Aiming to again prove there is a democratic science behind identifying the next breakout artists, music discovery Shazam this week revealed its 2014 “Artists to Watch” list.
According to the list, which cross-checks critical favorites against insights into which songs users are Shazaming, the artists set to break in 2014 are Action Bronson, August Alsina, Banks, Jhené Aiko, Kid Ink, Lucy Hale, Martin Garrix, Rich Homie Quan, Sam Smith and Vance Joy.
Shazam’s full assessment:
Action Bronson – Queens native Bronson lists early influences as Wu-Tang Clan. He launched his first album 2011 but gained huge Shazam tags in 2013 after releasing several hotly tipped mix tapes.
August Alsina – August’s single “I Luv This Shit” has been one of the most Shazamed rap tracks of 2013 and his mix tape tracks are also gaining traction with hip hop heads
Banks – Born Jillian Banks, she started writing music as a teenager in suburban LA and released an acclaimed EP in 2013.
Jhené Aiko – Collaborations with Drake and Big Sean thrust her into the public eye in 2013. Now, after releasing a mix tape, ‘Sail Out’, Aiko looks set for big things.
Kid Ink – XXL Magazine listed Kid Ink among artists like Danny Brown and Macklemore in its 2012 Freshman Class feature. Signed with RCA/Epic, Kid Ink is set to release his first album under a major label this year.
Lucy Hale – Best known for her role as Aria Montgomery on the ABC Family series, Pretty Little Liars, Hale is set to be the next country star.
Martin Garrix – Dutch DJ best known for his track, “Animals,” Garrix is the youngest person ever to top the Beatport charts.
Rich Homie Quan – Georgia native and artist for the Island Jam label, Quan has been named by the New York Times as one of “Atlanta’s rising generation of rappers … who deliver lines with melody and heart, like singers on the verge of a breakdown.”
Sam Smith – London-born Smith contributed the soaring vocals on Disclosure’s 2013 hit, “Latch” and Naughty Boy’s “La La La.” He prefers the raw soul style in the vein of his favorite artists, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin.
Vance Joy – Originally from Melbourne, Vance Joy has already achieved success in his native Australia with his single, “Riptide,” and is set to break globally this year.
Insofar as Lucy Hale has a preexisting fanbase from her work on “Pretty Little Liars” and names like Martin Garrix, Jhené Aiko and Kid Ink have already made waves on the sales charts, Shazam did not necessarily reach in selecting its picks to click.
After all, if songs from these artists are driving users to Shazam en masse, they are clearly already on the radar.
Still, given the list’s track record of identifying breakouts like HAIM, French Montana, A$AP Rocky and Lana Del Rey, there are worse places for an up-and-coming artists to be than on the Shazam “Artists to Watch” list.