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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Sound of 2016: Artists ready to break out

Vic Mensa, a rising artist, performs in March 2014. Photo Courtesy of Coup d’Oreille (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Another year means another wave of new artists hitting the scene. Oftentimes, the music these rising stars create defines the year — or at least how we hear it. What would 2014 have been had Hozier not bulldozed through America with his seminal hit “Take Me to Church”? How would 2015 have sounded had Fetty Wap not taught the world the importance of a “Trap Queen”?While it’s nearly impossible to predict the next viral song, there are plenty of indications who the next inescapable hit may come from. Furthermore, here are the predictions for the sound of 2016.


If Tove Lo is the embodiment of self-destructive tendencies, then Kiiara represents the refusal to acknowledge them. After releasing the infectious “Gold” in the summer of 2015, as well as the rapidly rising “Feels,” 20-year old Kiiara is poised to dominate 2016 with her mix of detached electro-pop and vulnerable vocals.

Vic Mensa

With co-signs from the likes of Skrillex and Kanye West, and a freshly inked deal with Roc Nation, the Chi-town rapper known as Vic Mensa is probably the most well-known artist on this list. After numerous delays, his debut album Traffic is set to drop in 2016; and if 2015 was a taste of what’s to come, 2016 is shaping up to be a buffet.


Combining a raucous mix of rock and EDM, Stephen bridges the gap between digital and physical mediums. None more apparent than his bombastic cover of Adele’s “Hello” and his original “Crossfire,” it’s very likely that Stephen can bridge the gap from the underground to the forefront of mainstream stardom in 2016.


On a similar wavelength as labelmates Odesza, Australian band RÜFÜS DU SOL puts a refreshingly alternative spin on dance music. With the band’s new album Bloom being released on January 22 and a packed festival circuit, RÜFÜS DU SOL will no doubt be blowing up in the coming months.


The playing field is packed for Swedish female pop acts (Robyn, Icona Pop, Tove Lo, but 21-year-old singer-songwriter LEÓN is already making waves with slick songs “Tired of Talking” and “Nobody Cares” that are just begging to be screamed out of the car window all summer long.

Lukas Graham

Lukas Graham’s“7 Years” arrived stateside at the end of 2015 and is already a massive hit in its own right. Featuring soulful lyrics and almost reggae-esque vocals, Lukas Graham has a huge future as “7 Years” begins blowing up in the U.S. With a new album to be released in 2016, expect Lukas Graham to be 2016’s Hozier.

Follow Kori Hazel on Twitter.

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