10 Artists to Watch in 2019 | Modern Society of USA

10 Artists to Watch in 2019

10 Artists to Watch in 2019

When she’s gently strumming an acoustic guitar and singing about love in her reedy, tremulous mezzo-soprano, the 21-year-old Jade Bird might seem to fit a soothing, long-established singer-songwriter mold on “Love Has All Been Done Before.” But that’s only until she gets riled. Then her rock band kicks in, her voice gets rough and her words turn pointed and pitiless. And when full fury takes over, she starts spitting lines at rap speed. She’s no pushover. Her debut album is due April 19. JON PARELES

This Los Angeles rapper has a quixotic, charismatic flow, spilling words past the end of lines with a pinched, tart voice that recalls the earliest Los Angeles gangster rap. On the recent mixtape “Famous Cryp,” he’s vibrant but protean, still figuring out the boundaries of his skill. But songs like “DM,” “Bleed It” and “Thotiana” are terse, bawdy and infectious. JON CARAMANICA

Billie Eilish’s debut album is likely to appear this year, and while she’s only 17, she is no unknown. Since her initial SoundCloud postings in 2015, her online releases have drawn hundreds of millions of Spotify streams and have made her a tour headliner. The songs she writes with her brother and producer, Finneas O’Connell, are usually hushed ballads that glance back at Lana Del Rey and Lorde. Her voice is whispery and sweetly tearful with a steely undercurrent, and it stakes out a particular persona: passionate and vulnerable but also vindictive and treacherous. Onstage, she gets thousands of voices singing along. PARELES

In current country, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles loom as large as Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn once did. Lauren Jenkins writes and sings about disappointment, disillusion, drinking and holding on despite it all with a Stevie Nicks rasp in her voice. Her debut album, “No Saint,” is set for March 15, and it surrounds her most bitter tidings with gleaming guitars and bright harmonies. PARELES

LeeBrian, a young Puerto Rican rapper, is the first artist signed to the label of Sky, the producer responsible for hits by J Balvin (and others). LeeBrian is a nimble, flexible vocalist — sometimes agitated, sometimes preternaturally relaxed, and often toggling between both, like on the whimsical “Goku Sin El Ki.” CARAMANICA

Lil Tjay is an exuberant, sweet-voiced singer-rapper from the Bronx with an easy instinct for melody. What helps him stand out from the current overstuffed class of artists with similar aesthetic approaches is his comfort moving between both light and dark subject matter, as on the hit “Brothers” and “Long Time.” CARAMANICA

Over the past few years, this Texas native has found success in Nashville as a songwriter for Brett Eldredge among others. But listening to her recent debut album, the soothing and lovely “Borrowed Heart” — some of which was written with Lori McKenna — that work for others sounds superfluous. She’s got a sturdy, rich voice, and a way of bending a song toward sadness, where she sounds right at home. CARAMANICA

The South African songwriter Nakhane Touré is also a novelist and actor whose works deal with a fraught upbringing: He broke away from conservative Christian “conversion therapy” to prize his identity as a gay man. The songs on his album “You Will Not Die” — released in Europe last year and due Feb. 22 in the United States — delve into both trauma and redemption. They ponder faith, pleasure, exile and belonging; they traverse hymns, neo-soul, South African pop and electronic dance music, and Nakhane’s voice crests in a vibrant, androgynous falsetto. Tenacity carries him toward joy. PARELES

Of all the members of the YBN hip-hop collective, none shows more promise than YBN Cordae, a North Carolina rapper who specializes in thoughtful, emotionally eloquent and lyrically complex music. On songs like “Kung Fu,” he’s impressively dexterous, and of all the rappers who’ve taken swipes at J. Cole recently, only he handed any blows. CARAMANICA

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