10 Artists to Watch in 2015: Ryn Weaver, Vince Staples, Years & Years and More
Can you believe it? 2014 has come and gone just like that, and that means another year of music is in the books. We have recapped the year with a bevy of lists, and now it is time to look ahead to what 2015 has in store for us. It is impossible to predict everything that is going to happen in 2015 and all of the viral trends that seem to pop up out of nowhere — "NaeNae," "Selfie," "Shmoney Dance" — but we can look into our crystal balls to see who is set to be successful in 2015. Looking toward the halfway point of this decade, we tab 10 artists who are poised for a breakout year in 2015. Some are hot, up-and-coming names like Goldlink, ZHU and Kygo, while others you may not know just yet. These are in no particular order.
1. Kygo: Norwegian producer/DJ Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, professionally known as Kygo, has been one of the revelations of 2014 in the blog world and dance music, but 2015 will be the year he truly breaks out. He has earned plaudits from tastemakers like Diplo and was personally tabbed by Chris Martin to remix Coldplay's "Midnight."
The flag bearer of the tropical house wave sweeping dance music, Kygo signed an album deal with Sony that is slated for release some time in 2015. 2014 was big for him, but 2015 will be when he goes from being an Internet sensation to a dance-pop, crossover star.
2. Ryn Weaver: There has been a fair amount of ink spilled on where Aryn Wuthrich, also known as Ryn Weaver, came from and how she seemed to get noticed overnight. Her first single "Octahate" was produced by Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat and Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos and co-written by Charli XCX, causing some to scratch their heads, but it also shows just how powerful the momentum she has with her.
Notwithstanding all the behind-the-scenes support that has primarily come from hit-maker Blanco, Weaver can sing. She is supremely talented and has already racked up millions of plays on her four-track Promises EP on SoundCloud. 2015 will be the year where the general public gets to know Ryn Weaver.
3. Rae Morris: Rae Morris, 21, is on the cusp of something big, and we are close to finding out how big. The Blackpool, England, native singer/songwriter's debut album Unguarded is slated for release Jan. 26. Her voice is distinctly British and powerful, reminiscent of someone like Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine and Ellie Goulding.
She was named to BBC's Sound of 2015 artist longlist, an indicator unto itself. With Unguarded arriving at the end of the month, we will find out just how talented Morris really is.
4. Mikky Ekko: Jon Stephen Sudduth, 30, stage name Mikky Ekko, may not be a spring chicken like the rest of this list, but his musical contributions in 2015 will be a reminder that patience is a virtue. He has been writing and featured on songs for the likes of David Guetta and Rihanna, most notably "Stay" from Rihanna's 2012 Unapologetic, and has seen a slow growth in his own solo career over the past two years.
That growth will explode with his debut album Time, which will feature a host of hit-making producers like Ryan Tedder, Stargate and Benny Blanco.
5. Vince Staples: Odd Future affiliate Vince Staples is finally getting his chance to shine. He has been putting in his due releasing mixtapes over the past several years, but once his debut EP on Def Jam Recordings, Hell Can Wait, was released in November, people really started to pay attention to this talented, young MC.
Staples appears to be hitting his stride just in time to release his debut artist album in the first half of 2015. Stay tuned for what the "Blue Suede" rapper has coming your way.
6. ZHU: Few artists have been able to transform themselves and maintain an aura of mystery surrounding who they are like Stephen Zhu, better known as ZHU. He does not do public interviews where people can see him, nor does he show himself to the public, shrouding himself even on stage so the crowd cannot make out what he looks like. He initially gained traction in the blog world with his "Moves Like Ms. Jackson" mashup and then released his Nightday EP that included the smash single "Faded," which would eventually go on to garner a Grammy nomination.
In 2015, ZHU will ride the momentum of that Grammy nomination and the newfound love of deep house by the American populace to increased stardom that will make his tentative 2015 album release even more successful.
7. Years & Years: British electro pop group Years & Years are poised for a big 2015. 2014 saw them tour with Sam Smith, release several hit EPs in the U.K., including Real and Take Shelter, and be featured on other tracks with artists like Tourist and The Magician.
They already have a late-winter run of shows sold out in their home country and only continue to grow. Watch out for these three.
8. Goldlink: DMV rapper Goldlink, 21, is part of a new wave of MCs who are drawing on many different influences to create their music. Goldlink has positioned himself in between many different fan bases where he is accepted by hip-hop heads and casual rap fans because of his lyrical delivery and the productions he uses.
He released his debut album God Complex in April 2014 and has collaborated with the likes of Kaytranada while also performing at the Museum of Modern Art. Goldlink is going to be a name to watch not just in 2015, but also beyond.
9. Raury: Raury is not your average hip-hop artist. The 18-year-old Atlanta rapper/singer/songwriter proved that this past spring, when he decided to host pop-up events outside other artist's concerts to try and draw fans outside to his own brand of music. His first project, Indigo Child, has earned plaudits from across the music industry, including Kanye West and SBTRKT, two good names to have in your corner.
He was featured on SBTRKT's "Higher," which was featured on the British producer's recent album, Wonder Where We Land. Everything points upward for Raury, so stay tuned for the rise and growth of this young talent.
10. Zella Day: Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Zella Day debuted "Sweet Ophelia" in the spring and started to catch the eyes of bloggers and fans online over the summer. She was named an artist to watch by Hypem for the end of 2014 and delivered on that promise with the release of her self-titled EP in October.
Day has a folksy, soothing and summer-tinged voice that flows over soft and varied productions. 2015 will be an even bigger year for Day with more original productions in the cards and even more shows across the United States.