Pop Artists to Look Out For Based on Their Debut Single

Some new pop artists with excellent debut singles.

The shift toward singles has been happening for years. Music consumers have shorter attention spans than ever before, and one good single early in an artist's career can establish a clear path to a successful career. Just the same, a few early flops can turn listeners off—if they hear your music and they aren't impressed, you most likely aren't going to get a second and third chance. That's why the debut single is so important. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and these pop artists nailed it. Here's 10 artists we're excited about based on the strength of a spectacular debut single.



Just one listen to "Deep" had us hooked. It's a brilliantly written, brilliantly produced pop song with just the right mix of beauty and melancholy. With a melody that is catchy after just one listen, and layers upon layers of sound to get lost in JONES delivered a debut of massive potential. With a mysterious persona (blurry photos, no info), and only one song to follow "Deep," JONES has us holding our breath for her next moves, and the possibility of new music in 2015.

3. Grace Mitchell

Grace Mitchell

Grace Mitchell's last two releases—"Runaway" and "Your Design"—were strong, but the Portland, Oregon singer/songwriter's debut single was special. For a 16-year-old to have such a powerful, confident voice and such a well written song is incredible. When we heard it, it only had 6,000 plays on SoundCloud. Seven months later, it's over 100,000, and her four-song EP design is on Spotify. Read a short interview with her here.

4. Alma Elste

The second that rubbery bass drops in “Heart Melter,” you know that Alma Elste has something special on her hands. It’s that sound that feels at once retro and current, bringing together keys and gorgeous vocals with an immediate melody and electronic percussion. Alma Elste is a French singer, and if she can keep her levels as high as “Heart Melter,” she could have a big 2015.

5. Jarryd James

Australia has been riding a wave of innovative but still accessible pop music in the past few years. Jarryd James joined the pack of exciting Aussie newcomers with his debut single, "Do You Remember." With stomping percussion, handclaps, plucked strings backing layered vocals, it's a modern twist on otherwise traditionally sturdy songwriting.



"I love old things. I collect vintage tins. I hunt for first edition books, so preserving the past is something I do naturally. Both my Uncles are antique dealers so its in the blood I guess," ALA.NI told us. At a time when we're inundated with glossy pop music and pounding electronic production, "Suddenly" gives welcome respite—a beautiful lullaby rooted in timeless songwriting.

7. Kacy Hill

Kacy Hill

Is it obvious how excited we are to hear more from Kacy Hill? We've been talking about her a lot lately, but it's not often that you hear one debut single that comes with a striking video, and then get the news that the artist is G.O.O.D. Music affiliated. We have no idea what model-turned-singer Kacy Hill has in store, but somewhere along the line she must have convinced the right people that she's got more than just one good single. For now, we'll just keep watching the "Experience" video.

8. Dead Right

Dead Right's "Rising Tide" is one of those songs you could imagine hearing in a commercial and wondering, "What the hell is this? Why haven't I heard this before?" It's fun, upbeat, danceable, and extremely accessible with just the right touch of funk, and it's still the only thing we've heard from this Los Angeles duo. The Gianni Lee remix is worth checking out too.

If you like what you hear, keep tabs on Dead Right on SoundCloud.

9. QT

QT is the duo made up of PC Music head honcho A.G. Cook and Sophie, the enigmatic artist behind "Bipp," the song that arguably sparked this new movement of bright, futuristic, electronic, child-like pop. Together, they've only released one song through XL Recordings, the hyperactive and addictive "Hey QT." We need more. We'll be keeping a close eye on drinkqt.com.

10. Kidepo

It's simply not fair that Kidepo gave us "Reds" almost a year ago and still hasn't put out another song. We've heard through the grapevine that he's been working, but other than a feature on Daytrip's "The Escape," we haven't heard anything. If "Reds" wasn't so good, we may have forgotten all about Kidepo, but it's a spectacular song from an artist with massive potential.

11. KLOË

We first heard 18-year-old Glasgow singer KLOË's debut single "Grip" in December of last year, and we're still waiting for the follow-up. "Grip" is as dark and edgy as it is immediate and catchy, and it's executed too well for it to be a lucky one-off. Now we just need a second, or at least a music video. According to her Facebook, more live shows are coming soon. Hopefully that means more songs too.