Tomorrow’s Five: hemlocke springs, Ralphie Choo, Between Friends, Scar Lip, and Lava La Rue
by Colin Joyce, Vrinda Jagota, Andrew Marcogliese, and Kemet High of Third Bridge Creative
This bi-weekly column identifies five artists that you’ll be hearing from in the future, based on analysis of Chartmetric data and the deep knowledge of our contributors. In this installment, we highlight a singer-songwriter from North Carolina, a Spanish singer/producer who builds on the innovations of Rosalía, a duo offering a fresh take on indie pop, a Bronx rapper, and a West London rapper who stepped out with a surprising psychedelic track.
Chartmetric Rank: 2,706
Genre: Indie Pop
hemlocke springs is making what she calls "awkward Black girl anthem[s]." The North Carolina-born singer-songwriter has made millions of fans with charming, colorful pop over the last few years while working toward a graduate degree in Bioinformatics at Dartmouth as Isimeme Udu. Her breakout hit “girlfriend” was a TikTok sensation soon after its release, garnering comparisons to Prince, and it logged more than 75K TikTok videos. In the year since, her success kept rising with off-kilter tracks like "sever the blight" and "Stranger Danger!" that recall Kate Bush, new wave, and the more vibrant strains of post-punk, gathering over 1M Spotify monthly listeners along the way.
Chartmetric Rank: 30,927
Madrid-based singer and producer Ralphie Choo pushes forward the sound Rosalía has pioneered—an intricate fusion of flamenco, R&B, and rap into the jagged, glitchy world of hyperpop. He has only a handful of releases out—one of which boosted his profile when it was named Best New Track on Pitchfork last October. Following his recent COLORS Studio performance and these releases with fellow genre-bending artists like Dellafuente and Dinamarca, Ralphie Choo’s profile is on the rise: his Spotify monthly listeners increased by 80% in the last month, leaving him with 481K listeners. He’s also been featured on numerous Spotify playlists, including Radar Indie, Jaleo, and mamá cool. With so many new fans and a bold, singular take on flamenco, Choo is primed to become the next pioneer of experimental pop.
Chartmetric Rank: 4,186
Sibling duo Between Friends makes the kind of mid-2000s-inspired indie pop that Gen-Z could consider easy listening. Their latest single, "Redlight,” featuring Texas alt-rapper Teezo Touchdown, evokes the boisterous spirit of MGMT, Passion Pit, or Miike Snow. On April 7, the group released "Bruise," gaining significant traction on Spotify's indie playlists like Ultimate Indie and Lorem, while their 2022 hit "more" made a splash on TikTok, earning almost 10K videos created this spring, and saw over 280K playlist adds on Spotify since its release. After performing a string of sold-out shows last year, the dynamic sibling duo is poised to lead the next generation of indie pop.
Chartmetric Rank: 10,147
With “This Is New York,” Scar Lip staked her claim as the Bronx’s latest provocateur. In April, her Chartmetric rank rose nearly 90% three days after releasing the pugnacious track, thanks to fans who gravitated towards Scar’s plain-spoken commandments about what’s welcomed in her hometown. Despite the single’s regional appeal, the single has only swelled Scar’s reach: In three weeks she’s gone from 40K monthly Spotify listeners to 140K and received co-signs from fellow NYC natives like Cardi B and 50 Cent. A recent fixture on Spotify playlists like Fresh Finds: Hip-Hop and Pressure (extending her DSP reach to nearly 3M people), Scar is primed to continue winning with her brand of a gully, raw energy.
Chartmetric Rank: 3,656
West London musician Lava La Rue has been making dreamy, melodic lo-fi rap since 2018, but their new psychedelic rock single is a stark departure. “Renegade” leans on the live instrumentation of the punk bands that inspired them as a child. “This was the first time I was making music that sounds like the music I want to listen to,” they told Billboard. “Renegade” has been featured on major Spotify playlists like All New Indie (1.2M likes), Modern Psychedelia (874K likes), and Today’s Indie Rock (844K likes). Following a U.S. tour, two Coachella performances, and a new deal with the notable British alternative label Dirty Hit (home to pop mainstays like Rina Sawayama and beabadoobee), audiences seem to be craving Lava La Rue’s sound no matter where it goes.
The Method: Co-Signs and Social Media Impact
If you have an eye out for artists who are about to break, among the most time-tested and reliable signals is that an artist receives a co-sign or a feature from another artist further along on their path. This is the most basic tool for gauging when an artist is about to go to the next level, and one of the more reliable—though of course, nothing is ever one hundred percent—showing interest in the emerging artist from would-be peers as well as, often, from the industry at large.
A related signal that can be useful is a relatively new feature on Chartmetric, the Social Media Impact score. This scale measures “professional importance on social media platforms including Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and SoundCloud.” Chartmetric determines importance by “notable verified followers, using Google’s PageRank algorithm.” In other words, it’s a relative measure of how many notable people are paying attention to this artist. For an artist in an earlier career stage, the presence of a certain threshold of notable and influential followers on social media suggests that bigger things may be coming soon.