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Meet the Talented Emerging Artists Making Their Mark This Winter

Check out the musicians PEOPLE will be watching into the new year.

METTE

<p>Terence Bikoumou</p> METTE

Terence Bikoumou

METTE

You’ve already seen METTE’s work — now it’s time to check out her music.

Before releasing her debut EP METTENARRATIVE in November, the Minnesota-born performer, 31, was already in the midst of an illustrious career as a dancer, actress and model, appearing in N.E.R.D. and Rihanna’s 2019 “Lemon” music video as well as the live-action 2023 Barbie film as Barbie Video Girl.

“Although I started writing and recording my music five years ago, the dream of being an artist started when I was 15,” METTE (whose last name is Towley) tells PEOPLE. “Music has always been in my life.”

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Growing up, she learned to play multiple instruments before landing a gig as a backup dancer for Pharrell Williams, which led to her role in the “Lemon” video, after which she gained the confidence to follow her musicianship dreams.

METTE’s first project is filled with high-energy, “sticky pop and contemporary R&B” songs like “FOR THE PEOPLE” and “MAMA’S EYES,” and movement continues to inform her creativity. “I dance to my music before I consider it worthy of releasing,” she says. “Mirroring a physical energy to my records is very important to me.”

New music “rooted in bass lines, percussion, and poetic songwriting” is set to come from METTTE later this year, but until then she’ll be heading to England for an opening slot on Jessie Ware’s That! Feels Good! Tour.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Bebe and Cece Winans’ ‘Jingle Bells.’ Growing up, it was the first rendition of the classic I can remember hearing.”

Turn up your speakers and listen to METTE’s recent single “MAMA’S EYES.”

Kylie Cantrall

<p>Irvin Rivera</p> Kylie Cantrall

Irvin Rivera

Kylie Cantrall

Kylie Cantrall is a star in the making.

The 18-year-old singer and actress grew up in a creative household in Sherman Oaks, California, with dreams of breaking into the entertainment industry.

"It’s crazy thinking back to when I was younger — how I’d put on these full performances for my parents every single night in our living room, and I would ask my dad to announce me and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Kylie Cantrall!’” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Adding, “I literally envisioned myself singing for thousands of people, complete with costume changes and choreography, every night. But it’s those moments that I look back on and think ‘Wow, I’ve been manifesting my dream job my whole life’”

The “Sad Boy” singer is currently working on her debut EP, set for release in Spring 2024. In November, she plans to drop a special song for her fans.

Cantrall draws inspiration from her personal life — and from scenarios her friends have told her about.

“There’s a lyric in my song 'Texts Go Green' where I say, 'You know he was deadweight, had no bedframe' and although it wasn’t something I experienced firsthand, it was something one of my close friends had experienced,” she explains. “She met a guy, went over to his place, and later told me 'All he had in his apartment was one poster on the wall and a mattress on the floor.' I remember saying 'Girl, if he doesn’t even have a bedframe, that’s your cue to run!'"

In addition to her music career, Cantrall currently stars in season 4 of Disney’s hit series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and is set to star in Descendants: Rise of Red alongside Brandy and Rita Ora.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Sweet Pumpkin” by Samara Joy because it “feels like a warm pumpkin spice latte on a rainy day.”

Listen to “Texts Go Green.”

Jessie Murph

<p>Claire Schmitt</p> Jessie Murph

Claire Schmitt

Jessie Murph

Two years after releasing her first single, Jessie Murph’s resume is stacked with Jelly Roll, Maren Morris and Diplo collaborations — as well as 1 million Instagram followers.

“I knew I wanted to be a singer from a very young age,” the 19-year-old performer, who grew up in Nashville, tells PEOPLE. “Writing and singing were always the first things I did to cope with anything growing up. I also come from a very musical family so I was surrounded by it all the time.”

After growing a fanbase with singing videos posted to YouTube and TikTok, Murph signed to Columbia Records in 2021 and scored two gold-certified singles with “Always Been You” and “Pray” from her debut mixtape drowning, released earlier this year. Since then, she’s earned further success from “Heartbroken” with Diplo and Polo G, “Lucky Ones” with Jelly Roll and “Texas” with Morris.

