The 25 Artists to Watch in 2022
2021 was no one's year… well, except maybe Pete Davidson's. Whatever the case, if there was one silver lining, it was the deluge of new music and artists that scored every unpredictable twist and turn. And looking ahead, 2022 has no shortage of artists looking to leave their mark on the music scene at large. Ranging from pop stars in the making, genre-eschewing kids of tomorrow, to nostalgic throwbacks, these are the top 25 artists you need to be watching in 2022.
With his face hidden behind an LED faceplate, we may not know who BoyWithUke is, but one thing we know for certain is that he's poised to be the next big thing. The enigmatic pop icon creates in stark opposition to his anonymous persona, wearing his heart on his sleeve on albums Melatonin Dreams and Fever Dreams - both released in 2021. It's this confessional approaching to songwriting paired with nostalgic indie pop that has earned the rapidly rising artist over 12 million monthly listeners on Spotify and a devoted, rapidly growing fanbase. Who Is BoyWithUke? He's up next.
Digicore, hyperpop, or whatever microgenre you might call it, ericdoa is an artist more than capable of carrying the torch forward. The byproduct of a flurry of internet communities and collaborations, this kid out of a small town in Connecticut delivers a pixelated vision for pop's iridescent future. 2021 saw the artist release then i'll be happy, a collaborative EP with fellow hyperpop breakthrough artist glaive, and a series of singles, including "fantasize," a summer smash that has been on repeat since its initial drop. As ericdoa continues to build on the foundation of an already impressive discography that speaks for itself, 2022 is starting to feel more and more like his year.
There are few artists who can craft a beguiling song quite like Wallice. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter and self-professed jazz school dropout whisks into existence coming-of-age stories from the mundanity of leaving a Hydro Flask in the back of an emotionally unavailable ex's car to the foolhardy ambition of having life figured out by the time you turn 23. These lessons learned and those she's still trying to figure out build the emotional crux of her acclaimed debut EP, Off the Rails, a succinct collection of sprawling confessionals. And as we enter 2022, it certainly seems like there will be no shortage of stories, both deeply personal and universal, for Wallice to transpose into stirring indie rock.
The culmination of 2021 saw the release of midwxst's Back in Action. The project arrived as a sonic victory lap for the Indiana rapper and artist, delivering an intoxicating composite of pop, digicore, early childhood nostalgia, and emo-rap. But the road to Back in Action wasn't paved in gold. Feeling like an outsider for most of his childhood, it wasn't until midwxst found a home amongst a group of like-minded kids on SoundCloud that he matured into the artist he is today - one coupling all the unpredictable chaos of young adulthood with the honed maturity of a seasoned veteran.
Even if you don't know PinkPantheress by name quite yet, if you've spent any time on TikTok in the last year, chances are you've heard her music. The UK artist and producer blends hushed, diary-style musings with ethereal drum & bass. It's an intoxicating cocktail of wistful inspirations that has earned PinkPantheress a particular level of online fame, with snippets of her singles often going viral long before their release. And with the release of her debut mixtape last year, to hell with it, showcasing the range of the inevitable UK star, 2022 is shaping up to be one hell of a year for PinkPantheress.
In the world of social media, Bella Poarch is a household name, and it seems like the next step in her inevitable world domination is music. While initial detractors may have been overly skeptical of the TikTok star's pivot to cutthroat pop, any misplaced doubt was quickly put to rest with her debut single, "Build a Bitch." Playing out as equal parts biting social commentary and twisted, carnival-esque pop smash, the single introduced the world to Poarch, social media icon and budding pop star. And with the release of the equally enthralling follow-up "Inferno," it seems like there's simply no stopping Poarch in the year to come.
"Chaise Lounge" may have just been the best song of 2021, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Formed atop a Ferris wheel on an island off the south coast of England, Wet Leg, comprised of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, is built around a shared love of French disco, The Ronettes, Bjà¶rk, and their lively imaginations. The result is a band that strays the line between talkative art-punk on the innuendo-heavy breakout hit "Chaise Lounge" and anthemic indie rock on songs like "Wet Dream." Wet Leg is a laissez-faire indie rocker's dream come true.
ENNY is set to become a fixture in the UK's thriving rap scene. The South London rapper saw her first instance of viral success following a remix of her single "Peng Black Girls," which featured none other than Jorja Smith. Yet, even in its original form, "Peng Black Girls" is a shining illustration of what makes ENNY an act worth championing in 2022. Over a chilled-out beat, she muses on diversity and inclusion, and not just shallow portrayals of it that seek to appease passing trends of social consciousness but on the importance of seeing the inclusion of black women on your teams and the inherent diversity that exists amongst black women as a whole. ENNY is an artist with a poignant message and the sonic skill to carry it to a global stage.
