From GloRilla to Ice Spice, 23 Talented Artists to Watch in 2023
A new year means great new music to look forward to. But more importantly, a roster of rising artists has the opportunity to make a huge splash in the music world, and there are plenty of them out there making noise right now.
Last year welcomed a plethora of new kids on the block who made the most of their big moments — from R&B sensation Muni Long finally earning her first certified platinum, Grammy-nominated R&B hit ("Hrs and Hrs") as a solo act to celebrity makeup artist-turned-rapper Saucy Santana capitalizing on his viral fame. Even Tems capped off another monumental year for herself with a Rihanna collaboration on the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" soundtrack. The future looks even brighter for those poised to find massive breakout success in 2023.
Whether they're fresh on the scene or riding the wave of a major milestone, this year's crop of talent is primed to make some big moves, and we know just who listeners should keep an eye on. Ahead, find out which dazzling artists we're watching in 2023.
A name that has been on everybody's lips since early 2022 has, without a doubt, been Memphis native GloRilla. Rap's rookie of the year rose to fame after her chart-topping (and now Grammy-nominated) hit "F.N.F. (Let's Go)," produced by Hitkidd, dropped in April. Momentum from her viral single earned GloRilla a deal with Yo Gotti's CMG Records imprint three months later. However, the 23-year-old rapper became a true breakout star once she snagged a major cosign and feature from none other than Cardi B.
The two collaborated on their "Tomorrow 2" single that arrived in September — a track that led GloRilla's rollout for her debut EP, "Anyways, Life's Great…" and ranked No. 12 on Billboard's best songs of 2022 list. If the newcomer's hit singles, first project, and Grammy nomination are any indication of her star power, then she'll certainly continue to blow listeners away in 2023.
World, it's time to get familiar with FLO — the exciting powerhouse trio who are restoring people's faith in the girl group formula that produced R&B legends like Destiny's Child, TLC, and more. The radiant British act — which consists of members Jorja Douglas, Renée Downer, and Stella Quaresma, who hail from London — made major buzz last year when they released their debut EP, "The Lead," in July. The EP includes their smash single, "Cardboard Box," and viral clips of their breathtaking live performances have dominated social media feeds since then.
Most recently, the group dropped a new single in December called "Losing You," and their highly anticipated debut album is also finally on the horizon. The unanimous sentiment across the industry is that FLO is leading the resurgence of girl groups in R&B on account of their enchanting voices that drip with buttery harmonies. So far, the group has been solid in their sound and content, churning out songs about self-assurance and heartbreak reminiscent of girl groups' golden age in the '90s. Considering that the songstresses — who recently became the first girl group ever to win the Brits rising star award — have been on a consistent rise for the past few months, we'd be correct to assume their musical come-up could very well explode in 2023.
Ice Spice was a late addition to 2022's impressive newcomers list, but the Bronx native managed to become one of the most captivating figures by the end of the year — and her fans have high hopes for 2023. The 23-year-old rapper and self-proclaimed baddie added some new zest (and lingo) to New York's dominating drill movement thanks to her viral summer hit "Munch (Feelin' U)," and she's slowly cementing herself in pop culture with her "Spongebob Squarepants"–inspired track "Bikini Bottom" and newly released song "In Ha Mood."
Ice Spice may only have a single festival performance under her belt, but she's already earned a major cosign from Cardi B, and her next order of business is dropping a debut six-song rumored EP, per the "The RapCaviar Podcast." Last year, the curly headed rap star got a chance to introduce herself and her unique style to the world, making social media her personal playground for breaking new material. 2023 will be a true test of her talent and longevity as fans anticipate even more viral breakthrough moments.
Steve Lacy seems to finally be hitting his stride. The 24-year-old musician caught his first big break more than seven years ago when he joined R&B collective the Internet, finding success with the band — whose members include Syd and Matt Martians — when their third studio album, "Ego Death," earned a Grammy nomination in 2015. (He served as coexecutive producer on the project while still in high school.) However, Lacy's big solo moment came last year, when his "Bad Habit" single off his sophomore album, "Gemini Rights," became a viral sensation on TikTok. It also climbed up the Billboard Hot 100 and spent three weeks at No. 1.
This past fall, a sold-out, 40-date tour and debut "Saturday Night Live" performance followed for Lacy, and now the singer, songwriter, and producer is up for 2023 Grammy awards in the same categories as stars like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Beyoncé, and Adele. Virality has played a major role in Lacy's latest career boost, but his impressive talents will surely take him further.
