On Repeat: Our Top Music Picks, from Pop to R&B, to Look out for in 2020
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite artists that not only will we be bumpin’ to all through 2020, but that we think are also the hottest R&B, pop, rap, soul, and amazing all-around vocalists of our time right now. Do you agree? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram: @glittermagazine.
By Kimberly Perez
Singer/songwriter, H.E.R., is a rising R&B artist that has worked with Bryson Tiller and YG and has accomplished a great deal within the last two years. The year 2019, specifically, has been one of her most successful as her self-titled album, H.E.R., won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. She also headlined the sold-out “Lights on Festival”, which she curated herself, making it the first female-owned and curated R&B festival. As if that was not enough, she also dropped a hot track with YG titled “Slide” that has us wanting to hear more. H.E.R. is definitely an artist to watch.
Zayn has been out of the public eye for quite some time. However, every time he returns to the spotlight, he releases hit after hit, from “Entertainer” to “Dusk Till Dawn.” This year, he gave us the music video for “Satisfaction,” which was full of raw emotion and was representative of the overall feel of his latest album, Icarus Falls. His most recent releases also include his cover of the Aladdin classic, “A Whole New World,” featuring Zhavia Ward, a remix of Shaed’s “Trampoline,” and a new single with Sabrina Claudio titled “Rumors.” While there is no current announcement of an upcoming album, we know that whatever Zayn decides to drop will be on repeat.
Ella Mai is an English singer/songwriter whose debut single “Boo’d Up” last year went platinum four times and made history by being the longest-running #1 by a woman on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. She also released herself-titled debut album last year that included hits like“Trip” and “Shot Clock.” She is currently on her debut world tour, which will end in Australia next year. She also teased the release of a new song with Usher, making us ecstatic to hear her upcoming new music.
Pop artist, Charli XCX, never fails to put out refreshingly modern music, from her older hits such as “I Love it” and “Boom Clap” to her newer songs like “Boys” and “White Mercedes.” This year Charli XCX released her album, Charli, which was a smashing hit and included multiple exceptional artists like Lizzo, Troye Sivan, and HAIM. She also gave a phenomenal performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and released a visually stunning music video for “White Mercedes.” With this newest album, Charli XCX is proving that she is still the futuristic pop queen we love.
Summer Walker is currently on everyone’s radar, including model, Hailey Beiber, who has expressed her love for Summer’s music on Instagram. Walker’s 2018 hit, “Girls Need Love,” catapulted her into the top charts. Now, she has released her debut album, OVER IT, which gives us 90s R&B vibes and has everyone so in love with it that it debuted at number 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/HipHop Albums chart. It has become one of the top streamed albums, and if you haven’t listened to it yet, you really should.
Kesha has been a pop queen and icon since her early hits, such as “Tik Tok” and“Die Young.” She released her inspirational album, Rainbow, in 2017 and had us anxiously waiting for new music. Recently, she announced her newest album, High Road, and released the gospel-inspired single “Raising Hell” ft. Big Freedia, along with a music video with an 80s church theme and ominous twist. Her album will feature Big Freedia, Wrabel, and even Ke$ha herself. It is set to be released January 10th, 2020, and will channel some of the early Kesha sounds we grew to love from this talented pop icon.
Trevor Jackson is an R&B singer/songwriter, dancer, and actor. He has had appearances on Wendy Williams, People TV, BET, GQ, and Harper’s BAZAAR, amongst many others, and is known for his role as Aaron on Grown-ish. However, he is quickly becoming recognized for his smooth vocals in his two R&B LPs Rough Drafts Pt.1 and, the recently released, Rough Drafts Pt.2. With over 3 million streams on Spotify, Trevor is rising in the music industry and a must-listen-to artist.
Normani has been in the spotlight since her days as one of the members of the pop sensation group, Fifth Harmony. Last year, Normani made her debut as a solo artist with “Love Lies,” a collaborative song with Khalid, that made the Billboard Hot 100. This year she released “Dancing With A Stranger” with Sam Smith as well as her single “Motivation,” both of which were absolute hits. Throughout the past two years, she has worked with many top artists, including Calvin Harris, Quavo, and Kehlani. She is also currently touring with current pop queen, ArianaGrande, and is finishing the recording of her debut album, which we know will be full of bops.
