A brand new year means there’s a lot of brand new music, film and TV shows to get excited about it, with a host of emerging talent at the centre of all of it.
These are just 12 of the stars we’re anticipating big things from in 2020...
1. Bree Runway
Bree Runway first came to our attention a couple of years ago, with her pre-Me Too music video What Do I Tell My Friends?, which saw her clocking an exploitative photographer around the head with a fruitbowl, before twerking on his lifeless body.
If you could believe it, 2019 has seen the London-based singer up her game a further 20 notches, releasing her first EP Be Runway, taking her music in a more exciting and frenetic direction on tracks like 2ON and Big Racks.
The latter’s music video is one of our favourites of the year, tackling issues like colourism and misogynoir (the clip opens with statistics about BAME employment in the UK) in a way that’s both intelligent and shocking, all with a DIY charm. With the right push, Bree could be the kind of artist it’s almost impossible to ignore...
Want to see more? Check out the music video for Big Racks here.
Scottish singer/songwriter Joesef’s laidback and ethereal EP Play Me Something New won him a swarm of new fans in 2019, with his mixture of R&B beats and organic instruments sounding like a cross between a British Frank Ocean, Rex Orange County and James Blake.
His soulful and heartfelt vocals have drawn comparisons to Amy Winehouse, while he’s also exposed glimmers of the same kind of unfiltered and unpretentious personality in interviews that has made Lewis Capaldi such a favourite in the last 12 months.
Couple this with an endorsement from the BBC and the fact his first gig had sold out before he’d even released any music, and it’s not difficult to see why he’s being tipped for big things.
Want to hear more? Check out Loverboy here.
3. Lashana Lynch
It seems strange to be including an actress who’s already played the lead in a big-budget Shonda Rhimes drama and appeared in one of the year’s most popular superhero films on a list of “rising stars”, but there’s also no denying that Lashana Lynch has her biggest year yet ahead of her in 2020.
Not only is she gearing up for her most high-profile gig to date in the forthcoming James Bond film No Time To Die, she is also believed to be playing a new secret agent who takes over as 007 from the titular character, which has already brought plenty of attention in Lashana’s direction.
This year, she’ll also be appearing in the post-apocalyptic drama Y, based on the popular comic book series.
Want to see more? Check out the trailer for No Time To Die here.
4. Mehdi Dehbi
Mehdi Dehbi’s year got off to a seriously eventful start as the lead in one of Netflix’s most controversial and hyped series in some time.
The Belgian actor plays a mysterious figure in the streaming platform’s new show Messiah, which debuts on New Year’s Day. His character winds up at the centre of a CIA investigation after leading his followers into believing he can perform miracles, and the series is almost certainly going to be one of the year’s biggest conversation-starters, with Mehdi right in the middle of it all.
Want to see more? Check out the trailer for Messiah here.
Celeste has been on our radar for a little while now, and clearly we’re not the only ones, as she’s already been named the Brit Awards’ Rising Star for 2020 and made the longlist for the BBC’s Sound Of 2020 (alongside others on our list including Yungblud and Joesef).
As part of changes made to the Brits this year, which will put more emphasis on music and performances, Celeste will be given a performance slot during the upcoming ceremony, meaning the Brighton-based star has the opportunity for millions to hear her soulful music, which she has said is inspired by Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.
Want to see more? Check out the video for Strange here.
6. Max Harwood
After a rather disappointing year for musicals in 2019 (yes, Cats, we’re looking at you), we have high hopes for the next 12 months, with the release of film versions of In The Heights and Wicked.
Also heading to the big screen is surprise West End smash Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which is undoubtedly one of the films we’re most looking forward to in 2020.
Sarah Lancashire and Richard E Grant are both among the musical’s cast, but who we’re really most intrigued to see is newcomer Max Harwood, the young actor who has landed the title role of Jamie New.
As a character, Jamie requires stacks of personality, fun and, above all, camp value, but also vulnerability and sensitivity. The stage musical shows all these sides to Jamie and more in a short space of time, so Max really has his work cut out for him, but we have every faith he’ll pull it off.
