It's the time of year when we shake off the previous twelve months, open our diaries on a blank page and look forward to all the great new music that's coming our way in the year ahead.
As well as the big albums due for release in 2021 (which you can find here), it's also a good time to look at the new and exciting Irish acts that we can expect to hear more of in 2021.
Step this way if you're in the market for some fresh new talent...
Born in Cork, raised in Spain and now living in London, Jessica Smyth has a hell of an interesting backstory – and that's before mentioning anything about her music. She once worked as a late-night poker dealer in a Leicester Square casino, but now the bilingual 22-year-old is forging a seriously impressive path in glitchy nu-soul and r'n'b, with a smattering of singles released last year including the brilliant 'Don't Turn Around' and the superb 'Feels Right', which out-Roisin-Murphys Roisin Murphy herself. This could well be a breakthrough year for her.
The latest act to emerge from the hotbed of hip-hop talent that is Limerick has rightly been hailed for his individual style. Facetiously described as a “thousand-year-old poet channelling his words through the body of a young Limerick man, named Jonen Dekay”, his latest single 'The Pope' showcases an MC with clever wordplay and a sense of humour that's often lacking in the genre. His debut album is out in March.
We first heard of this Tullamore native last summer when she teamed up with Zapho on the brilliant 'Collide' – but Tolü Makay is set to make a big impact this year with her solo material. She's gotten off to a good start thanks to her beautiful cover of 'N17', as well as her collaboration with up-and-coming artist and producer delush on the recent 'Ireland in Music' programme on RTE. Last year's mini-album 'Being' showcased just how powerful her voice is.
We've been waiting ages for a band like Sprints to come along. Fronted by Karla Chubb, the Dublin four-piece blend the best elements of post-punk, indie and noise-rock, borrowing from bands like Girl Band to make something very special. For a band that has only been around for a short while – and with just four singles to their name so far - they tick every box. They're gonna be huge.
She's been releasing music since 2018, but the last year really saw this Northern Irish musician come into her own, thanks to EP 'Look, I'm Flyin' – which contained a cover of 'Teenage Kicks' like you've never heard it before. This is dreamy electro-pop with thoughtful lyrics and a strong identity.