Eight Artists to Watch in 2018


As weird as it sounds, 2017 is quickly coming to an end – and I honestly can’t be more excited to start the new year. 2017 was weird in general – I graduated college and started “real life,” I moved home, started working full time and had a lot of personal crises about the state of our world. I definitely started questioning whether or not it was worth my time continuing to write and create things to share with the world, but I knew that letting that go would just make me unhappy.

I think that 2017 was a great year for art, I continuously find myself being extremely inspired about new music, television and movies – but I think that I’m ready to look towards what’s next (but be sure to keep looking out for my 2017 Music Recap posts).

I’ve been following these eight artists over the past few weeks and am super curious to see where they’re headed in the next year.

Side note: I tried very hard to refrain from writing about artists I’ve already written about on this website. I guess that shows you how many talented musicians are on the rise right now.

Click here to read my 16 Artists to Watch in 2016 post.
Click here to read my 7 Artists to Watch in 2017 post.

In alphabetical order:

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Amy Shark
Genre: Indie Pop
For Fans Of:  Wolf Alice meets Lorde
“Blood Brothers,” “Weekends”

Amy Shark hails from Queensland, Australia and is most well-known for her 2016 single, “Adore,” that is currently on its way to hitting 26 million streams on Spotify. Shark got her start in 2014 by posting music on YouTube, which eventually got her to the Queensland Music Awards in 2016 for “Adore,” which won her Pop Song Of The Year. She later embarked on a Australian headlining tour.

Since then, Shark released a six-track EP titled “Night Thinker” in April of this year and is currently on tour with Vance Joy. Her music has been described as “angsty,” “ardent” and “distinctive.”

So what’s next for Shark? After touring with Joy, which ends at the end of this month, Shark will be touring with Bleachers this fall and into early next year. Whether it’s TBD when her debut album will be released under Wonderlick Entertainment, I’m sure we will continue to see her career growing during 2018.

Check out this video of Shark covering Calvin Harris’ “Feels.”

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Daniella Mason
Genre: Pop
For Fans Of: Ellie Goulding, Gabrielle Aplin

If Mason sounds familiar, it’s because she has written songs for superstars like Nick Jonas and has toured with The Civil Wars (before they broke up – RIP), DNCE and Demi Lovato. Her singles released over the years have performed just about averagely in regards to the amount of streams, but touring with the superstars listed above have differently given her more than enough experience on how to succeed in the mainstream pop industry.

The Guardian calls her music “mid paced and featuring deliciously 80s, Phil Collins-esque drum rolls” and “languishing in its own pain.”

Her debut, self-titled album, was released just days ago and has been received positively by fans. While it’s still pretty early to see what critics will be saying, I am finishing writing this blurb as the last song on the album wraps up. If you like any of the other music I tend to write about, I think that this album will fit nicely into your collection.

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Knox Fortune
Genre: Alternative (his style is so unique I have trouble defining it).
For Fans Of: No idea. Any examples?

I had only heard of Knox Fortune (real name Kevin Rhomberg) because he had been featured on Chance The Rapper’s song “All Night” from Coloring Book.  With some more exploring, I realized that he is a Chicago native and has worked with Chicago musicians like Chance (obviously), Vic Mensa and Joey Purp.

Although he has had a hand in crafting some of the most recently successful rap music to come out of Chicago, Fortune’s solo music is quite different. He proclaimed himself in an interview with Rolling Stone that he sounds like “a cross between the Beach Boys and the Beastie Boys.”

His debut album, Paradise, only came out just a few weeks ago, but is getting praised for his “peculiar pop appeal” and his “playful and unbothered” style of music. His debut show, performing at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on Monday, November 13, sold out in just a few days.

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Genre: Pop
For Fans Of: Hailee Steinfeld, Julia Michaels

Members of pop duo, Loote, got started after meeting in a college writing class. Emma Block originally got started in the business by writing jingles for commercials and kid’s television shows. After her introduction to Jackson Foote, the two quickly began writing songs together. They were signed to Universal Music Publishing Group in 2015. The duo has songwriting credit on Shawn Mendes‘ song “Mercy” and other songs from Mike Posner, Quinn XCII – and most recently, Demi Lovato and Cheat Codes‘ song “No Promises.”

