With the constant spreading of new music through the Internet, you don’t have to go on a multi-week culture quest to discover amazing new genres and sub-genres of music. They’re all right there in crazy cool combinations, like they were dropped into the blender and served up as a whole new concept. They’re bubbling up through social sharing, streamable playlists, even algorithmic programming. To keep you up to speed on some of these emergent, niche, new-candy-for-the-ears sounds, here’s a lay of the land for 2019’s hottest emerging genres.
2018 was a breakout year for indie pop artists like Clairo and Joji, and we will hear more from their kind in 2019. With artists from around the world creating catchy, homemade alternative pop, this vibrant new genre shows no signs of slowing down. This enigmatic style is known for its dreamy, pleasing melodies, but bedroom pop lyrics also tend to cover thoughtful topics like personal identity, growing up, and heartbreak. Other artists with a future in this genre include Cuco, Postcard Boy, Gus Dapperton, and Boy Pablo.
The rise of street culture and hip-hop across Asia has bred new artists from all corners of the region. Higher Brothers, China’s new rap kings, are just one of many new artists putting Asia on the map. 88rising, a multimedia collective, has acted as a promotion vehicle for many of these rising Asian stars. With original signees including Korean rapper DUMBFOUNDEAD and experimental producer Josh Pan, 88rising now works with many rising stars, like Rich Brian, Keith Ape, and more.
As the EDM era comes to a close, fans of house music are looking to indie artists to usher in the next era. Consider that new era to be in play in 2019. Underground scenes all over the world are seeing the inclusion of creative, unorthodox vocals in house and related genres. Infectious house tracks by singer-DJ Yaeji feature both English and Korean vocals. Widely popular house producer Zhu also made strides into indie territory with a groundbreaking collaboration with indie megalith Tame Impala.
On the other hand, alternative bands are embracing electronic influences like never before. Releases by Toro y Moi, Mr. Twin Sister, and The 1975 have incorporated heavy electronic production elements to widespread acclaim. With new bands and artists rising at an unprecedented level, the future of electronic indie looks as bright as ever.
In 2017, the late controversial rapper XXXTENTACION shocked listeners with his unique combination of rap and metal vocals. He is neither the first nor last to adopt this style, but his popularity and influence marked a dawn of a new era for this time-tested crossover genre. Names to look out for in 2019: Zillakami, Lil Gnar, Eric North, and more.
The everchanging R&B genre is making new waves lately, and its future looks brighter than ever. Taking influence from recent successes like Frank Ocean and Anderson .Paak, an explosion of new artists are giving the genre a new dance-infused twist. Singers like Kelela are releasing smash hits over vibrant beats by top producers, while polymaths like Masego are releasing ambitious projects. Other names to look out for: Tierra Whack, Majid Jordan, NAO, Arin Ray, and Ravyn Lenae.