Category Archives: Stars of 2018

Now that we’ve surveyed the state of pop at the start of 2018, it’s time to review the candidates for this year’s biggest breakthrough acts. Here are the 10 future stars I think will capture pop fans’ hearts. Read on to learn more about them and have your say on  which you think, and hope, will make it big.

Billie Eilish

Billie is a perky blonde teen star from a musical family based in LA, but she’s definitely not the new Miley or Selena. Her alt-pop sound and outlandish style combine to create a unique, quirky artist for the Instagram age.

BTS

K-pop group BTS are already arguably the biggest boyband in the world, and as the west takes note of their pulling power, they’re sure to get more mainstream media opportunities like this and this in 2018.

Eves Karydas

Aussie singer Eves is probably the least established of the acts featured here, but she might just have the most pop star potential. Her first major label release, There For You, set the tone for an exciting year ahead.

Lauren Jauregui

Camila Cabello might have outshone her former bandmates in 2017, but she wasn’t the only fan favourite in Fifth Harmony. Lauren is talented and outspoken with a more alternative style, so her solo debut is sure to be intriguing.

PrettyMuch

PrettyMuch are the most polished and modern of the US boybands. They’ve had great support and investment from their label, and though it hasn’t quite clicked yet, I still feel the right single could skyrocket them.

Rak-Su

The most promising X Factor act in years, Rak-Su already have a no.2 single under their belts, and are ready to capitalise on their win with an EP of their most popular original songs expected in the next few months.

Sarah Close

Singer-songwriter Sarah is a YouTube star with true talent and pop star potential. Her girl-next-door persona is reminiscent of early Taylor Swift, yet her thoughtful electro-pop would fit right in on 1989 or Reputation.

Sigrid

The cute, charismatic indie blogger’s fave hasn’t quite made her mark on the pop scene yet, but with strong media support and a prominent showing in the 2018 tip lists, all she needs now is a hit-worthy song.

Why Don’t We

Boyband Why Don’t We look like they were picked at random from a sixth form college, but the accessible vibe gives them an appeal that stylish, edgy PrettyMuch are missing. They’re the underdogs only to people who don’t know teen girls.

Yungblud

Recently signed to Interscope US, Yungblud is a northern lad with charm and energy to spare. He’s a great live performer and talented songwriter, who represents the politically engaged, opinionated teens of today.

Now we’ve considered the options, it’s time to cast your vote! Sign up to my Future Pop mailer for the exclusive winners announcement on Monday 15th Jan.


2017 was a  difficult  year for new pop stars.  I can’t think of anyone who was unheard of this time last year, and has truly ‘made it’ since. Julia Michaels made good progress, but is hardly a household name. Dua Lipa finally had her moment, but that was at the end of a long and well-publicised album campaign. Anne-Marie troubled the top 10, but still hasn’t had a hit big enough to induce an album release date (five years after she first appeared on This Must Be Pop).

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A video might be able to rack up a million views in a matter of hours, yet the days of the overnight pop superstar are gone. Launching a new act to mainstream success  now involves social media stardom, celebrity connections, and/or a tonne of cash and blind faith from a major label.

This explains why, as I predicted back in 2015 (rather prematurely), it was a good year for the pop band member gone solo. The biggest breakthrough acts were former members of One Direction and Fifth Harmony. Harry Styles was voted most likely to succeed by This Must Be Pop readers last year, closely followed by Camila Cabello. Less predictable  were the achievements of Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, who outperformed their bandmate (on  streaming  numbers at least). I still believe Harry will beat them on longevity, but it was a testament to the impact of the group that 1D fans supported its entire alumni rather than moving on – or perhaps a testament to the insecurity of major labels that they invested in these short shelf-life soloists over untested artists with promising pop potential.

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So, now it’s time to think about 2018. With 1D already out the gates, will other band members follow their pursuit of solo stardom? Camila’s  fellow 5Hers are definitely up for the challenge, and might be more appealing to a major label post-Havana. I reckon at least one more album is due before Little Mix  go their separate ways, but we could certainly see the first solo move from the girls  this year, in the form of a feature or collaboration. Also inspired by the absence of One Direction, 2018 will be an interesting year for boybands, as the proffered replacements face judgement by Gen Z. And on that note, we can expect to see outspoken, individual and perhaps even political pop wannabes, served up to appeal to a new generation of ‘woke’ teens.

Later this week, I’ll be showcasing 10 pop acts who I think have a shot at superstardom. Then it’ll be over to you to vote for who you think, and who you hope, will be the Stars of 2018. Make sure to follow on Twitter and Facebook for updates, and let me know what you think of the nominees.