New Scandinavian bands and musicians are popping up all the time across a range of musical styles. Even the newest of newcomers in Scandinavia tend to sound well-produced, so there’s a sleekness to the sounds that can make it hard to believe that these are emerging artists. But take note; this is who will be all over the Scandinavian music festivals and airwaves in the years ahead. Whether you’re into straight bubblegum pop or dark electronica, there’s something here for you.
Listen to the best Scandinavian bands and musicians to know for the coming year:
Best bands in Denmark
This Danish trip blends R ‘n B and rock into a sleek, experimental, and jubliant pop sound. With releases at the end of 2019 and more planned for 2020, be prepared to hear more from this unique group in the coming year.
With a folk-pop sound and a gentle, warm voice, Hjalte Ross will definitely charm those who love a good singer-songwriter. Even in live, intimate settings, his voice seems to reverbrate and fill a space, giving him an ethereal air.
Bringing together electronica, pop, and even jazz in spots, Yangze’s unique and invigorating sound will blow you away. How can the same song make you want to relax and dance?
Best bands in Sweden
Les Big Byrd
Fun and a little weird, with reverberations of Talking Heads, Les Big Byrd is an easy band to enjoy. With their third EP coming out in early 2020, be prepared to hear a lot more of them – certainly in Sweden and hopefully around the world.
Though not exactly a new artist on the scene – Boman has been putting out EPs since 2013 – she’s still flying relatively under the radar and is due for a breakthrough. Boman’s soft pop sound is soothing and refreshing.
Need for Speed
Blending punk with pop and house sounds, Need for Speed has a 90s-meets-contemporary electronica sound that’s both hard and surprisingly melodic. The lead singer’s deep, dark voice is absolutely alluring.
In addition to their fairly incredible twin hairstyles, Surf Philosophies is a helluva lot of fun. Mixing pop, indie, and electronic sounds, their music will make you get up and bust a move – and probably crack a smile while you’re at it.
Though their first album came out in 2015 to much acclaim, Swedish pop-rock band Amason only released their second album, Galaxy I, in 2019. But they haven’t been sleeping in between; the band has been releasing EPs and singles all along. Their easy-listening yet layered sound is well worth getting acquainted with, thanks in large part to lead singer Amanda Bergman’s smoky, sweet voice.
Blending gospel, pop, and soul, Sabina Ddumba has grown in popularity she participated in Sweden’s X-Factor back in 2012. She’s released two albums since then, as well as a number of singles, and she’s due for another one soon, although there’s no concrete info as of now. We just hope we get to hear something new from her soon!
Releasing her album “Vesper” at the end of 2019, Sara Parkman has already created waves with her contemporary takes on Nordic folk sounds. The singer, songwriter, and violinist has a unique sound that is at the same time achingly familiar.
True piano-accompanied singer-songwriter stuff; just what the doctor ordered. Esther’s melodic, soothing sounds are beautiful with an edge of wit.
Best bands in Norway
Get dancing with the pop vocals and electronic beats of Hanne Mjøen. There are shades of Robyn here, and we can’t wait to see where this promising artist goes in the next few years.
Oof, are you ready for a good beat accompanied by a strong, deep voice? We can’t get enough of Dagny and her electro-pop sound. Her fun, anthemic songs are grounded by her sonorous voice, but they’ll definitely get your feet moving.
With techno beats and R ‘n B melodies, Lil Halima has already made a name for herself in Norway at only 22. Her smooth vocals are underscored by a minimalist yet pulsing beat.
For something totally different: Jakob Ogawa. His falsetto voice, unexpected synth sounds, and 80s vibe somehow just…work together. It kind of feels like listening to someone experiment on their keyboard in high school, if they just happened to be supremely talented.
Best bands in Iceland
Langorous Icelandic hip-hop isn’t, perhaps, the world’s best known musical genre. but the friends behind Sturla Atlas seem to be having a good time. Combining a hypebeast visual look with enjoyable, contemporary pop-hip hop.
Not sure what fast-paced Icelandic rap sounds like? Get ready for GKR. You might not know what he’s saying, but you’ll somehow still find yourself singing along.
Keep an ear out for Tara Mobee, who is coming for the Scandi pop queen crown with her danceable, upbeat electro-pop. This us pure fabulous energy and it’s just what 2020 needs!
Best bands in Finland
Jesse Markin is a unique voice in the Scandinavian and Finnish scenes. Though he’s been putting out singles for a while, his debut album, Folk, came out at the end of 2019 to much acclaim. His pop-meets-soul sound has a lot of the British pop sound in it, but there’s also something totally self-grown here that makes each song a gift to be unwrapped.
This is straight pop, and it’s delicious. Dreamy, layered vocals, airy guitar, and a great beat – what’s not to like? Their album Volant is charming and atmosphere-creating.
Folk music gets contemporary with Pauanne. Their music does what folk does best: makes you think with the lyrics while providing a relaxing and melodious backdrop.
Thanks to Sophia Schuff, Billy Leahy, Dennis from Malmö’s Rundgång recordshop and label, Magnus from Adrian Recordings, Mikael Nordlander from SVT Musikbyrån, Alix Feldman, Tom Spray and Sebastian Zieler.