Featuring lyrics inspired by her own life experiences, Murph’s music sonically straddles a line between alternative and country. “I would describe my sound as Jessie Murph,” she says. “There isn’t any one genre I feel I belong to, and that’s how I like it.”

Murph’s already working on new music, and at this rate her career is only going to grow. “I’d love for people to know how grateful I am for all the love and support I’ve received,” she says. “Sometimes I still can’t believe this is my life, and I will never take it for granted.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “‘Hallelujah’ [originally released by Leonard Cohen].”

Check out Jessie Murph and Jelly Roll’s “Lucky Ones” as it continues to climb the Billboard charts.

Knox

<p>Working Holiday</p> Knox

Working Holiday

Knox

Having winter blues and looking for some feel-good anthems? Knox is just the guy for you.

Knox, 26, always had a passion for music and dreamed of becoming a musician as he watched Disney Channel original movies.

“I liked watching High School Musical and Camp Rock more than the average middle school boy," he tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I told myself that if I didn’t move to Nashville and try out music I’d look back and regret it."

The “Sneakers” singer, who grew up in New Carlisle, Ohio, is currently gearing up for the release of his debut album. When he’s creating, he makes music where “there’s something for everyone.”

“Songs come from so many different places,” he says. “Inspiration comes out of nowhere and from every direction.”

If there’s one thing he’d like fans to know about him – it’s that he’s “the most normal human being ever.”

“If I can do this, then anybody that puts their mind to it can do the same thing. Nothing is unrealistic anymore if you work hard and really put your mind to something,” he says.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “When Christmas Comes Around,” by Matt Terry.

Stream the acoustic version of his latest single “Not the 1975.”

Jenna Raine

<p>Ashley Osborn</p> Jenna Raine

Ashley Osborn

Jenna Raine

At just 19 years old, Jenna Raine is already seeing success others would dream of.

Growing up in Southlake, Texas, the young performer’s passion for singing came as a surprise to her non-musical family, who helped her find a vocal coach and work on her craft starting at age 8. Soon enough, she booked a slot in the girl group L2M before going solo and has since earned over a billion global streams thanks to viral songs like “It Is What It Is” and “see you later (ten years).”

“I’ve always been a big dreamer,” Raine tells PEOPLE. “In regards to music, I’ve always thought of it as trying to create a lifelong career.”

She’s built a fanbase of more than 1.7 million TikTok followers as she’s released two parts of her vulnerable Big Dumb Heart EP series over the past year, with its third chapter coming soon.

“In Chapter 2 I focused on sharing my perspective on life and friendships, but in Chapter 3 I talk more about my love life,” teases Raine. “I haven’t really released a ton of songs about my love life specifically, so I’m excited to share that part of myself with the world!”

As she writes new “bittersweet, nostalgic and uplifting” songs, she’s been looking “literally everywhere” for inspiration.

“I start each day with a mindset of gratitude. I take a few minutes to let the stress and worry of the world wash away,” says Raine. “After that, it’s easier for me to feel inspired by what’s happening around me.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Anything from the Pentatonix Christmas albums! I’ve been putting them on repeat for years.”

Naomi Sharon

<p>Brandon Bowen</p> Naomi Sharon

Brandon Bowen

Naomi Sharon

Naomi Sharon’s vocals feel like “Extacy.”

The singer-songwriter, 28, who is signed to Drake’s OVO Sound label, was destined for the stage.

“Whether it was at home or crawling on top of the stage my cousin was performing at, I made sure I was heard. In 2019, after recovering from my vocal surgery, I found an urgency to share my voice with the world,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Following the release of her debut album Obsidian, she’s already back in the studio and working on new material. When she’s writing, she finds inspiration “through personal situations or my environment.”

If there’s one thing to know about Sharon — who describes her sound as “powerful yet soft and truthful” — it’s that she finds strength in vulnerability.

“I believe that your vulnerability is your superpower. This is something I use when I create my visuals and songs,” she says.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Last Christmas” by Wham.

