Truth be told, this list is getting harder and harder to make. With a plethora of emerging artists making their mark on the R&B / Soul landscape, particularly here in the UK. It’s hard to narrow down on the artists to watch in any given year. But really and truly, this is the ‘problem’ we’re created to address so we’re certainly not complaining.
Still, ‘ones to watch’ lists are always a bit controversial so it’s worth a quick one on what we considered in putting together a list of R&B / Soul artists to watch in 2019. We’ve focused primarily on acts who really built momentum on the music scene over the course of 2018. All of these acts have a real buzz around them that sets them up to really make their mark in 2019. The other crucial element was, of course, music they’ve released. But beyond having stellar music out, all of these acts are in a steady rhythm of releases that promises more in 2019. Most have specifically expressed a new project or album due in 2019.
In 2019, the R&B / Soul artists to watch are making retro-futuristic Soul of epic proportions. Drawing heavily on Jazz, Funk, Blues and Old Soul but seamlessly infusing these retro genres with electro, Hip Hop and R&B elements. They’re taking R&B / Soul music places that feel familiar but are delightfully fresh and uncovered. It’s an exciting time to be a lover of this genre.
Full disclosure, we featured Mahalia on this list last year, and while in many ways, she’s already finally having her moment, she’s definitely one to keep close watch on in 2019. For one, there’s been talk of a debut album this year. An album that will no doubt be a 2019 landmark in the Soul music space. Throughout the later part of 2018, Mahalia released a slew of new music including her Seasons EP. Top of 2019 brought a tour announcement and things look only set to heat up even more.
Mahalia, a Birmingham-bred daughter of 2 singer-songwriter parents is a gift in the UK R&B landscape. Constantly experimenting and evolving her sound, Mahalia describes her music as ‘psycho-acoustic soul’. ‘Psycho’ denoting her mindly, deeply conversational lyricism and ‘acoustic-soul’ for her guitar-infused soul. Mahalia has carved out a niche for herself, free from the limits of overt genre boxes. 2019 is set to be a year where Mahalia’s career reaches new heights and our ears will be all the more grateful for it.