As 2020 is in full swing, discussions are underway for the year ahead and who will rule the charts, airwaves and Spotify playlists. Who will breakthrough this year? Which act will become Arabia’s finest export? And which current player will elevate themselves to icon status? Vogue Man Arabia takes a look at the contenders.
The Love Song Hitmaker: Lauv
Singer-songwriter Lauv, 25, has been hard at work building a dedicated following over the years with several EPs, headline tours and supporting shows under his belt. He has already scored global chart hits with 2017’s ‘I Like Me Better’ and 2019’s ‘I’m So Tired’, and has collaborated with Anne-Marie, DJ Snake, and BTS. What’s more, Lauv regularly dazzles his 1.3 million Instagram followers with colorful hairstyle changes. In 2020 he will finally drop his first studio album, ‘How I’m Feeling’, tour Asia, Europe, and South America, and continued his work to support mental health charities.
The Local Legend: Hussain Al Jassmi
Emirati singer Hussein Al Jassmi is considered one of the most influential Arab singers of all time, and 2020 will only cement this legendary status as the 40-year-old steps up as Dubai Expo 2020 ambassador. The Expo seeks to spotlight the UAE’s rich culture and showcase home-grown talent to a global audience, including Al Jassmi’s distinctive music. He will drive national pride around a historic milestone for the UAE, which will welcome more than 190 countries and millions of visitors to the largest event ever staged in the Arab world.
The K-Pop Heartthrob: Jackson Wang
There aren’t many music fans in Asia who haven’t heard of Jackson Wang, and the same will be likely for the rest of us come 2020. The Hong Kong-born singer is part of a hugely successful seven-member K-Pop band, GOT7, and has launched a solo career under his own label, Team Wang. Wang, 25, recently made history when the album, ‘Mirrors’, became the highest-charting debut album ever by a Chinese artist on America’s Billboard 200. He is the global face of Armani Beauty, and language holds no barriers in his quest for world domination – he speaks fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Korean, Japanese and English.
The Representation: Amr Diab
The 58-year-old Egyptian singer is gaining more and more interest in international markets. In November, he became the first Arabic recording artist to be given the spotlight in Times Square, New York, by music giant, Spotify, in its campaign to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. Whilst Diab has already toured Australia, Romania, and Greece, it was revealed by Spotify that the US, UK, Sweden, Germany, and Canada have seen an increase in the streaming of his music over the last five years. 2020 sees the international promotion of the latest album, ‘Ana Gheir’, and a show at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.
The Social Star: Conan Gray
Unfollow the Biebs, because 2020 is all about Conan Gray. The 20-year-old was discovered on YouTube, going viral with his song ‘Idle Town’, and now garners a staggering 1.59 million YouTube subscribers, 1.1 million Instagram followers, and 205 million music streams, before even releasing a full-length record. He is currently teasing fans across his mighty social platforms with new single, ‘Maniac’, ahead of the long-awaited album out next year.
The Collaboration Geniuses: Social House
In the nineties, musicians scrambled to work with N.E.R.D, in the noughties, PDiddy and Nelly, and in the last decade, we’ve seen Drake and Nicki Minaj with ‘ft’ next to their names over and over. Who will be the twenties’ hottest collaborators? The answer could be the Social House. Michael “Mikey” Foster and Charles “Scootie” Anderson started out writing and producing for the likes of Chris Brown and Jennifer Lopez, but in 2019 the boys broke into the mainstream as artists when they collaborated with Ariana Grande on the hit single ‘Boyfriend’. Social House are currently touring with Grande as her support act, and together they’re up for two prestigious 2020 Grammy Awards.
The Pop Icon: Harry Styles
The Gen-Z answer to Justin Timberlake? At the tender age of 25, Harry Styles has already sold in excess of 50 million records as part of One Direction, launched a successful solo career with a critically acclaimed, chart-topping debut album and starred in two box-office blockbusters. The singer skilfully shed his former boy band image and emerged as a force in men’s fashion; forming a long term relationship with Gucci and snatching the coveted Met Gala limelight earlier this year. He is going to release highly anticipated follow-up record ‘Fine Line’ on December 13, amidst a blaze of promotion which concludes with a 2020 world tour.