Whether you’re an avid music fan or not, there’s no denying that it is an extremely powerful tool in terms of escapism, playing with emotions – or simply having a good time.
However, there are still incredibly talented artists who remain under the radar yet still make arguably better material than your regular band or pop-star.
SAKIMA (for fans of: Sigrid/Zak Abel/Kiiara)
From London, rising star SAKIMA brings LGBTQ+ themes into his music. Fusing pop, rnb and electronica, he aims to bring a better representation of the gay community into the mainstream with modern and honest accounts of what it is like to be a gay man in the 21st century.
With only 2 EP’s in his discography, he has already collected just under a million total Spotify streams.
Personal pick: ‘Happy Hr’ from his first EP ‘Facsimile’ – Produced by himself, is a nostalgic account of youth and feeling free. He sings “We’re all falling for the same s**t/Never leave the neighbourhood, how to pass another year”, “Loving is so good, why would I ever leave here?”
Geowulf (for fans of: Beach House/Fleetwood Mac)
Childhood friends Toma and Star pair up to form a dream-pop lovers fantasy. Originally from London, the duo have now settled and signed with a London based label to start focusing on future projects.
The duo habe released five singles to date; Saltwater, Don’t Talk About You, Won’t Look Back, Get You and Drink Too Much. Judging by the quality of these five tracks alone, a future album is definitely one to look out for.
Personal pick: ‘Won’t Look Back’ from their EP ‘Relapse’ – This song effortlessly captures feelings of nostalgia with it’s beachy, dream-like vocals fabricating an ethereal atmosphere that will take you on a journey and back.
Princess Nokia (for fans of: Azealia Banks/Cardi B/M.I.A.)
New York City rapper Destiny Nicole Frasqueri wants to unite women of colour through her songwriting, production and independent spirit.
The Harlem native raps about drugs, men, and growing up in the city as a young Puerto Rican woman. Being a LGBTQ woman of colour, she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in and makes this coherent through her politically charged music videos.
After turning down five record deals, she finally released her debut album through Rough Trade Records titled ‘1992 Deluxe’ which received favourable reviews from critics with The Observer calling it “One of the most exciting, assured hip-hop releases of the year.”
Personal pick: ‘Kitana’
SOPHIE (for fans of: hyperkinetic-bubbly-pop)
For most of her career, producer SOPHIE remained anonymous. She used voice pitchers in radio interviews to hide her voice, and hired people to act out her DJ sets for live shows to keep her identity hidden.
It was only until she became known by artists such as Charli XCX and Vince Staples that this anonymity began to dissolve.
Officially released, SOPHIE only holds 11 songs to her discography but this is mainly because the majority of her time is spent producing for other artists – and not to mention the fact most of her material unfortunately remains unreleased.
SOPHIE makes music which is abrasive, experimental and gritting. The idea is to redefine pop music – to push its boundaries even further through sound design and a song structure which, on the surface, seems unstructured but is skilfully thought out.
After the release of her singles compilation ‘PRODUCT’, no solo material was released for two years. In October, she made her first official appearance in the music video for her new single “It’s Okay To Cry”.
In the video, she appears on camera unobscured for the first time, against a backdrop of clouds and stars.
Personal pick: ‘VYZEE’ – An energetic, catchy banger that stands out in the midst of not only SOPHIE’s other work, but bubblegum bass as a whole. It’s weird, smile-inducing, and infectious.
KLLO (for fans of: Joe Hertz/Wafia/SG Lewis)
A collaboration between Melbourne cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam. The duo’s first two EPs received millions of streams, making them a must-have on festival stages around the globe as well as making BBC Radio 1’s “Artist To Watch”.
In October, they released their debut album ‘Backwater’ – an extremely diverse album where R&B, UK garage and 2-step is combined with soft melodies and nonchalant textures to create a laid-back, breezy atmosphere that takes you into another world.
Personal pick: ‘Making Distractions’
Hoops (for fans of: Tame Impala)
Indiana based psychedelic rock group Hoops became a famous topic over music hype blogs in 2015, when their first mixtape seemingly appeared from nowhere. Their lo-fi, 80s college rock sound will make you want to head off on an American road-trip with the roof down and your hands in the air.
Personal pick: ‘Rules’ – a 70s bedroom rock classic that will quite simply make you want to dance.
Ängie (for fans of: Charli XCX/Dua Lipa/Allie X)
Crafting perfectly produced and written pop songs which could quite easily make the Top 40, Swedish pop-star Ängie is not afraid of discussing sexuality and mental health issues through her music.
Personal pick: ‘Spun’ – her third and latest single where production and outstanding melodies join forces to open her into a new and wider demographic making it a track that has the outright potential to be huge on the radio and charts.