Nantes-born firebrand Héloïse Letissier is Christine and the Queens, one of the hottest new purveyors of intelligent, theatrical, multi-faceted pop. Equal parts performance art and synth-based melodies, her debut album Chaleur Humaine and its accompanying live set have been drumming up praise around the world. Joined by her band, the Queens, the group's full-bodied electronics and gender politics mix R&B and hip-hop into an aesthetic that is both highly danceable and highly sophisticated.
Melbourne singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett is first and foremost a storyteller with a gift for making the mundane sound compelling. Her grunge and rock-driven guitar playing is in thrall to the kind of melodies that hang around on the breeze long after the party has finished. Backed by a band of her best friends, catch the BRIT award nominated Barnett bringing stories from her debut LP ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I just Sit’ to life this summer.
LA-based singer-songwriter Kelela effortlessly bridges the gap between underground club music and commercial pop. Her honeyed vocal lends itself to a classic R&B sound, but her creative collaborations with experimental producers, such as Kingdom and Girl Unit, see her pushing herself forward to continuously re-define the boundaries of pop. With her debut LP out in May, these summer shows will provide the perfect platform for Kelela to serve up her hotly-anticipated new material.
Arguably one of the UK’s most hyped artists of 2015, Buckinghamshire-born multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt made the cut for both the Brits Critics’ Choice Award shortlist and the BBC Sound of 2016 poll. His debut studio album Phase, featuring standout track ‘Breathe Life’, only came out in February, so expect to hear it alive and kicking on stage this season.
If 2015 was the year the grime renaissance peaked, then 2016 is the year it truly cements itself as one of the UK’s most vital music subcultures. Boy Better Know are a North London grime collective and record label founded in 2005 by brothers Jme and Skepta and they’re bringing their crew of merry men and straight-up tunes such as ‘Too Many Man’ to festivals all over the world this season.
New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap’s earworm-ready debut single ‘Trap Queen’ was the Grammy-nominated smash of 2014, continuously blasted out of car stereos and home speaker systems from London to Los Angeles. Willie Maxwell II, as he is legally known, says that his stage name represents his dozen-plus posse of crew and staff, although they won’t be performing with him live, obviously. He’ll no doubt be keeping the temperature sizzling outside, even if the heavens have inevitably opened.
Ice cool barely even comes close for the Swedish-born, Berlin-based synth-pop siren. Molly Nilsson’s debut album These Things Take Time is a collection of tempered power ballads and lo-fi dance pop, all carried along by her moonlit, Nico-esque voice. Vintage pop cooked to perfection.
Vancouver-born Claire Boucher has been releasing albums since 2010, with her repertoire taking in a diverse range of styles and touchstones, from experimental electronica to hip-hop, creating what she has described as “ADD pop.” Her most recent album Art Angels has earned endless plaudits and her live shows are a theatrical spectacular, with Grimes commanding a visually arresting presence throughout. If there’s only one artist on your festival bucket list this year, make it Grimes.