Ones to watch: Eight rising Irish music stars to fangirl this year
We've sussed out some of the best Irish artists you need to add to your playlists this year.
Put your January downtime to good use and listen to these rising homegrown stars – you'll thank me when festival season rocks around and you have the inside track on the acts to see and the names to drop...
I met Lyra at this year’s Electric Picnic and not only is she dead sound, but her sound is also stunning. The Cork singer's voice is like a pinch of Lana Del Ray mixed with Florence Welch – and it’s epic.
Her latest single Mother is a beautiful song bringing those powerful vocals to the fore. The singer has been honing in on her sound over the past year, writing with the likes of Phil Cook, who writes for artists such as Birdie and Ellie Goulding, and Carey Willets who works with Dermot Kennedy.
She has supported Dermot Kennedy on tour and played with James Bay at Live At The Marquee in Cork during the summer.
2. Alex Tierney
Alex Tierney is a 20-year-old singer from Dublin blending elements of intimate folk and R&B songwriting with hip-hop production.
He's not yet released his first single, but he’s already done some support spots opening for artists like Lewis Capaldi, performing at his sold-out show in The Olympia Theatre.
Alex is currently in the studio preparing his first release, and if his Instagram videos are anything to go by, it will be unreal.
This Dublin pop singer ended the year in style as headliner for the 2fm Xmas Ball and the NYE Countdown concert. I watched her at her first big solo gig The Grand Social, and she is an incredible live performer with an unbelievable vocal range. We got a taster of some of her releases coming out early this year, and you are in for a treat because she is releasing some bangers.
You can get tickets for her headline show in Whelan's in March here.
4. Lilla Vargen
This Antrim native has just finished up her support spot on Dermot Kennedy's European tour and is gaining momentum by the minute. I recently saw Lilla at supporting Dermot at his 3Arena show, and she absolutely smashed her set.
When I spoke to Lilla a few weeks back, she told how her goal is to highlight the importance of human connection through her music. She uses soaring lyrics against delicate melodies to discuss the troubles in her own life – and you can't help but put yourself in the framework of her songs.
If you want a feel for the kind of music Lilla releases, you can listen to her We Were Thunder EP which is out now. Hopefully, we will hear some new music from her in 2020.
"If people are going to listen to my songs, they know they come from a f**king real place."
And that they do.
If you haven't heard of Moncrieff, you're missing out big time. The raspy-voiced, soulful Waterford singer has blown up in the last few weeks with having done support spots for Walking on Cars as well as his first headliner, which sold-out in The Sound House in Dublin.
Now 25, the singer has been making waves in the UK – even before he released his first body of work. His new EP The Early Hurts has just been released and contains three brand new tracks, as well as his single Like I Do.
He is playing his first major gig in The Academy in April, and you will not regret picking up a ticket.
6. Niall Cash
This Wexford singer is only beginning. I first caught a glimpse of him in a local bar during my J1 in San Francisco, and I've been following his journey ever since. The 23-year-old singer has gone from strength to strength and has supported the likes of Hudson Taylor, Mick Flannery and Hermitage Green. He has just made the move to LA to make a real stab at the industry and to release some new music.
7. Issac Butler
After a busy summer of playing sets at EP and Kaleidoscope, as well selling out his debut show, Issac is slowly but surely making a name for himself.
Two tracks, Moon Song and Rescue Me, by the 23-year-old singer Dublin have collected nearly a million streams on Spotify – so he is no doubt someone who you should keep tabs on over the next few months.
Isaac and his band take to the Sound House on April 3. To get you in the mood for the gig, he's releasing a new single on January 31 called ‘Young Forever’.
8. Sorcha Richardson
Singer-songwriter Sorcha Richardson has been growing a cult fanbase over the last few years. Her cover of Sam Smith's Latch has nearly a million streams on Spotify, and her single, Ruin Your Night, has over 12 million listens – which is insane. I hadn't heard of Sorcha until recently but, you might recognise her voice from singing alongside Soulé on Butterflies.
Sorcha’s debut LP, First Prize Bravery was released last November, and is definitely worth a listen. It's the perfect road trip album – trust me.