Well I finally made it through my Artists to Watch for 2017! I’m excited to have accomplished my first goal for Symbiosis Music and can’t wait to start tackling the next ones. I decided it was worth quickly revisiting the list before diving into new music because this will serve as the core roster of artists I am going to be covering in the coming year. As of now I’m working alone so covering all the music I want to won’t be feasible, so this seems like a good place to start. Not to worry, I already have lots of other artists I’m excited about and you’ll see plenty of them as well.
I’m hoping my Artists to Watch gave you a bit of a taste for what type of music to expect on my blog. As you could probably tell, I have a definite bent towards electronic left-of-center pop music, but I like to think I have a fairly broad appreciation for different types of music. Some people may disagree, but maybe I’ll convince you I do when I start featuring more diverse artists as I get going and some of the genres missing from my list start to make appearances.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s a quick rundown of my Artists to Watch in case you missed any! Click on the name to read my post and listen to their music!
#1. The Japanese House – dense harmonies over beautiful guitars and production
#2. Jadu Heart – transportive music from enigmatic UK duo
#3. Birthday – timeless melodies layered over glitchy modern beats
#4. Clean Cut Kid – catchy vocals and harmonies with fuzzy guitars
#5. Betsy – one in a million voice from a star on the rise
#6. Bruno Major – haunting falsetto over classic instrumentation with a twist
#7. Day Wave – effortlessly cool indie pop
#8. Liv Dawson – diverse pop from an 18 year old prodigy
#9. SG Lewis – smooth R&B jams with incredible features
#10. Skott – left of center pop from Sweden’s latest export
#11. IDER – unique yet accessible pop from rising duo
#12. Michl – gorgeous vocals over minimalistic beats
#13. Hazel English – sun drenched guitars with echoed vocals
#14. RAYE – forward thinking R&B tinged pop
#15. Gordi – folk inspired vocals and melodies mixed with eclectic electronic production
#16. MNEK – incredible vocals over extremely danceable beats
#17. Liss – tropical inspired music from four-piece Danish band
#18. Saya – retro-tinged R&B from rising a Canadian songstress
#19. Demo Taped – unique distinctive production with beautiful vocals
#20. CHINAH – delicate vocals with throwback production from rising Danish trio
Stay tuned for new music posts soon!
The Japanese House is definitely my favorite artist currently making music. I’ve never had an artist that I’ve truly loved every song they put out and find myself listening to them constantly even a year plus later. If Symbiosis would’ve started last year as intended, The Japanese House would’ve topped the list of artists to watch and that position has only been solidified throughout 2016. The Japanese House is the solo project of 21-year old Amber Bain named after the vacation home she spent time at growing up. After two stellar EPs released in 2015, Pools to Bathe In and Clean, Bain followed up with the equally impressive Swim Against The Tide EP in November of 2016. Layering beautiful, dense harmonies over atmospheric synths and guitars with modern beats, no one is making music like her. With three incredible EPs and a spot on the BBC Sound of 2017 List under her belt, The Japanese House is not only my number one artist to watch, but also one of my all time favorites. Expect a live review next month when I finally get the opportunity to see her play in Chicago! Yes, I’m sure it will be worth the 6 hours drive. Check out a few of my favorite songs below, and know it was nearly impossible to only pick three!
Jadu Heart are without a doubt my favorite musical discovery of 2016. They roared onto my playlists in April out of nowhere with the release of their excellent debut EP, Wanderflower. It’s hard to believe this was the first taste we had of the duo because of how fully formed and mature their unique sound was right out of the gate.Unlike most artists making music today, Jadu Heart tell a complete sonic narrative through their bodies of work. After taking us through the jungle on Wanderflower, Jadu Heart took us to outer space on the equally great Ezra’s Garden EP released in September.They do an incredible job of blending genres and sounds into something totally new. Because not much is known about Jadu Heart aside from their names being Dina and Faro, I view this as a perfect example of the music speaking for itself. I can’t wait to see what direction they go in next and what 2017 has in store for Jadu Heart. Check out two of my favorite of their songs below!
Start with: The Love, Late Night
Birthday is the project of Oakland-based Duran Visek. Fusing classic-sounding melodies with glitchy beats, Birthday’s music sounds very “of the moment” in the best way possible. Visek released a slew of singles earlier in the year, including my favorites Le Drugs and Babyface, which served as a manifesto for the direction his music seems to be taking. Despite remaining in the same vein sonically, his releases have seen him explore different facets of that sound in a very exciting way. Birthday followed up with his debut EP, Subtle Love, in early December collecting most of his previous singles and unreleased track Cathedrals. Although this seems like the start of the journey for Birthday, I am already so impressed with what he’s done and extremely excited to see where he goes in 2017 and beyond.
Start with: Le Drugs, Babyface
Clean Cut Kid is the only “traditional” band I have on my Artists to Watch list this year, but if more bands were making music like them, there would be much more representation. CCK first popped onto my radar at the end of 2015 when I (several months too late) heard Vitamin C. They are making some of the catchiest music I listen to and I was immediately drawn to Mike’s and Evelyn’s vocals and harmonies as well as the classic guitar riffs. 2016 saw Clean Cut Kid release several more singles as well as the stellar We Used to Be in Love EP in August and their latest single, Make Believe, in October. With recent news that they have finished tracking their debut album in the last month or so, I’m sure 2017 is going to be a huge year for Clean Cut Kid and I can’t wait to go along for the ride. Listen to some of my favorite tracks by clicking below!
Start with: Pick Me Up, We Used to Be in Love
Betsy wins my award for most severely overlooked artist of the 2017 list season. With a one in a million voice, a fully formed unique aesthetic, and a narrative that blogs have been fawning over all year, Betsy has all the potential of a star in the making. Betsy came onto the scene with a quiet roar in the form of her first single, Fair. In another world, Fair could have been the dance anthem of the year, however the restraint shown on the track makes for something even more special, putting her incredible vocals on full display. Following her debut EP released in March, Betsy has followed up with two even better singles in Lost & Found and Wanted More (watch the videos, they’re incredible, and showcase one of my favorite aesthetics of 2016). Despite being overlooked for some of the major artists to watch lists, I’m confident this Wales-native is definitely going places, and I can’t wait to see what they are.
Start with: Lost & Found, Wanted More
Bruno Major is currently releasing some of the most pleasant music around. Although he released several songs a few years ago, Bruno started consistently sharing music in August with Couldn’t Mean a Thing and hasn’t stopped since. Couldn’t Mean a Thing as well as the other songs he’s released since make for some of the most beautiful singer/songwriter music I’ve ever heard. His music sounds like the best songs from Disney movies that never were, and I mean that in the best way possible. He layers his beautiful vocals on top of classic instrumentation that always has a modern twist in the percussion. Luckily, we don’t have to wait much longer for new music as he has recently announced an Oh Wonder-esque release strategy, with a new song being released on every full moon leading up to his debut album expected in July. With the promise of consistent offerings from Bruno Major in the next few months, I can’t wait to see how his sound develops and grows in 2017.