From a British r&b star making waves in America, to a four-piece from New Zealand, here are just a few of the acts to keep on your radar:

Sam Fender

This British singer-songwriter won the 2018 Brits accolade, following in the footsteps of Adele, Sam Smith, Jessie J, Florence and the Machine and Rag’n’Bone Man. The young musician from North Shields has so far received plenty of praise following the release of his debut EP in November. Erring on the rockier, more acerbic and socially-aware side of singer-songwriter fare, Fender has a raw sound to offer music fans who perhaps have grown a little tired of the regular pared-back guitar ballads from male musicians.

Grace Carter

Heavily inspired by the likes of Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill, Grace Carter is a BBC Sound of 2019 nominee. There’s a comforting familiarity and ease to her style of powerful songwriting and simple, elegant, mature musicality. Her heartbreaking Why Her Not Me was written about her father, who she says chose “another life over raising me”.

Ella Mai

British singer-songwriter Ella Mai has already started to make her sizeable impact in America. The r&b superstar-to-be nabbed two Grammy nominations in 2018, and her video for breakthrough single Boo’d Up has garnered more than an eye-watering 300 million views on YouTube.

Mai hails from London and her debut self-titled album – dubbed a “throwback r&b record” by critics – debuted at number 18 in the UK charts. It has performed even better Stateside, where Mai, who lived in New York for five years, is reaping the most of her success.

Oxford Mail:

Drax Project

This four-piece from New Zealand have been bubbling under for some time, but 2019 looks set to be the year they finally make it. Formed in 2014 and comprised of school friends Shaan Singh, Matt Beachen, Sam Thomson and Ben O’Leary, they kicked off their career as buskers on the streets of Wellington. Their music could best be described as smooth yet addictive, covering bases from pop, dance, electro and r&b.

Oxford Mail:

Self Esteem

Self Esteem, aka Rebecca Lucy Taylor, was previously one half of Sheffield genre-bending duo Slow Club, but now she’s going it alone and has already started offering the world her own brand of punchy, pop-tinged alternative music. The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is about to drop her debut album.