Music festivals, Vegas residencies and tours have been cancelled in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only did it hurt the wallets of the music industry, artists like Lady Gaga have been hesitant to push out their upcoming new releases, too. (Except for Dua Lipa, whose timely release of Future Nostalgia cemented her as the Queen of Quarantunes.) As much as we love to play our favourite songs on repeat, we get a little stir crazy if we have to drive ourselves to listen to the same thing long after we’re sick of it.
With staying at home to work or catch up on online classes, now’s the perfect time to dig under the deep pockets of Spotify. Here are our top 10 under-the-radar artists who you need to add to your Spotify playlist ASAP:
At 25 years young, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has one album (11:11), more than a million streams on a few songs on Spotify, 110K Instagram followers and strutted on red carpets. Another notch on her belt is being featured on Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It.
Tunes about female empowerment (“In Women We Trust”), love (“Continuum”), breakup (“Boys Like You”) are set up against a background of melancholic R&B and an ethereal, yet strong voice albeit with a futuristic feel. Compared to her peers, Tanerélle doesn’t share much about her personal life on Instagram, which makes us long for the bygone days of mystery in the age of oversharing. Out of the songs we like, our top pick is “Continuum”.
If you like Solange, then Tanerélle’s the girl for you.
You saw her hang out with Kaia Gerber, frolicking in bikinis on Instagram. You’ve heard her voice on Birds of Prey belting “Joke’s On You” at cinemas. Now, go to the Notes app and type this in: Charlotte Lawrence. The blue-haired 19-year-old Angeleno may be best known for “Just The Same”, but her new song “Navy Blue” has also caught our ears, too.
As a happy balance between bouncing beats, an angelic voice and heart wrenching lyrics, Lawrence reminds us of another fellow L.A. native: Billie Eilish. Schedule that Zoom birthday party and stream every single bop with your friends as you celebrate safe distancing in style.
Formerly based in Williamsburg, the Oklahoma-born singer/songwriter relocated to the sunny shores of L.A. The heavily tatted blue-haired siren has three EPs, more than 26 million streams on Spotify (for her top 10 songs) and as of now, she’ll be dropping “Hands Off”, a new single on April 17th.
Fiercely independent and unsigned, the mononymed singer is also refreshingly candid on Instagram, where she documents her journey on dealing with sobriety and mental health. Drawing her personal life into her songs, every track feels unflinchingly raw. Although a remix of “No One” is one of her most streamed songs, we dig “R.I.F.P.”, a danceable emo track.
If you like My Chemical Romance and Halsey, Mothica is the poster child of contemporary emo.
You heard his deep booming voice on Drake’s “Nice for What” and Beyoncé’s “Formation”. You also heard him on Diplo and DJ Snake’s “Drop”. Behind the voice is a flamboyant, colourful and bold personality, who at 42 has cemented his name to stardom. As a drag queen, Freedia’s been making a splash by raising hell with Kesha (“Raising Hell” and “Chasing Rainbows”), duetted with Lizzo (“Karaoke”) and chanted with RuPaul (“Peanut Butter”).
Recently, Freedia released her EP Louder last month, which features the “Tik ToK” hitmaker and Icona Pop. Go sissy that walk with your friends when you’re throwing a virtual birthday party at Zoom.
Don’t be fooled by her Instagram. Outside of the beach shots, yoga videos and cute selfies with her dog Layla, Tan mainly spends her time penning songs. Blessed with a voice like Taylor Swift and shredding guitar-driven beats like Mac DeMarco, Tan pores over her feelings over relationships on “Stay” to “Any Picture of You”, which is about a long distance boyfriend.
Apart from a self-titled album, she recently released “That Thing” with our homegrown icon Lincey earlier this year. Whenever you’re casually strolling at Botanic Gardens or having coffee-fueled sessions when working at home, Tan is the chill pill we never knew we needed. Watch this space for the LASALLE alum to break Spotify streams soon.