Brooklyn's own Lola Brooke is having a moment right now that fans hope never ends. As a rising pillar of New York's drill scene, the rap star — who recently signed to Arista Records — has made a name for herself in recent years for her lyrical prowess, unapologetic bars, and unwavering talent.
2022 was hands down one of Brooke's most explosive years yet, welcoming her Rolling Loud New York debut and more eyes on her than ever before after hitting stages with A Boogie wit da Hoodie and Future — adding to her list of cosigns that includes Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, JT from City Girls, Meek Mill, Jadakiss, Foxy Brown, and Rowdy Rebel. The Brooklynite released a handful of singles last year, including "Here I Come," and another is on the way. She tells POPSUGAR she's "ready to take over 2023."
Over the last two years, Top Dawg Entertainment's Doechii has emerged as the hip-hop label's next big bet, dominating 2021 with her club-banging hit "Persuasive" (which got a remix featuring label mate SZA last summer) and releasing her sophomore EP, "She/Her/Black B*tch," in August. The Tampa, FL, native dropped her latest melodic single, "Stressed," back in October, but that's not all she has up her sleeve.
TDE's first lady of rap is currently cooking up her debut album and seems to be setting her sights on a new sound as she continues her rise to stardom. "There's a certain type of cocky rap that I got out of my system in ['She/Her/Black B*tch']. I'm really over that. I'm ready to create music and speak from the heart," Doechii told Complex in October. Now that she has the world's attention, 2023 could be the year Doechii shows us what else she has in her musical arsenal.
You may know Coco Jones best from her old Disney days (2012's "Let It Shine") or as Hilary Banks in Peacock's "Bel-Air," but the 25-year-old multihyphenate is also a bona fide songstress who's proving herself to be one of R&B's most promising young voices. Jones, signed to Def Jam Recordings, has been dropping covers and original music for the past few years, but in November, she finally released her debut EP, "What I Didn't Tell You" — an intimate seven-track project that makes a case for why she's one to watch in 2023.
The singer delivered a breathtaking performance at the 2022 Soul Train Awards, and she recently teamed up with music legend Babyface for a track ("Simple") off his all-women R&B collaborative album, "Girls Night Out" — all the more reason people need to pay attention to Jones beyond her acting career.
Leon Thomas is famously known for his stint as a child actor and for starring in Nickelodeon's "Victorious," but the singer/songwriter/producer is a talented musician as well. Thomas has been making big moves in the background for years, producing hit tracks for Ariana Grande, Drake, Post Malone, Jack Harlow, and SZA to name a few, but he's ready to introduce himself as a powerhouse solo artist with his forthcoming debut album, "Electric Dusk."
Leading up to its release, the EZMNY Records signee (Ty Dolla $ign's new label under Motown Records) has already dropped buzzy tracks like the sultry slow jam "Love Jones" and R&B ballad "Breaking Point." If Thomas's singles are just a taste of what's to come, then his fans are in for a real treat.
Houston native Monaleo is one of the boldest and brightest talents in today's hip-hop scene, a gifted lyricist with audacious raps to match her fearless personality. The 21-year-old's unapologetic anthem "Beating Down Yo Block" went viral on TikTok in 2021; since then, Monaleo has leaned all the way into her star power by following up with more big moments. She recently went on her first tour with fellow rap star Flo Milli while simultaneously dropping her "Body Bag" single, another banging bop adding to her epic rise.
Monaleo already has features with Houston's Maxo Kream and Muni Long under her belt, not to mention festival appearances at Rolling Loud and SXSW 2022. Her debut album is also on the way — details are still scarce, but a 2023 release would be the perfect time to capitalize on all the attention she has right now.
Lolahol, aka Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon, is following in her mother's footsteps and establishing her own musical career. The 26-year-old singer officially kicked off her solo career in August with the release of her first single "Lock&Key" under her new moniker, following up with another titled "Love Me Still" the following month. Lolahol then dropped her debut EP, "Go," in November, an alluring five-song project that makes a statement about the space she's carving for herself apart from her mother's impactful legacy.
"People think I'm this talentless rich kid who's had everything given to her, but I'm not," Lolahol told Vogue in 2021. Based on her recent introduction, it's clear the singer hopes to be taken seriously as a rising artist, and 2023 just may be the year that happens.
Reneé Rapp first captured the world's attention as Leighton on HBO Max's "The Sex Lives of College Girls," but now she's establishing herself as a talented musician, too. According to Variety, Rapp began singing and writing songs at a very young age. After initially being told she wasn't "understandable" as a performer, the breakout star finally gained industry support and signed to Interscope Records last year, prompting the release of her debut five-track EP, "Everything to Everyone," in November — which she performed on her first-ever tour in December. She also recently performed on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Up next, Rapp is gearing up for her third season on "The Sex Lives of College Girls" as well as the "Mean Girls" movie musical (where she'll reprise her Broadway role as Regina George). Music-wise, it seems she's slowly but surely building up her fan base off screen, from behind the mic.
