Sure, the 23-year-old Canadian R&B singer earned two Grammy nods last year for his gospel-tinged debut album, Freudian. But the biggest stamp of approval was Barack Obama including Caesar’s “Blessed” on his top songs of 2017 list. (Chance the Rapper’s “First World Problems,” on which Caesar is featured, also made the list.)
See him: Essence Festival, New Orleans (July 7)
Born in Queens and raised in South Korea, the 24-year-old producer discovered electronic music while working at the college radio station at Carnegie Mellon, where she studied conceptual art. Her two 2017 EPs pair hip hop–inflected house with hushed, dreamy vocals in Korean and English.
See her: Panorama NYC, New York City (July 27)
W called her “terrifying.” Harper’s Bazaar: “intimidating as hell.” How else to sum up a pop prodigy who dropped her first single, “Ocean Eyes,” at 13? (The song has since racked up nearly 53 million Spotify listens.) The 16-year-old’s debut EP, dont smile at me, has earned her comparisons to Lorde and Lana Del Rey.
See her: Outside Lands, San Francisco (Aug. 10–12)
Rex Orange County
The BRIT School (think British Fame) is renowned for churning out famous artists, from Amy Winehouse to Adele to Tom Holland. Next up is this 20-year-old pop-soul crooner, born Alex O’Connor, whose ’60s-inspired, Burt Bacharach–esque ditties are as sunshiney as his stage name.
See him: Osheaga Festival, Montreal (Aug. 3)
The 22-year-old Memphis singer’s haunting ballads about faith and addiction recall Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley (with a dash of emo earnestness), but Baker—who identifies as queer and Christian—cites the hymns she grew up singing in church as a major songwriting influence.
See her: Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago (July 20)