The past year has been a hoot and a half. It threw into question, every practice of every industry. In a world where forming human connections became harder, how was an up-and-coming artist supposed to make it big? An already difficult world for the new artists hogging their guitars through a crowded city, 2020 was no picnic. Strategies had to be changed, perspectives rewritten and outlook evolved. But even when the times are trying, a creative mind finds a way.
Music changes its face and sound every few years; old trends come back strong and new talent rises seemingly out of nowhere. New artists, big and small, adapted to the locked-down world in their own ways. Think Taylor Swift putting out two albums that became her career highlights when she learned she couldn’t play live shows. Think Dave Matthews singing “Will it be the same again? When you’ve been turned inside out and outside in?”
Read about RED by Taylor Swift here
The mind relates to whatever it relates to. It does not ask the sales record of a song, or its chart position, or the time in which it was made. Music is what gives solace to a troubled mind, it’s what keeps us company during a hell ride. Never has this been truer than it is today. Unforgettable art is born in an unforgettable time, and any music that touches our hearts during this time is probably going to stay with us forever.
New artists emerged from the glades. Some upped their game and reached new artistic peaks. Here are my top seven picks of musical acts that you should check out before going to bed today.
1. Matt Jaffe
Pop-rock exemplar of heartfelt songwriting
Who should check them out: Fans of Tom Petty and Kate Bush will like what they’ll be hearing
Why listen to them: Jaffe approaches his music realistically. His songwriting process is what he calls “hunting/gathering” of creativity and storytelling. One can hear the growth in his sound and maturity in his lyrics as one journeys through his building catalog. From a homegrown, live band production to the dulcet, melodic strings… Jaffe is one of the rare ones focusing on what he sings and how he sings it. His voice flows beautifully between multiple sounds, being indie pop and smooth rock. You will definitely find something you like once you go down this rabbit hole.
What you should listen to: Shape of Fear, Voodoo Doll, Fever, Something In Your Eyes
Listen to Matte Jaffe on Spotify
2. Girl In Red
Bedroom pop phenomenon with a guitar, a pen, and readiness to take on the world
Who should check them out: Fans of Taylor Swift and Conan Gray will connect with her music
Why listen to them: She is honest and blunt with her music, as she lays it down as it is. There’s a sense of brutality in the midst of honesty. She doesn’t assign blame and wash off her hands, but takes responsibility in her artistic maturity. Themes of unrequited love, stigmatized homosexual relationships, struggles of mental health, and expression of one’s sexuality run throughout her short yet impressive musical portfolio. She draws inspiration from what she sees: a movie, a story, or a show. Her confessional songwriting and her way with words will surely move you.
What you should listen to: i wanna be your girlfriend, serotonin, we fell in love in october, you stupid bitch
Listen to girl in red on Spotify
3. Cj Pandit
More than just a musical artist, an artist in every sense of the word
Who should check them out: Fans of Leonard Cohen and Bon Iver will add him to their playlists
Why listen to them: His music blurs the lines between 80s classic art-pop and modern contemporary sound, with a falsetto that cuts through your body, right to your soul. At least three movies from the 80s can include his catalog in their soundtrack, and they fit in perfectly with the then.. and the now. He is a prolific songwriter and a gifted instrumentalist. In his work, there is a sense of ambiguity, ethnic and sonic, that leaves the listener wanting for more. His art is bathed in beautiful metaphors, catchy sounds, and treats for the ears, and the eyes.
What you should listen to: Karelu, New York Time, Digital Love, Talk Talk Talk, Just Before You Disappear
Listen to Cj Pandit on Spotify
4. Tom The Mail Man
Deep and diverse multi-dimensional hip-hop, pop ace
Who should check them out: Fans of Childish Gambino and Post Malone will find his songs added to their playlists by the time they’re done breezing through
Why listen to them: He puts out music like a machine, but the speed is where the mechanical comparisons stop. Quality is, and should, be valued over quantity, but he seems to be excelling in both departments. Unlike most new artists, Sean Brown, aka Tom The Mail Man, does not confine his art to limited space. He is a rapper, and he is a singer. An ever-growing catalog of infectious melodies and verses that get you hooked, the music is likely to gain widespread recognition very soon. He carries himself boldly and confidently in his work and life. The sound is diverse and the songwriting, immersive.
What you should listen to: Curse3DGirls, My Storm, No Convos, Traveling Alone, Forever
Listen to Tom The Mail Man on Spotify
5. Lucy Deakin
A new wave of catchy pop-infused with relatable lyrics
Who should check them out: Fans of Miley Cyrus and Troye Sivan need to look her up ASAP.
Why listen to them: Pop that pops, that’s how her music can be best described. She is different from her contemporaries, in song and songwriting. Honest, casual, and no fucks given. Miley Cyrus, her idol and inspiration, has already proclaimed herself a fan of Deakin.. so that’s a major incentive to check out this pick of new artists.
What should you listen to: Acting like you’re famous, I Don’t Wanna Be Her, won’t stop talking, bad in love
Listen to Lucy Deakin on Spotify
6. Dylan Fraser
Raw, blunt, unapologetic, and real amongst the new artists
Who should check them out: Fans of Phoebe Bridgers and Lorde will resonate with what they hear.
Why listen to them: There is something about the way the songs hit the ears, as one is intrigued to listen more and more. He lays it down as it is, no sugar coating candies in store here. The work is artsy and witty, as he sings about being confident and not caring much about the running mouths outside. He is comfortable in his skin, which is why he approaches music free of boundaries. Boxing any two songs in the same genre would be a mistake. The “I don’t care, fuck it” attitude is felt throughout the experience, and isn’t that just what we can ALL relate to…
What should you listen to: Vipers, Face Tattoo, Gucci Sweater, The Storm, I’d Rather Be Here
Listen to Dylan Fraser on Spotify
Genre-defying, TikTok’s viral melting pot of rap, soul, and folk
Who should check them out: Fans of SZA, Frank Ocean, and Solange will appreciate her sound
Why listen to them: Her songwriting is empowering and inspiring. She exudes self-confidence and pride in her art, through the lyrics, the sound, and the visuals. Maturity and self-awareness run through her work, whether she is talking about racial issues or promoting self-love. Her musical approach is careful, yet one that doesn’t fit into one definition. She breaks free of any limitations, making anthems that can very well make a crowd of thousands chant in unison.
What should you listen to: Deep End Freestyle, single af, my slime, candy grapes
Listen to Fousheé on Spotify
Comment below if you have any recommendations for new artists!
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