With a new year comes a new music queen (or king). 2014 was arguably owned by Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, but who is set to conquer 2015? Swift is a definite contender, but there are some others you shouldn’t rule out just yet. Below, we give our theories on who will be the all-mighty music ruler of 2015. So many fan favorites are set to do it big this year, so the race for emperor/empress will be close. Are you ready to rumble?
Rihanna’s last album was 2012’s Unapologetic, and her Navy is getting very antsy for the follow-up. The artist is predicted to release her eighth effort in 2015, reportedly titled R8. The LP is arguably music’s most anticipated event this year, and Rihanna could make 2015 her’s based on this excitement alone. RiRi’s music also sells like hotcakes — her first six albums all made top five on the Billboard 200 — so be prepared to hear your girl all over the radio. Seems like R finally heard our “S.O.S.”
Swift turned 2014 upside down in October (that’s pretty late) when she released her fifth album 1989, so it’s possible her reign will continue in 2015. Her first two singles “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, so expect other releases to do the same. When she’s not dominating the charts, Swift will be on the road. The 1989 World Tour kicks off May 5 in Tokyo, and it’s slated to be one of the biggest, splashiest stage shows of the year. If Swift’s 2013-2014 Red Tour (which grossed $150.2 million) is any indication, her newest world trek will also bring in some serious dough.
The Queen of Pop is set to release her 13th studio album Rebel Heart —her follow-up to 2012’s MDNA — on March 10. Several tracks from the LP were leaked last year; however, the Material Girl remained resilient by officially releasing six songs and making Rebel Heart available for pre-order. Time magazine asserted this new album could be Madonna’s best in almost a decade, and from the brief taste we’ve had, we have to agree. Rebel Heart sounds fresh and ambitious while still radio-friendly and fun. Also, people seem to still want new Madge music: Rebel Heart shot to No.1 in more than 35 countries when it became available for pre-order. Don’t rule out this music legend. It looks like she’s got a hit (+ probably a tour, and her shows always fair well) on her hands.
Grande’s hitting the road this year with The Honeymoon Tour, and her die-hard fans are sure to make it her most successful one yet. With three chart-topping singles (“Problem” feat. Iggy Azalea, “Break Free” feat. Zedd and “Love Me Harder” feat. The Weeknd ), Grande has set herself up to release another song from her sophomore album My Everything and have it do quite well. Plus, if she takes any of our suggestions, Grande has the potential to be the only artist people talk about this year. #humblebrag
Trainor’s the underdog, but she shows definite promise. She was 2014’s biggest surprise when her single “All About That Bass” went No.1 all over the world and became a defining anthem for curvy girls everywhere. She followed that up with the playful “Lips Are Movin’,” which reached No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her third studio album Title comes out January 9 and — if these singles are any indication — should be a major success. Trainor is also set to embark on her first headlining North American tour starting in February, which will certainly increase her domination chances.
2014 was good for Sheeran. His sophomore album x reached No.1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned two top-10 singles (“Don’t” and “Thinking Out Loud”). He also invaded our televisions screens in December when he performed at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, a clear statement that Sheeran has become a bona-fide superstar. But 2015 could be even bigger for the redheaded cutie. He’s nominated for three Grammys — the show airs February 8 on CBS —and is also going on tour. His three July concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium will be his biggest solo shows to date. Get ready to cry.
While promoting her line of lingerie last year, Spears mentioned that she is working on new music and wants to do something “artsy-fartsy” (a flawless and iconic statement of queen-sized proportions). However, we received something a little more concrete when Iggy Azalea confirmed she collaborated with Spears on a song set to debut this year. If that song is a success —which we’re sure it will be given Azalea’s recent track record and Spears’ legion of supporters — and Brit Brit releases an album that is one part artsy, two parts fartsy (and no parts will.i.am. — please), she may have another 2011 on her hands. After 2013’s lackluster Britney Jean, the pop icon is in need of something hot.
Like Sheeran, Smith really broke out last year (a best-selling album, In the Lonely Hour, with two successful singles). However, we don’t think he’s done ruling yet. He’s leading the Grammys with six nominations — including all the major categories — and also going on tour. Plus, if Smith collaborates with a fellow big-name artist and delivers a compelling new hit, he could conquer 2015 with just one new song alone.
Gwen Stefani (or No Doubt)
After a nine-year hiatus, Stefani is slated to release her third studio album in 2015. She already has two singles, “Baby Don’t Lie” and “Spark the Fire” out now. Her past two albums, Love. Angel. Music. Baby (2004) and The Sweet Escape (2006), were very successful, so it’s possible this next LP will catch the same mojo. If Stefani can’t strike big on her own, she has another option: No Doubt is also set to release a new record in 2015. While its 2012 album Push and Shove performed admirably, the newest effort could exceed it given Stefani’s recent resurgence into the mainstream. What you waiting for, G?
What musicians are on your radar this year? Sound off in the comments below.
[Photo: Getty Images]