20 Musicians You Need To Know About In 2016

Artists, writers and tastemakers pick breakthrough artists for the year ahead.

January 05, 2016
Roy Woods

Roy Wood$ is the newest addition to the OVO team and comes from Brampton​, Canada, a suburb of The 6IX. It’s actually not too far from where I grew up—I'm originally from Mississauga, which ​sits between Toronto and Brampton​. ​Loads of ​musical ​talent back home! ​Roy has a lot of soul for someone our age. ​He just projects ​an amazing carefree vibe that puts ​me in a free flowing, conquering mood. ​I believe he is also the youngest artist signed to OVO. I love the legacy they are all creating for my city. —Winnie Harlow, model

Strict Face

He's a young producer out of Adelaide in Australia—and the best dancer I know. As well as being a good vibe IRL, Strict Face knows how to flip and/or rework a track, makes music for the right reasons and is very diverse in his sounds. His music can go anywhere from headphone vibes to dance floor stompers. Hit all of his Soundcloud because there are some gems in there. —Jubilee, DJ and producer

AJ Tracey

AJ Tracey’s proper sick. He’s got a very gritty, raw vibe to him, which I like. When I'm MCing I’m always trying to capture that kind of gritty, savage, London street vibe, and he’s got that. —Stormzy, musician

River Tiber

River Tiber is a classically trained musician who built a name for himself hobnobbing in and around Toronto, collaborating with guys like BADBADNOTGOOD and landing a sample on Drake's "No Telling." But as a solo proposition, he makes layered, dreamy songs that somehow wind up being super stylistic and completely genreless at the same time. —Rawiya Kameir, The FADER

DJ Lucas

DJ Lucas is a producer and rapper with 20 different styles, little to no creative inhibitions, and the weirdest, catchiest rap songs ever created in rural Massachusetts. Sounds jokey but I don’t think it ever is. —Duncan Cooper, The FADER


In this over-saturated, hyper masculine, factory assembly line of the industry called music, it's sadly becoming harder to find honest voices that cut through the noise and actually connect with souls out in the world. But Tilla—a 17 year old singer and visual artist from north London—is definitely one of the rare ones whose voice and music is set to affect and represent the lives of a new generation who are going to make positive changes on this planet. —Little Simz, musician


Spunk's record was all written, recorded and released in one week and by one guy. It's thrashy, trashy and really fun to listen to when you're driving down a desolate highway at 2am on your way to a dumpy motel. "Rub It In" and "Breed" are the best tracks. —Nicole Dollanganger, musician


With her cheaply-filmed videos that feature stock imagery, French singer Ta-Ha has a DIY attitude, but her seductive R&B is too smart to be casual. Her track "Orion" is my favorite, a loungey sax jam perfect for when the sun's coming up and you're about to get cozy with someone. Think we could all do with more of those moments in 2016—so good news that her new release is coming very soon. —Owen Myers, The FADER


KABLAM is from Sweden but she lives in Berlin, where she crafts club-born tracks with an elastic sensuality as part of the city's Janus collective with Lotic and M.E.S.H. She made us this exquisite FADER Mix back in the summer, which has left us with a hankering for more. Hello 2016, please bless us with new KABLAM. —Ruth Saxelby, The FADER


Mabel is my internet girl crush. Coming onto the scene in the sleekest ponytail and the smoothest voice, she reeks of impenetrable authenticity. Unfortunately, an ocean separates our bond but somehow I just know we'd automatically be friends/sisters? Let's call her my internet sister? Anyway, she speaks of the undeniable truths of relationships that I wasn't nearly as clear about at her age (she's 18). If you want to feel understood and maybe get a little cry out of it, listen to "My Boy My Town." You won't be disappointed. —Paloma Elsesser, writer and model


Jaegen is the mysterious novice producer behind a good chunk of Ramriddlz' stellar debut P2P EP. It's a solid first project for the frequent collaborators, and one that put Ram on the map this year. I can only hope his 2015 successes mean more solo jams from Jaegen, too. —Khalila Douze, The FADER


A lot of Chilean-British producer Kamixlo’s productions are named after wrestling moves. It feels apt: with their reggaeton groove and cheeky samples, his tracks are as camp and exhilarating as a night ringside—and with their snarling basslines, they’re just as likely to knock you to the floor. —Aimee Cliff, The FADER

Fitz Fonzarelli

He is a lyricist based out of Gary, Indiana with barber skills to match his clean-cut flow. His lyrics are from the heart and honest; no antics or gimmicks, with a raspy distinct voice being the cherry on top. Two of my favorite productions he has done is a track entitled "No Defrost" and "Who Is Fitz Fonzarelli."Jlin, musician

Them Are Us Too

Them Are Us Too are a best-friend duo making gorgeous, fluttery goth-pop that's indebted to Disintegration-era The Cure, early 4AD records and, like, the temperamental moodiness of human existence. Their first full-length was low-key one of this year's most compelling debuts, and I can't wait to see what they dream up for 2016. —Patrick D. McDermott, The FADER


As I said on my blog earlier this year, Kiiara is a hardware store clerk on the regular, future pop star on her days off. She's one of those people that makes it clear just how powerful the internet is—she went from 0 to 10 million plays (plus an Apple commercial) in no time, and is now set to conquer 2016 with a label deal under her belt. The music is—of course—amazing: wicked vocal-focused internet pop that is light and playful but has tons of commercial potential. Everyone’s raving about her track "Gold," but I’m boogying to "Intention." —Jarri Van der Haegen, founder and editor, Disco Naïveté

Lucy Dacus

Lucy Dacus is a singer-songwriter who hails from Richmond, Virginia. Her voice is beautiful, like none I’ve heard before. On her dynamic debut album No Burden—out in February—she warbles her country-rock songs like a humble new pal revealing old secrets about feeling lost and starting over. —Leah Mandel, The FADER


AUDeGO​ have like 278 followers on Twitter, so you better fuckin' show them love. This chick’s voice is awesome. It’s super airy, soft and heartfelt. I hate comparisons, but if I had to compare this to anything else I’d say it sounds like the gangster version of Daughter, who I also love. The reason why fuck with AUDeGO is because I really like minimalistic music—and there is soul and experience to their songs. —Bibi Bourelly, musician


Gallant is an R&B singer originally from Maryland who had modest success this year with “Weight In Gold,” a slow burner with a crashing chorus. I don’t think the song really got its rightful appreciation. Gallant has a lot of fuzziness and steam to offer in 2016. —Myles Tanzer, The FADER

The Colorines

The Colorines are a band from New York with music that sounds like a psychedelic pop dream, and the singer has a really pretty voice. I listent to them when I’m depressed and need to be put in a good mood. You should listen to their track "Weirdo" now! —Karley Sciortino, writer


My friend Spinee's brother just started this EDM boyband called 3SG and they're already making some pretty perfect tracks. Now that I'm regularly in the Sony offices with PC Music, hopefully I can pitch them to Simon Cowell as the next One Direction. —Finn Mactaggart, creative director, PC Music

20 Musicians You Need To Know About In 2016