From pop's and hip hop's most promising stars to the kickass bands you can't ignore anymore, these are the 20 acts you need to keep a close eye on these next few months. Get in-the-know with our picks—including HEALTH, Elle King, Majical Cloudz, Seventeen, Charlie Puth, Kehlani, Joe Fox and more—and impress your friends when these artists start topping the charts.
If you're not already a devout believer in the church of Halsey, that's about to change. The 20-year-old is on the brink of superstardom, crafting somber electro-pop in the style of a younger, less defeatist Lana Del Rey. H is outspoken and relentless, qualities that have given her an endlessly loyal young, female fanbase. There's so much power in that, the lady has the chops to keep them interested. —Maria Sherman
Earlier this year, mysterious singer-songwriter Who Is Fancy answered just that by revealing his identity via a performance of his single "Goodbye" on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It came right after three viral videos of the track sung by three different people with multiple identities themselves. Who Is Fancy's arrival highlighted the singer's simple and relatable songwriting style and how there's still some mystery left in an industry that's all about overexposure.
The combination of those two things—not to mention repesentation from top level managers Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande) and Scott Borchett (Taylor Swift)—indicates exciting things for his next act. —Jeff Benjamin
Ever heard of the Weeknd? ILoveMakonnen? Then trust Drake again and get onboard with the 19-year-old Roy Wood$ before he gets huge. The Exis EP dropped this summer, featuring the Drake-assisted "Drama," and a snappy full-length is bound to follow soon. Even if it doesn't drop this autumn, Wood$'s star is guaranteed to rise quickly—watch for him on Drake's Views from the 6, perhaps, or work from anyone else in rap or pop. —Zach Dionne
In a world run by teens, Kehlani has an army. The up and coming R&B star sings in the tradition of Ciara, but with her own flair. "The Way" is by far her best jam, and if she's already landed the trust and love of Chance the Rapper, what are you waiting for?
Watch Kehlani slay her debut TV performance on Fuse's own SKEE TV below. —Maria Sherman
Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" wouldn't be the smash it is without that brittle, beautiful hook. One of the very, very biggest songs of the year led with 40 tender seconds of piano and balladry courtesy of a handsomely babyfaced 23-year-old by the name of Charlie Puth. The kid also took a joint summer single with Lil Wayne, "Nothing But Trouble," to another level.
Puth's debut album, Nine Track Mind, drops on November 6; based on the strength of these collaborations and the Meghan Trainor-featuring "Marvin Gaye"—viewed 44.3 million times on YouTube, available below—his already-built fanbase is ready to propel him into the mainstream as his own man. —Zach Dionne
Phoebe Ryan initially grabbed music fans' attention for her brilliant R. Kelly/Miguel mashup "Ignition/Do You..." Now she's one to watch, with her mix of dreamy production and hardcore-honest lyrics, best represented by "Dead." Boasting a just-signed deal with Columbia Records, Ryan's work should further wow us this autumn. —Jeff Benjamin
Well, first things first: "Forgiveness" was one of the best songs of the Spring and it features the impossibly hunky Enrique Iglesias. Nicky Jam is a Latin-pop artist on the rise, flirting with radio friendly hits and traditional reggaeton in inventive ways. He sings, he raps, he swoons. Get ready to fall in love. —Maria Sherman
Kurt Vile writes really good songs that present a calm and cool exterior with lyricism that points to a man ensnared by the viceroy of his own perception. In the video above, he simply walks around L.A.'s Echo Park doing super mundane shit as he seemingly multiplies within his own house. Meanwhile, an incredible song rambles on about mistaking himself for a stranger in the bathroom mirror all week.
Kurt Vile seems like one of those guys who just wants to write really honest songs but might accidentally end up putting out a timeless masterpiece. If “Pretty Pimpin”’s amazingness is any indication, maybe his next LP, b’lieve i’m goin down... (all lowercase, of course, for purposes of hyper-understatement) will be that masterpiece. Future generations will nostalgically stream it to their no-good-very-bad children on Spotify version 32.1 while lamenting the fact that acoustic guitars went extinct 20 years ago. —Taylor Brown
When actors become musicians, there's usually some level of skepticism. The silver screen values the ability to adopt other personas, but music is typically much more naked: There's a pressure towards authenticity over all. Hailee Steinfeld is best known for her work in Pitch Perfect 2 and her Oscar-nominated turn in True Grit, but her skill doesn't end there. "Love Myself" is easily one of the best pop songs of the year, and it's exciting to see where she'll go next. —Maria Sherman
The next Taylor Swift? That statement isn't too bombastic for indie-country darling Kelsea Ballerini, who was the first female since Swift to hit No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart with an independent release and the first female to send her debut single to the chart's summit since Carrie Underwood. But if you're really smart you'll not only pay attention to the sassy 21-year-old's chart accomplishments, but also her lyrics. Her gutsy, real-life tunes about everything from friends with benefits to small-town life should not be ignored. —Jeff Benjamin
It's the "who the hell is Boots and how'd he write like half of Beyoncé's BEYONCÉ album?" story all over, but if Boots was British and homeless. A$AP Rocky's terrifically cohesive, terrifyingly good A.L.L.A. dropped in June, its opening track anchored by a beautiful vocal from a previously unknown singer. Then this Joe Fox gent popped up on track three, and again for a three-song stretch later on, leading with the Kanye West-produced/Kanye-featuring "Jukebox Joints." (Video below; Fox appears for a split second jamming in NYC's subway at the 2:20 mark.)
