It’s tough to keep up with new music, no matter how much time you spend on your Spotify Discover page. A few weeks ago, I spent time unpacking the legend that is Rita Ora, and you guys had a lot of thoughts. Taking a deep dive into Rita’s career, I was inspired to shine a light on some other underrated music artists who might be slipping through the cracks of your pop culture knowledge. I’m thoroughly obsessed with most of these artists, and I think it’s important that everyone is aware of what they’re missing out on. Let me know if I missed one of your faves, or if there’s anyone else out there who deserves a deep dive. So little time, so many hot rando singers wearing tiny sunglasses on Instagram.
1. Bebe Rexha
You probably don’t recognize Bebe Rexha’s face, and you might not even recognize her name, but you’ve definitely heard her voice. She first shot up the charts in 2015 on G-Eazy’s song “Me, Myself & I,” and she’s recently had a massive country crossover hit with “Meant To Be” featuring Florida Georgia Line. She was also one of the featured artists on Rita Ora’s song “Girls,” which is iconic for its own reasons. Overall, Bebe has great style, a really charming personality, and a surprisingly great voice. Bebe doesn’t love sharing her personal life, but there have been past rumors about her dating DJ Martin Garrix and former 1D member Louis Tomlinson, both of whom she’s collaborated with. Her debut album, Expectations, is finally here, and Bebe is poised to be a huge star.
“Expectations” is coming. I’m really nervous, but I’m excited too. I’ve been working so hard on this album and I don’t know what to expect. I just want to put it out and then move to a small town in Europe for a couple months and then come out of hiding after. Lol. And hopefully when I come back you’ll love it as much as I do. Xo Bebe
If I’m honest, it’s a fucking crime that Tinashe isn’t a household name by now. She’s been around for a few years, but her biggest hit is still her debut single, “2 On.” You know the one, it’s a goddamn bop. Tinashe has bounced back and forth between a cool R&B/hip-hop sound and more traditional pop, and she’s always claimed Britney Spears as her top musical idol. She was featured on Brit’s song “Slumber Party” a couple years ago, and the video is truly one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen. In recent weeks, Tinashe was in the news because her ex Ben Simmons allegedly cheated on her with Kendall Jenner. Tinashe really deserves better, so you should probably go listen to her new album, Joyride. It’s good, you’ll like it.
3. Troye Sivan
Let me clear the air by noting that I am a gay man and I want to have so much sex with Troye Sivan. Troye, who is both South African and Australian (the accent is glorious) is already a gay icon, but everyone needs to know. His debut album back in 2015 was kind of a moody Lorde vibe, but this year he’s ready to take over the pop world. His songs “Bloom” and “My My My!” are catchy as fuck, and he just dropped a new song featuring our favorite bride-to-be, Ariana Grande. Troye has a hot boyfriend named Jacob Bixenman, and he’s also the new face of both Valentino and Saint Laurent. Pay attention, because this kid is about to be fucking everywhere.
4. Dua Lipa
Over the past year, Dua Lipa has made a ton of progress in her career. She released her debut album last summer, and her song “New Rules” was really the only thing that stopped me from sending risky texts in 2017. (But I’m back on my bullshit in 2018, sorry Dua.) Her look is so fucking cool, and all her music is great. Her single “IDGAF” is getting big, and her song “One Kiss” with Calvin Harris is also a major vibe. Dua is only 22, but she’s already had high-profile relationships with a couple people that are definitely UK-famous, even if we haven’t heard of them. Recently, it appears that she’s broken her own rules by getting back with her ex, celebrity chef/model (lol) Isaac Carew. He’s hot AF, but also people think she might be dating Calvin Harris, which I really hope is just a rumor. Calvin, keep your grubby little Taylor Swift hands off our girl.
Anne-Marie is another British dance-pop rising star that I’ve been obsessed with for like, two years because she was on some random Spotify playlist. Can you tell I have a type? She’s had a number of songs that were big hits in the UK, but for some reason no one in the US has really started to care. Start with “Ciao Adios” and “Alarm,” but the more recent song of the summer contender is the throwback anthem “2002.” Actually everything about Anne-Marie gives me an early 2000s vibe, and I’m loving it. Anne-Marie doesn’t like to talk about who she’s dating, but she recently said in an interview that she’s dated both men and women. She’s friends with Ed Sheeran, which is a downside, but nobody’s perfect.
6. Charlie Puth
Okay, you all know about Charlie Puth, but do you really know about Charlie Puth? He’s both talented and hot, and we’ve slept on him for far too long. Actually, scratch that, I would definitely sleep on him. Charlie’s been around for a while, and his biggest hits include “See You Again,” “Marvin Gaye,” unfortunately featuring Meghan Trainor, and “We Don’t Talk Anymore” featuring Selena Gomez, which is a perfect pop song. Actually, I really think Charlie and Selena would make an amazing couple, so like, the universe should make that happen. (I want the record to reflect that I’ve secretly been shipping them for years.) Charlie has an awesome voice, but he also writes and produces all his music himself, which is really impressive. Basically, imagine if Justin Bieber was also Diplo, but also not someone you’d be ashamed to introduce to your dad. The low point of Charlie’s career was when he made out with Meghan Trainor onstage at the American Music Awards, but he basically admitted it was just a publicity stunt.
Ah yes, Grimes, the indie darling of the past decade. People who like artsy music have been obsessed with Grimes since at least 2012, but she’s never really broken into the mainstream. Really, I’m not sure she wants to. That’s partly why it was so surprising when she showed up at the Met Gala last month with Elon Musk. She’s dated a couple music dudes before, but a public relationship with one of the most rich and famous men in the world is definite departure for her. I’m v curious to see if this will be a more permanent shift in her persona, or just a one-time deal. Either way, her last two albums are excellent, and you should really give them a listen.
8. Kim Petras
Kim Petras is definitely the least famous person on this list, but I have a feeling that could change soon. Kim is everything a pop princess should be, serving up iconic looks and banger after banger. Her debut single “I Don’t Want It At All” is incredible, and the video features a cameo from Paris Hilton. Kim, who hails from Germany, just launched her music career last year, but she’s actually been famous for a long time. Back in 2008, Kim became one of the youngest people to ever have gender reassignment surgery, at 16, making her kind of an icon in the trans community. It’s been cool to see her resurface as a rising pop star, and she’ll be touring with Troye Sivan this fall.
Images: beberexha, tinashenow, troyesivan, dualipa, annemarie, charlieputh, grimes, kimpetras / Instagram