Demo’s Best New Acts Of 2015

A lot of the best music this year came from old favourites, but just as much of it came from new artists who might make waves in the future. We put together a list of promising rookies to check out. Some of our contributors’ favourites include The Arcs, a side project of The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach; Ibeyi, a pair of twin sisters who take inspiration from their French, Afro-Cuban, and Yoruba roots; and Halsey, the neon-haired pop star that could only exist in the age of Tumblr and Apple Music. This article might just give you a new favourite artist or better yet, bragging rights that you liked them before it was cool.


Halsey’s debut album Badlands was released at the end of August after she seemed to crawl out of nowhere sometime during this year with a cool sound and an even cooler Tumblresque aesthetic. — Samantha Capaldi

Also nominated by Victoria Prepelita and Yasmine El Sanyoura.


Ibeyi offer a truly unique and interesting sound. Twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz concot an engrossing mix of contemporary alternative and Afro-Cuban sounds. Their self-titled debut highlighted both their atmospheric instrumental style and their truly exceptional voices. Ibeyi was released to overwhelming critical acclaim, solidifying the Diaz’ position as a promising emerging treasure. — Carey Roach

Also nominated by Jennifer Hyc.

Julien Baker

It’s hard to believe that the androgynously-named Julien Baker is only 20 years old and still in college. Not only do the singer-songwriter’s acoustic arrangements have an understated intensity to them, her autobiographical lyrics about losing love, finding faith, surviving a near-fatal car crash, and battling substance abuse suggest a wisdom beyond her years. — James Li


G.L.O.S.S. – which, according to their Bandcamp, stands for Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit – is a queer, feminist hardcore band from Olympia, Washington. The music absolutely tears, and trans singer Sadie Switchblade (who also released the fantastic Tender Resignation EP this year under the alias Dyke Drama) feels like an actually punk voice (meaning that, in a punk scene that has in many ways failed as a welcoming, safe queer space, G.L.O.S.S. makes music for the people who don’t feel comfortable going to shows, becoming involved in “the scene”, and starting bands, or, in other words, the people who actually need punk and might get the most out of what it can offer). This is music that matters; this is life or death stuff. It shouldn’t need to be, but it is. — Stuart Oakes

Melanie Martinez

Definitely my artist of the year. Hands down. Melanie’s debut album changed my life and year! I really appreciate an artist whose album is more than just tracks pieced together. Melanie truly crafted an aesthetic, a story, and a sound. Cry Baby tells the story of her musical persona from beginning to end, exploring the depths of her emotion and experiences with a dark pop vibe. Her vocals are entrancing, and her aesthetic makes it hard to look away. Melanie made me cry Cry Baby tears all year long, and I’m stoked to see where she takes her art next. — Savana James

Hayley Kiyoko

A former Disney star, Hayley Kiyoko successfully broke out of Disney and emerged into the musical scene with a bang in 2015. With “Girls like Girls”, Kiyoko managed to win the heart of the internet. Her EP, “This Side of Paradise”, is made up of carefree, exhilarating, and catchy synthpop songs.

Troye Sivan

I was first introduced to him when Taylor Swift hyped Sivan’s new EP via Twitter. A few days late, I ended up watching his unbelievably emotional music video trilogy for new album Blue Neighborhood, and completely fell in love with this talented young musician. — Alexander Si

Adrianna Ciccone

Is this the part where I throw in a little promotion for my fiddler friend who released her first CD this year? She won the Solo Musician CMFA! — Georgia Morris

Young Thug

His stuff is really fucking cool. His freestyle stuff is sweet too. — Liana Ernszt


Nominated by Sophia Luu.

The Arcs

Nominated by Anna Trikas and Jamil Fiorino-Habib.

Courtney Barnett

Nominated by Daven Boparai.

Fetty Wap

Nominated by Will Goldie.

The i.l.y.’s

Nominated by Alekzia Hosein.

Jean Epstein

Nominated by Harry Myles.


Nominated by Adam Piotrowicz.

Leon Bridges

Nominate by Emiko Hunt.

Lianne La Havas

Nominated by Jessica Turner.

Petite Noir

Nominated by Gilad Lippa.

Public Access TV

Nominated by Dora Boras.

Ravi Shavi

Nominated by Mubashir Baweja.


Nominated by Ayla Shiblaq.

Tobias Jesso Jr.

Nominated by Jacob-Dalfen Brown.


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