Lay back, relax, and stream Obsidian.

Jazmin Bean

<p>@timestorm_productions @jamieleeculver</p> Jazmin Bean

@timestorm_productions @jamieleeculver

Jazmin Bean

Jazmin Bean is ready to let fans into their Traumatic Livelihood.

The 20-year-old English singer-songwriter (who uses they/them pronouns) has captivated fans with their intricate makeup looks, eye-catching fashion and grungy alt-pop songs like “Hello Kitty” and “Saccharine,” which have helped them rack up nearly 1 million TikTok followers.

“I got my start in music by envisioning film scores,” Bean tells PEOPLE. “I don’t think it was really a conscious decision. I just kind of fell into it and kept riding.”

Since debuting in 2019, Bean has kept their journey real with listeners. After releasing their debut project Worldwide Torture in 2020, the performer sought treatment for a ketamine addiction and rewrote a nearly completed album that no longer suited their current state.

The new result? Bean’s forthcoming album Traumatic Livelihood, out in February. When songwriting, they look for inspiration “in film, but also other artists — I think we are all just ripping pieces of each other away and making it into something sweeter.”

Aside from “waiting and watching” for the album to drop, they’re currently on a headlining tour of North America, which continues through December.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “‘Christmas Tree’ by Lady Gaga.”

Get ready for Bean’s upcoming album with their recent single, “Terrified.”

Johnny Yukon

<p>Ujjwal Chande</p> Johnny Yukon

Ujjwal Chande

Johnny Yukon

Johnny Yukon is the “Moment.”

The singer from Warrington, Pennsylvania, has been making music “as young as I can remember.”

“We had an upright piano at my house growing up and as soon as I started learning how to play that thing, I started making songs," he tells PEOPLE exclusively. "By seventh grade I was sneaking on to my sister's laptop to make beats on GarageBand."

It wasn’t until his freshman year in college, however, that he decided to pursue music professionally and felt inspired by Pharrell's music videos.

The “Gloria !” performer is currently working on a follow-up album to MOVIES! WORLDWIDE: PART I where he’s experimenting with different sounds.

When songwriting, inspiration comes in different directions and he rolls with it.

“I wish I had more of a formula but unfortunately I don’t really think that’s how it works," he says. "The music gods bless you some days and other days nothing really comes. I find it important not to beat yourself up on the days where ideas aren’t coming.”

When he’s not making "alternative, ethereal, disco rage, funk pop, music, Yukon is a total jokester.

“I’m a troll. I love making jokes and laughing. It’s my favorite thing. I think sometimes I come across serious on social media, which I’m trying to figure out how to change,” he admits. “Also I do improv now. I’ve been taking classes and I’m obsessed with it. I’m not very good at it but like I said I think laughing is the best part of being a human.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.

Stream MOVIES! WORLDWIDE: PART I.

Maiya the Don

<p>Travys Owen</p> Maiya the Don

Travys Owen

Maiya the Don

Maiya the Don knows she’s a hot commodity. The rest of the world is merely catching on.

The 21-year-old Brooklyn-born rapper initially built a career on TikTok with beauty and lifestyle videos, earning 500,000 followers before launching into music last year — a pivot her fans quickly embraced, as her single “Telfy” has since been used in over 25,000 videos on the platform.

“I started writing music when I was a kid because I wanted to be a singer,” Maiya (whose last name is Early) tells PEOPLE. “I pursued it professionally after going to a studio for fun and then feeling like I could actually do it.”

The rising star has become known for the no-nonsense energy of her lyrics, and she describes her sound as “cocky, expensive, braggadocious, innovative and fresh,” all of which is encapsulated in her debut mixtape Hot Commodity, released last month.

Maiya’s rise to prominence would lead fans to believe she’s spending all her time in the studio, but she’s finding time to hit the books too. “I’d like people to know that I”m a college student working on my bachelors, but I already have two associate degrees.”

