The Christmas tree has come down, we’ve said goodbye to 2015, and affirmed (and subsequently forgotten) our New Year’s resolutions. We’ve finished reminiscing on the year that has passed, and for most of us, it’s a time of renewed hope, optimism and energy.
For the music industry, it’s the optimum time for new artists to emerge on the scene, for new trends and standards to be established, and for the newbies of the past year to step up their game and dominate the charts. So what’s going to happen in the world of music this year?
1. New Artists Who’ll Explode in 2016
The 21-year-old South Londoner has a UK pop/soul vocal style that sits on top of light-hearted, jazz-influenced beats. Think Pixie Lott, but less bubblegum. If you’ve ever been to a gig at pub in Shoreditch, you’ll like her.
Canada sure is pumping out some chart toppers right now. Clearly influenced by the likes of Drake and The Weeknd, her vocal is a little like Ariana Grande’s, minus the Mariah Carey imitation. She’s got Ed-Sheeran-honesty in her lyrics, with a similar casual, “could be my mate’s sister” clean image. Girls who are looking for a “Zoella” figure on their Spotify will love her.
If you like the intimacy and thoughtfulness of the likes of Hozier, James Bay and Jamie Lawson, but with a little more of an electro-texture, then Jack Garratt is right up your street. His productions have more of an “artsy” approach, with dissonant chords and unusually placed rests, which thankfully isn’t pretentious or annoying at all but actually rather refreshing.
With little nods to neo soul and garage here and there, he’s NUBI‘s big prediction for 2016. I’m curious to see how’ll he sound on commercial and local radio.
2. Existing Artists to Watch
Hands up whose opinion of Justin Bieber flipped 180º last year? Let’s not lie, the boy is on his game.
The UK market received Purpose incredibly positively, but with three singles in the Top 5 alone, my concern is that he will run out of steam too soon in 2016. The successor to Purpose is going to have to be completely different (but equally popular), and be released within the next six to nine months in order to keep traction. Has the Biebs peaked too soon, or does his team have something else up their sleeve?
It will be interesting to see how Adele does over the next year. 25 currently holds the No. 1 album spot, but was it really as good as everyone hoped, or did her name alone carry it into the top spot without anyone actually listening to it first? Time (and follow-up singles) will tell.
The Next One Direction?
One Direction are taking their well-deserved hiatus, so there may be room for a new boy band on the block.
The Vamps seem to be hankering after that role, but 5 Seconds of Summer, Rixton and even newbie heartthrob, Shawn Mendes, are snapping at their tails. Teenage girls will be the true deciders of this, but it’s anyone’s for the taking.
3. New Genres / Continuation of Trends
2015 was definitely the year that Pop/Funk was reborn, so I expect to see that continue this year, potentially with it hitting its peak and then dying off in 12 months time. Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ basically started it all off, so he may be the one to lead the trend, merging Pop/Funk with the other standout genre of the past year, House.
Leaving EDM behind last year was definitely a good move for the charts (headache anyone?), so with the slightly more agreeable sounds of UK House, I think 2016 will be the year the charts get a little quieter.
I can certainly see Old-Skool Garage making a comeback, and combined with all we’ve learnt about Dubstep and EDM over the past decade, we may see the birth of a new genre – think the cheesiness of OMI mashed with the nostalgia of Craig David, on top of Calvin Harris beats, with the accessibility of Olly Murs, the sassiness of Jessie J and the cool aloofness of The Weeknd… all in one tune. #amazing
Grime has continued to go from strength in the past ten years, developing with consumers’ technology from Channel U to YouTube. The secret to Grime’s success is that it has primarily kept itself underground, but now that we’ve had Stormzy in the UK Top 20, will it stay that way in 2016 or will more and more exposure drag it out from its South London estate and into the mainstream? And if it does, will this year see the beginning of Grime’s demise?
4. Loss of The X Factor
Would anyone be that upset if The X Factor decided not to come back this year? I, for one, struggled to keep my interest with it this year, and I think most people would agree that the show’s format has reached its expiration date. Having said that, I do appreciate the concept of The Voice, but it lacks the sleek glossiness (aka the budget) that ITV‘s behemoth has at present.
It may not be until 2017 that The X Factor finally decides to hang up its curtains, but I think 2016 will see the UK public seriously reject music-based TV talent shows for quite literally ANY other format of show. Which is funny, when you consider ITV just bought The Voice and will air it in 2017…
Expect an online-only variant of this kind of show, too, with Netflix and Spotify proving just how lucrative they both are when it comes internet-based entertainment and music. Lord help us if Simon Cowell thinks of this…
So that’s NUBI‘s take on what will happen in the music world in 2016.
But hey, I’m no Mystic Meg (I don’t have the voice or the cheekbones *sob*). What do you think will be making waves in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!