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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PERKINS: Top Artists of 2017

Every year, new artists arise and 2017 was no different with a variety of new artists making their mark in the music industry. Many of these artists have been working on music for years but in 2017 they have risen to stardom with their unique sound.

In no particular order, these are my top artists of 2017.


With his relatable lyrics and fresh and light sound, Khalid quickly rose to fame with his debut album, “American Teen.” With hit tracks, “Location” and  “Young Dumb and Broke,” Khalid had everyone singing along. His music has a traditional R&B sound with a sense of longing and slow sound. It conveys the experiences of teenage life and coming into your own. As a Best New Artist Grammy Nominee, I am sure it will not be the last time we hear from Khalid.

Lil Uzi Vert

This year, Lil Uzi Vert made his way into mainstream music with multiple hit singles. He was featured on the Migos single “Bad and Boujee,” which became Uzi Vert’s highest charting single. Lil Uzi Vert’s music takes a unique approach to rapping by combining it with rock music. His debut album, “Luv is Rage 2,” went gold and earned him the Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

Daniel Caesar

It was a big year for Daniel Caesar as his music touched the hearts of many. His soulful sound offers a nice break from the popular hip-hop and rap music that took over this year. Caesar released his debut album, “Freudian,” a collection of old school R&B love songs with a modern twist. Upon the release of his album, he has been featured as an Apple Music Up Next artist and two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance.

Harry Styles

Popularly known as a member of the boy band One Direction, Harry Styles proved himself as an exceptional solo artist this year. His self-titled debut album, “Harry Styles” took a top 10 spot on almost every chart. Harry’s style of music is closer to rock, than the pop sound of One Direction. His growth as a solo artist earned him a performance on Saturday Night Live and The Today Show.

Sabrina Claudio

Sabrina Claudio first gained popularity from posting covers on Youtube and SoundCloud, and eventually she began writing her own music. Her single “Confidently Lost” grabbed the attention of The Weeknd’s XO label and she was later signed. Her debut album released in October and she was featured as an Apple Music Up Next artist. As a 21-year-old Sabrina Claudio’s lyrics take a more mature perspective on life and love. As we move into 2018, look out for more from Claudio.

Cardi B

Although she has been in the industry for awhile with a total of three mixtapes, Cardi B moved into mainstream rap this year with her single “Bodak Yellow.” “Bodak Yellow” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Cardi B only the second unaccompanied female rapper to ever top the chart. Throughout the year she was featured on several hit songs that have kept her in the top ten on Billboard. Cardi is also nominated in two Grammy categories: Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.


SZA grew in popularity this summer when her debut album, “Ctrl,” dropped in June. The album explorers SZA’s love stories as well as heartbreak. The album is a fusion of jazz, R&B, pop and soul music capturing the attention of fellow artists. “Love Galore” featuring Travis Scott went platinum and “The Weekend” was number one on Billboard’s hot R&B Songs chart without ever being released as a single. 

Playboi Carti

“In New York I milly rock” became one of the most used phrases on social media, and in conversation. Playboi Carti took over with his catchy lyrics and his work with other artists, ASAP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert.

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara had a big year with three singles that peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for weeks on end. Her single “Scars to Your Beautiful” was on the chart for 37 weeks and her hit single with Zedd, “Stay,” was one of the most popular songs of the Summer. Last year, Alessia was left out of the Grammy nominations but this year she is nominated for Best New Artist. 


After years in the music business, Kehlani finally dropped her debut album in January. The album, “Sweet, Sexy, Savage,” was a blend of traditional R&B sounds with pop music. Kehlani collaborated with a variety of artists such as Calvin Harris, Khalid and Eminem. She was even featured on the “Fate of the Furious” Soundtrack with G-Eazy. Toward the end of the year, Kehlani has dropped multiple singles and it looks as though the song will continue to come as we move into 2018.

If you want to hear more from each artist, below is a playlist of additional music from each artist.

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    Alexis CollinsJan 3, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Great read Ms. Perkins, definitely some of my favorite artist from the year. Awesome job covering them!!!