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12 Breakout Artists Who Blew Us Away in 2015

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With 2015 now behind us, we thought it would be the perfect time to look back at this past year’s best breakout artists, to put into perspective just how great a year this was. Some of these artists were new to the music scene, while others have been around for some time, but were just getting their big break. One thing is for sure, they all have undeniable talent. So, in order to look forward to the new year that lays ahead let’s take a look at what new artists shined in 2015. Here’s to hoping we’ll be seeing more of them in 2016!

1. Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly had one heck of a year, and we must say, it was well deserved. Tori is known for her covers on YouTube, particularly for her cover of “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” by Frank Ocean (it has over 24 million views) and her audition for Season 9 of American Idol. Both propelled her to getting even more exposure on the music scene. This year seemed to mark her big break though, and she had many highlights. In May, she performed her single “Nobody Love” at the Billboard Music Awards, and in June, her debut studio album was released while she was on tour in New York City. 

2. Shawn Mendes

Canadian Shawn Mendes sure is making waves over here in the United States. Discovered through his song covers on Vine, he has come to be a top-selling artist in what seems like only a matter of a couple years. A big break was signing with Island Records in 2014. Further success was not far behind when in April of 2015 his first debut studio album Handwritten was released. The single “Stitches” rose sharply in the charts, reaching the Top 10 in the U.S., as well as in his native Canada. The music video for the single came out in June, and currently has over 143 million views on YouTube. From being an opening act in Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour over the summer to recently collaborating with Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony on the song “I Know What You Did Last Summer” we have a feeling this was just the start, and that there'll be so much more to come in the new year.

3. Hailee Steinfeld

In addition to her background in acting, Hailee Steinfeld also has a love for singing. And in Pitch Perfect 2, we got to see her dedication to the craft for the very first time with the song “Flashlight.” In 2015, she released her first single “Love Myself” out of nowhere, and we instantly fell in love with it for its message of self love and acceptance. Only a few months later, she released her first EP, Haiz, which includes a number of clever, upbeat songs, including her hit single from the summer. It is fair to say that many have taken well to her debut single because it was announced on the singer’s instagram that the song went platinum

4. Halsey

In 2014, singer-songwriter, Halsey released her first single “Ghosts” on Soundcloud and subsequently came out with her debut studio album Badlands the following year after signing with a record label. Her interest in singing and writing songs began when she was young and she took to social media to post videos of her singing her own body of work.

5. Charlie Puth

We first heard of Charlie Puth after the release of the single “When I See You Again,” featuring rapper Wiz Khalifa, which was released on the soundtrack to Furious 7. But he has been recording songs before he rose to fame, and took to YouTube to post clips of him singing covers. Did you know that Ellen DeGeneres signed him and Emily Arthur, who sang covers with Puth, to her own record label after discovering them online? Yep. Subsequently, he left to sign with Atlantic Records, and let’s just say, the rest is history. His other credits include the single “Marvin Gaye” featuring Meghan Trainor and his own, “One Call Away” both of which are featured on his album Nine Track Mind.

6. Jess Glynne

In the summer of 2014, Jess Glynne was featured on a track produced by the group Clean Bandit called “Rather Be.” She provides the whimsical vocals while the electronic group supplies the sound behind Glynne. Prior to collaborating with Clean Bandit, she worked with British recording producer, Route 94, on a track called “My Love.” Both singles propelled her to wide acclaim on the music scene after doing well internationally. In August of 2015, her debut studio album I Cry When I Laugh was released and it instantly became a global hit.

7. Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan is a triple threat: he is a YouTuber, an actor, and now, a singer. Could he be any cooler? We first got to witness his singing talent when he released his EP in August of 2014. In December 2015, his debut studio album Blue Neighbourhood was released with huge success. Some of our favorite songs off the album include “Wild,” “Talk Me Down” and “Youth.” Coming off his success with this album, we can’t wait to see what the Aussie comes out with next, whether it be a new upload on YouTube, an upcoming role, or even a new EP. Whatever it may be, we’re looking forward to seeing more from him.

8. Zara Larsson

Zara Larsson, a native of Sweden, excels as both a singer and songwriter. She was first discovered in a singing competition in Sweden in 2008, and two years later, signed with a record label. In January 2013, she released her first EP Introducing, and the single "Uncover" rose to the top of the charts instantly. While we recommend listening to her entire album, our two faves, were released separately and include, "Lush Life" and "Never Forget You" featuring electronic-artist MNEK.

9. Sam Hunt

This summer, Sam Hunt came onto the music scene and we fell in love with his voice and Southern charm. Initially, he went to college to become a football player but then decided to sign with a record label last year in his native Nashville. Before pursuing his own album, he began by writing songs for other artists such as Keith Urban and Reba McEntire. Following the release of Montevallo, all of the singles from his debut album became hits and reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He has had quite a year from winning awards, including an American Music Award, a CMT Music Award and a Grammy, and those are only to name a few. Pretty impressive for a newcomer!

10. Rachel Platten

Although Rachel Platten has been working in the music industry since 2003, she first came onto our radar in 2011 (with the release of Be Here). In 2015 though, she officially blew everyone away with the release of the single "Fight Song." With its powerful hook, we became inspired by its lyrics to let go and to not worry about the little things that might lower our spirits. In addition to this single, we also loved the song "Stand by You." Both singles were released on her official album debut, Wildfire, on the first of January. Now that we have seen her totally killing it in 2015, we can’t wait to see what she does in 2016.

11. Alessia Cara

19-year-old Alessia Cara debuted her single “Here” over the summer on Know-it-All, her first studio album, and we have to say without shame, that we have been replaying it ever since. It became a hit overnight, so we knew we weren’t the only ones. Some favorites include, "I’m Yours,""Seventeen" and "Wild Things." If you haven’t checked them out yet, be sure to give them a listen at some point.

12. Justine Skye

Justine Skye used Tumblr as a platform to get her voice heard. She has since signed with the record label Atlantic Records and released her second album, Emotionally Unavailable, over the summer. As a lover of all things in the color purple (she's even dyed her hair a vibrant shade of violet), fans have began to refer to her as the Purple Unicorn after she was given the nickname in a recording studio session. To this day, she makes sure to give updates on the site to her followers, who are now apart of The Unicorn Nation. In 2014, she collaborated with Tyga on the single “Collide.” Most recently, she released hit singles “Bandit,” “I’m Yours” featuring Vic Mensa, and “On & On.”


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