By Jaelani Turner-Williams, Leah Mandel, Michelle Hyun Kim, Peter A. Berry, and Colin Joyce of Third Bridge Creative
In this week’s column of emerging artists, we’re exploring a moody alternative rocker, a rising country TikTok sensation, a quintet very dedicated to their costumes, Afrobeats’ new princess, and a content creator whose luck is turning around.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 2,034
Vancouver native Ekkstacy is the latest singer-songwriter who is a progeny of the anarchic style of 2000s post-punk and indie rock. On Jan. 19, the independent artist went a nontraditional route and released a self-titled sophomore album. Fans of Ekkstacy are latching onto the sounds of his new LP (with its The Kid LAROI-assisted single “Alright” catching some buzz with 1.8 million Spotify streams), but his most popular song is his moody-yet-gentle 2021 TikTok hit “I Walk This Earth All By Myself” which has 174 million Spotify streams. While having 234k followers on the platform, Ekkstacy defied instant virality with his new album, and kept his riotous fans engaged with teasers of his upcoming tour and pop-up performances.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 10,202
Like Sound Signal alums Austin Williams and Dylan Gossett, former Georgia Southern University nose tackle Gavin Adcock has been savvily using TikTok — where he has 336k followers — to his advantage, posting jokes and relationship musings to clips of his music. Since the 25-year-old self-released his debut album Bonfire Blackout last May, half of its songs have racked up Spotify streams in the millions and two tracks have over 14 million. “Four Leaf Clover,” Adcock’s new single, has reached 1.6 million Spotify streams and 447k YouTube views since its release on January 19. And his forthcoming southern tour, on which he’ll play a show in Louisiana with Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and Hank Williams, Jr., is almost sold out. Not too shabby.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 1,524
With their extravagant baroque-pop arrangements and Victorian-era outfits, British indie rock band The Last Dinner Party catapulted into the spotlight last year and only continue to grow. Following their breakout TikTok viral April 2023 single “Nothing Matters” (26.8 million Spotify streams), the five-piece all-female group has captivated listeners with their art-punk attitude that subverts 19th-century European aesthetics. As hype grows around their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, due out in February, they’ve gained 1.7 million new Spotify monthly listeners (126% increase) and 32k new TikTok followers (77.6% increase) in the past month alone. With a North American tour slated for the spring, their stateside crossover seems imminent.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 3,526
It's early, but Qing Madi has the tools to be an Afrobeats star. Her BNXN-assisted 2023 single, "Ole" has collected 12 million Spotify streams, 9.4 million YouTube views, and garnered a solid presence on TikTok. Her other songs, like "American Love", are picking up steam, too. More qualitatively speaking, Qing's voice is gentle and intimate, like a best friend's secret, a quality that imbues her songs with engrossing layers of vulnerability and understated cool; think Aaliyah. At only 17, she's got a lot of time to refine her craft and further develop her audience, and it’s exciting to think about what paths she may take with her budding career.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 1,003
Canadian content creator Tiagz has been chasing viral fame for the better part of the decade through the remixes and music content he’s posted to YouTube and TikTok. In 2020, Pitchfork referred to him as “the most hated producer on TikTok,” who drew negative attention for his constant flipping of memes into low-effort viral tracks. But, in the years since, he’s re-emerged as a sincere producer of dance music. His track “Tacata,” which draws on the influence of the Brazilian genre baile funk, has taken off on TikTok, soundtracking over 1 million videos, and has drawn genuine appreciation from the sorts of sources that once criticized him. A new remix, featuring Regional Mexican stars Fuerza Regida and dembow icon El Alfa, seems poised to send the track to even greater heights, proof of his understanding of the viral ecosystem.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Feb. 2, 2024.