In a landscape where music is created, distributed, and consumed at all-time high rates, here are some of our favorite artists that you should keep an eye on.
Just after the release of his dreamy new EP titled Yellow and Such, rising self-produced artist Gus Dapperton continues to scream natural brilliance. At just 20-years-old, Dapperton started writing music in the eighth grade when he entered a songwriting contest with his friends, and he has been making music ever since. However, the Warwick, New York-based singer song-writer only has a handful of tracks on both Spotify and SoundCloud—four of them being those included on Yellow and Such. Stand-out tracks from the artist include “I’m Just Snacking,” “Moodna, Once with Grace,” and “Miss Glum & the Pursuit of Falling.” Dapperton’s incredible, persuasive voice on these enthralling tracks proves that the quality of work always takes prestige over quantity. In addition to the dreamy mood that Dapperton generates, the 4-song EP touches on the expressive theme of heartache, which continues to resonate with fans as they listen. Along with his passion for producing music, Dapperton shares an interest in world class cinema, which can be seen in the visuals for his most popular song “I’m Just Snacking.” The music video-turned-mini-movie was directed by Matthew Dillion Cohen and incorporates a ‘90s vibe that’ll make you want to dance. While his interest remains in producing and structuring music, Dapperton’s irresistible sound leaves fans waiting for more from the gifted artist.
Fresh off the release of his latest EP, Tidal Graves, Providence rapper Khary shows nothing but raw talent and promise. The young artist shows strong dedication to his craft, releasing projects that are meticulously arranged sonically and lyrically, crafted to perfectly transmit the MC’s message. His 2016 project Intern Aquarium projects the all-too-relatable story of an intelligent, creative individual thrown into a degrading and identity-stripping corporate environment. Tidal Graves, produced by Lege Kale, is Khary’s most thoughtful and lyrically complex release to date, with stand-out tracks “Too Fast” and “Fujiko.”Supported by a superstar group of producers including Swell, Lege Kale, and Mike Irish, Khary’s poetic lyrics and calculated flow sit atop smooth, eclectic beats. Under the care of record label/management company As We Arrive, Khary sits confidently and hungrily in a place of imminent success.
Rex Orange County
Just after the release of Tyler, The Creator’s album Flower Boy, the amount of people streaming Rex Orange County increased significantly, as he is featured in two of the tracks: “Foreword” and “Boredom.” The 19-year-old singer/songwriter, formally known as Alex O’Connor, came from a small town in southeast England just before moving to South London, where he currently resides with his girlfriend—singer Thea. While growing up, friends of O’Connor began to form their own bands- however, O’Connor couldn’t accept just one role within a group. His passion and independence led him on a path to creating his own music. ROC's most recent release is a 10-track album titled Apricot Princess, in which he continually crafts and redefines melody while simultaneously holding a steady theme of adolescent love. His youthful, sweet, and light-hearted tunes will make you want to sink into his music over and over again. While his music in general is highly instrumental, O’Connor doesn’t stick to one genre. Instead, he crosses between pop, indie, jazz, and alternative styles. O’Connor’s stand-out tracks include “Best Friend,” “UNO,” and “Television/So Far So Good.” Be careful listening to Rex Orange County, you might be singing his songs in your head all day.
In a time where music is being produced, distributed, and consumed at the higher rates than ever, we have yet to see a group as innovative and progressive as up-and-coming Los Angeles based collective, Brockhampton. The multi-faceted group consists of 15 members, including writers, producers, and artistic directors. Led by head creative Kevin Abstract, the group never holds back in expression of content and diversity of sound. In 2016, they released their debut album, All-American Trash, which broke through the crowded urban genre by spanning a range of topics, themes, and sounds broader than many other artists. Following the release of a handful of low budget, high caliber music videos, BH released Saturation in June. The album highlights some of their greatest assets: effective lyricism, unique sound, and diverse means of expressing their music. Before the water even settled after the release, they announced (and put out) Saturation II, pushing the boundaries that its predecessor set. Two weeks ago, the collective announced Saturation III, which we can expect to have soon. Their bad-boy reputation does not come from the standard images we are prone to think of- men with sunglasses and leather jackets, driving blacked out cars, surrounded by half-dressed women. They are the bad-boys pioneering a revolution of music and American culture; Brockhampton is telling their story and only their story, for whoever wants to listen. Without regard to any societal or musical expectation, Brockhampton is redefining what it means to truly be an American boy band.
At just twenty-two years old, Toronto native Daniel Caesar is responsible for some of the best music of 2017. Combining elements of R&B and soul with tasteful doses of electronic influence, Caesar is constantly building his own unique sound that is dreamy, light, and intimate. In 2015, he released his debut project, Pilgrim’s Paradise, a compelling EP that showcases his strong and esoteric sense of self. Pilgrims boasts songs that are both personal and worldly, and even includes a dramatic rendition of Kanye West’s “Streetlights.” On August 25th, he released his freshman album, Freudian, that uses gospel, soul, and new age R&B to focus on the themes of relationships and love. The project thus far has received high praise from outlets such as Pitchfork, Vibe, and DJ Booth as an album that will “make you believe in love.” Separate from the music, Caesar has an upcoming partnership with Canadian clothing line, Roots, which has helped boost the careers of other Toronto artists such as Jazz Cartier. Independent from major record labels and relentlessly true to self, Daniel Caesar shows no sign of stopping his endeavor of reaffirming the meanings of love and soul.
At the end of July, rising R&B singer Sabrina Claudio followed up her March 2017 EP, Confidently Lost, with a compelling, pure new single “Belong To You.” Overall, the seven tracks on Confidently Lost radiate alluring vibes through common narratives of adolescent life. Although it sounds as if these experiences belong to Claudio, the 20-year-old admitted that the stories are not personal experiences of her own, but, rather, are experiences of close friends and other people that surround her. Originally from Miami, Claudio recently moved to Los Angeles in order to launch her career as a young creative. However, Miami’s latin influences have found their way into Claudio’s music in many ways. Of all her tracks, “Unravel Me” and “Belong To You”—both produced by herself and STINT—continue to grab the most attention from listeners, perhaps due to the familiar pop and R&B structure of the tracks. Other stand-out tracks on her March 2017 EP include “Orion’s Belt” and “Confidently Lost.” Both scream heartbreak while simultaneously drawing you in with Claudio’s dreamy voice. In two short months, Claudio will join 6LACK on his first headlining tour.
by PJ Walshe & Sabrina Ghantous