We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling pretty happy to be seeing the back of 2021. It brought with it a whole new set of challenges and frustrations, so we’re all kinds of relieved to be shutting the door on another troublesome 12 months once and for all.
The good thing about starting a new year is the hope that comes with looking ahead to 2022 – and with that comes a host of new talent who are being tipped for big things.
Here are the musicians, actors and other stars-in-the-making we’re predicting big things from in the year ahead...
At a time when it’s arguably never been tougher to break a new act, the brilliantly-named PinkPantheress enjoyed huge success during the 2021 winter lockdown when several of her songs went viral on TikTok, leading Parlophone to snap her up and several of her tracks charting within the top 40 here in the UK.
Pink Pantheress’ first mixtape To Hell With It – which, we should point out, was largely self-produced – also went down a storm and enjoyed chart success in autumn 2021, bagging her a Brit Award nomination and a spot on the BBC’s Sound Of 2022 shortlist. In other words, get ready to hear a lot more of her distinctive voice in the year ahead.
The chances are you’ve already seen Omari Douglas in action as the scene-stealing Roscoe in It’s A Sin. After serving up both drama and laughs as Roscoe in one of 2021’s biggest TV stand-outs, he’s been consistently in demand, and has chosen his next projects wisely.
First, he was seen treading the boards alongside Russell Tovey in the two-hander Constellations, and is currently sharing the stage with Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne every night in the critically-lauded West End revival of Cabaret.
In 2022, Omari will be hitting the big screen in the Brian Epstein biopic Midas Man – adding even more strings to his already-impressive bow.
Bridgerton was undoubtedly one of 2021’s most talked-about shows, and with a new series set to debut in the next few months, Simone Ashley will be joining the cast as a new love interest for Jonathan Bailey’s character, Anthony Bridgerton. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it, right?
Simone is already among the supporting cast of another of Netflix’s biggest hits of recent years, Sex Education, where she plays Olivia, one of the “untouchables”. However, given what Bridgerton has done for the profiles of both Regé Jean-Page and Phoebe Dynevor in the last 12 months, it’s fair to say that being part of the period drama’s next big romance means her star is very much on the rise right now.
Originally from West London, rapper Central Cee is another of the past year’s biggest success stories. After his self-released songs became minor chart hits towards the tale end of 2020, he followed them up with his first top 10 Commitment Issues and the release of his first mixtape, Wild West, which reached number two.
Since then, he’s enjoyed his biggest hit to date with Obsessed With You (taken from his upcoming 23 mixtape, which drops in the first quarter of 2022) and became one of the year’s most nominated acts at the Brits, scooping three nods in total. Not bad for an artist yet to release his debut album, right?
It’s entirely likely you’ve heard Lola Young’s voice already, even without realising it. She ended 2021 on a real high when she landed the coveted spot of soundtracking the annual John Lewis’ Christmas advert, and subsequently appeared on the BBC’s Sound Of 2022 list and bagged a Brit nomination in their Rising Star category.
A former attendee of the Brit school, Lola has been writing songs since she was a teenager, and after being discovered by the team who made stars of Adele and Amy Winehouse, and has had early support from Annie Mac, Clara Amfo, Jools Holland, James Corden and music producer Paul Epworth, with whom she worked on new material throughout the pandemic.
Since signing to Interscope (the home of recent success stories like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, as well as Lana Del Rey, Eminem and Lady Gaga), California-born Jawny has become known among his listeners for his genre-hopping abilities and his low-fi, often psychedelic approach to making music which usually features his signature sense of humour.
Fans of pop artists like Harry Styles, Kesha and Miley Cyrus’ more experimental material should definitely check out Jawny’s latest EP The Story Of Hugo, which has been compared to everyone from Beck to The Flaming Lips, and earned him recognition from Vevo in their annual DSCVR list.
A big name in the dance world thanks to her appearance in NERD and Rihanna’s Lemon music video (oooh!) and the films Hustlers (ahhhh!) and Cats (hmmm…), Mette caught the attention of taste-makers online when she released her debut single Petrified and its self-directed music video early in 2021.
Now already beyond a triple threat, Mette looks like she’s been teasing new music on Instagram in recent times, and whatever she does end up trying her hand at in 2022, it’s a fair bet it’ll be worth paying attention to.
After impressing us with his performance in the charming teen indie film Dramarama in 2021, it soon became apparent that we weren’t the only ones Nico Greetham caught the eye of in the last year.
The actor and dancer first cropped up in a new episode of Ryan Murphy’s spin-off anthology series American Horror Stories, before joining the main cast of Death Valley, the latest instalment of the main show.
It’s not known exactly what Ryan Murphy has planned for 2021, but given how often he likes to keep the same actors across his various projects, we can probably assume that Nico may well be cropping up again in the Murphy-verse in the not-too-distant future.
Singer-songwriter Marzz has been steadily gaining momentum in 2021 with her Love Letterz EP, which mixes traditional R&B with a more modern sound.
Having initially discovered her love of music in church choir as a child, Marzz says it’s coming out in high school that gave her the confidence to pursue music as a career, eventually gaining support and mentorship from none other than Timbaland, who discovered her on Instagram and has produced and co-written some of her most popular tracks.
Marzz is an artist who’s very much still on the come-up but clearly has bright things in her future.
After appearing in Blue Story and the Sky drama Gangs Of London, Jordan Peters landed his most prominent role date last year, when he appeared as one of the leads in Reggie Yates’ big-screen comedy Pirates about three best friends hoping to see in the millennium in style.
He’ll next be in action in the BBC adaptation of the Dolly Alderton book Everything I Know About Love, which could very well be 2022’s answer to Normal People.
Many of us first discovered comedian Meg Stalter during lockdown, where her cringe-inducing characters helped brighten up a social media timeline that was otherwise decidedly low on laughs with improvised scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in the likes of The Comeback or The Office.
In the past year, she’s levelled up once again, landing a break-out role in the sitcom Hacks, a cameo in Kacey Musgraves’ Star-Crossed short film as another of her awkward creations and sold out a string of shows at London’s Soho Theatre. When she inevitably returns in 2022 – run, don’t walk, to get tickets.
Anyone who was already familiar with AJ Odudu’s presenting work will have known she would have no difficulty winning over Strictly Come Dancing viewers with her personality and sense of humour – and ended up charming pretty much everyone. You need only look at the post-Strictly careers of Stacey Dooley, Joe Sugg or Ore Oduba to know the show can really open doors for its finalists, we can definitely assume that AJ will have a deluge of TV offers in 2022.