Here is your guide to the hottest new acts of 2020. With its vibrant music scene, Ireland is producing the soundtrack to the new decade. 2fm is naming the following acts and artists to see, listen to and enjoy in 2020.
Dublin artist Aimée's infectious blast of 90s-inspired pop "Don't Bother" landed in early 2019 – delivering a top 40 airplay hit in Ireland, and playlisted at 45+ UK radio stations. Her follow up single "Break Me", also a top 40 hit – written by Aimée and detailing her battle with anxiety - was matched with great enthusiasm, featuring on Spotify UK New Music Friday, Pop Right Now & The Pop List.
Most recently, Aimée revealed her third single, "Don't Call Me Pretty", the first track to be taken from her upcoming EP. A fearless pop anthem that challenges the significance placed upon female beauty, it was added to Spotify's New Music Friday UK, New Pop Revolution and entered the airplay chart at #42 on week one. This single is no doubt due for paralleled success of her first two offerings with which she has now surpassed a million combined streams.
Aimée will play a headline show in Whelan's, Dublin on 27th March and came off the back of her sold out, debut, headline show in The Grand Social, last November. To round off an exciting 2019, Aimée not only performed at Dublin's 3Arena to a crowd of 13,000 at the 2FM Xmas Ball in aid of ISPCC, but also helped to ring in the new year in front of thousands of revellers at Dublin's New Year's Festival on Custom House Quay. With exciting new material ready to go, Aimée has already propelled her way into 2020 with a bang!
Alex Gough is a 21 year old Drummer/Producer/Rapper hailing from Waterford, Ireland. One of the most talked about artists of the new rising Irish music scene, and drumming since the age of 6, he quickly became a well-respected master of his craft and soon turned his hand to producing while also attending the prestigious 'Cork School of Music'. 2018 saw his first proper outing as a solo artist with the experimental 'The Infomercial Tape' EP and hugely popular 'Afraidofmoney.' His music is currently turning heads nationwide. While Afraidofmoney launched Gough's solo career as an artist, before that he was seasoned as a drummer, crossing effortlessly between scenes. 2019 saw him take the project to the live circuit with a brand new 4-piece band, with Gough front and centre on Drumming and vocal duties. This 4-piece Hip Hop/Jazz experience has taken crowds by storm with the unique live sounds of Alex Gough's production. Having played the likes of Electric Picnic Festival and Abbie McCarthy's 'Good Karma Club' in London already this year, 2020 will take the hugely talked about show international, kicking off with one of Europe's leading festivals 'Eurosonic' in January.
Biig Piig is a once-seen-not-forgotten singer and rapper who draws on a unique and diverse upbringing. As a child she experienced a changing landscape of cultures, having been born in Spain and then moved to Ireland (before settling above the London pub her parents still own and run). And now, at just 19 years old, Biig Piig is unknowingly assimilating the kind of life experiences (which also include working as a poker dealer and a tequila bar waitress) that lend her music that blend of maturity, and youthful naivety.
With her widely-acclaimed debut tracks - 'Vice City', '24K' - Biig Piig won plaudits ranging from i-D, NME and Loud & Quiet to Fader
Denise Chaila is an Afro-Diasporan rapper, singer and poet. She hails from Chikankata, Zambia and is now based in Limerick, Ireland. Her music blends spoken word and rap to give voice to a transatlantic odyssey exploring identity, belonging, and home from the heart and mind of a diasporan dreamer. She uses her hyphenated identities to weave a narrative spanning continents, cultures and genres to "make space for what doesn't yet 'make sense'". Her music marries art with a passion for justice and social change to build space for often forgotten stories and voices in dynamic and compelling ways.
Denise is an electric and charismatic performer who has captured audiences at live-shows, festivals and guest appearances around the country and abroad. Including; Electric Picnic (Other Voices, Little Big Tent), Body & Soul, Decolonising Sexuality Festival,Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. Her unique take on rap and spoken word has firmly established her as one of the most important voices in Ireland.
Still just 21-years-old, the Dublin-born, London-based Daniel Blume is already making a big impression. After releasing a handful of underground favourites, Blume teamed up with hitmakers Cheat Codes for their collab 'Who's Got Your Love' a song he co-wrote which went onto become a US Billboard Dance #1 smash with over 40 million global streams.
Now he's putting the focus on his solo career as he looks set to make a major impact throughout 2020. As a writer, producer, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Blume's wide-ranging talents make him stand out in a sea of identikit producers. Think Calvin Harris and Lauv for a flavour of his world class potential.
ELM is made up of Dylan Walsh (vocals), Aidan Clancy (piano and synths), Gary Molloy (cello) and Ca Ahearne (drums). Dylan and Aidan grew up together in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Their adoration of music brought them to Dublin's BIMM Institute, where they met Ca, their precise and powerful drummer, who they immediately knew would be a perfect fit for the group. The final missing piece came in the shape of Gary, who Dylan instantly befriended when they met one night at a party. Each member of the band brings a unique element to ELM that is then shared, spliced, perfected and polished with the other members until a carefully constructed, multi-layered and shimmering piece of pop is born. Since the release of 'Fear' in May the band have brought their huge energy and love of what they do to the stages of Dot to Dot Festival, Madrid Pride, Hull Pride and Latitude Festival.
