Music is a mirror of the times and 2023 will be the year of the internet superstar. Social media has put the power to make a hit back into the hands of the listener and now anyone with a microphone and some software can organically build a loyal fanbase. The new faces of the industry are taking what we know and love from recent eras like the 90’s and 2000s and revamping it for a whole new audience who is more plugged in than ever thanks to the rise of apps like TikTok. The sign of a great song these days is how quickly you start to hear it everywhere and the artists below have mastered the art of creating a hit with memorable visuals to match. Here is Schön!’s roundup of artists set to hit new heights in 2023.
If there was ever a time for the reign of the girl group, it’s 2023. The popularity of Y2K nostalgia means that FLO have captured the internet’s heart. The group’s layered harmonies and R&B riffs are an ode to the legacy of Destiny’s Child and TLC. Since the release of their viral debut single Cardboard Box, the British trio, made up of Jorja, Renée and Stella, have seen a sharp rise, collecting awards at the MOBOs, BRIT awards and BBC’s Sound of 2023, an award previously won by the likes of Adele, Sigrid and Sam Smith.
Pop singer-songwriter Raye is no stranger to a hit. The star has written for the likes of Beyoncé, John Legend and Mabel, as well as voicing countless dance radio hits. Raye is finally collecting her flowers after departing from her previous label and going independent. She’s now releasing music on her own terms and every single has been a stellar lesson in the art of crafting a great pop song. Her first number 1 single Escapism has it all from dramatic buildups, sharp lyricism and show stopping visuals. Raye has always been a star but 2023 marks her solo takeover.
2023 is set to be a big year for Omar Apollo who is nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammy awards. Stripped back acoustics and R&B Motown have a heavy influence on Apollo’s sound. Whether singing in English or Spanish, the Mexican-American’s heart-wrenching lyricism and vulnerable vocals timelessly transcend eras. For romantics who have the likes of Frank Ocean, Daniel Ceasar and Steve Lacy on rotation, Apollo is an artist to delve into.
Doechii’s energetic sound shines in its versatility. Many know the artist from viral track Persuasive which got the SZA treatment with a remix. The feel-good bop is only the cherry on top of Doechii’s diverse discography. Her honey-toned vocal delivery is dynamic and like a true performer her creative visuals blend both art and pop. Doechii’s musical style draws comparison to other it girls like Bree Runway, Tommy Genesis, Azealia Banks and Rico Nasty. Ultimately, Doechii is a league of her own and her star power is undeniable.
Floridian Ethel Cain is carving an intriguing niche for herself with her haunting yet hopeful music. Paired with wistful VHS visuals, the production on every Cain song is drenched in 80s nostalgia. The mysterious star’s track American Teenager even landed a spot on former US President Barack Obama’s favourite music of 2022 list. Cain’s strength lies in escapist storytelling. She knows how to romanticise the ordinary and frequently explores themes such as religion and small town Americana. With the lyrical angst of Lana Del Rey and the enigmatic allure of Caroline Polachek (who she’ll support on tour this year,) Cain is endlessly captivating.
It’s safe to say the most diverse and exciting voices in 2023 rap are women. Brooklyn rapper Lola Brooke posseses the commanding energy, distinctive tone and confident delivery of a future star. For fans of Cardi B and Remy Ma, Brooke’s boss energy and Instagram caption-worthy lyrics will have you hooked. Brooke is the full package, and thanks to her viral hit Don’t Play With It, her trajectory is only set to rise.
The girls are on a Drill takeover and the current face of the movement is Ice Spice. The Bronx-native first went viral for her hit Munch and has refused to be a one hit wonder ever since. Her relaxed delivery, signature ginger fro and playful twerk has made the rapper one of the fastest rising stars of the past year. 2023 is set to be even brighter so expect to see and hear more from Ice Spice.
Hemlocke Springs is fearless with her sound and self-expression. The Nigerian-American singer combines 80s melodies with alt-pop vocals and quirky visuals that feel comfortingly home-made and DIY. Her creative and humorous persona shines throughout her work, and with every release, we get a new and unexpected evolution of the musician’s artistry. Charli XCX and Marina fans are in for a treat when thy discover the unpredictable soundtrack of Hemlocke Springs.
Indie-folk singer Quinnie’s songwriting reads like a diary entry. “We’re too old to live with our parents, do you want to wake up to me every morning?” she sings on popular track touch tank which gained traction on TikTok. Thanks to her tender voice, Country-esque storytelling and observant lyricism, she’s created a cinematic soundscape that would sit perfectly on a late noughties film soundtrack. If you’re a fan of Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens and Gracie Abrams, Quinnie is a promising musician to keep your eye on.
Spanish pop singer Judeline stands out for her spacy production, soft vocals and the ethereal essence she adds to every track. Her atmospheric sound is a breath of fresh and an exciting taste of what Spain has to offer to the international music scene. If you’re drawn to Rosalìa’s experimentalism and the soft falsetto of Billie Eilish, Judeline is one to keep tabs on.
Peckham rapper SL is set to follow a similar trajectory to the likes of of viral sensation Central Cee and MOBO winner Knucks in 2023. The artist is a talented snapshot of the diverse talent that London has to offer. SL has the calm delivery of Giggs, versatile intonation of JME and the charismatic pacing of Dave. His sound is so distinct that his voice and flow are unmistakable. Fans can expect to see the promising rapper gain even bigger collabs and visibility in the coming year.
Canadian-Ethiopian Chxrry22 is one of Toronto’s most promising new stars. Signed to the Weeknd’s XO Records, the sultry songstress makes the kind of dark and moody R&B you’d play on a night drive. Her soothing vocals and sensual visuals blend the trap-infused beats with the satin melodies of R&B stars like Kehlani and SZA. This year, Chxrry22 is set to be one of the rising voices of neo-R&B.
Known for his multilingualism and lyrics that make you blush, Saint Levant blew up with his viral song Very Few Friends. His French, Algerian, Palestinian & Serbian heritage influence his smooth rap style all while re-writing what people expect a rapper to look and sound like. With all the momentum from 2022 under his belt, Saint Levant’s fanbase will only multiply in 2023.
words. Shama Nasinde
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