Want to see more? Watch a short clip of Max performing here.
7. Zoey Deutch
The journey that high school student Infinity Jackson, goes on over the course of Netflix’s big-budget 2019 dramedy The Politician is nothing less than remarkable, and it’s a testament to actress Zoey Deutch that she managed to do the whole thing so convincingly.
As Infinity, Zoey – a former child star – had her biggest role in her career yet, nailing her nuanced performance as a multi-layered character, only to then play a completely different character in Zombieland 2 just as perfectly.
While 2020 will see her returning to The Politician, we also think her obvious acting talent (not to mention the singing abilities she also showed off when she performed with Ben Platt) will have caught plenty of casting directors’ eyes in the last few months too.
Want to see more? Watch Zoey’s interview on BUILD here.
8. Anthony Ramos
However, in 2020, he’ll be taking centre stage in what’s already one of the year’s most anticipated films, the new adaptation of In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical, which debuted a few years before Hamilton.
With music by Lin-Manuel and directing by John M Chu (who previously helmed Crazy Rich Asians), there’s going to be a lot of hype around this new musical, which is good news from Anthony, who appears in the starring role of narrator Usnavi de la Vega.
Want to see more? Check out the video for Anthony’s song Mind Over Matter here.
9. Diana Silvers
The break-out star of not one but two of 2019′s most underrated films (the high school comedy Booksmart and the camp thriller Ma, in which she held her own opposite Oscar winner Octavia Spencer), Diana Silvers played two completely different characters in completely different roles.
Diana ended 2019 by appearing in Stella McCartney’s fashion show – not a bad close to the year, huh? – and is currently set to appear in the new Netflix workplace comedy Space Force opposite the king of the genre, Steve Carrell.
Want to see more? Check out the trailer for Ma here.
The Doncaster-born singer Yungblud released his debut album in 2018, but his star power and profile have only grown bigger in the time since, with the BBC and YouTube both naming him among their picks for success in 2020.
Yungblud is a hard one to pin down – his personal style is flamboyant and outrageous, his music often moody and emotional, his performances outrageous and totally unpredictable.
And in an era when mainstream artists like Billie Eilish and the UK’s own The 1975 are breaking down barriers and conventions in mainstream music, the stage seems set for an artist like Yungblud (“I’ll be Anita from West Side Story then suddenly transform into Liam Gallagher,” he joked to Attitude magazine in 2019) to go on to achieve big things.
Want to see more? Check out the video for Parents here.
11. Mae Muller
The comparisons between Mae Muller and Lily Allen might seem obvious, but there’s also a reason for them. Like Lily when she first arrived on the music scene, Mae wears her London roots on her sleeve, and has already raised eyebrows with her frank lyrics (of which there’s no better example than her 2019 single, the bluntly-titled Dick, which is probably as NSFW as you’re imagining).
Although early on in her career, Mae already has a loyal fanbase of young women and teenagers, thanks to her odes to bad boyfriends like Anticlimax and the upcoming Therapist, not to mention her recent support slot for a little-known pop group called Little Mix.
Want to see more? Check out the lyric video for Dick here.
12. Charity Shop Sue
No, we didn’t anticipate that our comedy hero of the year would be a charity shop manager with a ginger crop and a Bulwell accent, but 2019 was a pretty unpredictable year all round, wasn’t it?
Originally the subject of a Sky Arts comedy Christmas special in 2017, Charity Shop Sue’s popularity has exploded on social media in the last 12 months (who knew ”’scuse me ladeh” would be such an iconic catchphrase), which only increased when her whole show made its debut on YouTube.
Towards the end of the year, Sue Tuke made a few mainstream appearances, helping Rylan Clark-Neal during his Children In Need karaoke marathon, and offering her take on the queens at the Drag Race UK final.
We would not be surprised at all to see even more TV stints in this benevolent queen of memes’ future, as she’s surely perfect fodder for something like BBC Three.
Want to see more? Check out Charity Shop Sue on YouTube here.