Capella Grey, hailing from the Bronx, NY, is the music industry's best-kept gem — and his impressive run lately is proof of that. The singer/songwriter/producer burst onto the music scene in 2021 when he dropped his summer smash, "Gyalis," which also got the remix treatment from Chlöe and Chris Brown. The hit quickly spread from the streets of New York to rest of the nation. Since then, Grey's kept fans on the edge of their seats with every single one of his releases — from singles like "Talk Nice" and "OT" featuring Ty Dolla $ign to "Confujawn" featuring Nija and "You Know My Body" with DreamDoll. After much teasing and anticipation, Grey's long-awaited debut project, "Vibe Responsibly, Vol. 1," finally arrives this month. Considering the buzz he's managed to maintain for the last year and a half, the project will surely prove why he's always been a force to be reckoned with — and why he has the potential to be one of 2023's frontrunners.
North Carolina native TiaCorine should be a familiar name to many by now. The self-proclaimed "anime trap" artist has been dropping music as early as 2013 but caught her first big break in 2020 after her "Lotto" song went viral on TikTok. Her hot streak has continued since then with bangers like "Chaka Khan," "Dipset," and "Gas Station" and projects such as "34Corine" and "The Saga of 34Corine."
The rising rapper dropped her boastful new album, "I Can't Wait," in September, which includes her latest thumping anthem "FreakyT" — already fueling her 2023 momentum. Marching to her own versatile beats, TiaCorine seems on track to have another standout year.
Rap siren Lady London is arguably one of the most skilled storytellers of her generation, with a future that's as promising as her high-level bars. The 27-year-old, born in the Bronx, NY, and raised in East Orange, NJ, has been a force in the industry since appearing on listeners' radars in 2018. She's gone viral for her hard-hitting "Lady Londays" freestyles, earning cosigns from icons like Diddy, Timbaland, Busta Rhymes, and more.
Last January, the rap phenom released her debut project, "Lady Like: The Boss Tape," a compilation of her most potent freestyles, including 2020's viral "Lisa's Story." She also made her acting debut in Sanaa Lathan's "On the Come Up" and contributed to the film's soundtrack alongside Rapsody, and she has previous songwriting credits on ABC's "Queens" — moves clearly setting herself up for success. In a 2022 interview with Essence Girls United, the freestyle rapper said she believes she's still "underrated and understated," but that could very well change in 2023 if her career remains on its upward path.
Badass bassist Blu DeTiger popped up on everyone's radars in 2020 after her cover of Doja Cat's "Say So" went viral on TikTok during the pandemic, and her name's been everywhere since. The 24-year-old New Yorker, who has over a decade of performance experience as a musician and DJ, has since added festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, and Hangout Music Festival to her résumé. She also made her "Saturday Night Live" debut last year performing with Jack Antonoff's Bleachers and even appeared in Olivia Rodrigo's "Driving Home 2 U (A Sour Film)" Disney+ documentary. She also recently made the music cover of Forbes' 2023 30 Under 30 List.
Back in 2021, DeTiger released her debut EP, "How Did We Get Here?," an eight-track, bass-led, indie pop project that marked the start of what could be a long career for her. She dropped her "Elevator" single in October and reportedly has a new project, dropping via Capitol Records, arriving sometime this year, so expect more great tunes from her soon.
If you're someone who loves love as much as R&B singer RINI, then prepare to fall head over heels for his music. The Australian-bred, LA-based artist dropped his self-titled EP back in 2017, bursting onto the scene as one of R&B's freshest faces who's passionate about his craft. Between projects like 2018's "After the Sun" and 2021's "Constellations," RINI has fine-tuned his method of communicating matters of the heart. That's all led to the December release of his latest body of work, "Ultraviolet" — a groove-heavy, seven-track EP that introduces an impressive new sound to the soulful singer's portfolio.
Fresh off his "Past the Naked Eye" tour, RINI is primed to embark on a new path in his musical journey — one that sounds confident, experimental, and downright exciting.
Ayra Starr is one of the most promising young voices representing Nigeria right now, and she's still just getting started. The 20-year-old West African singer's flair for blending Afropop and R&B made her a force across the pond, but now she seems as determined as ever to take the rest of the world by storm.