Liam Payne has been on the rise as a top pop artist ever since his hiatus from the global phenomenon, One Direction. His first single “Strip That Down” was an absolute hit and was on the radio for weeks. His recent single, “Stack It Up,” ft. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie is all about working hard to earn money and is a song that has us bobbing our heads and moving our hips. He has also released “All I Want (For Christmas),” a soft melodious song that is perfect for sitting by the fireplace on a snowy day. The release of these singles has only increased our anticipation for Liam Payne’sdebut album LP1, set to drop December 6th, 2019.
Hip hop artist, Kash Doll, has had quite a year. She joined Meek Mill on tour and was nominated for the 2019 BET Award for Best Female Hip Hop Artist. She also had 2Chainz remix her hit, “Ice Me Out,” in February. Now, she has presented us with her latest album, Stacked. The album features many collaborations with top artists, including Big Sean, Trey Songz, Summer Walker, Teyana Taylor, LouGotCash, and Lil Wayne. It has bold and fresh lyrics that are worth a listen.
Khalid has been topping the charts with every new pop and R&B single he’s dropped. He has worked with many well-known artists, including Sheeran, Normani, Shawn Mendes, Ty Dolla $ign, and 6lack, amongst many others. His two albums, American Teen and Free Spirit, and multiple hit singles, including “Talk” ft. Disclosure and “Better” have been the soundtrack to many of our summers. His music has positioned him as one of the Top 3 “Most Streamed Artists in the World” on Spotify. His most recent track is a collaboration with rap artist A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie titled “Right Back,” and it gives us hope for a new album in the future.
Megan Thee Stallion
2019 is definitely rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s year. While simultaneously working on her college degree online and her music, she has continued to deliver the freshest tracks. She and Nicki Minaj invented “Hot Girl Summer” with their iconic song and had us all feeling like our hottest selves. She also debuted her album, Fever, which showcased her superb rapping skills and is all about sex and being a boss. The album also features collaborations with DaBaby and Juicy J. This is definitely not the last of Megan Thee Stallion, and we know she’s going to continue dominating the rap world.
Harry Styles continues to have an amazing solo career. His first debut album in 2017 self-titled Harry Styles was at the top of the charts, and both legs of his solo tour sold out within minutes. Now, he’s back with new music as he surprised fans by dropping his single “Lights Up,” along with the artistically exquisite and dreamy music video, both of which quickly made #1. His new music differs from his earlier rock and roll album, and we are loving it. The English pop rockstar has now hinted at a new upcoming song titled “Watermelon Sugar,” which is supposed to be an elevated version of his crowd-pleasing song “Kiwi.” Styles has also just announced his upcoming album, Fine Line, which is set to be released on December 13th, 2019, along with an already sold out one night only performance at The Forum. Based on“Lights Up,” we know that the album is going to be an absolute sensation.
JoJo is back and better than ever. After taking a break from the music scene, the R&B singer/songwriter has returned with new music. She recently released her single “Joanna,” which beautifully emits the most powerful, real, and raw emotions. It is clear from hearing the song that she is once again pouring everything she has into her music. JoJo also dropped another single, “Sabotage” featuring CHIKA, with a mellow rhythm that is all about self-sabotaging relationships. We can’t wait to see what is next from JoJo’s return.
Lizzo has been on a roll all year. Since the release of her smash hit, “Juice,” at the beginning of the year, the fabulous singer/songwriter has been on the rise. Her debut album, Cuz I Love You, was released in April, featured Missy Elliot and Gucci Mane, and was an absolute must-hear. It immediately climbed the charts and had everyone absolutely feeling themselves, especially with “Truth Hurts,” which, although originally released in 2017, became extremely popular. Most recently, Lizzo collaborated with global pop sensation, Ariana Grande, for a remix of “Good as Hell,” and it was, of course, as successful as we expected. The confidence-promoting artist is currently on her Cuz I Love You Too Tour, and we are hopeful that next year will bring new self-love-filled music.
Kiana Ledé is an up and coming recording artist and actress. She is currently known for her role as Zoё Vaughn in the second season of Scream as well as for her bohemian melodies on her new EP, Myself, which she released earlier this year. She is currently listed as one of Billboard’s top emerging artists and is quickly rising in the charts. Now, she is wrapping up her first solo tour throughout the United States and Canada. If you haven’t already heard her music, it’s about time you do because she is guaranteed to be everywhere soon.
