This has been an incredible year in music overall, but this year I want to do something a little different. This year I want to give recognition to some of the indie artists I’ve been enjoying. But don’t get me wrong, the mainstream came out in full force; Drake, Beyoncé, Chance The Rapper, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and so many more. However, the up-and-coming artists we’ll be discussing are brand new to the scene. Some were making music out of their apartments or dorm rooms, while some received enough traffic on Soundcloud to catch the attention of major record labels. All in all, these young artists are exploring their sound and not sticking to the script. The roads are wide open, and I can’t wait to see where they go.
VELVETEARS is one of the rawest artists I’ve ever come across. Writing songs about her past addictions and fears, she spares common ground with the likes of The Weeknd. She has a real unique appeal about her, yet never shows her face in pictures. In her song “None”, produced by gin$eng, the artist explores abstract thinking when it comes to production on top of her sharp, yet somewhat soulful, lyrics. Her fan base is growing rapidly. We’re expecting an EP from her any day now.
DYLAN BRADY is an artist that understands experimentation in pop music. Songs like, “Will You Look For Me When You Need Someone” and “Please Don’t Tell Me Why I Feel How I Feel Thanks” explore auto-tune in a style similar to Kanye West. His debut EP “Choker” is full of catchy hooks and pop synths. The artist is not only working on his own sound but collabs with a range of genres. “BEEN AROUND” is a song which features himself alongside LIL WEST, lil aaron, Curtis Heron and Lewis Grant. All indie artists with styles similar to Travis Scott or Kid Cudi.
O’WILDLY is your next rock n’ roll band. Coming out of Las Vegas, the band has a lot to be proud of this year. Their new EP “Sunrise” has a classic sound with playful upbeat measures. “The Battle of Yoko Ono” is a personal favorite of mine. You can watch the video for it here. As well as releasing “Sunrise”, they also performed with The Fixx and Jesse Pino & The Vital Signs inside Brooklyn Bowl of Las Vegas this year. Lead singer Adam Christopher Smith carried the pack channeling an inner Jack White.
WEVLTH is a group of producers who have taken this year by storm. Their music is hard to classify. Sometimes their sound has a hip-hop/trap element to it. Sometimes it’s just something you’ve never heard before. This uniqueness not only caught the ear of over 2 million Soundcloud listeners, but the ear of representatives from both Atlantic Records and Warner Brothers Records. Live performances seem to be the direction the group is headed in. If so, we’re all in for a treat.
ONEHALFOFYOUTH has had an identity crisis in the past, but this year seemed to have found a creative niche in the world of music. The mixes released by ONEHALFOFYOUTH this year sound more like abstract projects than your typical DJ mix. Artists ranging from Drake to SLEEP PARTY PEOPLE can be found in the same set. The titles “Cloud City”, “Fluorescent Dreams”, and “Wasteland” make up for a collaboration titled, “The Beautiful and Damned” honoring F. Scott Fitzgerald. The work within “The Beautiful and Damned” has been praised by JAUZ, VANIC, and many other producers.
In summary, the underground has been very loud this year thanks to platforms like Soundcloud, Spotify, and YouTube. Artists are making it without major record labels (ex: Chance The Rapper). Who will be on next year’s list? Who will jump from indie to mainstream? Time will tell. Though I’m excited for the future of each artist that we thoroughly enjoyed all year.
Taj Simpson is OLE MASON JAR's Director of Music and Lifestyle who lives in Las Vegas, NV. Always dressed for the right occasion, Taj also has a keen ear for the right sound...keeping us at the forefront of the music scene, and in tune with the freshest tracks and artists you may / or may not have heard of.