The 10 new music acts to watch in 2023
With the music industry picking up steam post-pandemic, there’s been a palpable energy shift in the new music we’re hearing from future stars. From sharp-tongued indie-pop to fast-paced drum and bass, this new wave of artists aren’t here to mess around.
Here are the 10 artists we think you should keep an eye on in 2023.
Nigerian singer and producer Bloody Civilian is a born storyteller, drawing on her west African heritage along with influences such as Frank Ocean and Kid Cudi. Born Emoseh Khamofu, she released her debut single “How to Kill a Man” – a heady concoction of juddering rhythms and infectious hooks – last year. This was followed by “Wake Up”, a collaboration with fellow Nigerian artist Rema that appeared on the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. Don’t mess with her – she’s here to slay. Roisin O’Connor
Caity Baser is a riot, ushering in a new era of bright, bold Gen-Z pop. She launched her first songs on TikTok but had already released her debut EP, Lil CB, by the time labels began circling. Snapped up by EMI in summer last year, she’s managed to maintain her DIY sensibilities on songs such as the Nineties garage-influenced “Friendly Sex”, and the breakup bop “X&Y”. With her combination of Charli XCX’s gum-chewing insouciance, Meghan Trainor’s tongue-in-cheek candour and Lily Allen’s early ska and reggae influences, she’s hard to resist. ROC
In the first flush of a drum and bass renaissance comes Charlotte Plank, a 21-year-old producer and singer who just signed to Black Butter records. She’s drawn inevitable comparisons to her peer PinkPantheress, thanks to the way she melds Nineties and Noughties grunge and R&B with jungle and electronic music. Yet her style is that touch breezier, with perky beats and shuffling rhythms melding with downcast lyrics about “lost boys” and self-sabotaging behaviour. She claims she’ll make you hate her – I’m not so sure. ROC
Dolores Forever are Yorkshire’s Hannah Wilson and Copenhagen’s Julia Fabrin. They met at a house party in London, bonding over a mutual adoration for the Spice Girls, Stevie Nicks and Sharon Van Etten. You can credit this unusual blend of influences for their wry but catchy indie pop: “I’m having the time of my life,” they insist on “Conversations with Strangers”, the title track from their 2022 EP. Catch their headline set at London’s Omeara in February. ROC
English Teacher have already had a promising start, with three performances at Glastonbury, a record deal and support acts for Mercury Prize-nominated indie band Yard Act. The Leeds-formed quartet tackle everything from testicles to the track and trace app – all through the surrealist gaze of frontwoman Lily Fontaine. Around Fontaine’s metaphorical lyrics, the band’s “arts indie” allows for every instrument to shine, with their building wonky riffs and noisy, detailed exclamations. Not bad for what bassist Lewis Whiting calls “silly noisy guitar music”. You can read our full interview with the English Teacher here. Megan Graye
Following the success of their breakout single “Cardboard Box”, British trio FLO – formed of Jorja Douglas, Stella Quaresma and Renée Downer – scooped the Rising Star gong for this year’s Brit Awards. They’ve shrugged off comparisons to Little Mix, but there’s no question that they’re helping to fill a void left by the fellow girl group after their hiatus. The Noughties R&B influences will delight millennials everywhere, while their empowering anthems and Y2K fashion are catnip for the TikTok generation. Our prediction? They could be just the ticket for cracking the picky US market. ROC
Hannah Jadugu’s sun-kissed, whimsical DIY sound brings something new to the table. The Texas-born, New York-based artist started by making music on her iPhone. Since the release of 2021’s “What’s Going On”, though, the 20-year-old has achieved industry attention and support slots for Arlo Parks, Metronomy and Faye Webster. Jadugu’s youthful indie-pop soothes like a summer afternoon – a much-needed antidote to those January blues. Last year, she took on her first UK shows, no doubt leaving them hungry for more. Her debut album, due out next spring, should keep them satisfied. MG
Joesef had no intention of being an artist. That was until friends heard the Glaswegian’s velvety voice while he was “absolutely sh**faced” at an open-mic in 2019. Three years later, the charismatic Scot has performed sold-out headline shows at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and supported Arlo Parks, Rina Sawayama and Paolo Nutini. With debut album Permanent Damage due out in January and continuous support across Radio 1, we predict a summer of love for his wistful, woozy alt-pop. MG
Galway band NewDad was born out of a school project. Now, thanks to their indie-pop earworms, their days of school and exams are long behind them. Listen to “Blue” for moody, bass-driven melodies that swim around singer Julie Dawson’s dulcet vocals. She condemns an ex-partner for wasting her time: “While you were making up your mind/ I lost mine”. Their layered guitars lend them an old-school grunge edge. Major support slots (Dope Lemon, Paolo Nutini), several 6 Music playlists and a sold-out headline tour across the UK and Ireland have followed. MG
Wunderhorse’s debut album was one of the best of the year. Cub is a coming-of-age future classic or, as frontman and writer Jacob Slater describes it, “connecting the dots from a 17-year-old me, to now”. The band, who are just off the back of a support tour with Fontaines DC, combine muddy rock and Nineties-infused grunge with stories of growth, healing and forgiveness. Across the 11 tracks, Slater’s solemn storytelling is met with ambitious melodies that nod to the likes of Radiohead, Nirvana and the Stone Roses. And with a nearly sold-out tour of their own for 2023, Wunderhorse are sure to be leading the race. You can read our full interview with Wunderhorse here. MG