It’s a fascinating time for music in Ireland right now. We were already seeing a boom in new acts before the pandemic, but now artists must continually be innovative and persevering in the face of canceled concerts and their livelihoods threatened.
We can all hope that live music will return to normal in 2022, and the sooner it does, the better. This is what the extremely talented artists on this list and beyond deserve.
Here are some of the exciting acts to watch for next year:
1 Soda blonde
Dublin’s alt-pop group Soda Blonde was born out of the split from Little Green Cars. Each member, bar frontman Stevie Appleby, formed the new group in what was, in their words, a “rebirth.”
It’s always difficult to keep up with what came before, but there is something imposing about Soda Blonde’s debut album. The music is fresh, while maintaining a polite “we know what we’re doing here” tune. And of course they do. Little Green Cars was a huge hit in its heyday, gaining huge success here and further ashore, even seizing a performance slot on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
With that comes heavy expectations about what will happen to the group. But they are absolutely ready for it. Lead singer Faye O’Rourke comfortably takes center stage as if she was born to do so and we hope to see a lot more of her and the band on stage in 2022.
St. Bishop has been one of the most exciting acts to come out of Ireland in a long time. The Monaghan-born queer alt-pop artist has dealt with breaking absolute bangers through plenty of blockages and is more than ready to play again. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also finishing a graduate degree in the meantime – talk about multi-talented.
âThe past two years have really helped me do a lot of work and recording, but I definitely felt stumped for the inspiration for songwriting. Not a lot of life has happened during those years. lockdown times and for me, I get a lot of my inspiration from going out, meeting new people, and clearly having a love life (good or bad). “
He released his new single “Alone” last month, a contagious electro-pop song about finding self-esteem in the aftermath of a breakup. It received rave reviews and multiple radio plays across the country.
“The next few months are going to be a lot of fun. I’ll be busy rehearsing the show live and getting ready to release the EP, which will be released in early 2022.”
We can’t wait to see what happens next for St. Bishop.
3 Carrie Baxter
2021 has been a huge year for Irish-born and London-based neo-soul singer Carrie Baxter, who reaches 160,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. As you listen to Baxter, you are instantly drawn to comparisons with someone like Tom Misch. Laid back, jazzy melodies are omnipresent throughout her songs, with her soulful vocals sliding through neat guitar hits.
Baxter has also had success as a singer on some of the year’s huge dance pieces, like Otosan X Shadow Child and Notion.
2022 is expected to see her star rise even further as she fully embraces her solo career and continues to release her unique blend of jazz and soul singles.
4 Saibh Skelly
The 17-year-old from Walkinstown, Dublin, has steadily built up a growing number of subscribers on YouTube and other social media.
In 2019, Saibh started uploading his busking sessions to YouTube. However, it wasn’t until later that year and the investment in a video camera, that she noticed that her home recording videos were gaining popularity.
âIt was growing steadily,â adds Saibh, âbut when I reached 10,000 subscribers, I thoughtâ¦ it was actually a lot of people! “
The pandemic has taken street musicians off the streets. Saibh’s online popularity really started to take off during the lockdown as new fans – old, young and around the world – warmed to his unassuming personality and unabashed enthusiasm for modern pop songwriting; covering everyone from Anne-Marie to Lewis Capaldi.
She released her first single, a cover of “Come Here And Leave Me Alone” by Alexander 23 last month. With so many fans already at such a young age, the future is bright for Skelly.
5 Robert grace
Robert Grace stormed last year. His career was curtailed due to confinement, so he decided to improvise. He created a TikTok account where he has now amassed over two million followers. The rest is history, as they say. Her single “Fake Fine” now has over 12 million streams on Spotify alone, so it’s safe to say that Grace is on something.
The Kilkenny native has particularly appealed to a young Irish audience – drawn to his open and honest words which emphasize his sanity. The pandemic seemed to really strike a chord with its audience and it’s no wonder it was around this time that it started to really get famous.
In 2022, he looks set for another massive year. Its first tour has been postponed until next March, but its audience is already there, helped by its massive online presence, and we’re sure it will only grow.
6 Aby Coulibaly
Irish R&B is an exciting part of the national music scene by the minute. There are tons of exhilarating new acts in the genre and Aby Coulibaly is a real star.
Coulibaly went the extra mile during the pandemic, releasing three singles and two music videos, all made through his own label “Chamomile Records”. With the restrictions easing in September, she performed her first festival, AVA in Belfast. A place in the Forbidden Fruit range for next year has also just been announced, which surely consolidates its position as one of the best news from Ireland.
The Dublin’s songwriting is confident, her songs are well produced and they make you nod your head right off the bat. There is much more in store for the 21-year-old as she dives headfirst into 2022.