An undeniable rising star who's destined for much bigger things in 2020, JC Stewart's music focuses on the essential traits of world class songwriting. His approach is about communication; stripping back a sentiment and a melody so they speak directly to people, with no filter and no distractions. Recently named as one of MTV's Ones To Watch for 2020, JC already has fans falling under his spell. The fourth generation of JC Stewarts in the family tree, the young musician was destined to continue the family grocery business of the same name in Northern Ireland, but instead deviated on the road toward pop stardom. Later, a chance encounter with Lewis Capaldi at an A-lister party in Hollywood took his music career to the next level. Feeling at odds with their surroundings, the pair decided to duck out for a beer in a local bar. That swift pint turned into an impromptu middle-of-the-night writing session in which 'Hollywood', from Capaldi's #1 debut album, was written. Having previously played shows with Lewis Capaldi, Lauv, Anne-Marie, Maisie Peters and Freya Ridings, JC Stewart recently announced details of his biggest headline tour to date including The Academy, Dublin.
Just Mustard are a 5 piece band from Dundalk, Ireland. Crafting their own unique blend of noise, trip hop and electronic influenced music, they released their debut album 'Wednesday' to critical acclaim earning a nomination as album of the year in the 2018 Choice Music Prize. Wednesday, the debut LP by Just Mustard, was a conscious effort to provide the listener with the experience of hearing the band in their natural state with little to no polished, glossy, post-production magic. It was recorded by David Noonan in their home studio in Dundalk with additional recording by Chris Ryan (Robocobra Quartet) in Start Together Studios, Belfast & released on 12" Vinyl and streaming services with Pizza Pizza Records. Following some highly regarded sets at Other Voices, Hard Working Class Heroes and 2 nationwide tours in 2018 - Just Mustard will be touring extensively throughout Ireland, UK & Europe in 2019.
Kitt Philippa (KP) searches for grace, and the luminous, in words met with music. Although raised on classical, the songs are strangely urban and often conveyed with digital sleight. An organ scholar and an experimentalist, KP plays piano, guitar, clarinet, prayer bowl and bicycle wheel. The songs may often reflect perilous times yet in so doing, KP takes us out of ourselves and into the most rarefied state. On a song like 'Human' the listener is being willed to be close, to rediscover that most beautiful denominator. "Times are troubling," and while "…there's an acknowledgement of that pain, somehow hope tries to rouse you."
Kynsy believes in the power of authenticity, sincerity and vitality in pop music. A Dublin artist, her music fuses elements of indie, rock and electronic music in a haze of distortion, wit and deadpan delivery. Working alone - usually in her bedroom - her songs emerge from a combination of drum loops, synths, wild guitar lines and a desire to create her own realities. On stage her world is born in a swaggering wave of noise and a rush of energy. Recent live shows include appearances at Whelan's Ones To Watch, Knockanstockan and We've Only Just Begun where her performances have clearly marked her out as one of Ireland's most exciting new talents.
Bursting onto the scene in January with the powerful, spoken-word epic "Call us By Our Names", Dublin native Malaki has been carving out his place in Irish Hip-Hop ever since, with an acute sense of lyricism and performance. The 19 year old rapper has already had an extremely busy 2019, developing his live show in venues across the country such as Whelan's and The Sugar Club, as well as at multiple festivals over the summer including Forbidden Fruit and Beatyard. Experimenting with a variety of hip-hop styles, including poetry and spoken-word, Malaki synthesises a rich and original interpretation of Dublin life and seamlessly fuses personal expression with sharp social and political critique. Songs like 'From Grace' and 'Cuppa Tea' display an ability to craft witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics injected with an air of self-aware braggadocio, while tracks such as 'Love Through A Cigarette' and 'J.A.C.K.' reveal a more introspective, socially invested side. Already backed by great momentum and a strong foundation of dedicated fans, Malaki has no plans of wasting the rest of the year. Malaki shows no signs of slowing down having just released his highly-anticipated E.P. Butterly Boy which explores a number of themes including family, friendship, love, heartbreak, desire, loss and frustration.
Every once in a while, a pop artist emerges with the whole package; talent, experienced songwriting, organic and raw vocals and true feeling. Welcome to the stage Moncrieff. Having already received strong airplay from 2fm, BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, and Beats 1, along with a 13 week stint on the European Border Breakers Chart with his first two opening singles, Moncrieff seems now set to be the next Irish artist to break through with the release of his first body of work 'The Early Hurts' EP Moncrieff 's current single 'Like I Do' is streaming now and is accompanied by a stunning video. The perfect musical recipe of strong, soulful vocal delivery, raw yet hard-hitting production, 'Like I Do' is the focus single of Moncrieff's upcoming EP 'The Early Hurts' and follows single 'Ghost'.