Currently, the performer’s opening for Flo Milli on tour and working on the deluxe version of Hot Commodity before getting started on her first album.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Of course, Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You.’ I like Ariana Grande’s [Christmas & Chill] too, and Gucci Mane.”

If you’re on Maiya’s level of unbothered, bump her recent single “Dusties.”

Blusher

<p>TOM LEWIS</p> Blusher

TOM LEWIS

Blusher

If Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton's iconic holy trinity picture was music, it would sound like Blusher.

The three-piece girl group from Melbourne, Australia, consisting of Lauren Coutts, Jade Ingvarson-Favretto and Miranda Ward, each got their start in a unique way.

“Miranda grew up playing classical violin in a small rural town, then rebelled and started writing her own music. Lauren first got a taste of music production when she downloaded GarageBand on an iPad, which then progressed to a full blown love affair with Ableton,” they tell PEOPLE exclusively.

Adding, “Jade grew up with her family performing in an ABBA tribute band and became entranced by pop hooks. When we met each other it was so clear that we needed to become a band. We were equally as nerdy and passionate about making pop music, and so ready to combine forces and give our all to it.”

The trio’s sound was born from drinking tea and spilling secrets like three best friends do. Now, they draw inspiration from their late-night shenanigans.

“While we were on a writing trip in L.A., there was a night we went out so determined to have a good dance but everywhere we went the DJs were terrible,” they say.

Adding, “Miranda’s hype up playlist in the Uber outmatched them all. A few clubs and an In-N-Out pitstop later, we snuck into a secret Charli XCX DJ set and the night completely turned around. She was incredible. In the studio the next day we wrote a song about the whole experience… which just might be our next single.”

In July, the group released their debut EP Should We Go Dance? and now they’re working on their next big thing.

“We’ve been in the studio every day working on a new collection of songs that feel like Blusher with the saturation knob turned all the way up. The songs we’ve been writing have felt really confident, luminous and exciting,” they said.

Adding, “Our first EP was essentially the first songs we ever wrote together, so it’s been awesome to spend so much time together traveling, playing shows, sharing beds at times and seeing each other at our most tired and delirious. All of those experiences have made for an ultra distilled next chapter of music.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Santa’s Comin’ Down the Chimney” by Confidence Man.

Stream Should We Go Dance? now.

Alex Sampson

<p>Ashley Osborn</p> Alex Sampson

Ashley Osborn

Alex Sampson

Alex Sampson is taking listeners back to the sounds and vulnerability of 2000s’ singer-songwriters.

Having felt passionate about music since childhood, the 19-year-old Atikokan, Ontario-based performer first gained traction with a series of cover videos on TikTok, where he now holds over 3.2 million followers.

“Something I’d like people to know about me is who you see online is who I am,” Sampson tells PEOPLE. “I like to be as honest and real as I can in my music and on my social media. I feel like it lets me connect with my fanbase more and helps them relate to me.”

He’s earned millions of Spotify streams with songs like “Play Pretend” and “All That We Could Have Been,” which are prime examples of his candid songwriting style. “I find inspiration through the things I go through in my life,” says Sampson. “If I’m in love, if I’m going through a breakup, if I’m feeling insecure — I could go on! I feel writing about personal experiences is easier and helps me cope a lot with them.”

Currently, the musician is gearing up to release a new EP on Jan. 19. “I’m so proud of how it’s turning out and I believe it represents me as an artist and the music I want to make,” teases Sampson.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “My new Christmas single ‘This Christmas (Feels Like Love)’! I wrote it last year with two really good friends of mine. We wanted to create a vibe that perfectly captures the feeling of falling in love during Christmas time!”

Ahead of his forthcoming project’s release, check out Sampson’s new single “Blind.”

Victoria Canal

<p>Karina Barberis</p> Victoria Canal

Karina Barberis

Victoria Canal

Victoria Canal is a force to be reckoned with.

Canal, 25, was raised by a Spanish dad and American mom in cities all over the world. It was her grandmother, however, who first helped spark that love for music.

“My grandma was a piano teacher and noticed when I was 4 that I had a natural sense of harmony. She encouraged my parents to put me in lessons, and from the moment I started playing and singing, it was my dream to do it for a living,” Canal tells PEOPLE exclusively.

