New Up-and-Coming Artists at SXSW

Yves Nguyen, Assistant Entertainment Editor

The 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival returned to Austin, Texas last week. The annual music and film festival runs from March 10-19; it includes film screenings, gaming events, comedy events, informative panels among countless parties and other events. But what SXSW really does well is launch new artists’ careers, and I have rounded up a list of new artists from SXSW to give a listen to.  

First for hip-hop, Lizzo, Tkay Maidza and Young M.A. top my list for the most exciting hip-hop performances at SXSW. Lizzo has made a splash at SXSW as an artist who empowers and celebrates herself and others with explosive performances and songs; such as “Good as Hell” and “Coconut Oil.” Tkay Maidza is an Australian MC and singer who has broken-through with her 2016 debut album, “Tkay,” which showcases her poppy, colorful sensibility in hip-hop with tracks like the bubbly “Simulation” and the banging “Monochrome” particularly standing out. Young M.A. has already made quite an impression in music with her track “OOOUUU,” but she has come back with yet another song that blends old school rap ideals with modern trap beats, “Hot Sauce,” on her EP “Herstory.”

As for country, I have one stand out, Caitlyn Smith. After many years of writing hits for the likes of Meghan Trainor and Lady Antebellum, Smith is pursuing a singing career of her own. Smith uses strong, binding vocals to entrance her audience in tracks; like “Tacoma.”

Now for R&B and modern jazz/blues, OSHUN, Hurray For The Riff Raff and R.LUM.R have made the biggest impression on me. OSHUN is a futuristic duo incorporating influences from all different artists and genres to create sinewy harmonies that embrace their Yoruba roots and jab at politics in songs like their single “Not My President.” Hurray For The Riff Raff similarly embraces heritage and politics with singer Alynda Lee Segarra singing her truth in bluesy songs; such as “Hungry Ghost” and “Pa’lante.” R.LUM.R is a fast-rising R&B singer who has a falsetto like no other and surprised me with his mellow song “Frustrated.”

Of course there is folk. For me, the standouts are Canyon City, Dawg Yawp and Holly Macve. Canyon City is the music of writer and producer Paul Johnson, which has a warm, soft feeling like talking to a friend. His track “Paper Airplanes” has a particular warmth to it. Dawg Yawp is a folk-rock duo the combines sitar and synth sounds to make dreamy songs, like “I’ll Quit Tomorrow.” Holly Macve is no one to sneer at, she combines folksy country yodeling with a deepness and heartbreak of Lana Del Rey in songs, like “Heartbreak Blues.”

Lastly, I have a couple of special mentions for some more alternative and experimental artists. If you are interested in more offbeat musical acts, I recommend Let’s Eat Grandma and PWR BTTM. Let’s Eat Grandma is a teen duo that combines the creepiness of “The Shining” twins and witchy vocals to create a truly unique experience on their album, “I, Gemini.” PWR BTTM is a pop-punk duo releases songs with great hooks and angsty-ness, like “Answer My Text” and “LOL,” but what really stands out about them is their glittery and colorful stage performances.

No matter who you are, there is someone for you at SXSW.