Starr's impressive debut, "19 & Dangerous," arrived in August 2021 — the same month she also shared a stage with fellow Nigerian giant Burna Boy at his O2 Arena show in London. Coming off an explosive 2022 — which included big milestones like performing at Coachella, collaborating with Wizkid, and having multiple No. 1 songs in Nigeria — Starr is keeping her momentum going with her latest single, "Rush," off the deluxe edition of her debut album. (The song made it onto former president Barack Obama's favorite music of 2022 list!) So take it from us, Starr is definitely someone to keep on your radar.
Josh Levi may have made his way into the industry through acting, but music is the passion that's taken him to amazing heights — from "The X Factor" stage and "Insecure" to Disney's "Turning Red." The 24-year-old Houston-raised, LA-based singer dropped his sophomore EP, "Disc Two," in June, previously described to Rated R&B as his "coming-of-age moment" that's "uncensored, more raw and honest." He also took the project on the road during his summer "Vices" tour, but he may already be working on something new.
At the top of the new year, the Atlantic/Raedio signee tweeted, "who's ready for new josh levi?!!!!," so more music is definitely on the way. Regarded as one of today's most electric, soulful voices keeping R&B alive, 2023 could be the year Levi kicks his career into high gear.
British pop vocalist RAYE has been cutting her teeth in the music industry for nearly a decade now, penning songs for acts like Beyoncé, Charli XCX, and Little Mix and climbing the UK charts with Top 40 singles of her own. However, she didn't get her true shine as a solo artist until July 2021, when she parted ways with her former label, Polydor Records, on account of the stalled release of her debut album. That's when she declared on Twitter that she was officially starting a new chapter as an independent artist.
Fast forward to today, and RAYE is gearing up to finally release her long-awaited, highly anticipated debut, "My 21st Century Blues," on Feb. 3. Having already released singles from it like "Hard Out Here," "Black Mascara," and "Escapism" featuring 070 Shake — the latter of which landed the singer her first Billboard Hot 100 song — it's clear RAYE is ready to let the world know exactly what she's capable of. 2023 certainly seems like the year she'll finally begin her takeover — on her terms.
Maiya the Don
East New York's own Maiya the Don is a name you'll want to get familiar with. Still gaining steam from her viral hit "Telfy" — a braggadocious nod to the beloved Telfar brand that features an iconic Sisqo sample — the rising rapper is carving her own lane as one of hip-hop's most sensational breakout talents.
Though she's only dropped a handful of loose singles so far, Maiya has captured the attention of many who are anticipating what she'll do next. With all eyes on her, 2023 could be the year she takes her career to the next level. Perhaps with another hit single or a debut EP?
New York drill rapper Young Devyn is as raw and real as it gets, and she's certainly a name to remember. The energetic, captivating up-and-comer has been making noise the last few years with viral freestyles, which have earned her cosigns from music heavyweights like Cardi B and Meek Mill. Starting out as a young soca artist, the Brooklyn-bred Trinidadian turned to her city's drill scene to prove she has fire bars to spit, too, infusing her melodic music with sounds of hip-hop, R&B, and her soca roots.
Devyn released her debut EP, "Baby Goat," back in 2021 and followed it up with a sequel project in September, collaborating with hometown acts like Fivio Foreign, Capella Grey, and Kenzo B. The two-time Rolling Loud New York performer is still early on in her success, but the sky's the limit for what she'll accomplish next.
Vietnamese singer Thuy is an emerging talent with a whole lot of promise and vocals that'll blow you away. The Oakland native may have debuted back in 2015 with her "Ain't No One" single, but she's improved greatly over the years, establishing herself more recently with her 2021 project "I Hope U See This" and 2022's "Girls Like Me Don't Cry" — both of which lean heavily into her pop and nostalgic R&B sound.
Thuy's airy voice, charming personality, and comforting tracks make her an artist to watch out for, but her mission to take up space and make room for more Asian American artists is also an admirable trait. If she continues on the path she's set on now, there's no doubt that she'll be around for the long haul.
Young Stoner Life signee Yung Kayo is one of the most standout new rappers around, so get familiar with him. The DC-bred artist and Young Thug protégé released his debut album, "DFTK (Down for the Kount)," in February 2022, a project that was met with considerable praise and dubbed an "exhilarating opening salvo" by Pitchfork. Though Kayo's label head is currently embroiled in an ongoing RICO case, the 19-year-old is still pushing forward with promising music.
Most recently, the rapper dropped his "Nineteen" EP to coincide with his birthday on Nov. 29, and it's a seven-track offering filled with Auto-Tuned raps and melodic flows that highlight his futuristic sound. Kayo has the potential to be a roaring success in hip-hop, and he still has so much more to offer, so you'll want to keep an eye on the young talent.