If you read “2017” part one and two then you will already be familiar with some of these artists. Since this is an “Artists to Watch” list rather than me just exposing you to underground/independent artists, I will be listing artists that you may have heard of although they have yet to attain mainstream success. It’s Friday which means that I’ve already posted artists based in America (part i) and international (part ii) separately. To make it easier for both you and I, this list will include musicians from all over the world. Of course I will let it be known where they are from/based, and any other information I feel is useful.
If you have any recommendations, feel free to comment at bottom of page), send me an email, or whatever you feel is necessary. AGAIN, this list is based off of personal opinion so please don’t give me a paragraph about why you do not believe an artist will make it or anything along those lines because within the first three words I will stop reading.
In order for you to enjoy and get the most from this website you honestly have to be really open minded to the music I share. If you are looking for one specific genre of music or the same type of music to be shared I am sure you can find other sites that fit your personal criteria. But, if you are interested in being exposed to people either in or looking to get into this industry (from all over the world) – I hope that you enjoy and take a listen to the music.
Photographer: Matt Moram
Rina Sawayama (singer/songwriter) – London
Rina is an Japanese-born, English pop singer from London. If you enjoy artists such as Sky Ferreira (think: Everything is Embarrassing), Solange (think: Don’t You Wait) then Rina is the perfect artist.
The first time I heard about Rina, it was for the series “i-D meets” on YouTube a few days before she released her self-titled debut project RINA. In this series, they have a habit of playing the artist’s music in the background and one of the songs that grabbed my attention was Cyber Stockholm Syndrome (Genre: Pop). Besides it being an amazing song, the visuals were just as pleasant – which is ultimately why I ended up looking at of her music videos.
If you listen to her songs: Afterlife (Genre: Synth-pop), Where Are You (Genre: Synth-pop/R&B), even if we go even farther back into her music history Tunnel Vision (Genre: Alt. R&B) – you’ll understand why I cannot categorize an artist such as her. Her voice has the ability to sound perfect over any genre or type of beat and honestly, as a songwriter myself – I was in awe. I personally feel that if more artists made music from the heart and experimented with their sound as much as Rina does, we would be taken back to the nostalgic late 90s-early 2000s era in music (if you were alive during this era then you know what I am talking about).
To listen to Rina’s debut ep RINA click here.
Millic (producer) – South Korea
Millic is a South Korean producer known for his affiliation with Club Eskimo (members include: Dean, Crush, and Miso – all S. Korean acts) as well as his debut album VIDA [supported by lead single: Paradise (Genre: KR&B)]
Before I say anything, I must say that this album is an amazing debut and although not EVERY song is in english, everyone who truly loves music will appreciate this project. When I initially decided to share this album, I was a little hesitant because I was not sure how receptive people would be toward it. I already have the reputation of listening to music that nobody listens to so I didn’t want this to be another thing that got overlooked – especially not with the amount of talent that was showcased on this project.
From the artists that were featured on VIDA, I get the impression that Millic also listens to music that has yet to be accepted by mainstream media. (such as his features: Rejjie Snow, Han, and TA-KU – which I will admit, all artists I had not heard of until this album.)
When I shared songs from the project I was pleasantly surprised to see such the positive reception it got specifically to the song You (ft. TA-KU) (Genre: Pop/R&B). If you don’t listen to any other artist that I recommend in this article, I would suggest that you give Millic a chance because he has music for literally everyone.
Photographer: John Ahn
Satica (singer) – Long Beach, California
If you enjoy artists such as Billie Eilish or are influenced by any indie pop artists, I would strongly suggest that you begin listening to Long Beach native, Satica. With over four years of music released, two projects, and over a 2.9 million streams under her belt, it’s hard to imagine why she hasn’t taken over radio airwaves yet. Listening to her sultry vocals, it is easy to see why her musical inspirations include artists such as Swedish dream-pop artist Lykke Li and American alt. r&b musician Frank Ocean.
Although her songs may be more known than her face, seeing the response she’s received on her latest project Drippin’ (which has garnered over 292,000 streams in total since its release in October) makes me think that she has a busy year ahead of her.
To listen to her latest project Drippin’ click here.
Hayley Kiyoko. (singer/songwriter) – Los Angeles, California
The first time I heard Kiyoko, it was around 2010-2011 when I had come across a group she was in called The Stunners. Honestly, at the time I did like her voice but I gravitated towards one of her band-mates, now known as Tinashe.
When the group broke up in 2011, I followed up on Nashe’s music but I never made it a thing to follow up Hayley’s. If I could go back I wish I would’ve continued listening to them both rather than just focusing on one BUT things came in full circle in late 2017.
I was roaming across YouTube as I tend to do and one of her older songs “Girls Like Girls” (Genre: Pop) (yes, she’s gay – anyways) was in my recommendations. I don’t know if I listened to it at the time but I know that a couple weeks passed and then I noticed her name again, this time for her newly released song called “Feelings” (Genre: Pop/R&B) which is a single from her debut album dropping this year. In an article with Flaunt Magazine Kiyoko explains the meaning of the song saying:
“I wanted to write an anthem celebrating these ‘feelings,’ as opposed to suppressing them like society often makes people do in today’s dating scene. We have feelings, we get involved, and sometimes we can’t control it. After all, we’re human.”
Kiyoko creates music that is relatable, and honest. She dabbles in synth-pop, r&b, indie, and many more genres which means anyone could probably find at least one song in her whole catalogue that they enjoy (even if it’s just a tad).
- Name: Croosh
- Genre: R&B, Indie, Rap
- Similar Artists: Eli Sostre, Don B
- Notable Songs: Ziba, Vibrations, Zeus
- Name: Brandy Haze
- Genre: R&B
- Similar Artists: Chayse, Taliwhoah, Shanell, Candice, Natasha Mosley
- Notable Songs: Conditional
- Name: Abi Ocia
- Genre: R&B, Alternative
- Similar Artists: Lyves, Jones
- Notable Songs: Running
- Name: Janine
- Genre: R&B
- Similar Artists: Jhene Aiko, Sabrina Claudio, Alina Baraz, Sinéad Harnett
- Notable Songs: Hold Me, Never the Right Time
- Name: Lolo Zouai
- Genre: R&B, Alt. Pop
- Similar Artists: Sofi de la Torre, Alyana, Raye
- Notable Songs: High Highs to Low Lows, IDR
And with this we conclude the 2017 series as well as the first week of Arcane. Thank you to all the readers who have emailed me or contacted me through social media complimenting the music that I’ve shared so far.
If you go to our official soundcloud you will notice that there are two playlists. These playlists have music from all artists listed throughout the 2017 series as well as music that has come out during the week of 1/01-1/05.
It is still undecided whether the playlists will be weekly or every other week but since the response this week was so encouraging, I created two (with the help of 2 of my music-oriented friends).
See You All Next Week,