2012 has been an interesting year for the music business. As chart genres shift and technology continues to influence how and what we consume, in-flux trends seem to fly in out of nowhere.The viral sensation breakout star, for example. But can we go back to basics for just a moment? These people are here to entertain us and sing, right? Like, into microphones and send sound waves into the universe. Whether their songs permeated the charts all year or their pipes are ones to keep an eye out in the future, the following 15 voices were the most noteworthy in 2012.
In addition to being the voice behind David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” this year, Sia also wrote the lyrics and melody for Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and her talent should be recognized, damn it.
3. Kendrick Lamar
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
Her vocals may not be the strongest of the batch, but Rihanna’s sound is one that’s her own, and hit after hit, is always recognizable!
5. Fun.’s Nate Ruess
Try not belting the chorus to “We Are Young” during a night out with friends. Just try. Between that and follow up single “Some Nights,” it would seem Nate and the band have infected our eardrums for good.
6. 2 Chainz
Just in case you don’t recognize his bold vocal delivery, Tity 2 Necklace announces himself on almost every track to remind you of who he is, and we’ve fallen in love with that Southern drawl.
7. Ellie Goulding
It took almost two years for American radio to embrace this Brit’s unique vocals, but now that we’re all on-board with “Lights,” #5 on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100, one can only hope that Ellie stays a while.
You know all the words to “Adorn.” Your mother and cousins know all the words to “Adorn.” Miguel’s sonic magnetism reeled you in, and let you bathe in its glory.
9. Alex Clare
The first time we heard Alex Clare’s “Too Close” in the commercial for Internet Explorer 9, it was evident that this UK singer had a potential hit on his hands. The future is very bright for this Diplo-collaborator!
11. Maroon 5’s Adam Levine
Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Maroon 5 and Adam Levine’s nagging voice wasn’t all up in your face this year. Between “Payphone” and “One More Night,” these guys have two records in Billboard’s Hot 100 for the year – both of which are under #20.
12. Emeli Sandé
Another critic darling who has the wide-ranged pipes that we root for, Emeli Sandé was a VH1 You Oughta Know artist and helped Alicia Keys with some songs off “Girl On Fire.” Remember her name, you’ll be screaming it later!
13. Luke James
Beyoncé doesn’t have just anyone to open for her. Not yet a voice known by mainstream listeners, critics and influencers are already labeling his falsetto one to watch for the new generation of R&B singers.