Sounds Like: Guttural dirges over a Nineties sci-fi film score
For Fans of: Florence + the Machine, Banks, PJ Harvey
Why You Should Pay Attention: The 24-year-old born Sarah McLaughlin hit the Top 10 of the rock and alternative charts this year with her passionate, fiery single "River." McLaughlin moved from London to Tokyo to Hong Kong all before she became a teenager. While in Tokyo, the culture and art of karaoke drew out her love for singing, and watching her dad sing Frank Sinatra inspired her to tackle big voices like Whitney Houston on her own. At home, she'd write and perform "very depressing, dark poetry" for her parents and sister, harnessing her songwriting talent for years until she relocated to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue a career in music full-time, which proved to be a more difficult journey than she anticipated. "It was definitely a difficult time in my life, but I'm so glad I did it." The struggle paid off: She recently toured with Coldplay and is prepping her debut album for an early 2017 release on Island Records.
She Says: Over the course of her nine-day trek with Coldplay, Bishop Briggs had the chance to hang with the band and even get a little advice from Chris Martin. "It was the last date [at Levi Stadium], and Chris came backstage and just sat with us for a moment," she recalls of their meeting. "I voiced to him that I was genuinely sad about leaving and he told me, 'It's okay. You don't want to be an opener forever.' It was ironic to have someone who really paved the way for alternative music tell me 'Do more! Aim higher!' when I'm like, 'But I'm here with you, Chris! I don't want to leave your side!'"
Hear for Yourself: The moody, synth-heavy "Be Your Love," shows that the soulful rocker has pop potential. Brittany Spanos