Taking up the cello and piano at an early age, partially inspired her mother, a classical violinist, it was in her father's record collection that Laufey truly found a kindred spirit, losing herself in the timeless sounds of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. The result is a modern-day reimagining of the classics, bridging the worlds of classical music, jazz, and modern pop to paint a lush sonic portrait that is nothing short of mesmerizing. Even though Laufey may only have one EP to her name, Typical of Me, her timeworn sound and spellbinding vocals have all the trappings of a timeless success story.
Self-described as "ya aunty's favorite boyband," I have to say... damn, ya aunty's got amazing taste. Comprised of longtime best friends, Srikar Nanduri, Manas Panchavati, Tanmay Joshi, Abhi Manhass, and Marco Luka, Weston Estate may have penned a deal with Arista Records and be racking up streams in the millions, but the North Carolina-based band hasn't forgotten their homegrown roots. Insisting on doing the majority of their production and songwriting in-house, listening to Weston Estate feels like accidentally stumbling onto your favorite band's impromptu jam session. Laid-back yet well-hone, dreamlike yet firmly planted in their vision, Weston Estate is shaping up to make major strides in the year to come.
To say Slush Puppy's music is explosive would be a severe understatement. On his Royal & the Serpent-assisted breakout hit "EAT SPIT!," the San Diego-bred artist delivers his lines with the menacing snarl of a rabid junkyard dog, launching into earth-shattering bouts of catharsis against volatile, blown-out production. Yet, on "Juliette," Slush perfectly plays the role of lovelorn slacker, evoking all the latent appeal of early '00s indie rock. It's clear that whether you put a spike or plush velvet collar on this Puppy, his bite sinks his teeth into you never quite lets go.
17-year-old Maryland rapper redveil is a Prince George county kid just trying to make it, and he's well on his way. With a deep, raspy voice that evokes Earl Sweatshirt and an effortless bravado that pays heed to the greats without feeling stuck in the past, redveil feels poised for a breakthrough moment. Spending the better part of his teenage years releasing relentless cut after cut, from the hypnotic "04" to the timeworn "Weight," redveil has set himself up for a massive 2022.
There is a spiritual quality to Montell Fish's music. The New York-based artist's sonic place of worship is adorned modestly by sparse, lofi instrumentals and his striking falsetto that often seems like it's floating in a world of its own. Listening to Fish often feels like bearing witness to the creation of a new age of gospel music, one that seeks out the innate spirituality birthed in traditionally Black spaces of worship from the comfort of an unassuming New York apartment. And while fans will likely draw comparisons to the transcendent R&B of Frank Ocean or the gospel-inspired ruminations of early Kanye West, Fish's vision is uniquely his own.
Chances are you may know Nessa Barrett from TikTok, where she regularly commands an audience in the millions, but that was never the original plan. Before finding a home on the social media platform, the New Jersey artist had dreams of metamorphosing into an ominous pop queen. And following the release of not one but two breakout hit singles, the pop-punk leaning, jxdn-assisted "la di die" and undeniable earworm "i hope ur miserable until ur dead," Barret is well on her way to making those dreams a reality. Let 2022 be the year of Barrett's reign.
Gabriels make timeless, haunting music. The Los Angeles three-piece outfit, comprised of lead singer Jacob Lusk and producers Ari Balouzian and Ryan Hope, eschew generations to deliver a uniquely modern vision that draws inspiration from the time-honored traditions of blues, soul, and R&B. This is music whose passion and pain you can feel from the very opening note to the last lyric sung, each heaven-sent falsetto carrying with it the full force of Lusk's impressive vocal talent. Gabriels is set to leave their mark on 2022 and far, far beyond.
With her debut single, "sweet and sour" Amelia Moore perfectly shifted us from hot girl summer to spooky girl fall. Teasing the single for far too long with a series of viral TikTok videos, Moore finally revealed her debut single as a fully-formed blur of transfixing R&B, sinister pop, and rippling electronic textures. An emerging star was born. Currently working on her highly-anticipated debut project and set to join FLETCHER on tour this spring, 2022 is set to be the year Moore brings her enthralling pop vision to the world at large.
