This year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) is underway. The annual conglomerate of music, tech and film is an iconic global event and a great place to find emerging artists. Using online music scouting platform TalentAI, we are giving you our tips on the must-see artists playing at this year's event.
SXSW 2017 featured over 2,000 artists, representing 63 countries, many of whom have gone on to have a very successful breakthrough year. The likes of Sigrid, Maggie Rogers and Sundara Karma passed through Austin last year, with Sigrid winning BBC Music Sound of 2018 Award.
Here are the 5 artists to catch at SXSW this week, selected by TalentAI.
Indie-folk outfit Mt. Joy have recently dropped their debut full-length album. Their self-titled release includes a string of successful single releases, including ‘Sheep’ and ‘Astrovan’. The band were formed by Matt Quinn (vocalist) and Sam Cooper (guitarist), who both met at college and enjoyed writing music in their spare time.
Despite continuing to pursue non-music careers alongside Mt. Joy, their early releases gained significant traction online, encouraging them to make it their full-time focus and welcome Michael Byrnes (bass), Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums), and Jackie Miclau (keys) to the band.
Their folk-rock debut has been extremely well received, generating a 40% increase in total Spotify playlist followers over the past 7 days to 14,032,201. They have also gained over 1,250 new direct followers, giving them a total of over 16,000 (TalentAI).
Mt. Joy play the following dates at SXSW this week:
- March 14th - Stubb’s Inside - 8 pm
- March 15th - Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center - 1 pm
Californian singer Billie Eilish teased her star potential at the tender age of 14 with her debut “Six Feet Under”. Born and raised in LA, Eilish was brought up in a household of actors and musicians. Joining the Los Angeles Children’s Choir at the age of eight, she began developing the soulful vocals that appear on her latest releases.
In 2017, she released “Ocean Eyes” which became her breakthrough single. The track is currently sat on over 40 million Spotify streams. The release of her debut album ‘don’t smile at me’ followed, illustrating the development of a broader electro-pop sound which combines effortlessly with her vocals. Album closer “&burn (with Vince Staples)” is the perfect example of how her graceful vocal fuses with a darker electro-pop sound. With features on Chilled Afternoon and Uncover Spotify playlists, the track currently has over 7.5m streams and 483,747 track followers (TalentAI).
You can catch Billie four times this week…
- March 14th - Central Presbyterian Church - 11:20 pm
- March 15th - Mohawk Outdoor - 9:00 pm
- March 15th - Palm Door On Sixth - 12:05 am
- March 16th - Lustre Pearl - 10:00 pm
Cousins and duo, Mike Sharp (vocals, guitar) and Joel Roberts (keys), claim that their project Otzeki is where their ‘interests meet in their mutual enthusiasm for the potential of electronic music’. The output of their London based project is a fascinating post-rock, electronic fusion.
Ahead of the release of their debut album, Binary Childhood (out 13th April 2018), Otzeki have dropped new single ‘Pay the Tax’. The release has picked up over 300,000 Spotify track followers, across four major playlists including Feel Good Indie (TalentAI).
Otzeki play the following sets this week:
- March 13th - Seven Grand - 1:15 am
- March 15th - Palm Door On Sabine - 8:30 pm
Last year, Atlanta’s hot hip-hop prospect Yung Bans racked up impressive streaming figures with the release of viral hit ‘Lonely’. In February, he dropped the third installment of his self-titled EP series, featuring previously released tracks including “It’s Snowin Pt.2”, amongst some new tracks. The EP features guest appearances from Wifisfuneral, Yung Weej and Che Trill.
With bouncy trap-infused instrumentals, Yung Bans’ loud and proud rhymes show off his potential as a hot riser. The stats agree with that statement. ‘Lonely’ has been a particular breakthrough, picking up over 7.5m streams. The track which features Lil Skies has 5.5 million track followers and has encouraged 2,800 new direct followers, bringing Yung Bans’ total to over 29,000 (TalentAI).
- Set location TBC.
Sam Fender is one of 2018’s breakthrough names. Following a successful string of 2017 single releases, the Geordie singer-songwriter returns with ‘Friday Fighting’. The track is a feel-good anthem, bursting into life from the off and continuously growing. The BBC Sound of 2018 nominee has made his mark with a distinguishably crisp yet anthemic vocal. Picking up over 200,000 Spotify streams since its early February release, ‘Friday Fighting’ has encouraged an increase in Fender’s total artist playlist following to 600,000 (TalentAI).
You can catch Sam live at the following places:
- March 14th - British Music Embassy @ Latitude 30 - 11:00 pm
- March 15th - Palm Door On Sixth Patio - 9:30 pm
- March 16th - St David's Historic Sanctuary - 10:00 pm
Check out the 5 must-see female artists at SXSW 2018