BlackBook’s Five Most Anticipated Music Projects of 2016

A new year means promising new music—previously unheard voices unearth to shift the cultural narrative and innovative sounds unfold to shake up industry norms. Reflecting back on 365 days, it’s always fascinating to see where music’s been and how it’s adapted over time—to look at which newcomers made the biggest splash and how their careers advanced from being an unknown name to a full-blown game changer.

We’ve examined some of our favorite under-the-radar artists, whose forthcoming music projects are guaranteed to win big in 2016. From pop songwriting’s best kept secret Sarah Hudson to Kanye West-approved rapper Allan Kingdom, here are BlackBook’s five most anticipated releases coming this year.

 

Sarah Hudson // Songs From The Sea 

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Los Angeles singer/songwriter Sarah Hudson has been slowly chipping away at her forthcoming six-song EP Songs From The Sea, recruiting names like Brillz, Ferris and Nico Stadi to craft her dreamy musical vision. Hudson first began penning this project five years ago, balancing her solo work with notable Top 40 collaborations alongside Katy Perry, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber. This will mark Hudson’s first major release since her electro-pop band Ultraviolet Sound officially debuted back in 2011, and if tracks she co-wrote like “Dark Horse” and “Black Widow” are any indicator, Songs From The Sea is guaranteed to be pure magic. Listen to an Ultraviolet Sound throwback, below: 

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Allan Kingdom // Northern Lights

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2015 has been a life-changing year for St. Paul rapper Allan Kingdom, whose career was catapulted to another level when his “All Day” collaboration with Kanye West, Paul McCartney and Theophilus London dropped. With a Grammy nomination for the smash single now under his belt, Kingdom will finally unveil his newest album Northern Lights early this year. The forthcoming project is a follow-up to Future Memoirs, which featured a number of standouts from Kingdom’s Spooky Black collaboration, “Wavey,” to the album’s lead single, “Evergreens.” Listen to Kingdom’s “Take It,” below: 

 

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MUNA // TBD

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We first fell in love with LA-based outfit MUNA when the trio released “So Special” earlier this year, introducing a fresh brand of ’80s-infused indie-pop that embraces the power of lyricism and fills the void of queer female voices in contemporary music. The follow-up singles to MUNA’s breakout, “Promise” and “Loudspeaker,” were just as strong, solidifying these rising musicians as an indisputable band to know in 2016. Listen to our favorite uncharted anthem, below:

 

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Owen Bones // TBD

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Chicago-based artist Owen Bones chronicled stages of self-destruction this past year with his three-track release The Sabotage EP—an impressive, brief release that left us craving the next steps in his electronic takeover. Beyond production, Bones’ live performances have attracted underground acclaim, as he simultaneously DJs and monitors an interactive visual display to fuse the worlds of EDM and DIY performance art. The rising talent’s forthcoming project, currently unnamed, will feature collaborations with Mick Jenkins, Kevin Abstract, Myrone and Thirsty. Listen to “Super Late,” below: 

 

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Effie Liu // TBD

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The past year in underground pop was hot pink, thanks to California-born, New York-based up-and-comer Effie Liu. Previously known as Bebe Panthere, 2015 saw the singer carve out a new moniker and sound with island-infused tracks that merge airy, balearic beats with glistening electro production. If buzzy singles like “Getaway” or “Wings On Fleek” are signs of what’s to come from Liu’s official EP in 2016, the future is one worth watching for this radio contender. Listen to “Getaway,” below: 

 

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