Your barbecue playlist is a lot like your summer wardrobe; both are at risk of the inevitable midseason rut—dun dun dun! But just like how a new printed blouse or breezy dress can give your look the stylish reboot it needs, adding some fresh artists to your carefully curated mix can make all the difference. Accordingly, we scoured blogs and major music sites to find you the best new talent, and it just so happens there’s a particularly exciting group of females making it big right now.
From a stylish Swedish duo to a Detroit-based rap sensation, check out the 18 artists on the verge of a major year.
Hailing from Sweden and Australia, this überstylish twin sister musical duo released their debut album, Lucid Dreaming, this spring. You may soon be able to witness their ’80s-influenced electro-pop sound in person, as the sisters have a tour kicking off in September.
Watch Say Lou Lou’s “Nothing But a Heartbeat” below.
We already waxed poetic about Wet’s stylish frontwoman Kelly Zutrau in our latest instalment of #WomanCrushWednesday, but it bears repeating. The singer’s minimalist harmonies, a wonderful blend of electro pop and R&B, are at once heartrending and hopeful. See for yourself by listening to the brand’s latest single, “Deadwater,” off their forthcoming album, Don’t You.
Watch Wet’s “Deadwater” below.
Arizona-born Zella Day’s classic rock and country influences are apparent in her music. The 20-year-old bohemian singer-songwriter developed her musical chops by performing at her parent’s coffee shop growing up. Her debut album, Kicker, was released in June, and she’s currently on tour in the U.S.
Watch Zella Day’s “Hypnotic” below.
It doesn’t get much cooler than this group of four from Manchester, England. Hear their catchy pop sounds for yourself on their new album, Wild Nights, and in person at one of their summer tour dates. Fun fact: They released their first single on cassette only.
Watch Pins’ “Young Girls” below.
This Australian singer-songwriter’s debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, has been receiving widespread critical acclaim, thanks to her acutely observational, often humorous songwriting style. Good news—you can witness her unique style firsthand as she continues touring through the end of the year.
Watch Courtney Barnett’s “Depreston” below.
We’re calling it now: Hill is going to be big. One listen of her single “Experience” and we were hooked. Kanye West apparently felt the same way, as he quickly signed her to his GOOD label after hearing her dreamy vocals for the first time. Her second single, “Foreign Fields,” is said to be released this summer.
Watch Kacy Hill’s “Experience” below.
Brooklyn-based, Argentinian-born Valerie Teicher, aka Tei Shi, is definitely one to watch. Her beautifully fluid vocals create a sound that she describes as “mermaid music.” Airy yet soulful at once, her album Verde is eclectic and soothing. Much to our delight, she’s touring this summer.
Watch Tei Shi’s “Bassically” below.
Lest you think Lolawolf is simply a pet project for actress and model Zoë Kravitz, consider this: The band—which is made up of Kravitz, Jimmy Giannopoulos, and James Levy—already has a full-length album (Calm Down) and two major tours with Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen under their belt. Their sound? An ever-changing riff on ’80s and ’90s R&B. Catch the trio on their North American tour now.
Watch Lolawolf’s “Bitch” below.
Hailing from Detroit, the latest female on the rap scene is opening for Nicki Minaj this summer, with a new EP #AndSeeThatsTheThing released today. She’s off to a high-profile start, having collaborated on tracks with Big Sean, Future, and Lil Wayne.
Watch Dej Loaf’s “Try Me” below.
Chuck D. Willis
You may recognise Williams as a former member of The Civil Wars. With four Grammy Awards under her belt, her pedigree in the music industry is certainly solidified. Williams actually released her first solo album in 2001, but fresh off the success of the now-dissolved The Civil Wars, the singer-songwriter’s newly released album, Venus, is getting more buzz than ever.
Watch Joy Williams’s “Woman (Oh Mama)” below.
After honing her skills as an acoustic open-mic performer in London, Shura was recently signed by Polydor Records, the label that discovered Lana Del Rey. The experimental ’90s pop–influenced singer-songwriter could be destined to follow in the “Summertime Sadness” songstress’s footsteps. Shura’s debut album is set for release this year, but in the meantime, she’s playing the U.K. festival circuit this summer, with stops in California this weekend.
Watch Shura’s “White Light” below.
Halsey isn’t playing it safe with powerful tracks like “Ghost” and “Hurricane,” but that’s a good thing. It’s the New Jersey native’s honest lyrics and bold sound that make her a standout, after all. The singer’s first full-length album debuts August 28.
Watch Halsey’s “Ghost” below.
Merilahti and her bandmate, Dan Levy, make up the Parisian indie-pop band. Following the release of their third album, Shake Shook Shaken, this spring, the band has European shows lined up through the end of the year. Bonus: The quirky duo has style in spades. We’re hoping for a foray into the U.S. in the near future.
Watch The Dø’s “Despair, Hangover, and Ecstasy” below.
If the success of Meghan Trainor is any indication, Ward’s fresh, bluesy sound is sure to be a welcome addition to the pop scene. Ward’s upcoming sophomore album, This Means War, is available for pre-order, and her catchy, fun first single is a strong sign of what’s to come. She’s been making the festival rounds this summer and has a tour kicking off in August.
Watch ZZ Ward’s “Love 3X” below.
Hot on the success of Pitch Perfect 2, Hailee Steinfeld put her official stamp on the music industry when she inked a label deal with Republic Records and landed a coveted cameo in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video. While you’ll have to wait until later this year for the actress’s debut album, she promises fans a sneak peek of her “unique pop” sound with her first single, “Love Myself,” out August 7.
Watch Hailee Steinfeld’s “Flashlight” cover from Pitch Perfect 2.
Best described as an electro-pop sound (it’s a thing, and we like it), the Swedish singer-songwriter’s songs are attitude-filled and surprisingly accessible. That and her infectious Swedish vibes make for a slew of well-rounded songs filling her newly released sophomore album, Kiddo. She’s touring Europe this fall, and we’re holding out hope that she’ll make it to the U.S. ASAP.
Watch Tove Styrke’s “Ego” below.
Weaver’s Southern California upbringing was filled with sounds of The Beach Boys and The B-52s, leading her to start singing and writing at an early age. Now 22, Weaver’s alt-pop debut album, The Fool, features her much-hyped single “OctaHate,” which became a viral sensation, quickly shooting the songstress into the limelight. Catch her on tour this summer.
Watch Ryn Weaver’s “OctaHate” below.
The 19-year-old Los Angeles native’s sound and lyrics hold a bewildering maturity beyond her years. She self-released her first album, OKO, last year, and her new EP, Is There Only One, is out today. Her honest, slightly dark sensibilities lend a poetic quality to her songs that’s powerful, to say the least.
Watch Lena Fayre’s “This World” below.
Urban Outfitters Mini Bluetooth Speaker ($35)
Happy Plugs Metallic Lightning Charging Cord ($35)
Which of these artists are you the most excited about? Tell us in the comments below!