Each month at Sheesh, we curate a starting lineup of six artists that we feel are poised for a big year. Being in the midst of March Madness, this month's Lineup feels ever more fitting, and equally as competitive and exciting to watch. And when I say competitive, I mean it in the sense of narrowing down our list of artists we've been watching closely, to just six. A unit comprised of a wide range in sound, aesthetic, and geographical home base, we present to you the best six artists of March 2021.
Hometown: Montreal, CA
Recommended Tracks: "Cold World" "Endlessly" "Too Fast"
Spotify Monthlies: 16,418
There’s only one word to describe Yuki Dreams Again: Limitless. And no, I’m not talking about the ability to drain a jumper from anywhere like Steph Curry (although, this is the lineup), I’m talking about an endless repertoire of musical skill. Yuki Dreams Again only released one track in the month of March, but it’s been on repeat ever since my first listen. They say third time’s a charm, and Yuki’s third single pays homage to the age-old saying.
The Montreal-based artist began dropping music in 2020, releasing 2 singles in the COVID year: “Endlessly” and “Too Fast.” These tracks gave fans a good idea of what they’ll be getting from Yuki Dreams Again: Freeing, groovy, and high-energy music. Although he certainly has a style, Yuki Dreams Again doesn’t have a particular genre. He mixes elements of pop, R&B, and electronic dance music to give birth to something new altogether. As a singer, Yuki Dreams Again can reach high tenors with ease, mix melodies, and keep his listeners on their toes. Like I said: Limitless. While “Endlessly” and “Too Fast” caught my ear in 2020, his March 2021 release “Cold World” was a refreshing add to my daily rotation. In the chorus, Yuki sings,
"Nobody knows how to mind their own,
Nobody knows how to stay at home."
Some days I wonder if that chorus will ever get out of my head. Yuki’s Instagram bio reads “You can’t force magic.” This attitude is reflected in his music, as his tracks seem to spill out effortlessly with a smooth, rhythmic vibe. We are predicting a fruitful year for the surging artist, so feel free to join us on his journey. Welcome to the lineup, Yuki Dreams Again. - Joe DelloStritto
Hometown: Queens, NY
Recommended Tracks: "High Waist Jeans" "Hoops" "Villain"
Spotify Monthlies: 389,323
Queens native, Julia Wolf, is an all around creative – a multi-faceted artist whose talent knows no bounds. Drawing in listeners with her self-edited cover art, Julia Wolf ensures her listeners are here to stay with her siren-call vocals: an alto-toned, beat heavy display on every track. Wolf’s uniqueness has led to an immense following in the span of two years – proof that the budding star has the ability and drive to take her far. With the release of her newest track, “Hydra,” both new and seasoned fans have another glimpse into the talent that is: Julia Wolf.
“Cut me off, I’m the Hydra,
I’ll only come back to haunt you.
This is for the best, you could be upset.”
Overall, the track is the epitome of perfection, using an eerie intro to signal in her seductive vocals and beat production meant to be played on max. Wolf’s vocals go on full display in her preluding tracks “High Waist Jeans,” “Villain,” and “Hoops” – which she strings together under the moniker “Gotham.” Away from the music, she fine-tunes her art form with her newfound clothing brand: Girls in Purgatory. With no signs of subbing her out, we welcome Wolf to March's starting lineup. - Ian Tsang
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Recommended Tracks: "Quicksand" "Dismay" "Hotspot"
Spotify Monthlies: 40,320
Timothy Bright is a name you should definitely get familiar with. The Virginia native has been steadily building an audience through his left-of-center production and relentless flows. Singles such as “Quicksand” and “Knock Knock” are grimy, alternative hip hop tracks that are carried by Bright’s magnetic personality on the mic.
This incredible consistency caught the attention of Brockhampton frontrunner, Kevin Abstract, who connected him to the group’s producer, Romil Hemnani. With production from Romil, Timothy Bright released the track “Turmoil.” The single features no hook, witty wordplay, infectious flows, and Romil’s signature eccentric production style.
The culmination of Timothy Bright’s hard work appears on his January debut EP, Psych Out. The project features previously released singles “Quicksand” and “Dismay,” but is mostly comprised of brand-new material. The title track “Psych Out” is an ambient opener that perfectly sets the dark and ominous tone of the project. The track then transitions into the hard-hitting “Routes (feat. Amari Lewis),” which is my personal favorite. Although the EP is only 5 tracks long, Timothy Bright is able to fit a wide variety of sounds and styles into its short runtime.