Australian singer/songwriter and heartthrob, Cody Simpson, has had multiple hits over the years, from“Pretty Brown Eyes” to “La Da Dee.” Today, we know Simpson as part of Cody Simpson and the Tide, which is comprised of himself, Adrian Cota, and Shareef “Reef” Addo. At the beginning of this year, they released four tracks: “We Had,” “No Longer Blue,” “dear marie, I’d love to meet your mum,” and “Temple.” These four were followed by another single, “Daybreak,” which is a great and catchy summer song that is a mix of pop, rock, and reggae sounds. Most recently, the singer has released “golden thing,” which was inspired by Miley Cyrus and is full of the sweetest lyrics.
Malachi is one of the R&B artists to look out for this year. Canadian singer/songwriter debuted his music, which was influenced by his father’s Reggae songs and his mother’s favorite R&B artists, at the beginning of this year with the release of his single “Right Now” and has since released a total of 5 rhythmic tracks, “Right Now,” “San Fernando Wine,” “We Don’t Mind,” “I Got You,” and “Son of a Gun.” He spent three years putting his songs together and is now releasing them into the world. With each song he drops, we fall more and more in love with his sound.
Singer/songwriter, rapper, actress, and Cover Girl, Becky G, has been in the top charts since her smash hit, “Shower,” and continues to do so with her newer singles such as “Sin Pijama,” “Mayores,” and “Sola.” She has worked with globally-renowned artists such as Pitbull, Maluma, Daddy Yankee, Natti Natasha, and j-hope from BTS, amongst multiple others. Now, she has released her debut Latin-pop album, Mala Santa, which is a bilingual album that features artists such as Myke Towers, Paulo Londra, Farruko, and many more. She has clearly conquered the Latin music industry and is continuing to kill the game.
Pink Sweat$ is a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia whose music, consisting of light and silky vocals and acoustics, creates the perfect vibe to chill. He started his music career in 2018 and has already received recognition in The New York Times and has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. His two EPs, Volume 1 and Volume 2, have caused waves in the R&B world. He released a duet titled “I WannaBe Yours” with Korean artist, Crush, this past October. We can definitely expect to hear more from Pink Sweat$ as he has revealed that he is working on an upcoming full album.
MUNA is a Los Angeles-based pop-punk queer band comprised of Katie Gavin, Naomi McPherson, and Josette Maskin. They released their first debut album, About U, in 2017 and got to tour it as the opening act for none other than Harry Styles himself. Now, they’ve come back with their second album, Saves The World, that features the hit single “Number One Fan,” a cheeky song that quickly gets stuck in your head. The new album is very personal and all about personal empowerment. With this second album, MUNA is establishing their intent to take up space and get the recognition they deserve.
The duo, Social House, is comprised of Michael “Mikey” Foster and Charles“Scootie” Anderson, and they are not only singers but also producers, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists. You’ve probably heard them on pop star Ariana Grande’s single, “boyfriend,” which released back in August. While you may not have listened to their music until their song with Grande, they have been working behind the scenes of other smash hits such as “thank u, next” and “7 Rings”. Social House recently released their EP, Everything Changed, with six songs, each with varying vibes, from acoustics to trap to R&B. With such innovative sounds and lyrics, we know they’ll be the next big thing.
Bryson Tiller is a mastermind at perfectly blending trap music and R&B. He won us all over with his debut album, T R A P S O U L, three years ago, and has continued to give us great music until 2017 with his sophomore album, True To Self. This year, he came back with the release “Blame,” which received a lot of love from fans. Most recently, he collaborated with R&B artist Che Ecru to bring us “Patient,” a subtle song that really features both artists’voices. Tiller is currently working on his third album, Serenity, and based on his two current singles, it will be reminiscent of his other two albums and will most likely hit the top of the charts.
DaniLeigh is a Dominican American singer/songwriter and dancer from Florida who started out on YouTube doing covers, and at 18, she directed the Purple One’s “Breakfast Can Wait” music video. Now, she has her own music and is killing the game. Her single, “Lurkin,” was featured in the HBO hit series, Insecure, and her EP, Summer With Friends, which fuses hip-hop, R&B, and electronic pop together, is one of our favorites. This year, she released her singles, “No Limits,” and “Easy,” which was later remixed by top R&B artist, Chris Brown. More recently, she collaborated with rapper G-Eazy to create“Cravin,” which is a cool and sexy hip-hop track. She is currently working on her new album, which she has stated will include more Spanglish songs and will have us all “feeling like a boss.”