1. Gabriella Cilmi
She had a worldwide smash single "Sweet About Me," in 2008, but her debut album isn't due in stores in the US until March 2009. The raw, soulful talent of 17 year old Australian singer-songwriter Cilmi brings comparisons to artists ranging across Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Macy Gray, and even Janis Joplin. Listen and you will be charmed.
2. VV Brown
The stream of British female singers with a gift for new twists on retro sounds seems to continue unabated. VV Brown herself refers to her sound as "musical mashed potatoes," but I'll forgive you if you have the urge to frug to Brown's whimsically edgy take on retro soul.
3. White Lies
OK, it sometimes seems post-punk Joy Division influenced bands are a dime a dozen. However, these guys do it much much better than most, and it is a sound that cuts deep and is impossible to ignore. The first album To Lose My Life... is released at home in the UK in January 2009.
This pair's first album Want appeared in the summer of 2008, but it is the year 2009 that looks to be their year. A heavy dose of electronica with quirky humor and a bit of hip hop is the eclectic formula that could result in a big breakthrough this year. The single "Don't Trust Me" has made some national impact, but with a sound molded by produced Matt Squire, veteran of work with Panic at the Disco and Boys Like Girls, these guys are set to explode.
6. Erin McCarley
7. Theresa Andersson
What happens when a Swedish singer-songwriter starts hanging out in New Orleans with legendary musicians like the Meters and the Neville Brothers? You get the delightful musical world of Theresa Andersson. Her haunting sound is truly hard to forget.
8. Kid Cudi
9. Melinda Doolittle
She finished 3rd on American Idol back in 2007. Her first album Coming Back to You is due in February 2009, and she will be taking on classic covers which always seemed Melinda's forte.