2016 was an odd year with many icons sadly passing away but it was a great year for Irish music. We saw the rise of acts like Saint Sister and TooFools and the return of Lisa Hannigan. Music was everywhere and it was definitely one of the strongest years for Irish music in recent memory. But with the end of the year comes a batch of new artists ready to try and make their stamp on 2017. This is why I decided to make this list of Irish artists that I believe we should look out for in 2017.
With maybe my favourite set of the year at Hard Working Class Heroes Elm are the easiest choice for this list. Fronted by the charismatic Dylan Walsh and a sound that has the potential to fill arenas, big things are no doubt in store for 2017. Having released emotionally charged single 'Concentrate' back in May Elm have secured their spot as Ireland's next potential international music stars.
A writing style that sets her apart from the crowd. Rosa Nutty's lyrics get straight to the point but also carry a lot of depth to them. In 2016 she released her single 'Sea Salt' a track with a somewhat somber feel to it bundled together with a catchy chorus and dynamic harmonies. It is the huge potential that sticks out to me the most with Rosa Nutty though. Just the thought of what could come from her next release both lyrically and melodically has me excited.
An artist that is built to be on the stage, Rocstrong has had a fantastic 2016, headlining Canalaphonic, featuring on the Hail Caesar Soundtrack and releasing his debut single 'Show Off What You Got'. It seems that the ceiling is very high for rock inspired brand of hip hop of Rocstrong. An act that simply has to be caught in a live environment expect big things from Rocstrong in 2017.
With possibly the strongest end to 2016 of any Irish act, AE Mak have managed to creep into the musical hearts of the Irish people. Their energetic brand of pop never fails to put a smile on your face, couple that with their all out live performances which leave them gasping for air by the end of the set and AE Mak are an act that will no doubt become a household name in 2017.
An artist like no other in Ireland right now Farah Elle's arabic inspired pop has attracted a lot of attention in the second half of 2016. Simply put there is something special in the musical bones of the 22 year old. Live performances that impress whether they are full band or stripped back to keys and vocals Farah Elle always manages to impress. 2017 will hopefully see the release of an EP from the Dublin based artist that is sure to be a must have release.
A band that I only got to know late on in the year, Harbouring Oceans are a 5 piece alternative pop act that have quickly gathered a lot of attention for their live shows. There is still a bit of growth needed for these guys to be truly special but I have no doubt that this is something that will easily happen for them in 2017.
An artist that has been slowly building her name throughout 2016, RUTH began with the release of her debut single 'Who Are You Living For?' that garnered a buzz of attention from critics and music lovers and she followed that up with the release of 'Queen Of The Con', a track that shows just how much potential RUTH really has. Having seen her set at this years Other Voices along with some stripped back sets throughout the year I have no doubt that RUTH will have a very successful 2017.
LAOISE knows exactly who she wants to be and was one of the most exciting acts to appear in 2016. Having recored her debut single with one laptop and a vocal mic it is amazing to see the professionalism and togetherness of her sound. With an EP due for release early next year and the critically acclaimed release of debut single 'You' I have no doubt that 2017 is going to be a big one for the Galway native.
Sam Wickens is an artist that arrived in my inbox late in 2016. From a quick listen to his music I could tell there this was somebody special. With a voice that draws similarities to Paolo Nutini while still managing to be unique Sam Wickens is a prospect that we can expect to hear a lot more from in 2017.
Moon looks on
Finishing up 2016 with a slot in the Other Room at Other Voices Moon looks on tick all the boxes needed to be successful. Carrying a folk sound that transitions into powerful builds coupled with some interesting lyrics, the Dublin based 5 piece are as impressive live as they are recorded. Watch out for a very strong 2017 from Moon looks on.