Upon entering the new year and a new decade, it’s time to discover new music full of refreshing sounds, risks and unique genre collaboration. Here are 10 up-and-coming artists worth giving a listen to this year.
Once a comedy Viner, Christian Leave creates music that encompasses the essence of remarkable low-production, do-it-yourself music. All songs, which are written and recorded in his bedroom, give listeners an emotionally charged glimpse into his life, covering topics from love and heartbreak to loneliness and self-searching in the most versatile ways. His soothing acoustic guitar chords mesh perfectly with playful synth beats and enticing chords on the keys, delivering a unique sound outside of any typical genre.
Since the release of his first EP, “Trilogy,” in 2018, Leave has released two singles, “Milksop” and “Darling,” in 2019, racking up over 1 million monthly listeners and over 50 million streams on Spotify. Leave may excite fans with a tweeted promise for new music in 2020.
Dominic Fike first took over the underground music scene after boyband BROCKHAMPTON released a YouTube video, “This is Dominic Fike.” It featured Fike with his infectious song, “3 Nights,” which now has over 338 million streams on Spotify. Fike’s ability to create sensational music through juxtaposing his singing and rapping with his laid-back, sometimes acoustic and sometimes rock-influenced sounds is what makes his music so irresistible.
2020 is the year to look out for Fike because not only is he set to release his debut album this year, but the New Musical Express awards nominated him for “Best New Act in the World.”
Los Angeles based duo BETWEEN FRIENDS, made up of siblings Savannah and Brandon Hudson, creates nothing less than indie-pop perfection. The two write songs of young love and lust led by Savannah’s angelic, yet seductive, vocals. Their refreshing sound is beautifully transformed into youthful visuals of summertime sadness and winters spent intoxicated. The music videos parallel their free-spirited music with experimental shaky camera shots and use of neon and rich-colored light projections.
Although it hasn’t released music since its EP, “we just need some time together,” in 2018, the duo has assured fans in an Instagram post that new tracks are to come.
Sudan Archives (Brittney Parks) is an L.A. based artist who combines hip-hop beats, R&B soul and vibrant violin playing to create her uncommon signature sound. Her 2019 album, “Athena,” exhibits a combination of her gorgeous voice projecting confidently in the most effortless way and her experimental violin playing with the help of a loop pedal.
Just this month, Sudan Archives announced her Athena World Tour, which is set to stop in 15 cities across North America, and just days later, she released a studio session of “Iceland Moss” with Colors Studios. Only one month into 2020, Sudan Archives is having the best year yet.
Rapper and singer Yung Gravy (Matthew Raymond Hauri) pushes the boundaries of rap by combining genres of hip-hop, opera, jazz, funk and soul underneath hilarious lyrics. By no means is it easy to take Yung Gravy seriously with his idiotic rhymes and vulgar song titles; However, the comedic genius proves that music can still be impressive even with ridiculous lyrics.
2020 is already a huge year for Yung Gravy, as he just released his single, “Welcome to Chilis” featuring bbno$, on Jan. 17 and is preparing to go on tour with Dillon Francis in March.
Los Angeles native Christian Songco, who goes by the alias “Kudasai,” is the mastermind behind Kudasaibeats. With over 11 million streams on Spotify, Kudasaibeats is considered an artist of the new age genre, lo-fi hip-hop, in which he incorporates sounds from hip-hop and jazz with a strong focus on a dreamy, instrumental and atmospheric sound.
Kudasaibeats released his fourth album, “Mirror Images,” in 2019 and is set to release a lo-fi hip-hop collaboration project with record label UC Records on Jan. 31.
SEBASTIAN PAUL, based between L.A. and Colorado, is an innovative singer and songwriter who self-produces music, combining aspects from hip-hop and pop with heavy synth beats similar to those in the electronic dance music genre. His wistful lyrics yearning for adolescence and the reality of growing up may make one’s heart ache with nostalgia.
PAUL completed his first tour in November 2019 as he opened up for one of the biggest DJ duos today, Louis the Child, and was granted the opportunity to play at this year’s Electric Forest music festival in June.
Versatile artist Verzache continuously proves the breadth of his talents: He sings and raps over a combination of pop, hip-hop and acoustic beats, some of which have a similar vibe to Post Malone’s easy-going and effortless sound. However, Verzache isn’t limited to that sound, as he has also created an album of EDM and pop songs, many of them completely devoid of vocals.
Verzache recently finished opening on tour with ROLE MODEL back in December and is expected to perform new music at Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in March.
Female rapper Doja Cat, born and raised in L.A., is known for her catchy lyrics and shameless mentality. Her songs are fun and carefree, driven with confidence as she sings and raps about love, sex, troubled life and being a strong woman. With inspirations from Nicki Minaj and Erykah Badu, Doja Cat delivers magical music combining hip-hop, rap, R&B and pop genres.
Austin, Texas, based Dayglow is the one-man-band of 20-year-old Sloan Struble. His first and only release so far—an album called “Fuzzybrain,”— exploded, accumulating over 33 million streams on Spotify. “Fuzzybrain” is overwhelmingly successful because every single song is individually fantastic. Each track meshes well together to capture a completely cohesive feel. The indie bedroom pop artist sings of life, love and individuality through up-beat tracks led by rich guitar chords.
Although “Fuzzybrain” was released in November 2019, Dayglow is bound to continue to rise as his debut tour beginning in March is almost entirely sold out.
Contact Diana DeVincent at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.