Lizzo is the poster girl for self-love and body positivity. And the Minnesota R&B singer packages her uplifting messages in absolute bangers and bossisms, like the opening line of “Truth Hurts”: I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 percent that bitch. Woo! Cuts such as “Fitness” and “Good as Hell” will also make feel like you’re a queen/king dipped in gold. It’s no surprise that Haim swooped her up for their national Sister Sister Sister tour, where Lizzo’s been crushing it with her exuberant set (and thicc backup dancers). It’s only a matter of time until she’s on her own headlining tour and selling out T-Mobile Arena.
If anyone’s got a story to tell, it’s Jersey-born folk-pop singer Harry Hudson. At 23, he’s already survived cancer and the crippling loss of his father. But that’s only made his purpose more potent. His performance at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas was stirring and emotional. It’s rumored that Life is Beautiful’s team booked him on the spot right after the show. The fact that he’s BFFs with Kylie Jenner and tight with the rest of the Kardashian clan won’t hurt his celebrity, either.
You already know Bazzi, even if you’ve never visited his Spotify page. His hit single “Mine”—the You so. Fucking. Precious. When you. Smile. song—has been endlessly memed and has no doubt made it on your TL since dropping independently in October. But don’t expect his star to fizzle out. His just-released 17-track debut, Cosmic, is full of dreamy R&B grooves that will hold you down all summer.
Sabrina Claudio started posting covers on YouTube when she was 14. Seven years later, now she’s the one being covered—while racking up millions of views. After making noise with an EP and an LP in 2017, the buzzing R&B singer’s sultry vocals found their way onto the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack earlier this year with both English and Spanish versions of her hit “Cross Your Mind.” Rather than coast off that achievement, she continues to grind, recently dropping a pair of singles, including “Don’t Let Me Down” with Khalid, a Caribbean-inspired heater that’ll burn holes in dancefloors. Given her relentless work ethic, it’s only upward and onward for Claudio in 2018.
Adopting the stage name Elohim is a bold statement—it means “God” in ancient Hebrew—but for L.A.’s rising electro-pop star, it’s a fitting one. She’s the ruler of her own world. On stage, she’s a one-person show, surrounded by keyboards and drum machines while singing proclamations such as I got love, fuck your money. Off stage, she’s a mystery. She uses voice-to-text software for the rare interview with media and keeps her face partly covered by her hair or sunglasses (the video for her stripped-down “Panic Attacks” is the most we’ve seen of her yet). And yet, she’s become one of the most sought-after acts having just wrapped Coachella and with Bonnaroo, Electric Forest and a certain Las Vegas festival all on the way.
Only 19, YUNGBLUD is one of the most hyped new acts out of the U.K. British magazine NME even went so far as saying the up-and-comer has “the lyrics of a young Alex Turner, the fury of Sex Pistols leader John Lydon [and] the swagger of a hip-hop king Travis Scott.” Those are some massive shoes to fill, but if his new five-track EP—featuring the addictive, yet tragic “I Love You, Will You Marry Me”—is any indication, he’ll be a bona fide rock star in no time, and a woke one at that. During a recent appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, he dedicated his performance to those protesting in the March for our Lives.
If there’s a folk act to see this year, it’s Philly’s Mt. Joy. Their self-titled debut, released last month, is golden, full of heartfelt messages of hope in these times of despair. Take “Silver Lining,” a response to drug-related deaths in their hometown, which urges listeners to “tell the ones you love you love them.” We could use more of that. Hopefully, the rest of the music world agrees.