Ultimate Roundup: Top Emerging Artists of 2016

Top 20 Songs of 2016. Check. Top 20 Artists of 2016. Check. That means it is now our favorite time of year, when we gather ’round the data and give thanks for all the amazing new acts we’ve had on the Emerging Artists Ultimate Chart this year. We like this Top 20 thing, it’s concise, but as we easily tore through these results we just couldn’t stop there so you get 25% MORE for FREE! That’s right, the same chart you love, even bigger and better. Who doesn’t want more new music to check out, right?

  1. Desiigner
  2. Daya
  3. Kiiara
  4. D.R.A.M.
  5. Kelsea Ballerini
  6. Kent Jones
  7. Grace
  8. Kaleo
  9. Dreezy
  10. Kodak Black
  11. Madeintyo
  12. Brothers Osborne
  13. BØRNS
  14. Rob $tone
  15. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
  16. The Strumbellas
  17. Chris Lane
  18. William Michael Morgan
  19. Tucker Beathard
  20. Dae Dae
  21. Ro James
  22. Highly Suspect
  23. Bishop Briggs
  24. The Struts
  25. Chase Bryant

Now THAT is a list, friends! Once again we see all kinds of genres represented with pop, hip-hop, Country, alternative, R&B, and good old rock & roll. This year’s group is pretty American-heavy but we do have Iceland (Kaleo), Canada (The Strumbellas), and England (The Struts) represented. We also have two artists who have roots across the pond in Ro James (born in Germany) and Bishop Briggs (born in Scotland, raised in Tokyo and Hong Kong).

Eight of these entries have been featured as our Emerging Artist of the Month, click on their names in the list above to learn more!

Desiigner is the clear #1 this year. He is the only artist on the list to finish in the overall Top 100 for the year, at #37. His breakout smash hit, Panda, finished the year as the #11 song overall. He broke onto the scene in December 2015, quickly linked up with Mr. Kanye West himself, and by March 31st he graduated the Emerging Artists chart by debuting on Ultimate 100 Artists. Think about this: on January 14th Desiigner ranked #12,910 and on April 21st he was #10. Now that’s a meteoric rise if we’ve ever seen one. His 2nd big track, Timmy Turner, has kept up good activity and he’s racked up nearly 2 million Total Fans. This guy is just getting started.

Pop singer Daya (#2) found success first behind her song, Hide Away. Next she was the featured artist on the #13 song of the year, The Chainsmokers‘ Don’t Let Me Down. Currently Sit Still, Look Pretty holds #60 on Ultimate 100 Songs. Daya graduated the Emerging Artists chart on January 14th and peaked at #33 on Ultimate 100 Artists on August 25th. This singer is closing out the year with a string of huge radio station holiday concerts and kicks 2017 off with her own headlining tour beginning in February.

Kiiara (#3) first hit our early warning systems in 2015 after her Felix Snow-produced single, Gold, was released and got its start overseas, including hitting #5 and achieving Platinum certification in Australia. It was then featured in an Apple Watch commercial which helped build momentum towards the release of her low kii savage EP in March. Gold went on to be a hit, peaking at #4 on Ultimate 100 Songs in September. Kiiara debuted on Emerging Artists on April 21st, was our June Emerging Artist of the Month, and graduated to Ultimate 100 Artists on July 21st where she has risen as high as #14.

A balanced diet is a key pillar to good health, and that means eating your vegetables. With this in mind it is great to see our #4 artist promote the concept. D.R.A.M.‘s Broccoli (ft. Lil Yachty) proved to be the breakout tipping point for the Virginia rapper. It is even nominated for a Best Rap/Sung Performance Grammy! The song has been a fixture in Ultimate 100 Songs since June, peaked at #5, and currently sits at #14. The rapper himself debuted on the Emerging Artists chart on June 2nd, had a 4-week run at #1, and graduated when he Debuted on Ultimate 100 Artists on August 18th.

Rounding out this year’s Top 5 is Country singer Kelsea Ballerini at #5. She debuted on the Emerging Artists chart on May 7th, 2015 and in just her third week on the chart she entered the Top 5 and resided there for the majority of the time until she graduated on April 14th, 2016 after winning the ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year award. Kelsea has seen success with her singles Love Me Like You Mean ItDibs, and Peter Pan. She toured with Billy Currnington and then Rascal Flatts on their Rhythm & Roots Tour, and is now out on her The First Time headline tour. Her charismatic personality landed her a gig hosting ABC’s Greatest Hits with Arsenio hall this summer, and to put a huge stamp on her big year, Kelsea has been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy award!

We mentioned D.R.A.M. and Kelsea Ballerini’s Grammy nods, which are actually two of five artists on this list being honored this year along with a couple of others that have appeared this cycle. Click here to get the details!

Want more proof that the Emerging Artists chart is like a musical crystal ball? Check out our Top Emerging Artists of 2015!


Want to keep up with what’s hot week-to-week throughout the year?  Be sure to check out all of our charts, including Emerging Artists, Top Tours, EDM, Latin, and Country at http://www.ultimatechart.com