After a brief hiatus, we are back with our monthly line ups of the best 6 up and coming artists. Although we missed January (hey sometimes life gets busy) we're going to kick off the first month with a few artists that have hit the ground running in the new year. Hitting a wide range of sounds, ethnicities, and geographical locations, we give you 6 artists you should keep a close eye on in 2023.
Hometown: Katy, TX
Spotify Monthlies: 418,925
“Find a way and make one” that is the motto that drives and sums up Dende. The multi-faceted artist/singer, rapper, producer and instrumentalist has been making his way slowly but surely to the top of our radar. The Houston native artist could not fit better the "self made" profile as his unlimited talent shadows his unlimited thirst for success. He kickstarted his career how ever and where ever he could, by throwing off events from parking lots to clothing stores until the crowd became unrelentlessly fascinated by his work and his person.
His hook: his ability to navigate across genres and give the audience a variety of music that can fit whatever mood you find yourself in. From Hip-Hop to R&B, to Houston and Chicago inspirations, all the way across to influences such as John Legend and Smino & Saba; Dende doesn’t stand any boundaries.
It is back in 2021 that he released his first big album: A Happy Man which he considers to be the most accurate representation of himself. A perfect balance between his R&B and Hip-Hop prowess, from which stems out laid back yet melodic and uplifting tracks. He then kept on gifting his audience with more surprising projects during the year such as his EP: Pregnancy Pack that, as he expressed himself, speaks for itself from its title…
On top of music projects, Dende is also an engaged creative artist and delivered a much more personal video project in 2022: In Case You Forgot I’m Black. A short film that chronicles his and the broader community’s feelings following the George Floyds’ events.
If you haven’t been updated yet, Dende started off 2023 setting the tone for this new year by releasing his latest EP: Before We Crash. The perfect blend of R&B tracks to take you on a soft and epicurean experience. What better way to smoothly enter these new moments? – Emma Neveux
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Recommended Tracks: "These Days" "So Bad" "Problems"
Spotify Monthlies: 234, 982
There’s an auditory haze that looms over St. Panther’s music, evident on their 2020 EP These Days and persisting on recent singles “So Bad” and “Dusk Or Dawn.” The atmosphere of their tracks are sublime; they're never in a rush as an artist, protecting their pace as if there’s a speed limit. While the tone of their songs may be dimmed, their talent is illuminating regardless of their role. St. Panther has served as a vocalist, producer, and instrumentalist for themself as much as others. Panther's discography includes collaborations with Pierce.blue, Makeout Reef, Terrace Martin, and Raven Artson, proving their signature sound is both translatable and in demand.
Even in its subdued form, St. Panther’s music is dynamic in its influences. Soul, R&B, funk, and jazz contribute to the low-key nature of tracks like “These Days” and “B.O.M.B.” Though St. Panther isn’t easily excitable, their consistent composure is as reassuring as it is soothing. Much more than ambiance, St. Panther’s music is sensory in more ways than one. – Kieran Kohorst
Hometown: Brisbane, QLD
Recommended Tracks: "Complicated," "Paranoid," "Take My Love"
Spotify Monthlies: 53,658
King Ivy is one of those artists that seems to have abruptly emerged on the scene with an already robust sound that makes you wish he had a bigger discography to sink into. The Brisbane artist debuted his first two singles in October teasing fans with “Complicated” and “Paranoid”, both tracks drawing from old funk tunes and R&B sounds. The videos for both singles were just as compelling as the tracks, using retro visuals and vintage clothing pieces to marry his early musical influences with his more modern take on the poetics of love and relationships.
“Complicated” is a song that draws on as much soul as it does logic. The Australian artist sings about the toxicity of negotiation between your heart and your head, and the miscommunication between the two that can lead two people to confuse what’s really right for them even if it's just for temporary pleasure. Its faster melody and sultry synths imitate the anxiety of being stuck, almost as if to emulate a conversation between two people struggling to find peace together. From holding on too long to finally letting go, the nature of relationships is that sometimes they're just that; complicated stories between two people. “Paranoid” is where we really see King Ivy playing around with alternative sounds and vocals. Syncopated bass lines and rhythmic drums guide the singer to experiment with alternating between rapping verses and singing its chorus. Through a modern-funk beat, the rising artist laments the control that someone can hold over you and the lingering paranoia of being unable to shake them. Once you listen to King Ivy you’ll find yourself keeping tabs on him just to be sure you’re the first one there when he finally releases again. – Sundhya Alter
Hometown: Garden Grove, CA
Recommended Tracks: “endlessly,” “easy,” “are you sleeping alone again?”
Spotify Monthlies: 240,913
If you have been tapped in with the LA music scene over the last two years, it has been almost impossible to miss bixby. The Garden Grove, California native first made his debut back in 2020, and despite just nine tracks released since, has risen to the top of an ever-growing alternative scene.
Fueled by sweet production and even sweeter melodies, you only have to listen to just one track from bixby to understand the excitement. From his hit single “endlessly,” to my personal favorite “easy,” to the recently released “are you sleeping alone again?” which rounded out his EP, bixby provides a flurry of moods for whatever situation may arise. Creating a sound blending styles of bedroom pop, hyperpop, and more, each track makes for a unique experience, while his ear – and heart – catching voice makes every listen impeccable. Tap in with him below. – Freddie Fine
Hometown: London, UK
Recommended Tracks: “DO WHAT I LIKE,” "DAMAGED," "FOLLOW ME"
Spotify Monthlies: 186,395
Described as a motivational rapper by I-D back in 2020, when his debut LP was released, Kasien has managed to come a long way without leaving behind those initial principles. Just this month he stepped into the new year with the release of a new album, DON'T LET THE DEVIL IN, which only confirms his artistic evolution.
Ten tracks featuring victorious beats and mouth watering transitions, DON'T LET THE DEVIL IN sees Kasien will emotional and material wealth – as opposed to wishing as most would – for his present and future self. Armed with an infectious sense of certainty, drive and talent it is clear that Kasien is bound for glory beyond what he’s accomplished to date. – Olive Soki
Hometown: Montreal, CA
Recommended Tracks: “Sober” “Nobody Like You” "Olivia"
Spotify Monthlies: 451,762
A creative at heart, dee holt has always been surrounded by art. From singing along with her father on guitar, to her mothers supportive words of encouragement, while it didn’t always feel like the obvious choice on her end – her musical career was bound to happen. Following an impromptu at-home performance, which brought her audience to tears, she finally leaned into the idea and reached out to Benjamin Nadeau, a Montreal-based producer. What followed this partnership was the release of her debut singles “Hardest Part” and “Olivia,” and the rest was history.
Last year dee released her debut EP When I Close My Eyes. Produced in collaboration with Benji Nadeau, the EP sees dee throw herself into music for the first time. The result; a sonically playful and eclectic mix of tracks that earned her many praises from the press. Following this first project she released what I consider to be her best track to date, “Sober.” A disapproving track on the many personas people take on under the influence, “Sober” is one of those perfect songs that is oddly familiar on first listen, almost like her voice and every instrumental element of the track were meant to come together. In other words; it’s perfect and definitely worth a listen. – Olive Soki