Now we’ve kicked 2016 to the curb, it’s time to look forward.

January is all about freshness, so here are 20 acts from around the globe who I reckon you’ll be hearing much more of this year. Some will be familiar to you but I expect to make an even bigger splash and some, I bet are likely to be appreciated by a lot more people by the year’s end. That was the criteria. I avoided any of the obvious ones you’ve seen elsewhere especially the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.

There are also extended playlists featuring the pick of those acts and more (JFDR, Jorja Smith, Declan McKenna, Louis Berry, ABRA, Jamilia Woods, Maggie Rogers, Pumarosa among them) on Soundcloud and Spotify.

Last year’s list.


Hare Squead

Dublin R&B pop trio to hit it big this year.

A regular feature on Nialler9, Hare Squead spent the year building their fanbase in the UK by supporting Dua Lipa and dropping a series of singles and an EP on Columbia Records that suggested that Tony Konstone, E-Knock and singer Jessy Rose’s blend of soul, R&B, rap and pop could cross the Atlantic this year if all goes well.



Scandinavian bright light of pop.

Four songs deep and Scandinavian artist Skott (who apparently “grew up in a remote small town forest commune run by ‘outcast’ folk musicians”) has already received some worthy plaudits – Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World, approval from Lorde, plays on Zane Lowe’s Beats show and topping the Hype Machine’s most blogged chart (and featured in their end of year list)

Her songs so far are bright pop nuggets from the sweet melody of ‘Porcelain’ to orchestral finger-clicking ballad ‘Wolf’ and the whistle-assisted electronic pop of ‘Lack Of Emotion’.


Jens Kuross

Brittle piano balladry with emotive results.

Idaho-born musician Jens Kuross studied Jazz at Berklee college in Boston but last year begun releasing music under his own name on the London-based Aesop label. Now based in LA, Kuross’ six tracks last year were songs of emotion, depth, minimalism and confident songwriting, taking on a singing style that gets more affecting as it opens up, with touches of Radiohead and minimalist songwriters.



UK siblings reaching out with new pop tones.

Cotswold brother and sister Rob and Katy Pearson AKA Ardyn appeared with the smart indie pop song ‘Over The River’, a song close to London Grammar in mood. An EP followed, The Valley, which featured production by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Arctic Monkeys). More of the EP’s arched celestial pop overtones would be welcome in 2017. If you’re in London next week, they play The Line Of Best Fit’s Five Day Forecast.


Ailbhe Reddy

Dublin singer-songwriter has reached far in a short time.

For a new artist, having your second EP racking up over 1 million streams in your first year is quite an achievement. But Ailbhe Reddy has found fans wherever she has gone – whether its at festivals like Electric Picnic, Other Voices and Body & Soul among them. As she has grown in consciousness, so too has her craft and her live set finds her flanked by a full-band adding depth to already substantial songs. You may have heard her song ‘Seasonal’ in the RTÉ show Striking Out – courtesy of myself and Avant Music Port too.

2017 sees Ailbhe step it up into the wider world, starting with a new single ‘Relent’ and two gigs – The Servant Jazz Quarters in London on 15th February and The Sugar Club in Dublin on 22nd February.

Hear her new song below which Ailbhe says:

‘Relent’ is about looking back on a soured relationship & realising how it could have been, seeing the lessons and my own shortcomings as part of the story. It’s about the guilt that forms part of the natural retrospection on a once loving relationship. Too often these songs can be purely accusatory, whereas I’ve tried to explore the reality that there are two sides to every story and each party has their own narrative as they see it. The inspiration was these feelings and the song was written as an attempt to express this and move forward from it. To sweeten what has soured and move on without guilt”



French R&B duo.

Two French men make up the duo Her, making sensually suggestive R&B pop songs with electronic undertones – reminscent of Rhye with more body (ahem). They’ve had a few memorable songs already in the form of ‘Quite Like’, ‘Five Minutes’ and their most recent single ‘Queens’ featuring Zefire. They’re now signed to Island Records and kick off their year at Eurosonic next week. A debut album is forthcoming.

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Posted on January 5th, 2017


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Recent new artist of the week Jens Kuross, the Idaho-born musician making “brittle piano balladry with emotive results” has a new EP coming on the Aesop label.

