9 Best New Artists of 2014: Get These Albums In Your Stockings!
By Sophie Schillaci
2014 was a good year for new music, introducing us to fresh-faced chart-toppers and infectious radio hits. If you're looking for a last minute stocking stuffer or simply need to update your end-of-year playlists, look no further than these nine new artists with hot debut albums on the market.
1. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour: There's no doubt about it – this 22-year-old English singer is having a moment. With a voice that won't quit and heartfelt lyrics, Smith's Platinum-selling, debut album In the Lonely Hour is a safe holiday gift bet for everyone from your teenage niece to your grandmother. (That is, if they don't already have it!)
2. FKA Twigs, LP1: Also known as Robert Pattinson’s girlfriend, FKA Twigs has made a name for herself with a buzzed-about debut album simply titled LP1. Twigs' ethereal R&B is a refreshing departure from radio mainstays and has earned critical acclaim on both sides of the pond.
3. Vance Joy, Dream Your Life Away: Before he hits the road with Taylor Swift on her 1989 world tour, you're gonna want to get familiar with Vance Joy's material. Likened to a Jack Johnson-meets-Mumford and Sons hybrid, the Australian singer-songwriter's debut album fits the very definition of easy listening, mellow pop.
4. Hozier, Hozier: The Irish singer-songwriter blessed us with his debut single "Take Me to Church" this year, and the world took note. Hozier performed the track live on Saturday Night Live and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, while the song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 13-track album, penned entirely by Hozier, includes lyrics touching on hot-button issues and tied up perfectly with beautiful melodies.
5. Iggy Azalea, The New Classic/Reclassified: If you turned on your radio this summer, chances are you're familiar with Charli XCX's catchy hook on Azalea's "Fancy." But this Aussie rapper has plenty more where that came from. The New Classic, released on April 21 of this year, even has a shiny new re-issue out now called Reclassified and featuring new collaborations with Ellie Goulding and Jennifer Hudson.
6. Bleachers, Strange Desire: Jack Antonoff is not new to the pop music scene (he of fun. and Steel Train), but his New York City-based indie project Bleachers burst on to the radio airwaves the summer with "I Wanna Get Better." Though Antonoff's solo material is undeniably darker, you may already be familiar with his songwriting from Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" to Sara Bareilles' "Brave."
7. Hoodie Allen, People Keep Talking: After years of mixtapes and a 2012 EP, Hoodie Allen unveiled his first official, full-length studio album this year. The New York-native may not have had a slew of high-profile television gigs on his side, but the former Google account executive has channeled his marketing know-how into a rabid online fan base that pushed his album to a Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200. (And having Grammy-nominated singing-songwriting phenom Ed Sheeran on his side certainly doesn’t hurt.)
8. Brandy Clark, 12 Stories: OK, so this album didn’t technically come out in 2014, but Brandy Clark's late 2013 debut did earn her a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination at the upcoming ceremony, alongside Azalea and Smith. This country newcomer previously co-wrote Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart" and served as an opening act on Jennifer Nettles' solo "That Girl" tour. For that no frills country girl with a wicked sense of humor: Clark is speaking her language.
9. HAIM, Days Are Gone: Sister band HAIM gets another honorable mention on our list. After several years in the biz, their studio debut hit shelves in late 2013 and secured a Best New Artist nomination for the 2015 GRAMMYs. With Days Are Gone, HAIM received raves from critics and fans alike (no easy feat) and debuted in the Billboard 200 Top 10. With Jay Z's Roc Nation behind them and Taylor Swift by their side, is there anything this trio can't do?