2015 has been a big year for music. In the first half of the year, Taylor Swift dominated the charts with hits like “Style” and “Bad Blood” from her Grammy-nominated album 1989. Kendrick Lamar and Drake both made a huge impact in the hip-hop genre with their albums To Pimp A Butterfly and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, respectively.
In the last couple months alone, Adele has broken records with her latest album 25, Justin Bieber has made a surprisingly successful comeback with his album Purpose, and One Direction released what they say will be their last album, Made In The A.M., before taking a hiatus in 2016. We also got new artists The Weeknd, Meghan Trainor, and many more.
Sometimes artists, like Beyonce, will release an album without any warning at all, but most of the time we know when they are working on something new. It’s impossible to know what big new artists will take over the charts in 2016, but here are 10 albums scheduled to come out next year that we’re pretty sure will make an impression.
10. David Bowie – ★ (Blackstar)
Scheduled to be released on January 8th, 2016, ★, pronounced “Blackstar” will be David Bowie‘s twenty-fifth studio album in his fifty year career. The release date is also his 69th birthday. The title track was released as a digital download in November of this year, and is almost 10 minutes long. It’s also used as the opening credit music for the show The Last Panthers which started airing in Europe in October. Bowie hasn’t performed live since 2006 and he hasn’t given an interview in even longer, but some of the musicians he worked with on the album spoke to Rolling Stone magazine. Producer Tony Visconti said of Bowie, “He’s a genre-breaker, and I can’t wait for the ★ imitation albums to start coming out.”
9. Sia – This Is Acting
Australian singer-songwriter Sia has been around for awhile, but it wasn’t until her 2014 album 1000 Forms of Fear that she really hit the mainstream. She notoriously avoided the spotlight and even hid her face from the audience during live performances, saying she wanted to maintain a certain level of privacy and control over her image. Her seventh studio album, This Is Acting, is set to be released on January 29th, 2016. The lead single “Alive”, released in September was originally written for Adele’s 25, but was rejected at the last minute. In an interview with NME, Sia described her new album as “more pop” than her previous work.
8. 50 Cent – Street King Immortal
50 Cent‘s sixth studio album Street King Immortal was originally supposed to be released in 2011 but, due to disagreements with the record label, it kept getting pushed back. The official release date hasn’t been revealed except to say that it will be some time in 2016. Two singles from the album were released in the summer of 2015 called “Get Low” and “9 Shots”, which should be a good sign the album will finally be released after six years of work. But a 2013 release date, to coincide with the 10 year anniversary of 50 Cent’s first album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, was confirmed, only to pass with no album, so 2016 may or may not be the year we finally get to hear his long anticipated sixth album.
7. Gwen Stefani
Not long after Gwen Stefani finalized her divorce from her husband of thirteen years, Gavin Rossdale, she released the single “Used To Love You”. It will serve as the first single from her upcoming third studio album, which will reportedly be released some time in 2016. Although she’s been working on new music for this album for over a year, she has described some of it as feeling “forced and inauthentic”. She’s been collaborating with her The Voice co-star Pharrell Williams, and fans of the show might be hoping for a Gwen Stefani-Blake Shelton duet since they announced they’re dating. There have also been mixed reports about a new No Doubt album, but nothing has been confirmed for 2016.
6. Kanye West – SWISH
Originally titled, So Help Me God, Kanye West tweeted that he’d be tentatively changing the title of his seventh studio album to SWISH. The follow-up to his highly successful 2013 album, Yeezus, has been in development for a few years now, and West has said, “it’s like a sonic painting, and it gets better and better every week.” In the last year he’s released two confirmed singles from the album including “Wolves” featuring Sia and “All Day” featuring Paul McCartney. McCartney is also reported to be serving as a producer for a few more songs on SWISH. West recently tweeted “no offense to anyone… I’m asking everyone DON’T ASK ME FOR ANYTHING TILL AFTER I’M FINISHED WITH MY ALBUM” so that means no interviews until the album is released some time in 2016.
5. Zayn Malik
When Zayn Malik left One Direction in 2015, there were rumors that he was quitting the music business altogether. But those were quickly proven wrong when he released a song called “I Won’t Mind” produced by Naughty Boy. He signed with RCA Records not long after and started working on his debut solo album, which has been described as “a lot more R&B and hip hop-influenced than anything Malik has done before.” He told the FADER in an interview that he was never quite comfortable with the music he was making with One Direction, so his solo effort, due out some time in 2016, is sure to be a lot different from what we’d expect.
4. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga‘s last album was a 2014 collaboration with Tony Bennett entitled Cheek To Cheek, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. She’s also been busy with her acting career, having starred in the latest season of American Horror Story. Her fifth studio album is set to be released in 2016, and she told Entertainment Weekly, with it, she has “returned to something I’ve believed in so much, which is the art of darkness.” She also said her experience on the set of AHS will serve as inspiration for the album, and it’s likely to be a return to a similar sound as her album The Fame Monster.
The Gorillaz are a band made up of four fictional characters with music by Damon Albarn (also of Blur) and artwork by Jamie Hewlett (creator of Tank Girl). Their first studio album earned them a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Successful Virtual Band. Their most well-known single was also their first, “Clint Eastwood”, which was released in 2001. They haven’t released an album since 2010, but in October 2015, Albarn told Rolling Stone, “I’m in the very early days on a new Gorillaz record. So far, it’s really fast, and it’s got quite a lot of energy.” It will be their fourth studio album.
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Since releasing their first album in 1984, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have gone through various band mate changes, recording ten studio albums in total and winning seven Grammy’s along the way. Their last album was the moderately successful I’m With You in 2011. They’re currently working on their eleventh album and have split with longtime producer Rick Rubin and teamed up with Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley) instead. They plan to have the album done by spring 2016, but Anthony Kiedis explained in an interview with Rolling Stone why they haven’t unveiled any new singles yet, saying, “We’re just dying to play the new songs – but we can’t, because every single human has a recording device on them at all times.”
1. Katy Perry
Ever since her first hit single “I Kissed A Girl” came out in 2008, Katy Perry has been a sure thing for catchy bubblegum pop music. Her latest tour The Prismatic World Tour was launched in May 2014 and just ended this past October, but she hasn’t released a new studio album since Prism in 2013. She has confirmed that she plans to have new music out some time in 2016, adding “I also think it’s important for me to maybe start reinventing myself. Because I can’t keep topping myself because I’ll just combust at some point.” She has plenty of top producers and songwriters in her corner, so who knows what she’ll come up with next.