With the advent of the internet, the music industry has evolved drastically. Accessibility to artists and their music seems to be at the tips of our fingers, even if we never go to live shows.
We stream music–assuming artists, producers, etc. are being compensated appropriately or never thinking twice about that at all. (I personally buy music through iTunes. To each their own.) This is the virtual world we live in.
Any Tom, Dick, or Sherry with a computer can make music these days. (Been there; done that.) So how do we sift through the crap to find quality sound? If the “Top 40” doesn’t quite wet our whistle, how do we find artists/songs we haven’t been introduced to yet? We can explore algorithm-generated suggested songs/playlists. (Thanks, YouTube.) Or we can ask our friends for suggestions.
I’m your friend, Allison. And I want you to check out the music of some of our fellow Millennials who are each fighting for a shot to land a spot on your playlists. Here are seven lesser known Millennial music artists that I hope you’ll give a listen (and learn to love!):
- MOD SUN
Have you heard of the “hippy-hop” genre? Well, now you have thanks to Dylan Smith, the artist known as MOD SUN. He seamlessly infuses a lovely hippy slant into hip-hop. When he raps, he makes you think deeply or forget about the world altogether. His melodic hooks can make you want to kiss your neighbor… or yourself. MOD SUN’s creative genius is incredibly expansive. (To give you some perspective: I have a book of his in my bedroom and a painting of his in my living room. I don’t know where his résumé begins or ends.) Check out his “Shoot ‘Em Down” music video, of which he’s credited as co-director in addition to artist:
Blackbear, born Matthew Musto, has a voice like butter–so smooth, truly adding substance to every track it graces. His music can be described as R&B/soul with an electronic edge. Among others, Blackbear has collaborated with James Blake, G-Eazy, Maejor, Mike Posner, Machine Gun Kelly, Jack Novak, and MOD SUN. (Fun fact: He also co-wrote the first Justin Bieber song that actually caught my ear, “Boyfriend.”) Now let the honest lyrics of Blackbear’s “idfc” slide into your heart through your ears:
The duo comprised of Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber is “Prince on ecstasy.” Cherub makes you want to move. I once partially dislocated my shoulder when clapping along to their song “Disco Shit” in a spacious hotel shower. (Disclaimer: I’ve had four shoulder surgeries.) They’re that groovy, baby. Yes, groovy. Bass Feeds The Soul describes Cherub’s sound this way: “Their 80’s influence combined with kinky lyrics creates a sound that can only be described as baby making music.” A feature of The Year of the Caprese (2014) album, even hate- and disdain-filled lyrics somehow result in a feel-good song, “<3 (Heart)”:
- Sammy Adams
“Hip-pop” is a pretty spot-on description of the genre Sammy Adams epitomizes. Samuel Adams Wisner produces chill hip-hop beats as well as upbeat pop hits. In his Boston’s Boy (2010) days, he leveraged the frat scene and began gaining industry exposure after the release of “I Hate College“–a response to Asher Roth’s “I Love College.” Two years later, he got a taste of major radio play when Enrique Iglesias featured him on his hit “Finally Found You.” In 2014 he first featured B.o.B on a remix of “All Night Longer,” a track again featured on Sammy’s 2016 album The Long Way. Major music industry success may have once only been a wish of his, but Sammy Adams has steadily been turning his dreams into reality:
Outasight, born Richard Andrew, is a pop artist with rapping prowess who you have likely unknowingly heard before. When I saw him open up for 3Oh!3 in 2012, he caught me by surprise. I thought, “Who is this guy and where did these rapping skills come from?” But don’t think of Outasight as simply a rapper. This guy’s music can catapult you 75 years back to the swing era. His versatility has captured major commercial success. In 2011, his song “Tonight Is The Night” was the feature song of a Pepsi commercial. “Now Or Never” was the official theme song of WWE’s 2012 Survivor Series. Last year, Bud Light Lime borrowed his song “The Wild Life.” Recently, Outasight lent “The Boogie” to ESPN’s Saturday Night Primetime. Now let’s slow it down a bit to appreciate a mesmerizing music video released by Outasight, “Anchor Down”:
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, better known as Logic, has somehow skated just below the surface of the rap radar in terms of major radio play. He’s on the come-up… still. He once stated, “in 2008, they said I sounded like Eminem. In 2009 they said I sounded like Drake because I sang. In 2010, they said that I sounded like J. Cole and in 2011 they’re saying that I sound like Mac Miller. You know what? In 2012, they’re going to say that I sound like Logic.” Listen to his most recent albums Under Pressure (2014) and The Incredible True Story (2015) to get a taste of Logic’s ingenious lyricism and unique sound. His talent earned him the co-headline spot alongside G-Eazy for the upcoming The Endless Summer Tour. It’s Logic’s time to run the game:
- Niykee Heaton
Nicolet Aleta (“Niykee”) Heaton presently might be better known for being gorgeous than for making music, but her soulful sound deserves as much attention as her curves. She was first discovered on YouTube via acoustic covers and original songs that showcased her impressive pipes and her self-taught guitar skills. After signing with All Def Digital, she released her first EP in 2014, Bad Intentions. Last year Complex Magazine gave us insight into her struggles navigating the music industry. With the support of her manager Lauren Pisciotta and her loyal fans (“NBKs”), she has been persevering. Following her 2015 tour, Niykee Heaton released her The Bedroom Tour Playlist in 2016. Go behind the scenes:
Did you hear something you like? Share it with your friends. Buy an album or two. Cop some tickets to an upcoming show. We can’t expect to be continuously blessed with dope music if we never support the artists creating it for us.