2022: The Year Music Found New Levels, Thanks to Artists Pushing Boundaries, Creating, Inspiring…
I absolutely love music and I remember feeling disappointed with the quality of songs being produced a number of years ago. There was a lot of remixes, similar sounding music, and personally it felt stale, repetitive and lacking originality. That memory popped into my head today and I must say, right now, I feel the complete opposite. I’m really amazed by the new music being released by so many new and established artists. Musically, I think the world is in a brilliant place. I wanted to explore music which I feel has contributed to this – pioneering artists who are carving the way for new sounds, and look into the circumstances behind all of this…
For starters, Covid19 not only effected the world, but it changed it forever. Lockdown forced upon us and the livelihoods of many industries including musicians instantly damaged. Live performances stopped, clubs closed, people confined to their own homes without permission to leave. Looking back, it feels like it was a dream, but unfortunately it was reality. Musicians advised by our very government to learn a new trade. So many professionals effected, and musicians had it tough! Despite the struggles, the world eventually reopened, people gathered again and with that, new talent emerged. I’ve taken a look at the past year and compiled a list of my top music artists of 2022.
Top Music Artists of 2022
As the UK started to reopen, I remember hearing ‘We Lost Dancing’, by the incredibly talented producer Fred Again. People’s freedom was taken away. The nation felt worried, trapped and frustrated, and the release of ‘We Lost Dancing’, was, for me, a pivotal moment in music, and in life. It’s not only a banger, but the voice it represented, the emotional connection it had (and still has) resonated with the world. Fred Again is one of my favourite artists right now and this track encapsulated everything perfectly. Listening to that song was, and still feels like Fred Again bringing people together in tough times and communicating with the world, offering listeners a voice, a way to grieve, and hope, during a pandemic. Reintroducing society and the clubbing community. These words, taken directly from the song, summarise it perfectly: “This year we’ve had to lose our space, we’ve lost dancing. We’ve lost the hugs, the friends, and people that we loved to all these things we took for granted, we’ve lost dancing. If I can live through this next 6 months, day by day. If I can live through this, what comes next, will be, marvellous”. Just wow. What powerful words!
It’s no surprise to know Fred Again has almost 10M monthly Spotify listeners. His latest release ‘Delilah (pull me out of this)’, is more proof that he’s one of the most talented producers of the moment. The record is unique and original – I love the way he’s done something new yet again, and by this I mean playing with the song tempo and BPM. I won’t be surprised to hear more musicians being inspired by this style. As an artist, he’s not afraid to do something new. His sound captures the imagination and connects the world through his powerful iconic music. I feel that Fred Again has already carved a new pathway and is going to continue to surprise us, and shake up electronic music.
… went quiet for a bit, but oh boy was it worth the wait! Whilst people wondered what Stormzy was doing, will he return and when? BOOM! He comes back with an incredible artistic and original “piece of art”. I’m not sure what label represents the song best – is it a song, or a movie? If anyone needed reminding that he’s unstoppable and the king of lyrics and beats, then the release of ‘Mel Made Me Do It’ did just that. Hollywood movie quality video production, huge budgets, massive names, constant powerful messages, poetic, representation, closure, proof, imagination, creative greatness. The bar just got raised. 2022 was the year Stormzy reminded the world that he’s still the GOAT.
I just couldn’t keep writing without referencing Fred Again, again. I mention this because Oliver Tree, ‘Miss You’, is another new track pact with a punch and produced with a fast tempo / BPM, much like ‘Delilah (pull me out of this)’. Oliver Tree’s latest track is upbeat, original and has that feel good vibe. No wonder it’s clocked up almost 137M Spotify streams at the time of writing this. Oliver Tree has 31.5M monthly Spotify listeners. Another artist pushing musical boundaries and stretching the possibilities of sound.
Their recent track ‘Sidewindah feat. Flirta D’ is yet another example of originality. Chopping and stuttering sounds with oldschool and new samples thrown in. I can’t get enough of the main rapping section. Then that DROP! It’s a turn-it-up, underground, dance-harder tune. I absolutely love it.
Oh my days!! What a sound. Blending her beautiful voice with upbeat melodies, progressive layers, meaningful lyrics and epic sounds. I’m sure you’ve already heard her music and specifically the song I’m describing – ‘Black Hole’. There’s also a wonderful acoustic version of this song. A fairly new artist releasing her debut single in 2019, Griff is already cleaning up, winning awards and I have no doubt will be a superstar.
I Shazammed this track recently: ‘Luvin U Is Easy’. It’s catchy, upbeat, and has all the elements of a cool, electro-house track with female vocals. Random, but personally, I like to dream, and my favourite “place” is sat in a London skyscraper building, looking out at night over the city, with a cocktail in hand. This is the perfect track oozing cool vibes which is needed. Seriously good, where’s that cocktail!?
Another superb young female artist taking the world by storm. My personal favourite track so far released by TSHA is ‘Dancing In The Shadows, feat. Clementine Douglas’. A very cool breakbeat style track with nice vocals. A well balanced upbeat yet chilled track suitable for many scenarios, and another perfect track to listen to overlooking London with the obligatory alcoholic drink! Cocktails!
Obviously, already well-established but in my opinion releasing new tunes shaping the way for future sounds. Choppy beats and stabbing vocals, his (currently) most popular track on Spotify is ‘KILL DEM’. Well, if there was anyone in the way of Jamie XX, this track moves them on! Out the way, Jamie XX incoming!!
So much talent and smashing it on the airwaves right now! Aitch has been around since 2015 but it feels like 2022 has been the biggest year yet for the amazing British rapper from Manchester. With collaborations with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie, and Ashanti, this rapper has shot to the top and we can’t wait to hear more!
I wanted to conclude my top 10 artists of 2022, with this duo from Northern Ireland. I’ve been listening to their music for years and I love how it makes me feel. Producing top quality music, Bicep continue to release the finest electronic music. I find their music relaxing, uplifting, spiritual, progressive and deep. I can imagine so many different scenarios listening to their music: from big room, to small venue, chill-out lounge, to garden parties. Almost classical, and although I’m not a student anymore, I can imagine perfect music to study to!
I’m going to have to make my list the top 11, not top 10 artists of 2022, because Caity Baser also stood out as a new female singer-songwriter working hard and releasing some really cool and unique music. Full of attitude, wit, honesty, opinion and no BS, Caity Baser produces pop-music, sings and raps infectiously. Her music sends strong messages and is relatable to students, talking about relationships and real life problems. I first found her music through TikTok, and it wasn’t long after I heard her on BBC Radio1.
Top Music Artists of 2022 Round up
There you have my round up of my personal top music artists of 2022, I hope you like the selection. There really are too many great musicians to mention, and other artists smashing it which we also want to give a mention include: Beabadoobee, Joel Corry, Yung Filly, Nathan Dawe, there’s just too many to mention.
I really believe that musically the world is in a brilliant place. Better than I ever remember it being for many years, and for many reasons. Much like fashion, in music, trends come and go, but they also return. With that, comes new influences, new spin-off sounds and artists breaking through and pushing boundaries, which is exactly what this list of 11 artists are all doing. Creating new sounds in an ever-changing and competitive industry. I look forward to seeing how the year 2023 further influences and changes the music we listen to.