There's nothing more exciting than seeing a young artist take risks and, in turn, get a major reward. Through music, one can express their true self and share their unique, individual perspective. It might seem hard to believe, but a lot of young artists are able to share these experiences with more vision and more authenticity than aged professionals. In the last few years social media has streamlined the successes of some incredible new musicians, turning them from young hopefuls to massive stars.
These 13 artists have broken records, smashed glass ceilings, and inspired thousands - all before turning 30. With such impressive debuts, there's no telling what the rest of their careers will bring.
This NYU grad is equal parts Frank Ocean and Usher, and it's beautiful. He's toured the country with sad song savant Sufjan Stevens and was named the highlight of Coachella 2016 by Billboard
. Gallant's debut record Ology
is modern R&B magic, but his collaborative video series "In the Room" is what makes the 25-year-old really stand out. Just watch this one-take video of Gallant and Seal and try to tell me you don't get chills.
2. Chance the Rapper
Look, everyone already knows how brilliant Chance the Rapper is. The pride of Chicago has broken more records than pretty much any independent artist ever, and he's only 23. Chance is changing the game more and more each day, making progressive hip-hop that proves his power and intelligence as an artist. All the awards and press are nothing compared to his pure compassion and dedication to making his city - and the world - a better place.
3. Declan McKenna
After winning the Emerging Talent Competition at Glastonbury Festival in 2015, Declan McKenna had industry tastemakers captivated by his distinctive sound. Just after the release of his debut record What Do You Think About the Car?
, the 18-year-old is being crowned the voice of his generation. McKenna is insanely talented, and his tendency to write from a political point of view disproves one of the biggest misconceptions about millennials: that they don't care.
4. Zara Larsson
Zara Larsson may be an up and coming star in the U.S., but she's been a household name in Sweden for nearly a decade. The 19 year old won her home country's version of The X Factor
when she was only 10 years old, and her meteoric rise hasn't stopped since. Larsson brings her powerhouse vocals to high-energy pop songs that fans of Dua Lipa and Charli XCX will immediately love.
The 28 year old may be best known for his collaborations with Solange, Drake, and Kanye, but his original work is not to be ignored. Sampha poured his heart into his debut record Process,
a cathartic blend of R&B and soul. The album is breathtaking and turns the most devastating personal losses into beautiful artistic wins. Sampha is certainly unlike anything you've ever heard before.
6. Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara's career began when her YouTube videos grabbed the attention of major industry leaders back in 2015. Since then, the 20 year old songwriter has collected countless award nominations and produced multiple Billboard Hot 100 hits, including her debut single "Here." While her record Know-It-All
didn't gain a ton of popularity, it set the tone for Cara's bright future as an artist.
You can't talk about Ashley Frangipane (aka Halsey) without sparking controversy, and that's kind of her point. The 22 year old alt-pop superstar started from humble beginnings and has sold out some of the biggest venues in the world in just three short years. Even though she's been slammed for having the stereotypical indie-girl voice, Halsey is still one of the most creative and dynamic young women in music.
8. Vince Staples
Vince Staples got his start with a few key Odd Future features in 2014, and has since become one of the most interesting hip-hop artists to date. The 24 year old doesn't drink or do drugs, and like Chance the Rapper, he makes philanthropy a priority. His latest record Big Fish Theory
is a house and techno-inspired, unpredictable success. It may be his second studio album, but it's the one that will solidify his place among hip-hop greats.
Georgia native Raury first made waves with his 2014 EP Indigo Child
, which perfectly showcased his unique troubadour style. He draws inspiration from all ends of the musical spectrum, crediting Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty alongside Andre 3000 and Kid Cudi. Ruary is only 21, but has already made a career off being fearlessly vocal on social issues - just last month, he made a huge statement
during a Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan.
British singer-songwriter Holly Lapsley Fletcher was a standout at Lollapalooza last year, and it's no surprise why. Better known simply as Lapsley, the 20 year old has a mesmerizing voice and a remarkable ear for mid-tempo pop. Her stunning debut record is filled with rich, emotional tracks that recall Daughter and Lucius.
There's not enough love for women in the world of hip-hop. Luckily, we have Noname to crush any doubts anyone might have about the merit of female rappers. Real name Fatimah Warner, Noname was brought up on classic blues artists like Buddy Guy. That inspiration is evident on her mixtape Telefone
, an independently released gem that feels both nostalgic and futuristic.
12. Troye Sivan
You might know Troye Sivan better as a YouTube personality than as a musician. His fun, honest videos were some of the most popular on the site in the mid-2000s, leaving him with a strong following of over four million fans worldwide. The 22 year old officially began his music career in 2014 and has been working non-stop ever since. His dreamy, vibrant pop is lovelorn and inspired, the work of an artist twice his age.
No list of successful young stars is complete without Lorde. The alternative pop princess took over the world with her 2013 debut single "Royals," which honestly is still
banger. After an excruciating four year break, the New Zealand star is back and better than ever. Her sophomore record Melodrama
is definitely one of the best of the year, and proves there's nothing more torturous than growing up.