After the release of her EP Well Well in August, the “Yes Man” singer is working on putting together her first headlining tour in the United States for 2024. She’s also recording her debut album — and needless to say she’s “really f---ing excited about it.”

Her “cozy, weepy, confessional indie music” is born through “conversations with friends,” “dialogue in certain tv shows” and “novels” written by women. (She’s into Sylvia Plath these days.)

Canal, who was born without a right forearm and hand due to a condition called amniotic band syndrome, recently opened up about her disability during an interview on BBC’s Access All podcast and said “it’s tough out here.”

“It’s tough to be labeled and not have much control over how you’re perceived by the world,” she said.

In addition to her music, Canal also made her acting debut in Apple TV+’s anthology series Little America earlier this year.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”

Stream Well Well now.

Elle Darlington

<p>Reuben Bastienne-Lewis</p> Elle Darlington

Reuben Bastienne-Lewis

Elle Darlington

Elle Darlington was “obsessed with Hannah Montana” as a kid. Now, she’s following in the Disney Channel character’s footsteps and launching into pop stardom herself.

Hailing from North Wales, the 20-year-old musician has been performing since she was a child, before moving to London and studying at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music in 2020, around which she started posting covers on TikTok — where she now has over 1 million followers.

“I was fortunate enough for my videos to connect with people and from there I got the opportunity to move to London at 17 to begin the process of writing and recording my original music,” Darlington tells PEOPLE.

She recently released her debut single, the R&B-pop track “wish you would,” which boasts catchy melodies and whistle tones reminiscent of Mariah Carey, one of her idols. “My sound is fun, feel good pop music inspired by ‘90s/‘00s pop and R&B,” says Darlington. “I love how vocals were super detailed at that time, and people stacked vocals to the gods!”

More music is set to come from the singer very soon, starting with a Christmas single before the end of the year. “I have a lot of music that I really love lined up for 2024,” Darlington teases. “The next songs definitely show the sassier side of my personality which will be fun to introduce!”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “It’s got to be ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey. It’s my go-to karaoke song every Christmas.”

Put on your headphones and listen to Darlington’s first single, “wish you would.”

Yoke Lore

<p>Tanner Deutsch</p> Yoke Lore

Tanner Deutsch

Yoke Lore

Yoke Lore is making a name for himself.

Yoke Lore (born Adrian Galvin), 33, got his start as Walk the Moon’s drummer in college. He left before the band recorded their debut album.

“People are alienated from themselves, and nature and I think music is one of things that puts us all back together,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively.

He is also a busy man! In September, he released an album titled Toward a Never Ending New Beginning and he’s gearing up to go on tour. He will open for The Head and The Heart and then will embark on a headlining tour after that. Once he’s done with his headlining tour, he will tour with Chelsea Cutler in the spring.

The “Beige” singer draws inspiration from “anything and everything” to create what he calls “green, gentle, grit” music.

If there’s one thing to know about him, it’s that “most American men seem to hate women and love golf, I love women and hate golf.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “River” by Joni Mitchell.

Stream Toward a Never Ending New Beginning.

Lagoona Bloo

<p>Tanner Abel</p> Lagoona Bloo

Tanner Abel

Lagoona Bloo

Lagoona Bloo may be a drag queen, but she’s a pop star first and foremost.

Growing up in Prairieville, Louisiana, the 32-year-old performer always saw pop music as an “escape,” but she didn’t realize writing and recording was her passion until four years after beginning their drag career in 2016. Fast forward to now, and she’s already opened for the likes of Aqua — an especially fitting tourmate for Lagoona and her “underwater bubble pop” sound.

“Drag queens are artists in so many ways beyond lip-sync performances, and music just so happens to be my bread and butter,” she tells PEOPLE. “I am working towards creating a path for myself that is different from what we’ve seen so far in drag.”

Historically, drag artists who perform pop music haven’t had an easy time crossing over into the mainstream, but Lagoona’s “up for the challenge.” If her vocally-impressive, earworm pop singles like “C U Tonight” and “Still Around” are any indicator, she’s well on her way to circumventing such norms.

