Bieber 2.0? Four musicians to watch in 2016

The weekly Next Big Thing column highlights what's bubbling under the surface in entertainment with a look at rising stars in the world of music, as well as standout TV shows, movies and web series that would be a shame to overlook.

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This week, we look at four music artists who could make a big impact this year:

Tory Lanez

Already staking a claim on the U.S. Billboard charts is the multifaceted rapper, producer and fashion designer who grew up in the outskirts of Toronto, in Brampton, Ont., and built his reputation on a series of mixtapes shared widely online.

But his latest single "Say It" is pushing him to another level.

The track, which samples the mid-1990s hit "If You Love Me" from R&B trio Brownstone, has climbed as high as No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the latest Canadian to join the elite list of Canucks invading the upper echelons of U.S. charts.

Lanez closed out 2015 by dropping two surprise mixtapes on his Facebook page, with the expectation he'll release his first official album this year.

Troye Sivan

To many YouTube viewers, he's already famous.

The 20-year-old Australian has been performing songs on the video service since 2007, amassing 3.8 million followers in the process, but his debut album "Blue Neighbourhood" has elevated him to the next level.

Over the past month, "Blue Neighbourhood" was picked as the Associated Press best album of 2015 and landed on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in Australia.

Next month, Sivan will kick off his North American tour in Vancouver and tickets are already sold out for all of the Canadian stops.

Check out his track "Talk Me Down," a sombre ballad that meshes Sivan's soft vocals with the power of a soaring orchestra.

Fleur East

Since storming the U.K. charts in December -- rising to No. 3 with her pop-funk single "Sax" -- the Londoner's popularity has shown no signs of slowing down.

"Sax" also raced to the top of the Spotify Viral 50 in Canada and went Top 5 in the United States in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The sassy performer has a torrid history with Simon Cowell's "The X Factor," which rejected her girl group Addictiv Ladies during the first week of the competition in 2005.

After toiling away at a solo career for the better part of a decade, Fleur East returned to the show in 2014 with a ferocious performance of the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars track "Uptown Funk." It became a top-selling track on iTunes and helped her grab the runner-up position in the finals.

Lukas Graham

The Danish singer's track "7 Years" has the potential to become one of 2016's biggest slowburners.

The song is told from Graham's perspective as he contemplates the stages of growing up and the ever-changing perspectives of a man moving through life.

It has already topped the charts in Graham's native country and is starting to gain traction in other parts of Europe. He also performed the track on the "Conan" show last month.



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