ARTISTS TO WATCH IN 2016
Every year, we see a handful of upcoming musicians rise up and take the world by storm. This was a massive year for Australian breakthrough artists such as Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, who are now dominating the industry with record sales, live numbers, but most importantly, fresh and exciting new music. Let me have the pleasure of introducing you to 4 emerging acts from around the globe who I believe are one’s to watch in 2016. Immerse yourself in their captivatingly innovative tunes, because it won’t be long before everyone stands up and takes notice.
[Oakland, CA, USA]
Australian born — Oakland based singer Hazel English captured my heart ever since releasing her first single, ‘Never Going Home’ back in March. Her distinctive washed out sound paired with beautiful melancholic melodies, equates to dream pop at its finest. Jangly surf inspired guitars, layered with soft gentle synths, lo-fi drums and a warm shoe-gaze ambience, create a mesmerizing soundscape for English to deliver her reverb soaked ethereal vocals. The melodies she weaves are so effortlessly addictive, evoking nostalgic feelings of teenage dreams and summer holidays. Sway your hips and imagine a place you’d rather be. You’ll probably want to sing along too. Let this infectious pop wash over you like the sparkling waves of California.
“She has a knack for bittersweet melodies, and the resulting sound is a perfect soundtrack for warm, hazy nights.” — Pigeons and Planes
Although Hazel English’s discography is still only comprised of three songs, she has secured herself a very respectable position as a quickly upcoming artist within the music industry. Fellow Oakland musician, Jackson Phillips aka Day Wave, produces her music, and they are both signed to the same management team. Her music is currently self-released and is still only available for online stream. Nonetheless, she has been receiving lots of love from indie blogs throughout the US, whilst stacking up over 500,000 cumulative plays on her SoundCloud page. ‘Never Going Home’ was featured on Majestic Casual’s YouTube channel, which has over 2,600,000 subscribers. To coincide with the release of her latest single ‘Fix’ in September, Hazel English was the #1 most blogged about artist in the world, reaching the top position on the Hype Machine charts.
With her debut EP set to be released in autumn next year, there’s no doubt that 2016 will be a busy year for Hazel English. I’m excited to hear more from her in the near future, but for now I’m more than happy to listen to her three existing stunning pieces on repeat.
Check out these live photos from Hazel English’s debut live performance supporting Craft Spells at San Francisco’s, Great American Music Hall on September 12. Images courtesy of The Bait Shop. Photography by Julie Juarez.
[Auckland, New Zealand]
Leisure’s humble beginnings were surrounded by mystery when they dropped their first jam, ‘Got It Bad’ in April this year. They shared no biographical details about themselves, but instead only revealed their cool, sexy, sophisticated fusion of pop, dance, R&B, funk and jazz. However, 5 months on, we now know that the 5 piece band hail from Auckland, New Zealand, make undeniably catchy tunes and are well on their way to becoming the country’s latest exciting export. Their most recent single, ‘Take It To The Top’ is a seductive song made for the dance floor. The funky lead bass line and simplistic vocals irresistibly tempt your body into getting down to Leisure’s smooth grooves. I’m thinking retro pool parties, delicious cocktails and sunsets/sunrises. I just can’t get enough of Leisure’s promising pop, have a listen for yourself below.
Killer bass lines and smooth atmospheres are combined with classy velvet vocal line, creating an extremely evocative nocturnal world lit by neon and shrouded in an irresistible funky fog. — Going Solo
Leisure has been making significant waves within the industry, grabbing the attention of music lovers, record labels and management teams from all over the world. In its first month online, ‘Got It Bad’ reached 100,000 plays on SoundCloud (now sitting at 350K) and hit the Triple J most played charts. Lorde’s former management company, Saiko Management has picked up the band, and I’m guessing they’re probably sorting out a pretty swish contract with a record label as we speak. Leisure have already developed a strong international presence and are currently finishing up a tour that saw them perform live in, Sydney, LA, Vancouver, New York City and London. Not bad! They have also just been announced on the Auckland Laneway Festival lineup next year.
Whilst we’re still yet to hear of any official release plans for the band, although they have promised, “some slammers and some deepers, but all in good time.” Currently, all four of their tracks are available to buy independently from iTunes. I’d also like to mention that the visual aesthetic they maintain throughout their cover art, tour art, press photo and social media posts is on point too. These guys really know what they’re doing and that’s why I believe they’ll have a successful year in 2016. Watch out for Leisure, because they’re coming in hot.
Check out some photos of the band creating cool goodness in their recording space. Taken from a feature on the band by Dummy Magazine.