Rocky found Fox while recording in London; kid was busking with a guitar at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday. The strummer didn't know the rapper or his work, but they made magic together, are still tight bros, and now Fox is ready for his own shine. He told Fader in a profile:
"Now I’m kind of in a position where I just feel like there’s an album that I want to make, that I’m going to make, because I just don’t really hear the music that I like. And I haven’t heard it for a while. I’ve been losing a lot of sleep making my own stuff. I'm totally obsessed. Songs literally have saved my life."
Joe Fox also told i-D magazine he's working at Red Bull Studios, he's "trying to make the best album of 2016" and he's "going to make sure my debut album is one of the best debut albums of this decade." He says he's influenced by "the sixties and seventies, where people lived and died by their artists," including, specifically, Bob Dyland, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Danger Mouse and John Lennon.
So, yeah—give it to us, Joe. We're ready. —Zach Dionne
He may still be underage, but Jordan Bratton brings vintage R&B croons with a new-age twist. Listen to his Fabolous-featuring single "Danger," that blends smooth harmonies with an fresh, electronic production. It's the type of material that will appeal to young pop crowds, but still please hardcore soul fans—like the audiences he opened for during Jazmine Sullivan's latest tour. —Jeff Benjamin
After building buzz with past singles, teenage diva Pia Mia has a hit on her hands with the Chris Brown- and Tyga-featuring "Do It Again." The track isn't just a banger, but spotlights the Guam native's emotive vocal approach along with her impressive set of pipes. So far, there hasn't been a pop powerhouse to compete with a newcomer like Ariana Grande, but if Pia Mia continues on such an upward trajectory, we could envision a modern-day Britney vs. Christina battle. —Jeff Benjamin
HEALTH first picked up notoriety back in 2007 through a remix of their song "Crimewave" by Crystal Castles. After releasing two more LPs, the band took some time to write the soundtrack for Max Payne 3 released in 2012. In an interview with Pitchfork, Jake Duzsik said, “The number one reaction from HEALTH fans was, ‘What the fuck? You guys are doing a video game score?’ Just surprise. And very congratulatory.”
They've recently singed with Loma Vista Recordings (St. Vincent, Marilyn Manson, Manchester Orchestra) for their current record, Death Magic, and are off on a massive headlining tour across the U.S. with dates in Canada and the U.K. this fall. —Tyler Demorest
On first listen, Elle King recalls the soulful sounds of Duffy or Amy Winehouse but with a certain fun-loving Americana twang. "Ex's and Oh's" is all about past relationships, but speak to them with a certain powerful, infectious female autonomy: Boys are only as good and important as she'll let them be. It's fun, refreshing, and unforgiving. —Maria Sherman
Autre Ne Veut is an experimental R&B songwriter who takes personal experiences and analogizes them to much grander, worldly ordeals (see: "World War” and "World War Pt. 2"). If his metaphors are any indication, expect his music to be of the world-beating variety when he releases his sophomore LP Age of Transparency, which he calls “the second step in a trilogy exploring the difficulty of making personal connections in an impersonal time.” Considering that the last three tracks on the album are called “World War Pt. 2,” “Over Now," and “Get Out”…yeah, we're gonna assume he’s having a hard time making those connections. Should make for a great record! —Taylor Brown
Seventeen is what boy-band dreams are made of. Despite the misleading name, Seventeen is comprised of 13 dreamy singers, rappers and dancers who all come together to form one of the largest K-pop groups ever. Their debut single, "Adore U," will get lodged in your brain automatically; even better is that member Woozi wrote and produced the track and Hoshi took part in creating the video's choreography. The guys are gaining loads of positive buzz with teens in South Korea and it'd be a shame to see that drop off before the year ends. —Jeff Benjamin
Having recently sold out Wembley Arena, Bring Me the Horizon are already one of the biggest metalcore bands around. We're watching them with renewed fervor because they just signed a massive deal with Columbia Records and appear to be bridging the gap between metal and Top 40. —Tyler Demorest
Majical Cloudz have an album called Are You Alone? coming out on October 16. This will be their second LP as a band, but their first since touring with Lorde, who knows a thing or two about "majic." It was on that tour that the duo decided to scrap everything they had done for their new album and start all over.
Majical Cloudz's live shows already affect people in deeply profound ways, but we're sure going on a massive stadium tour left them with grander aspirations. If lead single “Silver Car Crash” is any indication of what the rest of the album might sound like, the production and vocals sound a little warmer and a little less stern than they did on Impersonator. That album contained a lyric that stated, “The cheesiest songs all end with a smile / This won’t end with a smile, my love.” Perhaps on that Lorde tour they realized going for smiles can be just as cathartic. Or maybe there’s a happy medium—a deeply personal emotion that needs to be honed in upon with laser focus, dug out with brute force, and thrown under a glaring spotlight in its unadulterated, bloody state. If any band is capable of that kind of emotional depth, it’s this one. —Taylor Brown
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