Not just a list of hot new Irish artists, this also includes a few that have been around for a little while floating under the radar.
Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson describes her songs as a way of telling jokes to mask the tears. There is humour and vulnerability but also strength and resilience. After spending some time in the electro-pop duo Bad Sea she followed some advice from Charlie XCX, and changed her approach to song writing. There are more singles expected this year so be sure to check them out.
For those I love
You may already be aware of singer David Balfe’s performance on Later with Jools Holland or Other Voices. Many already know he’s an outstanding talent. Hailing from Dublin the artist pays tribute to his late friend Paul Curran who he used to perform with as the collective Burnt Out.
Balancing deep and sensitive lyrics with ambient music, Balfe conjures up an intimate mood rarely heard in electronic music.
This Zimbabwean-Irish singer-songwriter´s debut EP, Me 2 Me came out in December last year. It was reflective of the feelings she felt most of 2020 and was a culmination of the skills she has been developing to hone her songwriting.
She has an R&B sound that that can be filed alongside Celeste and Jorja Smith. There are also Hip Hop influences similar to fellow Irish artists like Nealo or Kojaque.
Another urban artist is Malaki who was hyped to be big last year but due to other things going on never quite gained the recognition he deserved. His conscientious style of Hip Hop, developed alongside a partnership with his producer Matthew Harris, has attracted new followers. Hopefully live performances in 2021 should enhance his reputation even further.
With over six million streams on Spotify already and new music to be released Smoothboi Ezra is definitely a name you will be seeing more of. They have been around for a while releasing material but it took 2020´s single My Own Person to get noticed.
They will resonate with fans of what some know as anti-folk. Other acts include such household names like Kimya Dawson, Kate Nash and Jack Penate. Ezra describe their music as a safe place for people.
Owen O’Hagan is definitely an under-the-radar Irish musician and songwriter. Now going under the moniker New Atlas he has recorded diverse music in the last five years from punk to ambient to indie-pop.
His new direction focuses on melodic synths with lyrics that sound like they could be on a 1975 album.
Trophy Wife is the alias of Ruby Smyth, the daughter of acclaimed guitarist Jimmy Smyth. Her music is firmly based in the alt-pop sphere. Her EP Art, released last year, is brimming with character and energy. Definitely an artist to look at out for this year.
If an artist is associated with ghe Soft Boy record label you can be certain they will be worth listening to. This is certainly the case with Belfast producer Brién. He has mixed and produced a number of Soft Boy singles including Kean Kavanagh’s “Emma”. His debut EP DIY Volume 1 gives us a good idea as to what to expect from him this year. Laidback, lo-fi beats and groovy synths similar to label mate buddy Kojaque are the order of the day here.
Although only 15 years old, Patricia Lalor has already achieved over 1 million streams on Spotify for her EPs and singles. She first gained attention after her cover of Hozier’s “Summer Wine” was given a shout-out by Hozier himself on Twitter. Her lo-fi tracks make her a must-listen for fans of similar artists like Soccer Mommy and Julia Jacklin. Truly an artist to keep an eye on as her music career inevitably grows.
Despite being a difficult year for new Irish artists, without any opportunities for live gigs and promotion, Denise Chaila still managed to make a name for herself. She was catapulted into the limelight after performance on Other Voices in May 2020 and the buzz hasn´t subsided. She released her debut album Go Bravely late last year which features the irresistible single “Chaila”.