After releasing her debut EP AQUA in 2021, Lagoona’s currently gearing up to drop her first full-length album Underwater Bubble Pop next year. Where her previous project showcased an outward perspective on love, the new record will find her looking within. “My point of view shifted from loving someone else to loving myself, and my music has reflected that journey,” she says.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “I will shamelessly say my own single ‘Bloo Christmas!’ A few years ago, I fell in love with a great guy and was so excited to spend our first Christmas together, so I wrote a song about it. It’s the antithesis of Elvis’ ‘Blue Christmas.’ He says, ‘I’ll have a blue Christmas without you,’ while I say, 'My Christmas won’t be blue, cause baby I’ve got you!’”

If you’re looking for an uplifting anthem, check out Lagoona’s recent single “Elle Woods.”

Dax

<p>Mike Holesky</p> Dax

Mike Holesky

Dax

Dax is a master songwriter.

Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario Dax’s journey in music started by writing poetry.

“The impact I saw it have on people made me want to seriously pursue it,” he tells PEOPLE.

Following the release of his album What Is Life? In January, the singer is currently working on an EP and “it’s going to mend broken hearts, souls and minds.”

When he’s writing, he finds inspiration through everyday event, “things I want to avoid, things I want to manifest, and life in general around me.”

The “Dear Alcohol” singer, who describes his sound as “Eclectic,” notes that the “key” to his heart is “rice and chicken.”

Dax's first single, "Dear Alcohol," is certified platinum and he's currently gearing up for his North American tour.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.”

Stream his recent collaboration with Darius Rucker, “To Be a Man.”

GALE

<p>Teo @teograph</p> GALE

Teo @teograph

GALE

After earning hits as a songwriter for Selena Gomez, Anitta, Shakira and others, it’s time for GALE’s moment.

The 30-year-old Puerto Rico native felt like she “had a superpower” upon writing her first song at age 7 and later studied classical singing, guitar and piano at Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“At the moment I didn’t know exactly how I would make it a career, I just knew in my heart that that was it for me,” GALE tells PEOPLE. “When I graduated I went to college and then I moved to Miami to follow my dreams, knocked on many doors, started writing with other artists and then finally got my artist recording deal to put out music on my own.”

Today, GALE’s resume is stacked. She released her debut album Lo Que No Te Dije earlier this year, which helped earn her a best new artist nomination at the upcoming Latin Grammy Awards — ”which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl,” says the performer.

Describing her unique alternative Latin pop sound as if “Bad Bunny, Dua Lipa and Avril Lavigne had a baby,” GALE says her approach to lyricism is “very passionate and straightforward.” Her songwriting has not only connected with fans but earned her two additional Latin Grammy nominations this year for her contribution to Marshmello and Manuel Turizo’s “El Merengue.”

At the moment, she’s crafting “new music and what’s to come” but also “enjoying every moment” of her current success.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Any song from Gloria Estefan’s album Abriendo Puertas, because my parents used to listen to it on repeat for the season when I was growing up. Also, “El Menú” by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.”

Check out GALE’s recent single “Movie” with Bruses.

Rosie Darling

<p>Laura-Lynn Petrick</p> Rosie Darling

Laura-Lynn Petrick

Rosie Darling

Rosie Darling’s vulnerable indie-pop songs sound like diary entries, and that’s clearly a product of her listening habits.

“I started writing songs when I was in middle school. I was such a big Taylor Swift fan – like all of us are — and she totally inspired me to learn how to play guitar and start writing,” the Massachusetts-born singer-songwriter, 27, tells PEOPLE.

Since debuting in 2017, Darling has captivated fans with piano-led tracks like “Witness” and “Coping,” but it wasn’t until more recently that she was able to see her music’s impact in person.

“I released a lot of music through the pandemic so I wasn’t able to tour and see how the music was resonating in person, but this year I had the opportunity to tour twice and it was seriously the highlight of my year,” she says. “I’m really such a homebody! Performing and touring has helped me get out of my shell a bit and connect in person with my fans.”