‘We Will Run’ follows that template tumbling into some Radiohead-esque arrangements, but unlike that band, the song has an uplifting chorus.

We Will Run’ has been added to the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify.

Posted on October 13th, 2016


Idaho-born musician who studied Jazz at Berklee college in Boston but just started releasing music under his own name on the London-based Aesop label (SOHN, Tala, Klyn).

Previous music experience:
Played with Ry X, The Acid and Howling’s live band.

Sounds in a nutshell?
Brittle piano balladry with emotive results.

From the artist’s mouth?

“I just sit at the piano for hours and hours and hours, sometimes I bang my face against it and on occasion, inspiration strikes. I do however attempt to write songs to their completion before I ever start recording them. I’m a firm believer that if the song doesn’t work when its reduced to its fundamental elements, (e.g. harmony, melody, rhythm, and lyric, i.e. just the vocal and the piano) then it probably isn’t a good song regardless of how much production wizardry you manage to smother it with.”

Nialler9 says:
Jens Kuross’ three tracks so far are the kind of music that from experience, sounds like the teasing out of a potential great talent. With a template that starts and largely ends with a piano and voice, Kuross focuses on writing a great song but still imbues it with some interesting shades and textures that become his own.

We’re not talking James Blake-level of experimentalism but Kuross is removed enough from the Tobias Jesso Junior retro balladry that he is a modern maker. The nearest comparison is Majical Cloudz (who recently called it a day) in terms of minimal electronic piano sonics. Vocally, I Have A Tribe is a comparison I’m drawn to.

Three of the four tracks from his forthcoming debut EP, Try To Follow, have been released so far.

The title track begins with airy synths and dry bell percussion that is punctured by drum hits and Kuross’ rolling timbre:

‘Steadier’ has a ember smoked frayed feel and a looping organ. It’s the chorus that is the clincher – “I guess your heat beats steadier than mine”.

Standout track of the three for me is ‘Nobody’s Problem’, Kuross’ most minimal, traditional and most affecting track.

Jens Kuross on Facebook | Twitter | Spotify | iTunes

Jens Kuross Tour dates

27/05 – St Pancras Old Church – London, UK – [Tickets]
28/05 – Huis 23, Brussels – Belgium [Tickets]
29/05 – Kleiner Donner – Hamburg, Germany – [Tickets]
30/05 – Badehaus Szimpla – Berlin, Germany – [Tickets]
01/06 – Divan du Monde – Paris, France [Tickets]

Posted on May 11th, 2016



My favourite songs of the past month. Get the majority of them as a continuous playlists below on Spotify and Soundcloud.

Listen on Spotify

The top songs of the month

  1. Isaac Tichauer – ‘Higher Level’ (Bicep remix)

  2. Rusangano Family – ‘Lights On’
  3. Feather – ‘Like No Other’
  4. Bibio – ‘Light Up The Sky’
  5. Leon Vynehall – ‘Blush’
  6. DJ Shadow – ‘Nobody Speak’ (Feat. Run The Jewels)
  7. Lone – ‘Backtail Was Heavy’
  8. M83 feat. Mai Lan – ‘Go!’
  9. Kaytranada & Anderson Paak –  ‘Glowed Up’
  10.  Arthur Beatrice – ‘Every Cell’

  11. Pumarosa – ‘Cecile’
  12. Lil Silva – Lines
  13. Drake – ‘One Dance’
  14. Humans – Water Water
  15. Pleasure Model – ‘Mounnrocc’
  16. Tiga – 3 Rules
  17. Skepta – ‘Man’
  18. dvsn – ‘One In A Million (DVSN remix)’
  19. Ryan Vail – ‘Never’
  20. Bonzai – ‘No Rest’
  21. Cassius feat. Cat Power & Pharrell Williams – ‘Go Up’
  22. Imarhan – ‘Imarhan’
  23. Badbadnotgood – Speaking Gently
  24. Lyra – ‘Rabbit In The Headlights’
  25. Funeral Suits – ‘Tree Of Life’
  26. Pleasure Beach – ‘Magic Mountain’
  27. Ciaran Lavery – ‘Okkervil River’
  28. Jens Kuross – ‘Nobody’s Problem’
  29. Rozi Plain – Marshes
  30. abovedat – ‘Addicted’

Posted on May 3rd, 2016


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