Montauk Hotel take influence from the glimmer of early 80s indie-pop, Montauk Hotel fuse strong melodies, glistening guitars and punchy beats to create their own shimmering sound.
Montauk Hotel have made an impressive impact on the Dublin live music scene with sold out headline shows including Whelans, The Workman's Club, The Sound House, The Bowery, Bello Bar and Roisin Dubh, as well as supporting international acts such as Goat Girl, PINS and Beauty Sleep. They have appeared at festivals such as Other Voices, Groove Festival, Vantastival and Sunflower Festival.
The Murder Capital
Hailing from all corners of Ireland, The Murder Capital are a post-punk band driven by the desire to affect the culture around them. An exercise in both darkness and light, their debut album "When I Have Fears" only serves to highlight the early ambition in the band's sound. From the post-rock build and breakdowns of the two-part "Slowdance", to the tender, bruised confessional of "On Twisted Ground" and industrial pulse of closer "Love, Love, Love", there's a consistent intensity throughout that marks out The Murder Capital as a band arriving fully formed on their debut album. If you wanted to know about The Murder Capital, you had to get to a show and see for yourself. That's if you could get in. Based on the caustic strength of one live recording of "More Is Less", which went viral on YouTube (watch), and feverish word of mouth from those who have been lucky enough to attend these early gigs, The Murder Capital have built a formidable reputation.
Nealo from Dublin has been making hip hop music for just over a year, but has already garnered much attention. The end of 2018 saw the release of his debut EP 'October Year', heralded as one of the best Irish hip hop releases of the year. This led to a sold out first headliner, a support slot in the Olympia with California Rapper YG, and radio play on 2FM and many other radio stations.
Powpig are undoubtedly one of the most exciting new bands to come out of Limerick in many a year. Formed in May of 2017, PowPig are a four-piece from Limerick City; Anna Marie Rooney, Andreea Mocanu, Laura Drennan and Leah O'Donnell. Their debut EP Denture Venture was released in 2019 and the band were also winners of 2FM's Open Call to perform at the IMRO Other Room at that years Other Voices. 2020 looks set to be an incredible year for the band.
Fronted by singer - songstress Faye O'Rourke, Adam O'Regan (keys and guitar), Donagh Seaver O'Leary (bass) and Dylan Lynch (drums), Soda Blonde emerged from the ashes of internationally acclaimed band Little Green Cars. The transformation is lead by a distinctive new sound which seamlessly weaves together influences from Fleetwood Mac, Little Dragon , Bat For Lashes and Kate Bush whilst still keeping the integrity and unique charm that sky - rocketed Little Green Cars' success. The result... enticing, dreamy alternative - pop music. Soda Blonde hit the ground running with the their first single 'Swimming Through The Night'.
Somebody's Child has come a long way in just over a year as an act. What was originally supposed to be a project for the young Dubliner to write for other artists, has now developed into a fully-fledged ambition, taking leaps at a time. Once hidden to the public, his identity is now revealed in retaliation to the focus of the media on what was initially an idea meant to draw more attention to the music. His willingness to talk about personal problems with mental health was part of this decision too, in order to reduce any sort of barrier between him and the listener. Steaming ahead, Love That Sound is the artists 5th single release and once again turns in a different musical direction. Clearly playing with his assets and finding his feet, Love That Sound is a mature step in the artists career as he tries to make an even bigger mark. With vintage hip-hop feel, mixed with soul in parts and his indie pop roots with an electrifying chorus, this release is sure to do just that.
THUMPER are a noise-pop sextet, delivering bubble-gum psych through a wall of sonic death. 'Out of Body Auto-Message' (5 track vinyl released on May 24th) was launched to critical acclaim via an exclusive signing at Tower Records, followed by a sold out show at Dublin's Lost Lane live music venue. Riding the crest of New Music Friday playlist with the release of their latest single 'In My Room' (Featured in Made in Chelsea on E4), and fresh off the back of an industry showcase at Primavera Pro, Barcelona and Music Cork, THUMPER are midway through their extensive Festival Tour including Knockanstockan, Sea Sessions, ITAV, Body and Soul, Electric Picnic and Kaleidoscope festivals.
With over 24+ million streams to his name on Youtube and Spotify, Kilkenny's very own Welshy (aka Ross Walsh) took the next step towards global superstardom with the release of his debut single 'Trying To Reach You' in 2019.
'Trying To Reach You' showcases influences ranging from Funk to House and Pop, with a dance edge to keep the summer vibe alive. Welshy has shown he is not afraid to innovate and mix up his sound as proven on Instagram and Tik Tok, where he has gained a mass of followers for his quirky videos and remixes. His mix of wit and humor, alongside utterly infectious beats and melodies has attracted global record company interest, and with him now signed to UK label Good Soldier (home of Gavin James and Freya Ridings) Welshy is set to become the next breakout star from Ireland.