When songwriting, Darling looks for inspiration in her romantic and platonic relationships. “I love listening to my friend’s stories about their relationships and trying to really understand how people are in them,” she explains. “People are so complex, and I think a lot of us have found that out as we have dated or grown apart from friends.”

After spending years crafting her debut album Lanterns, the project dropped Friday, and Darling feels “ready for it to be out in the world.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “‘‘tis the damn season’ by Taylor Swift!”

Take a listen to Darling’s heartfelt recent single, “I’m Different Now.”

London Cheshire

<p>Ryan Malcom-Campbell</p> London Cheshire

Ryan Malcom-Campbell

London Cheshire

London Cheshire has never been afraid to step out of his comfort zone.

The 16-year-old from Lumberton, Texas, picked up his first instrument at age 5 and created a band called the Swag Brothers. At age 11, he knew music was his calling.

“During a vocal lesson my coach told me I had 15 minutes to write a song to four chords on the piano. In those 15 minutes I wrote my first song,” he tells PEOPLE. “That’s how I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.”

The “Uncomfortable” singer is currently hard at work in the studio to create music “that’s really personal to me.”

“If you were to listen to my life this is what it would sound like,” he says.

Cheshire loves to experiment with different genres and finds inspiration from within.

“When I create it’s more of an expression than an inspiration. It’s something within me. So, when I write it’s really just me releasing what I feel,” he says.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: Frank Sinatra’s “The Christmas Song.”

Stream “Uncomfortable” now.

Briston Maroney

<p>Muriel Margaret</p> Briston Maroney

Muriel Margaret

Briston Maroney

Briston Maroney will make you want to roll the windows down and sing alone to his rock-infused music.

The 25-year-old singer from Knoxville, Tennessee, knew that music was always in the cards for him.

“Once I realized how horrible I was at every other life path I dove all the way in,” he tells PEOPLE.

Following the release of his sophomore album Ultrapure in September, the musician embarked on a tour across the United Kingdom and Europe. In early 2024, he will tour in the United States.

“This project really was about forgiveness and realizing the people that love you most aren’t perfect, but will be there for you no matter what,” the “Small Talk” singer, who appeared on American Idol’s season 13 at age 16, says.

Maroney — who describes his music as “peanut butter and jelly rock” and has already earned an RIAA-certified Platinum hit — finds inspiration from “people” when he’s songwriting. He’d also like people to know that he’s just a regular guy with normal emotions. .

“I’m just as confused and angry and happy and sad and afraid and hopeful as you!!!,” he says.

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “Great Pumpkin Waltz” by Vince Guaraldi.

Listen to his sophomore album Ultrapure now.

Raegan

<p>RAEGAN</p> RAEGAN

RAEGAN

RAEGAN

Raegan is breaking boundaries.

The 21-year-old Miami, Florida, native writes and produces her own music, creating what she calls “experimental alt-pop.”

“I take great pride in being a woman producer, breaking boundaries in a traditionally male-dominated field. It's important to me to be a part of that change and inspire others to pursue their passions fearlessly,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

She adds of her sound, “I love pushing the boundaries of different genres and exploring a wide range of sounds. Each of my songs is a story, and I create a unique world for each one, immersing the listener in a distinct sonic experience.”

The “Tim Burton” singer is currently working on her first project, an EP titled F— Raegan.

“I've been gradually unveiling this project, dropping each song one by one, creating anticipation. In addition to the music, I'm also working on the visual aspects, including music videos, to bring my songs to life,” she says.

Raegan grew up on musical theater, which she says is why she’s “so drawn to cinematic sounds and aesthetics.”

“I began writing my own songs around the age of 14 and started producing my music at around 16,” she says. “Music is the way I can express myself and communicate my endless thoughts. Ever since I started making music, I knew I wanted to pursue it professionally.”

Favorite Festive Anthem for the Holiday Season: “When Christmas Comes Around,” written by Ed Sheeran.

Listen to her viral hit “Tim Burton.”

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