Loote’s debut song as a duo, “High Without Your Love” was released in May of this year under Island Records, a label home to artists like Bishop Briggs and Sigrid – two other artists that I have written about in the past.

Since the song’s release, it has accumulated over 31 million streams on Spotify and peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Spotify Velocity Chart, which is “A ranking of songs based on combination of total Spotify streams in the U.S. and each track’s relative rate of growth over the week.”

Loote is currently playing select shows on Max Schneider‘s North American tour.

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Mating Ritual
Genre: Indie Rock
For Fans Of: Foster the People

I first heard Mating Ritual randomly while surfing Spotify and had been following new releases ever since.  Ryan Marshall Lawhon is the brains behind Mating Ritual (and if he wanted to create a name that would pull up quite an interesting variety of Google results, he did well). Before starting a solo project at the end of 2014, Lawhon was a member of the alternative rock band Pacific Air – a successful endeavor that resulted in the band releasing music and touring under Republic Records.

Under Mating Ritual, Lawhon has been releasing music independently. Mating Ritual’s first full length album, “How You Gonna Stop It?” was released in June of this year. Lawhon documented his journey as a solo artist on his website, discussing what the album meant to him:

“How You Gonna Stop It” is about transition. The transition from child to adult. From dependent to independent. From unemployed to employed. From committed to single. The more I’ve grown as a person the less I definitively know about who I’m supposed to be, and where I’m supposed to go. I’m finding myself repeating the mistakes of my parents despite my fervent intention not to.”

Although there aren’t any national tour dates available to the public as of yet, I’m hoping to see some soon!

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Genre: Synth Pop
For Fans Of: Haim, Carly Rae Jepsen

I hate to admit it, but the first time that I heard a Ralph song, I was extremely caught off guard by her stage name. I got over it pretty quickly after I was an immediate fan of her music. Born in Toronto as Raffaela Weyman, Ralph is a classically trained vocalist who grew up inspired by the music of Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Prince. If you listen to just one song of Ralph’s, these influences are definitely evident.

Ralph is signed to 604 Records, a label based out of Canada that is also home to Carly Rae Jepsen. Her music is described as “funky 1970’s bass with 1980’s style pop keys, while staying contemporary through vocal melodies and fresh synth sound” and features “strong lyrical content that tell stories of jealousy, lust, deception, and strength.”

If you know me at all, you know that I love a good female pop ballad inspired by the 80s – I hope to see more from Ralph soon!

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San Scout
Genre: Indie Electronica
For Fans Of: 
Bon Iver meets Bastille

San Scout is the ultimate DIY band and I’m here ready to prove it. The UK duo is comprised of  Freddie Clough and Jonny Woodley – two friends who met in college, and have been creating music under the name San Scout in London ever since. According to an article by Noisey, the band 1) makes their own artwork, 2) records and produces in a makeshift studio and 3) have released music that both members created and worked on in separate parts of the world. Pretty cool, right?

I first heard the band’s song “LMS” on Spotify (probably on a Discover Weekly playlist because that’s literally where I find all my new music) a few months ago. Their first EP, “EP1” (how creative) was released in 2016 and they have been releasing singles ever since. Their newest one, “You Instead,” was released last week.

There is not much information on the internet about the band, but I am hoping to see more music released by them in the coming year.

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Yoke Lore
Genre: Indie Folk
For Fans Of: 
Børns, Local Natives

Something about finding a musician so incredibly unique to anything else you’ve ever heard is such a rare experience, but that’s exactly how I felt when I first heard music from Yoke Lore. Adrian Galvin is the name behind Yoke Lore – a former member of Walk the Moon – who left the band in 2013 to pursue a solo career.

His first EP, “Far Shore,” was released in the spring of 2016, described as “unforgettable pop music with tactile sincerity and conviction” by Ones to Watch and was compared to M83 and Local Natives.

Lore is currently wrapping up a fall tour with Aquilo and doesn’t have any tour dates announced as of yet. I hope we see a full length release from him in 2018!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back frequently – I have a lot planned for the end of the year. Subscribing to my blog via e-mail will assure that you never miss a post!
– Kristin





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