Editor's Choice: 10 Recommended Debut Albums Released In 2022
By Stevie Connor.
2022 has seen some amazing debut releases, below you'll find a selection of artists I'd never heard of until this year, and who have caught my ear. I hope you enjoy my selection, and please check out their websites. We have written about them here in The Sound Cafe over the course of the last year, just type their name into the search line on our Articles & Reviews page.
Be sure also to check out my 25 album recommendations for 2022 HERE
Aspen Jacobsen: Arsonist Daughter
'Arsonist Daughter’ is the debut full-length album of Aspen Jacobsen, one of America’s most promising young singer-songwriters.
Recognized as one of the top vocalists in the USA by the Young Arts Foundation earlier this year, listeners are surprised by 18-year-old Aspen’s empathic and thought-provoking lyrics and her flair for time-honoured roots music. She tells stories like a country artist and speaks her mind like a folk musician with personal and progressive original songs that are reminiscent of artists like Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco and Anais Mitchell.
Jamie Fine: eight gardengate
Canadian singer-songwriter Jamie Fine has released her debut solo EP, 'eight gardengate'. She reached platinum heights in the duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, scoring a series of smashes in Canada. 2020 saw her step out solo and craft a signature style of her own. She has re-introduced herself on a series of singles and her debut EP, eight gardengate.
Sons Of The East: Palomar Parade
Starting out with "just a handful of songs and a great live show”, the band have gained a reputation for their stellar live performances, accruing a dedicated and truly global fanbase through multiple sold out tours reaching all corners of the world.
Drawing on classic folk and country blues influences including Bob Dylan, The Band, Neil Young and British heroes The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, the band’s motley acoustic-electric sound has become a unique and charismatic trademark: soulful, joyous and irresistible.
Mica Millar: Heaven Knows
UK soul artist Mica Millar releases her anticipated debut album ‘Heaven Knows’ – a stunning collection of modern soul songs showcasing a confident new artist who’s not only found her own voice but one that has put all of life's challenges and triumphs into her art.
Exploring themes of human nature, hope, spirituality, love, oppression, inequality and empowerment, ‘Heaven Knows’ draws inspiration from a plethora of vintage soundscapes, most notably soul, blues, gospel and jazz. Respectful nods are paid to girl groups of the 60's and 70's and Motown giving the album a timeless quality that is both reassuringly familiar yet distinctively Mica Millar.
Jonah Kagen: Georgia Got Colder
22-year-old Jonah Kagen grew up in Savannah, Georgia and took up guitar at the age of six, diving deep into the instrument’s technical aspects after his jazz musician grandfather showed him performance videos. He further found inspiration in the music of guitarist Andy McKee, whose finger-style technique lit a creative fire within.
‘Georgia Got Colder’ includes past releases like “Barcelona,” “Hill That I’ll Die On” and “Graveyard Shift,” as well as his hit debut single, “Broken,” which has amassed over 42 million streams to date.
Tina Jordan Rees: Beatha
Beatha is the debut flute and whistle album from talented multi-instrumentalist Tina Jordan Rees. The energy-filled record, released on Friday 24 June 2022, celebrates life and the small moments of joy experienced in the everyday.
Beatha is a lively and fun record that is the culmination of Tina’s years of composing tunes whilst living in Ireland and Scotland. She draws inspiration from many places, including her time spent studying Irish Music and Dance in Limerick, the vibrant Glasgow music scene and the Irish dance music tradition.
Kelley Smith: Moon Child
Her debut album, Moon Child, was released on Nov. 14, 2022. The album comes across as a mid-life coming-of-age story. As an insomniac, Smith wrote this first batch of songs by moonlight. Moon Child evokes a sense of belonging, juxtaposed with escapism, as Smith croons about long-term love, grief, and her draw to the night sky.
In addition to her original work, Smith is an American folk music enthusiast. Her fans appreciate how she modernizes traditional tunes [learned from artists like Elizabeth Cotten and The Carter Family] and makes them relevant and relatable while preserving their histories and genre.
With two songs released over the summer serving as a thrilling preview, Aysanabee’s Watin is an emphatic artistic statement, more than the sum of its individually powerful parts. Watin is a whole, a highly personal concept album that tells its story as overlapping chapters, with two important narrators.
The album opens with one of nine Interludes, which place the voice of Aysanabee’s grandfather, album namesake Watin, in intimate conversation with the songs that surround the precious audio recordings. These Interludes ground and magnify the themes of the collection, where the small details that punctuate Watin’s childhood memories are the sparks that kindle each song’s blaze.
Lodestar Trio: Bach To Folk
The starting point for many creative partnerships often comes from a chance encounter that ignites a spark. Sometimes this spark might be bright but fleeting, like a shooting star. Other times the spark grows into something radiant and long lasting.
Lodestar Trio possess many traits that signify this is the beginning of a fresh, exciting and enduring collaboration. The three luminaries involved – Max Baillie, Olav Luksengård Mjelva and Erik Rydvall – are individually all highly sought-after musicians from seemingly different worlds but who share a common desire to explore and seek new challenges.
Tate McRae: i used to think i could fly
The budding star has already taken this year by storm with the release of her highly anticipated debut album, i used to think i could fly which landed at #1 on Spotify’s Global Top Albums Debut Chart, charted in the top 10 in multiple countries upon release and has garnered over 895 million streams to date. Featuring two RIAA certified Gold tracks “feel like shit” and “she’s all i wanna be,” the album showcases Tate at the top of her game with all-star writing collaborators and producers including Greg Kurstin, Finneas, Charlie Puth, Alexander 23, Blake Slatkin, Louis Bell and more.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Stevie Connor has been moving in music circles since he could walk and has played all over the world.
He moved to Canada in 2009 and gave up a musical career, he formed a company with his wife and commenced putting on shows in soft seater venues which saw them being nominated for a national cultural award. Ten years ago Blues & Roots Radio was formed, winning four business awards in five years, and he found himself working with amazing artists and contributing to national music awards panels.
He is a selfless supporter of artists in Canada and around the world in various ways, through his radio show, his internet radio station, PR company, website design, and most recently through his online music magazine, The Sound Cafe. He is also writing a book about his journey in music, which he is hoping will be finished by the end of 2023.