We are thrilled to introduce 22 for ‘22; our tips for the hottest independent artists in the world going into 2022.
Using our in-house data and scouting techniques, we’ve selected 22 artists whose huge success this year has set them up for an even bigger 2022. Our list boasts talent from around the world; from homegrown singer-songwriters making a name for themselves on YouTube and TikTok, to established US social stars foraying into the world of music.
The modern artist knows that just releasing great music is not enough, with listeners discovering music through more channels than ever before. The artists on this list are well aware of that, however, and have all found huge success on one or more platforms.
No one demonstrates that better than our #1 artist Matt Hansen, who started 2021 with fewer than 100 TikTok followers, and ends it with over 2 million, plus over 1.8M streams on his single ‘without you with me’. Hansen laid the foundations for a huge follow-up single, with millions more eyes and ears on him going into 2022.
Speaking of incredible growth, at #2, newcomer Jade LeMac released her debut track ‘Constellations’ in August. Buoyed by a series of viral TikToks and editorial playlist support from Spotify, the track has gone on to rack-up over 7M streams, with the stripped-back piano version bringing in a further 1.2M. With such a strong start, LeMac is primed for a massive 2022.
Zevia also had a strong first year as an artist, with her debut single ‘Toxicity’ bringing in over 1M streams, follow-up ‘till death frees me’ reaching over 2M and third track ‘if depression gets the best of me’ cracking the 3.5M stream mark. Less than a year into her career, Zevia has already built up an impressive body of work.
In 2021, TikTok established itself as the platform of choice for new artists looking to promote their music. Look no further than alt-country singer-songwriter Maddie Zahm, whose track ‘Blind Spot’ released to 2M combined Spotify playlist followers after TikTok teasers were viewed more than 5M times. Meanwhile, more than 200k TikToks were made using Jenna Raine’s track ‘see you later (ten years)’, helping the track reach 24M Spotify streams since its release in September.
At #6, Lauren Spencer Smith dispelled any notion that success from TikTok is just a flash in the pan; her track ‘All I Want’ went viral in 2020, garnering 11M Spotify streams in the process. This year, she beat her own record with ‘Back to Friends’, which she took from viral TikTok to 12M streams. Let’s see if she can do it again in 2022.
Rising singer-songwriter Britton started 2021 with just over 14k followers on TikTok, but thanks to several viral moments of the course of the year, she ends it with over 400k, as well as 3M streams on her breakthrough track ‘To My Younger Self’. Her latest track ‘Libeated’ is now on its way to 1M Spotify streams, while she continues to tease yet more new songs on TikTok.
With TikTok becoming ever more saturated with new artists promoting themselves, it has become difficult to stand out. Rapper Zach Diamond was up to the task, however, seeing millions of views on his diverse videos, which include rap challenges and comedy skits.
It was vocalist Jordan Rabjohn who had the biggest moment on TikTok out of this entire list, however, with his entry in the #BadRomanceChallenge being viewed 30M times thanks to an unlikely appearance from his equally talented mum. That kind of exposure is invaluable for a rising artist; Rabjohn enters 2022 with his monthly listeners 400% higher than they were at the start of 2021.
While TikTok was the name of the game for many up-and-coming artists this year, we can’t ignore those who’ve grown an audience off the strength of their music: Lullaboy saw 2,000% growth in his monthly listeners over the course of 2021, with his current total sitting at 1.5M going into the new year thanks to his track ‘someone like u’ driving 11M Spotify streams.
Emlyn also had a massive 2021 on Spotify, rounding out the year with over 350k monthly listeners. She has grown her followers on the streaming platform from under 100 at the start of the year to over 50k, massively increasing her audience ahead of 2022.
MICO proved a favourite of Spotify editorial playlists around the release of his EP ‘lie lie lie’, which featured in playlists with over 5M combined followers. That kind of exposure is invaluable, as MICO goes into 2022 with over ten times as many monthly listeners as he had at the start of 2021.
Alex Porat converted fans of her YouTube covers into 9M total streams for her debut album ‘Miss Sick World’, going into 2022 as a fully-formed artist in her own right. The same is true for Riell, whose EP ‘better off’ proved she has potential beyond the EDM guest spots she was previously known for. ‘better off’ garnered 7M total Spotify streams, with hundreds of thousands of YouTube views across her official music videos.
Singer-songwriter Garett Seamans has not one but two successful projects - Postcard Boy and Carwash - with the latter’s 2021 EP ‘soap water’ reaching 3M total streams and the former’s 2020 track ‘Flight’ bringing in over 1M streams. Kyle Hume also had a standout year on Spotify, growing his monthly listeners from 1.6k at the start of the year to 483k going into 2022.
For over a decade, YouTube has proven itself a breeding ground for exciting new talent, which it remains to this day: Arthur Miguel grew his YouTube subscribers by over 400% in 2021, with 101M channel views. As a result of his substantial YouTube growth, his Spitify has seen a boost, with his cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Crazier’ amassing more than 13M streams.
Another cover artist, Suggi came back from a 6 month hiatus with new track ‘Hug’, which is already on its way to 1 million streams and ranks among his top 10 most popular tracks on Spotify. Despite not uploading in over a year, Suggi’s YouTube channel continues to bring in hundreds of thousands of monthly viewers, with commenters patiently waiting for his return.
Striking visuals for his track ‘Boy Bi’ helped Mad Tsai see over 1,000% YouTube subscriber growth in 2021, with each subsequent track debuting to more streams than the one before it. His latest track ‘Killer Queen’ has already clocked over 2.5M streams in under 2 months, leaving the door open for Mad Tsai to take the world by storm in 2022.
YouTuber and alt pop singer-songwriter Cami Petyn got clever on YouTube this year, pivoting her content to focus more on music, reacting to the biggest tracks from the world of K-Pop. The result was 5M total channel views, as well as doubling her Spotify monthly listeners as her channel grew.
Endlessly charismatic and often shirtless producer/vocalist Marc Rebillet also proved a social and streaming hit in 2021, adding 2.6M new followers across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. While Rebilett’s last album, 2020’s ‘Loop Daddy III’, was a hit in its own right - garnering over 10M streams - a 2022 follow-up has the potential to be even bigger given his much bigger social audience.
Rounding out the list, Gabriella Bee is no stranger to internet stardom, gaining notoriety as a child star on Vine. She kicked off a successful music career back in 2019, releasing her debut album ‘Leave Those Kids Alone’ in 2021. Pivoting from social personality to artist can be tricky - many have tried and failed - but Bee has proven a hit, with over 6M streams on her album.
While the 22 artists featured in this list hail from different countries, have different backgrounds, and diverse musical styles, they are linked by their ability to cut through the noise and carve out a niche within the ever-saturated digital landscape. With over 60,000 new tracks added to Spotify every day, these 22 artists should be firmly on your radar going into the new year.
Check out the artists featured in 22 for 22 in the playlist below, provided by Curated.