If Jayne Mansfield, Sophia Loren and Amy Winehouse have a love child, it’d be the leggy NYC-based bleached blonde and blue-eyed chanteuse. (As of now, she’s currently quarantining herself in Canada.) Say what you want about her famous last name, but it doesn’t stop us from falling in love with Vreeland’s debut album Notes on Sex and Wine. Inspired by her roller coaster romances and drinking, each song feels like an intimate acoustic set your friends sing to you at a house party (during the pre-quarantine days). Almost as if hearing Charles Bukowski read his poems live with a beer in hand.
The standout tracks from her debut are “Drinking For 2”, “Stay Drunk With Me” and “Skin Contact”. As the Fiona Apple of our generation, Vreeland is bringing back the blues. Best to play her entire album during a FaceTime dinner date with a big plate of pasta and red wine.
Breaker of TikToks, Queen of Hot Pink and Slayer of Bars, up-and-coming singer/rapper Doja Cat is the breakout artist of 2020. Armed with two albums (Amala and Hot Pink) and an EP (Purrr!) tucked under her belt, the L.A. native’s no overnight sensation as she originally released her music on Soundcloud in 2013. Although “Say So” already broke the video-sharing app with a lot of viral challenges, she has equally danceable tunes such as “Juicy”.
Let’s not forget that she’s already being featured in the Birds of Prey soundtrack alongside Charlotte Lawrence. (Seriously, we wish our college diplomas took us to that level of success!) At 24, Doja’s ascent as the Nicki Minaj of the 2020s is just starting.
More than a handful of you might’ve heard her voice in League of Legends; however, she’s been making moves in the music industry as the next Gwen Stefani. With three festivals – Reading, Leeds and Lollapalooza – under her belt, it’s a sign that the L.A.-based singer’s got game. While her earlier songs (“September Rose”) are more mellow, she’s elevated her game with a new wave influence on her debut EP House With A Pool subsequently followed by The Drama, which was recently released this year.
Surprisingly, “You Touch Me, I Touch You Back” has gained viral fame from being featured in a quarantine-themed playlist; however, her other songs (“Declaration” and “Assume”) are contagiously infectious to our ears, too (pun intended). In spite of starting off her career as a model, Russo hasn’t completely abandoned her roots by modeling her own merch. As much as we love her music, Russo’s style also stole our hearts, too.
As the Bruno Mars of this little red dot, Fernandez’s velvety smooth voices takes us back to the golden era of Frank Sinatra, mid-2010s Mars and Future Sex era Justin Timberlake. If you have heard of him before, he’s collaborated with Benjamin Kheng and Gentle Bones.
With songs focusing on different types of love, Fernandez is the soundtrack for your self-love (“Be Cool”), second chances at love (“Let You Down”) and being in love with your S.O. (“Bit of Your Love”) without resorting to tried and true clichés. Trust us, you’d want to play his bops rain or shine.
If you loved Odd Future, BROCKHAMPTON has filled the void of where the former left off. Despite its rise in 2019, the L.A.-based group had modest origins in San Marcos, Texas in 2010. Famed for their bouncy beats, all caps song titles, LGBT-friendly themes and a range of voices that go from a falsetto to a Big Sean flow, the collective has won the hearts of BBC, Rolling Stone and luxury retailer SSENSE. Even Dua Lipa collaborated with them to do a remix of their smash hit “Sugar”. Besides, the 14-man group also has dope tracks from “Bleach” and “No Halo”.
As an up-and-coming rock band, the quartet’s seemingly overnight rise happened from a Netflix documentary. However, they weren’t created in a haste. Created by Charli XCX, the half-British half-American band consisted of young talent plucked from her to assemble a group. Armed with Joan Jett-esque shag cuts to Manic Panic cotton candy pink waves, the girls are all about living life to its fullest.
Whether you want to feel confident (“Win”), get a ‘lil naughty (“Music With Your Dad”) or celebrate being single (“Fuck Modern Love”), it’s all done in the name of fun. If you like No Doubt, Nasty Cherry is bound to make some rounds in heavy rotation.