If you follow the German electronic music/club scene, you may have come across young talented up and coming producer, Jonas Saalbach. Residing in Berlin, Saalbach is renowned for his beautifully constructed melodic techno. His ability to mix organic and electronic elements to create a truly euphoric soundscape, has earned him releases on some of the most prestigious labels in the industry. One of his newest offerings ‘Morgen’ elegantly boasts a unique blend of natural sounds and deep electronic rhythms. It effortlessly creates a diverse soundscape that makes me want to close my eyes and just get lost in the graceful yet hauntingly hypnotic beat. If I were to hear this in a club, it would honestly melt me down and reduce me to tears of mixed sensations. The exquisiteness of the piano, combined with the wondrous female vocal sample and soft reverb soaked guitar lines, which are layered on top of classic techno rich elements with deep emotional depth, is enough to make this piece of art my track of the year.
“Honest techno-music, permeated by powerful basses, graceful arrangements and dreamy melodies — one might add a lot more attributes, but basically, Jonas Saalbach is refreshingly different. He constantly reinvents his music but refrains from leaving out distinct nuances, which make his music unmistakable.” — Resident Advisor
‘Morgen’ is taken from Jonas Saalbach’s debut full length LP, titled Ancient Lake. It will be released on the 30th of October through Einmusika Recordings.
At just 23, Saalbach already has an impressively vast back catalogue, which has seen him release music through Save Us, Moodmusic, Crossfrontier Audio, Musik Gewinnt Freunde, Einmusika, Motek and Bedrock.
Jonas Saalbach isn’t about to become number 1 on the charts and go platinum, he is not about that. What I’m sure he will do is keep producing state of the art stellar tracks that will be loved by techno fans and DJs all over the world. He will continue to play at celebrated clubs and festivals with more than enough material to perform his own live sets. After the release of ‘Ancient Lake’, I’m excited to see what’s next for Jonas Saalbach. He has secured himself a place as one of Berlin’s most exciting and promising acts and I’m sure he will continue to progress and keep moving up and up.
Listen to Jonas Saalbach perform live at Fusion Music Festival 2015, followed by his DJ set at Berlin’s Watergate Club in September.
[Little Rock, AR, USA]
Kari Faux is a 22-year-old rapper and producer from Little Rock, Arkansas. She creates her own unique brand of hip-hop, exercising minimal production and clever lyrics that are littered with Internet and pop culture references. Her latest track, ‘Nada’ (produced by her close friend, Black Party) just demands attention. Her smooth and effortless wordplay balances perfectly on top of the crisp lounge beat. It sounds like music for all occasions; it could be a hit at the party, the perfect driving song or that one track that gets you pumped for whatever. Either way, I’m digging Kari Faux’s feisty style and homemade tracks. She sounds like she’s been rapping and producing music for ages, when in reality, her career is just about to take off.
“Originally from Little Rock, Faux moved to Los Angeles last October. Before she set foot in the city, she was already regarded as one of the fastest-rising stars in hip-hop.” — LA Weekly
Kari Faux has been producing and rapping since she was 16, however only recently did it become slightly serious. Fame and buzz began to surround Faux when one of the world’s biggest rappers, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino remixed her then relatively unknown track ‘No Small Talk’ in his STN MTN mixtape. Fast forward a year and she is now being managed by Childish Gambino himself. Kari Faux has since relocated to LA where she has been met by rising fame after releasing her excellent debut mixtape ‘Laugh Now, Die Later’.
I believe her talent is undeniable. Her natural and exciting style is purely evident in the brilliant music video titled, ‘GahDahm’, in which Childish Gambino also features and drops a verse. The video has clocked up over 175,000 views on YouTube, whilst ‘GahDahm’ and ‘No Small Talk’ have over 220K and 168K plays on SoundCloud.
Kari Faux is close to releasing a new EP titled, ‘Lost En Los Angeles’. Judging by its first track ‘Supplier’, it won’t be long before Kari Faux climbs to the top of the ladder of rappers that you need to know.
“You know I got the futuristic fire/You know I got the shit that takes you high up” — Kari Faux / Supplier
2016 is set to be a massive year for Kari Faux. She knows how to use the power of the Internet to her advantage, she’s got a loveable and friendly character, she’s great in front of the camera and when she’s armed with a mixtape and an EP, she’ll be unstoppable. Her pioneering art will soon dominate the speakers and screens of every hip hop fan. I mean, with the likes of Childish Gambino already backing her, I have no doubt that Kari Faux is on her way to becoming one of the brightest young rappers in the game. Get familiar.
Listen to my radio podcast for more songs and information about our featured artists!
Get around my SoundCloud playlist too, which includes even more tracks from Hazel English, Leisure, Jonas Saalbach and Kari Faux!
- Hazel English — It’s Not Real
- Leisure — Got It Bad
- Leisure — Hot Love
- Jonas Saalbach — Lost (Einmusika Recordings)
- Jonas Saalbach — Delusion (Einmusika Recordings)
- Kari Faux — STAINLESS
- Kari Faux — NO SMALL TALK
THANKS FOR READING XOXO