Giant steps: Musicians who raised their stock this year
After what seems like the longest year ever, the end of 2018 is finally near. There were a lot of highs and plenty of lows, but the amount of music released throughout the year made up for it all. With the influx of newcomers breaking their way into the entertainment business, one could argue that 2018 gave listeners a sneak peek of careers that will flourish in the new year.
Born and raised in the German city of Cologne, Kim Petras is a 25-year-old transgender pop-singer/songwriter, currently based in Los Angeles. At the age of 16, Petras underwent gender reassignment surgery, making her one of the youngest people to undergo the process, according to Billboard. With the support of the LGBTQ+ community, the “Heart to Break” singer went viral last year with the release of her upbeat hit called “I Don’t Want It At All.”
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Petras said she just wants her fans to focus on her singing and less on her identity, stating, “I just hate the idea of using my identity as a tool ... It made me the person I am and that is a big part of me, but I think music is about your feelings and your fantasies and it goes deeper than your gender or your sexuality.” Regardless of her identity, it is evident that Petras has undeniable talent.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Ella Mai first came to the United States when she was just 12 years old, according to Billboard. After moving back to the U.K. to attend school for music, Mai decided to test the waters and perform cover songs on Instagram. This proved to be a success, as she caught the eye of DJ Mustard, who eventually signed her to his label, 10 Summers Records. Two years later, her hit song “Boo’d Up” reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts and she released her self-titled debut album. “Boo’d Up” was just nominated for the Grammy award for Song of the Year, making it her first nomination. Win or lose, Mai’s success is a prime example of what hardwork and determination will allow you to accomplish.
Having been famous since creating content on YouTube as a teenager, Troye Sivan is becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Originally from Australia, Sivan makes music for listeners that are finally ready to let go of their inhibitions. Since the age of 18, Sivan has been openly gay, something he discussed in an interview with Billboard in August.
“Before coming out, I remember distinctly feeling like there was a delay on my life ... I didn’t know any gay people growing up or any queer people growing up, and so I just really felt alone and kind of lost, and I just wasn’t experiencing life,” he said. His experiences allowed him to make music that is not only a representation of his identity, but also a message to the many LGBTQ youth who dream of one day finally getting to a point where they no longer have to mask their true selves.
Although he is currently in a bit of legal trouble, Tekashi69 — also known as 6ix9ine — has arguably made the biggest improvement out of all the new artists flourishing this year. Born Daniel Hernandez, 6ix9ine became mainstream in 2017 with the release of his debut single called “Gummo.” Earlier this year, he released his mixtape, "Day69," which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. So what is it that makes 6ix9ine such a success?
Well, aside from having notable artists like Nicki Minaj featured on the songs “FeFe” and “Mama,” 6ix9ine’s personality is really what sets him apart. His humorous and outgoing attitude has given him the opportunity to troll his way to the top. Even though he is currently behind bars, his debut studio album, “Dummy Boy," released last month and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The controversy surrounding him hasn’t stemmed his popularity, and this star is on the rise.