454 has a lot more going for him than a Frank Ocean co-sign (although that most certainly doesn't hurt). On his debut album, 4 Real, the Florida rapper creates his own woozy vision of psych-rap that feels like stumbling through a Euphoria-themed house party at 4 a.m. That's not to say 454 is all aesthetics, no substance. In between intoxicating bars and otherworldly beats and breakdowns, the Florida rapper touches upon deeply personal themes, ranging from losing family and friends to chasing fading highs. 454 is the next wave, and we're here for the ride.
Luna Li holds a special place on this list as both one of our top artists to watch in the year to come and one of the most proficient beatmakers of recent memory. The Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist has found a fanbase through both her homemade beats, racking up views in the millions and serving as the foundation for her stellar jams EP, as well as her ethereal brand of pop that pours out like the sonic equivalent of floating on cloud nine. These two sides of Li merge beautifully on Flower (In Bloom), which saw her nourishing the succinct beats of jams into flourishing, fully-formed works of their own. We cannot wait to see what Li blooms into existence next.
Riovaz exists at the hazy intersection of woozy rap cuts and bittersweet splice of bedroom pop and hip-hop. The result is a sound that blearily drifts between the lovesick indie pop of "Prom Night," the pulsating thrall of "I Feel Fantastic," and the atypical club meditation that is "Leaving You." Yet, whatever newfound sound Riovaz glides toward, the end result is the same - an infectious earworm that begs to be played on repeat. With a handful of singles that have gained streams in the millions in the past year, 2022 is set to be a breakthrough year for the genre-blurring wunderkind.
Indonesian rapper, singer, and producer Warren Hue is unpredictable in the best way possible. Whether it be the racing production and acrobatic flow of "omomo punk" or the genre-shifting twists and turns that build the kaleidoscopic world of the Chasu-assisted Sugartown, the sonic chameleon approaches music with a flexibility that is nothing short of infectious. Sending off 2021 with a series of standout singles and leaving his mark on Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings: The Album, the 88rising multi-hyphenate is poised for an even bigger 2022.
Teezo Touchdown has racked up co-signs from the likes of Tyler, the Creator, Madonna, and Givenchy's Matthew M Williams. Decked in his trademark hair entombed in nails, The Texas-based artist, multi-instrumentalist, and creative tour de force makes the very idea of genre feel like an archaic misnomer. Demonstrating a unique sonic vernacular that can stand toe to toe with Tyler on the celebratory "RUNITUP" one moment and delve into the genuinely introspective on "I'm Just a Fan" the next, there simply seems to be no limit to Touchdown's creative depth. If there was any time to believe the hype, this is it.
Hojean makes the sort of music perfectly apt for listless summer days and carefree joyrides. It's a testament to the Georgia-based singer, songwriter, and producer's hypnotic blend of alternative R&B and modern pop. The cherry on top is Hojean's charismatic and soothing vocals, which serve as a vehicle for lyrics that are ripped straight from the life of the Georgia artist and those closest to him. If there's one fault to be found with Hojean, it's that he's teased us with numerous standout singles without ever releasing a full-length project. Maybe 2022 will be both Hojean's and our year?
tsubi club may have released his one and only single last year, but it left an explosive enough first impression to firmly cement his place on the list. The solo project of soren, he describes the project as a “composite of music and visuals that combine everything I think is cool.” It's this omnivorous hunger that begins to explain the infectious appeal of "burbank house;" tsubi club's debut single that stitches together emo-rap, alternative, hyperpop, outright euphoria, and a thrilling reckless abandon to leave us with an insatiable appetite for what's to come.
marinelli, the singer, songwriter, producer, and former Billie Eilish drummer, can seemingly do it all. When it comes to his solo work, the Los Angeles-based multi-hyphenate crafts cinematic pop that pairs all the intimacy of a bedroom pop confessional and the precision of his impressive musical pedigree. For proof, look no further than his FINNEAS co-sign or debut EP, Funny Bone, a concise yet impactful six-song collection that sees marinelli wearing his still bleeding heart on his sleeve over meticulously constructed soundscapes. If 2022 has any taste, it'll be the year marinelli makes his mark.
Long before making her official debut, Seori was already amassing a legion of fans with a series of covers, ranging from Khalid to Rachael Yamagata, that earned her views in the millions. Not content to simply rest on her laurels, the South Korean artist released her debut EP ?depacse ohw to widespread acclaim. Tackling themes of isolation and loneliness and taking inspiration from Avril Lavigne, Paramore, and G-Dragon, Seori's music is a transcendent fusion of emotional pathos and infectious pop-R&B.