With major co-signs, a consistent discography, and massive potential, Timothy Bright is an artist you need to check out now before he ends up on everyone’s radar in the near future. - Tyler Borland
Hometown: Bowling Green, KY
Recommended Tracks: "Slide Thru" "Hollow" "Water"
Spotify Monthlies: 430,812
Line Up singer-songwriter Mills is an anomaly. He looks like he just stepped out of a time machine, mastering the retro aesthetic of 70s California, yet his musical style is wildly contemporary. Though not in the ways you might expect. Mills does not rely on heavy new-age production or vocal distortion, modern themes or electronic frills –instead he is contemporary in the way that his sound melds genre and age like no other.
It’s evident that he is a master of creative emulation – evolving popular styles into something all his own. His 2019 EP Clashing Thoughts transcends decades – incorporating aspects of 90s R&B, 2000s alternative, 60s surf-rock, and modern indie sounds. But simply listing the elements he draws from doesn’t cut it. Each track contains a uniquely stamped edge. Growing up in Kentucky and later settling in both Nashville and LA, Mills evidently draws inspiration from each location. Track “Lovely” has the slightest twang of country-folk, while his most recent single “Slide Thru” is a sultry and groovy song pulling in a little pop, a little R&B, and a lot of Mills’ own personal touch.
With 400k monthly Spotify listeners, Mills has already racked up an impressive fanbase. He’s a voice of a generation, writing poignantly about love, heartbreak, and the ambience of youth culture. And after a locked-down year, the 20 year old has developed his much-anticipated sophomore EP Train of Thoughts, arriving this April via Keep Cool / RCA Records. Mastering everything from stripped down acoustic tracks to subtly soaring anthems, Mills has positioned himself as a key player in the 2021 music scene. Let’s see what surprises his next project brings. - Audrey Brandes
Hometown: Oxford, EN
Recommended Tracks: "Sunny" "High 4 U" "Typo"
Spotify Monthlies: 48,093
For many artists, simply employing the conventions of popular genres is enough to take them where they want to go. For UK artist Artemas, however, these conventions always seem to come second, with impeccably structured melodies seemingly being the main priority. The result is music that is undeniably pleasant and timeless, whilst maintaining the energy and fervor that makes his work, and today’s musical landscape in general, so exciting. It’s clear that as he continues to try on different sounds, his work will be unified by his exceptional songwriting chops.
In an interview with Shit You Should Be Listening To, Artemas explained that the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is a major inspiration to him, both musically and aesthetically. That influence is subtly evident in the grungy, emotional qualities of Artemas’ music, and yet he still proves his individuality and dynamism through his ability to open up into higher, sweeter notes and incredibly catchy hooks.
With such a young discography, it’s hard to tell where this singer-songwriter-producer will go from here, but we can only imagine he has plenty in store for us this year, and that his fan base will grow exponentially. His latest single “Sunny” is certifiably excellent, and in the aforementioned interview, he suggested that he will likely release a project of some sort in June. We’re excited to see Artemas dig even deeper, further develop his sound, and inevitably become an established hitmaker. - Conner Crosby
Hometown: Dublin, IE
Recommended Tracks: "See You Later" (Only Release)
Spotify Monthlies: 22,175
With only one official release out, Lucy Blue has already set the foundation to have an explosive career ahead of her. The 19 year old Dublin product began her musical journey a short few years ago, writing and recording songs in her bedroom, eventually making their way on to SoundCloud, before she officially debuted her first single "See You Later" last month. In a vulnerable showing, Lucy Blue delivers a breath-taking vocal performance, injecting a sombre piano ballad with raw emotions, leaving you with nothing but memories – and chills running up your spine. In the chorus of "See You Later," Blue exhibits heavenly songwriting when she sings,
"The sky could go on fire and I wouldn't even notice,
I don't believe in magic, but right here might be the closest,
The world beyond your eyes looks completely out of focus,
And I wouldn't wanna know it.
Oh, I swear I wouldn't wanna know it at all."
With artists like Billie Eilish, Tate McRae, and Olivia Rodrigo leading the wave of sad-girl love ballads, Lucy Blue is poised to become the next household name within this lane and beyond. Her voice has a potent, subdued character, inflicting instant emotion, whether it be nostalgia, or pure sadness – when you need a comforting cry. Even with an instrumentalist background, the production on her tracks is strategically light, leaving the emphasis on her vocal prowess to take center stage. Sneaking into March's starting Lineup, we believe Lucy Blue will have a meteoric rise, as we anticipate more new music from the young artist this year. - Perry Avgerinos
Check back in next month for April's Lineup, only on Sheesh. For weekly new artists, see our Friday Finds updates on Spotify.