Rising Stars of 2019


As we welcome in another year, it’s time to turn our attention to the new artists we’re tipping for greatness in 2019.

Last year’s Rising Stars included the likes of Jorja Smith, Khalid and Pale Waves – who all went on to achieve great things.

So, get yourself ahead of the curve and discover the breakthrough acts destined to conquer the radio waves over the coming year!


In brief: Genre-dabbling rapper with a forward-thinking outlook

For fans of: Stormzy, AJ Tracey, J Hus

Hailing from south London, 23-year-old Octavian is an artist that’s not afraid to go against the grain. Despite spending most of his teenage years homeless, the rapper always kept dreams of stardom alive – constantly creating unpredictable, genre-defying music. With this experimental attitude to his artistry, Octavian has already earned a host of high-profile plaudits, ranging from Drake to Mumford & Sons. His 2018 debut album Spaceman, released to critical acclaim, successfully juggled grime, house, indie and gospel – while also building his reputation as one of the UK’s most forward-thinking newcomers. So, what’s in store for 2019? Well, according to the man himself, he’s planning to release seven or eight albums! That’s our listening sorted for the year.

King Princess

In brief: Diaristic pop that tugs at the emotions

For fans of: Haim, Troye Sivan, Lorde

Mikaela Straus, best known by her stage name King Princess, only released her debut single 1950 last February –but it’s already amassed over 180 million streams on Spotify and achieved platinum status. A certified musical prodigy, the star turned down her first record deal at the age of 11! Now, at 20-years-old, the star is the first signing onto Mark Ronson’s Zelig Recordings label and is working with the hit-producer on her hugely anticipated debut album. Sonically, the singer-songwriter’s guitar-led pop simmers along with an R&B backbone, while she candidly details the highs and lows of life as a queer millennial.

Dermot Kennedy

In brief: Soulful folk with a big heart

For fans of: Ben Howard, Rag’n’Bone Man, Ed Sheeran

While many artists feel hard done by the royalty earnings of music streaming services, former busker Dermot Kennedy fully credits Spotify for his staggering breakthrough success. After one his first singles was picked up on the platform’s Discover Weekly playlist, the Dubliner’s music generated hundreds of millions of streams within a matter of months – helping to fund sell-out gigs in the US. The artist’s powerful, introspective folk hits home thanks to his rich vocal talents, coupled with a unique penchant for hip-hop beats. Having dropped his eponymous debut album at the beginning of this year and a huge UK tour on the horizon, Dermot Kennedy is well on his way to becoming a household name.

Easy Life

In brief: Quirky indie outfit with a colourful side

For fans of: Blossoms, The 1975, Sundara Karma

With a knack for writing killer hooks and refreshingly honest lyrics, Easy Life are quickly becoming fan favourites among the indie scene. The Leicester five-piece, who met at school and bonded over a shared love of music, have certainly been busy of late – cutting their teeth as a live band thanks to a heavy touring schedule. Pockets, their stand-out track, is a laid-back anthem chock full of colourful wordplay, as it takes a swipe at those “only concerned with material wealth and all other vices that have made modern living that little bit less sweet.” Right on, dudes!

Ella Mai

In brief: Smooth R&B that throws it back to the 90s

For fans of: Lauryn Hill, Jorja Smith, SZA

Raised in both London and New York, it’s clear to see Ella Mai’s musical influences mainly hail from the other side of the pond. Harking back to a golden era of 90s R&B, the singer’s soulful voice recalls icons like Aaliyah and Lauryn Hill. And she’s already a huge name in the States, with her Grammy-nominated single Boo’d Up making her the first British artist to top the US R&B charts since 1992. It won’t be long before she’s blowing up on home soil, with world domination following shortly thereafter.


Rising Stars of 2019 Spotify playlist

We’ve crammed all our Rising Stars, as well as a host of other new artists we’re super excited about, into one convenient Spotify playlist. Discover the latest sounds of 2019 from any device via Bluetooth and Spotify Connect on loads of our digital radios. You can even take the playlist on the road with a Highway in-car adapter.

For more great playlists, follow us on Spotify by clicking here!