6 Irish music acts you'll be hearing about in 2022
It's a fascinating time for music in Ireland at the moment. We were already witnessing a boom in fresh new acts before the pandemic, but now artists are having to continuously show innovation and perseverance in the face of cancelled gigs and their livelihoods being at risk.
We can all hope that live music will return to normality in 2022, and the faster it does, the better. It's what the hugely talented artists on this list and beyond deserve.
Here are just a handful of the exciting acts to look out for in the next year:
1 Soda Blonde
Dublin alt-pop outfit Soda Blonde were born out of the break up of Little Green Cars. Every member, bar frontman Stevie Appleby, formed the new band in what was, in their own words, a "rebirth".
It's always hard to follow up what came before but there's something commanding about Soda Blonde's debut album. The music feels fresh, while maintaining a polished air of "we know what we're doing here". And of course they do. Little Green Cars enjoyed huge success in their heyday, gaining a massive following here and further ashore, even grabbing a performance slot on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
With that comes burdensome expectations of what's to come for the band. But they're absolutely ready for it. Lead singer Faye O'Rourke comfortably takes centre stage as if she was born to do it and we'll hopefully be seeing a lot more of her and the band on stage in 2022.
2 St. Bishop
St. Bishop is one of the most exciting acts to come out of Ireland in the long time. The Monaghan-born queer alt-pop artist has been busily releasing some absolute bangers throughout numerous lockdowns and is more than ready ready to gig again. As if that wasn't enough, he's also completing a post-grad in the meantime - Talk about multi-talented.
"The last two years really helped me get a lot of work and recording done but I have definitely found myself feeling stumped for song-writing inspiration. Not a lot of life happened during those lockdown periods and for me, I get a lot of my inspiration from being out and about, meeting new people, and clearly, from having a love life (good or bad)."
He released his new single 'Alone' last month, an infectious electro-pop song about finding self-love during the aftermath of a break-up. It received rave reviews and multiple plays on radio across the country.
"The next few months are going to be a lot of fun. I'll be busy rehearsing the live show and getting ready to release the EP, which comes out in early 2022."
We're very excited to see what's next for St. Bishop.
3 Carrie Baxter
2021 has been a massive year for the Irish-born, London-based neo-soul singer Carrie Baxter, who is hitting 160,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Listening to Baxter, you're instantly drawn to comparisons with someone like Tom Misch. Laid back, jazzy melodies are ever-present throughout her songs, with her soulful voice gliding through neat guitar licks.
Baxter has also enjoyed success as a vocalist on some of the year's huge dance tracks by the likes of Otosan X Shadow Child and Notion.
2022 is set to see her star rise further as she fully embraces her solo career and continues to release her unique mix of jazz and soul drenched singles.
4 Saibh Skelly
The 17-year-old from Walkinstown, Dublin has been steadily building an ever-growing following on her YouTube and other social media.
In 2019, Saibh started to upload her busking sessions to YouTube. However, it wasn’t until later that year and the investment in a video camera, that she noticed that her home recording videos were gaining popularity.
“It was growing steadily,” Saibh adds “but when I got to 10,000 subscribers, I thought… that's actually a lot of people!”
The pandemic took buskers off the streets. Saibh’s online popularity really started to take off during lockdown as new fans - old, young and worldwide - warmed to her unassuming personality and her unfeigned enthusiasm for the modern pop songbook; covering everyone from Anne-Marie to Lewis Capaldi.
She released her debut single, a cover of Alexander 23's 'Come Here And Leave Me Alone' last month. With such a big following already at such a young age, the future is bright for Skelly.
5 Robert Grace
Robert Grace has taken the last year by storm. His career was restricted due to lockdown and so he decided to improvise. He made a TikTok account where he has now amassed over two million followers. The rest is history, as they say. His hit single 'Fake Fine' now has over 12 million streams on Spotify alone, so it's safe to say, Grace is on to something.
The Kilkenny native has especially drawn in a young, Irish following - attracted to his open and honest lyrics which focus on his mental health. The pandemic seemed to really strike a chord with his audience and it's no wonder that it was around that time he started to really shoot to fame.
In 2022, he looks set for another massive year. His first tour was postponed until next March but his following is already there, helped by his massive online presence, and we're sure it's only going to keep growing.
6 Aby Coulibaly
Irish R&B is an exciting part of the national music scene at the minute. There are tonnes of exhilerating new acts within the genre and Aby Coulibaly is a real standout.
Coulibaly has put the hard yards in during the pandemic, releasing three singles and two music videos, all done through her own record label 'Chamomile Records'. With restrictions easing in September, she played her first festival, AVA in Belfast. Also just announced is a slot on the Forbidden Fruit lineup for next year, surely cementing her position as one of Ireland's best up-and-comers.
The Dubliner's song-writing is confident, her songs are well-produced and they get your head nodding from the get-go. There's plenty more in store for the 21-year-old as she dives head first into 2022.