2014 Music forecast

Are you looking to get a head start on music trends for the upcoming year? Whether searching for the next household name, a unique sound or an underground act, there are plenty of fresh-faced musicians to keep on your radar in 2014. Here are five artists to watch for:

Sam Smith

The impressive talent of a 21-year-old British musician Sam Smith was a potent factor influencing the skyrocketing success of “Latch” by Disclosure and “La La La” by Naughty Boy, the hit singles on which he was featured in 2013. With an alluring gospel voice that surprisingly finds a niche in pop-influenced R&B, Smith brings a new dimension of emotion to each performance. His debut album In the Lonely Hour is set to be released in March, but if you’re vying for a taste of what’s to come, listen to the acoustic version of “Nirvana”, which showcases his smooth harmonic capabilities and impeccable falsetto at its best.



Darkside, a duo composed of producer Nicolas Jaar and instrumentalist Dave Harrington, crafts avant garde experimental music by blending traditional and electronic elements. Their debut album, Psychic, can be categorized into many genres - industrial, ambient, rock, blues - however, it would be an injustice to reduce Darkside to a single label. Rather, they can best be described as the sound of the future, both familiar and alien. Their music is a cognitive experience on its own with many layers that unravel with each successive listen. To get a sense of their hodgepodge aesthetic, check out “Paper Trails”, a psychedelic masterpiece that breaks temporal boundaries and is reminiscent of The Doors.


Jhene Aiko

Jhene Aiko is a master of walking the line between rap and R&B, juxtaposing her angelic, sweet voice with aggressive lyrics and beats. She is best known for her EP Sail Out, which found universal success with the airy single “Bed Peace”. However, Aiko has been on the music scene for years, associated with acts ranging from B2K to Ab-Soul and Kendrick Lamar. It’s safe to predict that Aiko will find success as a leading female in hip hop this year on account of her incredibly honest songwriting approach. On “The Vapors” she is at her best: vulnerable, raw and brash.



Fans of The xx, Sampha, Rhye, Jai Paul and other nocturnal artists that blur the lines between R&B, dance and indie will be quick to join the fan base of Australian act, Movement. The band attracted attention when their seductive single “Us” was named a “Best New Track” by Pitchfork last year. The intoxicating song features a whispered vocal over a deep house beat, tied together by smouldering lyrics. It’s dark and mysterious, themes that seem to be common in Movement’s arsenal. In addition to releasing reclusive, moody songs, the band keeps a relatively anonymous profile despite finding success on the Internet.



Those seeking a successor to 2013’s critically acclaimed and wildly successful dance act Disclosure should look no further than Bondax. The two share many similarities: the duos are both young talent from the UK and found early fame in the blogging community. They’ve both also resurrected dance music from the clutches of the cringe-inducing EDM artists that have dominated the scene over recent years. Bondax distinguishes themselves with a different style, more UK garage than house-inspired. Their songs possess a magical, imaginative soundscape that conjures synesthetic visions of dreamy beach sunsets and endless summer days, best experienced on their single “Giving It All”.



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