This year graced us with plenty of great albums from long time favourites like Beyoncé’ (Lemonade) and Frank Ocean (Blonde) — but so many of the years best albums came from some who we had never even heard of last year.
It’s easy to get overshadowed as an artist when so many heavy hitters are following up on their past successes, but these acts were put on our radar in a big way when they hit the scene this year with their sound, mostly unheard until now. These acts bend genres, and bring something new to the industry that we’ve never seen before.
Whether they are just blessing us with their music now, or were making a long anticipated arrival as solo acts or after countless EPs/mixtapes, these are the artists who wowed us when they dropped their first ever full length records this year:
Unfinished Business By Nathan Sykes
You may remember Nathan from boyband The Wanted, and/or his collaboration with Ariana Grande for the The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie soundtrack — regardless how the soulful singer was put on your radar, his solo album Unfinished Business dropped November 11th and it showed a side of the musician fans hadn’t seen while in his boyband days.
Majid Jordan Self-Titled Album
It was early this year on February 5th when R&B duo Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman dropped their self-titled debut. While this Canadian pair is still on the rise, their collaboration with Drake on their hit single “My Love” is sure to peek anyones interest in their debut.
Nine Track Mind By Charlie Puth
We’ve come to love this artist after years of watching him on YouTube — never forget this cover of Someone Like You — so his debut was a long time coming. Puth’s first ever record, which dropped January 29th, boasts multiple hit singles like “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” “Marvin Gaye” and “One Call Away.”
Mind Of Mine By Zayn
What started off as quite the stir when the One Direction member chose to leave the band early 2015, has resulted in a solo successful debut with tracks like “PILLOWTALK” and “LIKE I WOULD” a year later. The album, which dropped March 25th, caters to Zayn Malik’s more R&B side that fans wouldn’t have heard in his boyband days. This is the music he’s always wanted to make — and damn is he good at it.
Phase By Jack Garratt
This British singer/songwriter had people around the world talking when he released his studio album Phase on February 19. The artist caught our attention with his lyrics, unique vocals and knack for story telling. With an impactful single like “Worry,” we’re not surprised by the career ahead of Garratt.
Long Way Home By Låpsley
The English electronic singer may not ring any bells yet, but after one listen to her debut Long Way Home, released March 4th, you won’t want to go a day without listening to her. We highly recommend you listen to her hit “Hurt Me.”
Pagan By Palmistry
English producer Palmistry is most likely the name you have yet to hear on this list — and will be one to leave you intrigued. His sound is unlike anything we’ve heard this year, and we’ve finally got to hear it thanks to his debut, which dropped August 12th.
Coasts’ Self-Titled Album
The English band Coasts may not be as known as the other acts on this list but have just as much notable hits like the rest. “Oceans,” and “Tonight” are just two great tracks off their debut album that dropped January 22.
DNCE’s Self-Titled Album
A band that needs no introduction dropped their debut album November 18th after their monster success from hit single “Cake By The Ocean.” You don’t need to be a Jonas Brothers fan to be pulled in by the band’s unique spin on the pop genre, with its heavy retro funk influences.
The Human Condition By Jon Bellion
Definitely not new to the industry, but new to mainstream radios, Jon Bellion dropped his debut The Human Condition — after releasing multiple free mixtapes — June 10th, and is an artist that the world will be talking about for years to come.
Sit Still, Look Pretty By Daya
At the young age of 18, Daya’s debut had many very intrigued after her hit “Hide Away” and her The Chainsmokers collaboration “Don’t Let Me Down.” We know there’s many big things coming in this American singer’s future.
You’re a Man Now, Boy By Raleigh Ritchie
The Game Of Thrones actor dropped his debut on February 26th under his stage name and it was hit single “Bloodsport” that had all fans patiently waiting for this debut. With positive reviews from many critics, and us (it’s truly great), Raleigh Ritchie’s debut nailed it.