What to expect in 2022


WITH the dust settling, the padded bottoms and the cracking crackers, a full stock of 2021 can be accounted for. We’ve had incredible albums, singles and (believe it or not) shows throughout the year that are a testament to the resilience and endless creativity of island musicians. This week’s column is dedicated to the musicians we believe will be making headlines for the foreseeable future. These are the ones to watch in 2022.

John Francis Flynn
Flynn is a folk singer with magnetic qualities. His debut album, which we talked about in the previous two columns, was one of the highlights of the year. And that’s not all he has going for him. Emerging as a key face and activist in the preservation of Dublin culture and the grassroots fight against gentrification, Flynn has the will of the people and the voice of angels on his side. Watch this place.

A bold and adventurous producer who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. With just one track released to date, this Northern DJ has already started turning heads with her relentless brand of garage-infused house and dark drum and bass. When the dance floors reopen, it won’t be long before HY:LY dominates them.

Possibly the most prolific act on the list, it’s been hard to escape NewDad’s influence over the past year. With a recent string of US headline dates announced around their SXSW appearance, a new EP slated for release mid-year and their biggest Irish shows to date already sold out, the Galway dream-poppers drew on the spirit of the times. Their flagship Ulster Sports Club show was one of the best gatherings of the year, and this band will only get better.

With groove-packed tracks, unique vocals, and one heck of an irony about them, Bricknasty has quietly had a fantastic year.

Appearances at Other Voices in Dingle, a headline debut in Belfast and several big shows in Dublin (before bad times returned) set them up for serious progress next year, buoyed by their irresistibly fresh take on hip-hop. and carefree funk.


Versatility and diversity is the name of the game and Monjola has it at your fingertips. Dancing effortlessly between introspective puns and somber imagery in wholesome, sunny R&B, the singer/rapper is tailor-made to turn heads and hearts in modern musical landscapes. With lyrics and metaphors that straddle the intimate and the universal and an effortlessly sympathetic thrill about it, there’s no telling what the ceiling will be for next year.

Sarah Tonner
Not quite indie-folk, not quite roots rock, but something in between of its own. Living in the same worlds as Julia Jacklin, Big Thief and Joni Mitchell, Toner sings far beyond his stature. A nostalgic trip to a place you’ve never been, and maybe never even existed, his debut single “You’re Not Thinking Of Me” showed songwriting talent that the place on par with some of the best independents.

Lauren Anne
Grunge isn’t dead yet, not if Lauren Ann has anything to say about it. Tight pop melodies belie the sharp edges of his songwriting, but work in tandem with the rough, garagey riff work. One of the best hook-makers of the year, her music drips with cowardly nastiness and a barely contained disdain for her targets. With NewDad support under her belt and a slew of headlines to look forward to in the New Year, Ann is leading the rock revival for the North.

big daisy
Indie-poppers who aren’t afraid to show they’re crying, Big Daisy has been making a lot of noise for a band unable to debut during lockdown. There’s a good reason for that – their tunes are crackers. With nowhere to go but upwards, we can expect this three-piece to continue its run of high-quality tuning throughout the coming year. Coming to a festival near you, we hope.

girl for sale
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, songwriter and longtime industry boss Candice Cathers has used 2021 to launch her solo music project. The debut EP ‘Seaspeak’, a pop saga that uses samples, dreamy synths, 60s pop harmonies and the vocals of a few friends, was one of my favorite releases of the year. What started as a bedroom project has grown into a tremendous driving force, and the first show in 2022 is sure to be one of the must-attend events of the year.

Leo Miyagee
Miyagee cemented himself as the North’s most singular rap talent this year, ending it all with a standout show in the Empire. His latest album, Act III, saw a notable change in songwriting and production, a mature piece that surpassed all previous ones. And it’s only just begun.

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