By Leah Mandel, Colin Joyce, Brandon Ousley, and Michelle Hyun Kim of Third Bridge Creative
This week’s column of emerging artists includes an alt-pop California dream, Milwaukee’s next charming rap star, a New Jersey rapper/singer turning hooks into gold, viral indie-pop bursting out of Japan, and futuristic alt-rock from Copenhagen.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 3,068
Genre: Indie Pop
27-year-old California artist Dora Jar — the epithet a shortened version of her full name, Dora Jarkowski — broke into the “bedroom pop” scene in 2021 with her debut EP Digital Meadow. Like her peers Grace Ives, Remi Wolf, and Indigo de Souza, Dora Jar’s alt-pop is quirky, fun, and dreamy all at once, and garners consistent listener bases and placements on popular playlists. Her top five singles each have over 2 million Spotify streams, and the top track, "Multiply," has almost 5 million. Dora Jar’s latest single, “Puppet,” released on November 17, possibly teasing a new project, was placed 4th on Spotify’s Modern Psychedelia playlist and at the top of Irish songwriter Orla Gartland’s playlist orla’s magic mixtape. Following the drop of “Puppet,” Dora Jar’s monthly Spotify listeners increased by over 65k, and her Chartmetric rank climbed from around 60k to the top 3k.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 52,065
300 Entertainment-signed rapper BlakeIANA shares a lot in common with Sexyy Red, the chart-topping star who hopped on her viral hit “Bing Bong” in early September. They’re both young rising stars from St. Louis, who maintain a robust audience on TikTok thanks to their inborn charisma, nimble wordplay, and bold senses of humor. It’s no surprise that, as a consequence, people are taking to her work almost as quickly as they did to Sexyy’s. Since its release in March, “Bing Bong” has been used in over 42.1k videos on TikTok, and it's still growing by the day. In addition to the Sexyy Red cosign, she’s also begun collaborating with established stars like Jeremih and fellow viral artists like T-Jxint. Her tracks have been featured on popular playlists like Internet People and Pressure, which has helped power her to over 108k monthly listeners on Spotify and counting.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 7,973
New Jersey singer-rapper N3WYRKLA broke big with the August release of her debut EP, SELFishly enTITLED. The 6-song set boasted the self-care ode “care about myself,” which has racked up 250.5k Spotify streams. A swaying single, “GMFU,” followed in late October, continuing her momentum with 94.2k Spotify streams. But her profile rose higher when R&B crooner Brent Faiyaz invited her to co-feature with rapper A$AP ROCKY on his buzzed-about romantic single, “Outside All Night,” which has drawn 9.56 million Spotify streams since its October 27 release. Since appearing on “Outside All Night,” her monthly listeners on Spotify have exploded (peaking at 2.63 million on November 23), where she nets playlist support on R&B Weekly, Channel-X, and Vanguard. Fueled by her genre-bending prowess and relatable lyricism, N3WYRKLA is a leader in the next class of emerging alt-R&B acts.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 18,613
After steadily building a TikTok fan base for two years, Japanese singer-songwriter Ai Tomioka broke out as a global crossover star with her gentle indie-pop single “Good bye-bye.” Since its September 20 release, the song about unrequited love has gained over 3 million Spotify streams, resulting in her gaining 758.5k new Spotify monthly listeners in the months since (for an overall 3976.8% increase). On the platform, the song charted higher in South Korea and Taiwan than in her home country of Japan, with fans in India and the United States also making up the top countries of her monthly listeners. Tomioka went to Seoul to do impromptu busking concerts that she publicized on TikTok (where she’s also gained 33.6k followers in the past month), signaling a growing strategy for Korean and Japanese artists to market to each other’s countries.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 31,726
After buzzing in the electronic underground for her esoteric art-pop for a few years, Copenhagen-based composer and singer ML Buch has gained notoriety with her sophomore album Suntub. Receiving an 8.0 from Pitchfork after its October 27 release, the album’s uncanny and surreal singles like “Flames shards goo” and “Well bucket” have received placements on Fresh Finds, All New Indie, and POLLEN. The new visibility led the artist to gain 2.2k new Spotify followers in the past month, a 13.69% increase.
The Method: Use Chart Insights to Find Hidden Data
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Japanese singer Ai Tomioka’s plaintive fall ballad “Good Bye-Bye” charting in East and South Asian countries like Korea, Taiwan, and India. But, would you believe that of all the country charts Tomioka has appeared on in the past seven days, her most charted location is in Ireland? Using the Charts section on an artist page on Chartmetric, we can see the exact songs that are performing well in some unusual places. Checking Apple Music’s chart events shows that all of Tomioka’s previous tracks are gaining traction in many countries outside of Japan, but only in Ireland are all five of her releases on a country’s top charts. Why that’s the case is a little unclear; maybe Tomioka’s sweet folksy melodies hit a chord with the Irish folk tradition. Regardless, data that can’t be gleaned at first glance is always worth highlighting and exploring.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Nov. 29, 2023.