Adele, Jessie J., Ellie Goulding, and One Direction are not only some of the top artists who’ve taken off in past few years, but they’re also British. The U.S. music scene is filled with artists from the UK who’ve crossed the pond and are shaping American culture. Yes, the U.S. has always appreciated British music from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones (who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year!), but there’s major momentum again where UK artists are making it in America, taking over the charts, and young fans in particular are eagerly embracing them. Millennials are increasingly interested in music discovery and they’re turning to England to find out what’s next.
So with that in mind, here are 10 British artists who will soon become household names — some even are already! — among teens and twentysomethings:
– Imagine a young, Eastern European hybrid of Rihanna and Jessie J. That’s Rita Ora, who’s known for her impressive style as much as her pop, dance, and R&B sounds.
Conor Maynard is often described as the British Justin Bieber; he got his start on YouTube, blends R&B, hip-hop, and pop, and is a teen heartthrob with fans best known as Mayniacs. However, Conor is paving his own way with original sounds and the support of top artists like Ne-Yo and Frank Ocean.
Ed Sheeran is a folk and acoustic artist who’s already made it in the U.S. with sold out shows and an album that hit number one on iTunes when it first debuted. You can expect to hear his name even more in the coming months, especially as he’ll be opening for Taylor Swift on her next tour.
Emeli Sandé is a Scottish soul and R&B singer whose voice is a little like Beyonce, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys, but she’s a powerhouse in her own right. You may recognize her from her performances at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics and she’s about to enter the U.S. music scene.
Cher Lloyd, a contestant on the UK’s “The X Factor,” can be compared to a white, pop Nicki Minaj. She’s made it in America with her hit single “Want U Back” and she recently released an album here called “Sticks + Stones.”
Olly Murs, another contestant on the UK’s “The X Factor,” is a pop singer whose songs are reminiscent of Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. Since launching to fame on the music competition show, he’s toured the U.S. with One Direction and gained popularity with his song “Heart Skips A Beat.”
The Saturdays. Girl groups are making a comeback and The Saturdays, made up of five powerful pop singers, are proving to be the next big thing. They’re very established in the UK with three hit albums, but are about to make it in the U.S. with a reality show called “Chasing the Saturdays” coming to E! this January.
Speaking of girl groups, Little Mix is another pop act who won the latest season of the UK’s “The X Factor.” Similarly to One Direction, they were put together by the producers of the show and we think they have the potential to reach big heights too.
Pixie Lott is a 21-year-old pop/dance singer and songwriter who’s supported The Saturdays and Rihanna on tour. She’s a star to watch, especially since she’s done duets with Joe Jonas and Jason Derulo and she acted in the Nickelodeon film “Fred: The Movie.”
Lastly, Lawson, may look like a boy band, but their sound is more rock and they play instruments. The band has often been compared to The Script and they’re known for emotional yet catchy songs. They’ve also toured with The Wanted, as well as supported other artists including The Saturdays, on their rise to fame in the UK.
We’ve been tracking several of these artists for a while now and even when we’ve asked Millennials about emerging trends, several of these names have popped up. But beyond knowing that they’re the next big stars, they can offer insight into top trends among young people.
First, we’re seeing a resurgence of ’90 culture, which has created a place for boy bands and girl groups. Neither ever disappeared in the UK (see Take That, JLS, and Girls Aloud to name a few), but there’s a new space for such acts in the U.S. American music and culture has been bombarded with boy bands in the past year, and now, it’s time for girl groups to shine. We’re predicting a Spice Girls status takeover in the coming months…
Next, reality TV shows, namely “The X Factor,” are influencing the music scene. In the UK, this has long been the case with contestants constantly topping the charts and several even making it stateside, particularly One Direction. In the U.S., music competition shows are becoming a key part of culture, and this season of “The X Factor” has promise to produce the next mega star.
Finally, YouTube is the number one way in which teens listen to music, so it’s no wonder that they’re discovering new artists, especially ones who get their start on the site. Teens want to feel part of an artists’ journey, as they have with Bieber, so they want to find the next hot artist before anyone else. It’s a form of social currency to be ahead of the trends and a loyal fan of an artist from the beginning, before a massive teen tribe emerges.