As we say ‘thank u, next’ to a middling year in pop, we’re looking ahead to a new generation of pop stars. To kick off the new year, Popchops brings you eight female pop stars-to-watch in 2019. Why six? Why only female? Because that’s just the way the list turned out tbh.
Declaring that she’s bored of the “rigid and too-cool-for-school” modern pop landscape, Alice Chater is bringing back bangers. Popchops first took note of her with the release of her introductory video “My name is Alice” which featured the English singer caught in a web, pursued by a giant CGI spider while – naturally – singing. Taking inspo from pop icons like Madge and Kylie, her music is polished, dramatic and undeniably camp.
The influence of ‘90s R&B icons like Destiny’s Child and Mary J. Blige is clear in Ella Mai’s effortless, self-assured bops. The 23-year-old Londoner was discovered after posting clips of her music on Instagram and when her debut single “Boo’d Up” rose straight to the top of the male-dominated US R&B charts, her star-power became undeniable. In late 2018 Mai released her first LP – with enough honeyed vocals, infectious pop hooks, and effortless swagger to prove that “Boo’d Up” was no fluke.
BANGER: BOO’D UP
King Princess is the moniker of 19-year-old Mikaela Straus. She hails from New York, is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer, and songwriter who makes dreamy, queer-centric bops. Her single “1950” – a stunning torch song Adele would kill for – gained traction when ex-Directioner Harry Styles tweeted one of its lyrics, and she was soon signed to Mark Ronson’s record label. She’s openly gay, identifies as genderqueer, and represents a fresh new voice in pop.
Rosalía makes the kind of music that transcends language barriers. She’s already had several hit singles in her native Spain, but thanks to international support from the likes of Dua Lipa and Kourtney Kardashian, the singer’s single “Malamente” crossed over in 2018. Her music takes inspiration from flamenco – combining traditional rhythms, singing techniques, and Catalan guitars with electro soundscapes and trip-hop beats. Already working on her next album with Pharrell Williams, Rosalía is a sure-fire crossover queen.
The name ‘Rina Sawayama’ may not roll off the tongue for an English-speaking audience, but if you haven’t learnt it yet, now is the time. The Japanese-born, London-raised singer mashes millennium-era pop with glitching, futuristic electro and a dash of J-Pop. Her latest single “Flicker” is an anthem for the misunderstood, misgendered, and mispronounced individuals in the world. Before dropping her debut album, she said, “I want to break records as an East Asian person in the pop industry in the Western world”.
It’s been a little over a year since Melbourne’s Kaiit dropped her first single, but she’s already come to the attention of the world after Neo-Soul legend Jill Scott declared she was her Aussie lovechild to Erykah Badu. Drawing inspiration from Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse, the 20-year-old invited us into her world with her debut 2018 EP Live From Her Room, combining hip-hop beats and playful rapping with soulful vocals beyond her years.
BANGER: THE WHOLE LIVE FOR HER ROOM EP
Kim Petras made some serious waves in 2018 with a slew of killer singles and the internet-breaking Halloween EP Turn Off The Light. Hailing from Germany, her sound ranges from dance-through-the-pain sad-bangers and spooky Euro-dance bops to plucky, flippant pop fantasies. Having already gained a cult following in the LGBTQIA+ community, things can only go up for the new princess of pop.
BANGER: FEELING OF FALLING
Before her debut album has even dropped, ex-Fifth-Harmony member Normani has featured with Khalid on the world-wide smash “Love Lies” and collaborated with Calvin Harris on not one but two bangers. She’s been gearing up for her 2019 debut album with Stargate, Pharrell, and Missy Elliot on board – Camila Cabello should watch her throne.
BANGER: LOVE LIES
Our next event is our Midsumma Queer Pop Party at Woody’s Bar, Collingwood on January 25 – so come down for a night of pure, unabashed poptimism.