is the leader of the 6-piece soul collective that bears his name, delivering psychedelic kickback vibes that have even convinced Elton John he’s the life of the party. Need proof? Watch Winston light up a spliff and lead the crowd in a sensual sermon of soul at 2019’s Splendour in the Grass.
Dylan Nash (Liily)
The long hair-tight tee combo has long been a staple in rock music and is a style that Mick Jagger has owned for decades. Carrying on this bastion of fashion is frontman Dylan Nash of alt-rock band Liily – but more importantly, beyond the hair flips and erratic dance moves, Nash delivers robust, gravelly vocals that embody the inherently rebellious nature of rock and roll. Put on your stank face and check out Liily’s performance at Ones to Watch’s showcase ‘All Eyes On’ – we bet you’ll be head-banging in seconds.
Lydia Night (The Regrettes)
Don’t let the pink Telecaster and button nose fool you – Lydia Night of The Regrettes delivers a hard fucking show. Fronting a four-piece rock band takes a lot of power, a 18-year-old Night delivers unapologetic lyrics (and often political ones – The Regrettes’ track “Poor Boy” has been called “an anti-Brett Kavanaugh anthem” and a “feminist call to arms”) with a ferocity far beyond her years. Watch her prove it on Conan.
Jake Luppen (Hippo Campus)
Anybody who has seen The Rolling Stones live (or hasn’t been living under a rock) knows about Jagger’s legendary hyperactivity when he’s fronting the band. Well, Jake Luppen draws upon this same scattershot energy with Hippo Campus, generating a rapturous performance you can’t take your eyes off of. Whether he’s doubled over in passion during a particularly tasty guitar lick or leaping up and down during one of the band’s booming choruses, you can be sure Luppen will get your blood pumping.
Nick Hinman (Palm Springsteen)
Los Angeles upstart Palm Springsteen is a band that oozes charisma, and at the front and center of it all is Nick Hinman. Taking inspiration from entertainers who revel in the lunacy of performance, like The Talking Heads’ David Byrne or Prince, Hinman owns every eye in the room when he thrashes around the stage hollering infectious hooks and hyping up his band. The dude also has a killer wardrobe – he’s practically a walking high-end thrift shop. Check out Palm Springsteen’s video for “Sister Sister;” you only need to glimpse Hinman’s devilish grin for a moment to understand his captivating power.
Katie Gavin (MUNA)
An excellent bandleader can’t get lost in the shuffle; they have to have fascinating individuality that captivates their audience, a real je ne sais quoi that you can’t put into words. MUNA frontwoman Katie Gavin goes beyond taking this sentiment to heart. From her chic, candy apple bob to her bouncy physicality to her shimmery, drawling vocals, it’s clear that Gavin basically sweats personality – and lord knows, she can get a crowd working up a sweat, too.
Zach Charles (A R I Z O N A)
Electro-pop group A R I Z O N A puts on a hell of a performance, in large part due to singer Zach Charles’ raw emotionality. The group is known for producing massive walls of sound that wash over the listener. Chief among the components of this soundscape is Charles pouring every ounce of passion he’s got into the mic, conjuring up a sonorous lead that never fails to enrapture anybody listening.
Travis Hawley (Night Riots)
A key weapon in a successful frontman’s arsenal is the ability to tell a story, which is something that Night Riots’ Travis Hawley has in spades. Hawley approaches the mic like an old friend, letting loose his pristine tenor in an enthralling display of candor and vulnerability. Ones to Watch has had the pleasure of hosting Night Riots at one of our ‘All Eyes On’ showcases – check out the video and get lost in Hawley’s vocal, just like you might when Mick Jagger performs “Wild Horses.”
Hannah Joy (Middle Kids)
There’s nothing more authoritative than a female bandleader in a co-ed band, and joining the likes of powerhouse frontwomen like Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O and Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard is Hannah Joy of Middle Kids. Joy’s emotive vocals and passionate guitar work have played a large part in scoring the Australian group support slots with acts like Bloc Party and Cold War Kids, and even saw them win FBi Radio’s Northern Lights competition to clinch a spot at Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavík.
Murray Matravers (Easy Life)
Murray Matravers of British export Easy Life presents a distinctly modern twist on Mick Jagger’s signature swagger (say that 10 times fast!) Matravers, true to his band’s name, exudes an effortless comfortability onstage that makes the audience feel right at home, swaddled in the group’s neo-soul, hip-hop-tinged sound. The alluring effortlessness of Matraver’s performance is something that can’t be taught; rather, it’s something the best frontmen are born with.