By Michelle Hyun Kim, Leah Mandel, Brandon Ousley, Colin Joyce, and Jaelani Turner-Williams of Third Bridge Creative
This edition of our column predicting five artists on the rise features a TikTok comic by day and an indie rocker by night, an R&B singer channeling Mississippi soul, a cerebral electronic force, Inglewood's teen sensation, and an indie pop musician with a pretty cool day job.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 10,119
With her experimental take on IDM that folds in ambient and emo influences, London-raised producer Loraine James has become a buzzy artist to watch in the electronic world. After collaborating with the likes of Baths and Yaeji in recent years, she’s seen her profile rise since the September 22 release of Gentle Confrontation, her third studio album on Hyperdub. The LP, which sees James substituting her conventionally spiky rhythms and textures for a more meditative sound, has brought her 27k new Spotify monthly listeners in the past month (an overall 69% increase), as well as 1.2k SoundCloud streams in the past three months.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 8,009
Genre: Indie Rock
Peter Martin, the Detroit-raised, Chicago-based musician, played drums in local emo-indie band Young Jesus, before beginning his solo career. At the start of 2020, a friend convinced him to use TikTok, and eventually, his absurdist comic videos were blowing up. So, Petey was known for his skits on TikTok (where he has 1.5 million followers) when songs like “Haircut” with Miya Folick (2.9 million Spotify streams), and “DON’T TELL THE BOYS” (5.4 million) came out in 2021. Now signed to Capitol, Petey’s new album USA is charming, fun (despite its synthy, Modest Mouse-inspired ‘00s emo sound), and attuned to pop culture moments, weird emotions, and life’s little-and-big truths, just like his humor. Petey ranks among the top 2k in Chartmetric’s rock artist ranking and is featured in Apple Music’s “We’re Loving” section.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 5,789
Non-binary Sudanese-American singer Dua Saleh is in for a reintroduction. This year, the Minnesota-raised artist signed to independent record label Ghostly International, following the release of three EPs: 2019’s Nūr, 2020’s ROSETTA, and 2021’s CROSSOVER. An inventive blend of R&B, rap, electronic pop, and rock, Saleh drives their progressive genius forward on the cathartic new single, “daylight falls,” which debuted on September 20. While Saleh being a cast member on Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education helps their growing popularity, “daylight falls” currently has 86k Spotify streams and 22.7k YouTube views. Apart from prepping their forthcoming full-length LP, Saleh wrote the emotive track “MY EYES” from Travis Scott’s latest album, UTOPIA. With their resurgence — and the September 21 launch of Sex Education’s season four — Saleh’s Charmetric artist rank has jumped 22.6k positions over the past 3 months.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 14,124
TA Thomas’ passionate voice made its first splash in RCA’s R&B group, Next Town Down. Now solo, the Mississippi singer-songwriter is perfecting the smooth and sensual sound he dubs as “Southern soul,” expressing love's joys, pleasures, and fragilities. He released his debut EP, Caught Between 2 Worlds on September 22, led by singles “June 15th,” “W.I.A (Where I’m At),” and “Pros and Cons,” which have all generated more than 100k Spotify streams and landed spots on several Apple Music editorial playlists, including Breaking R&B and New Music Daily. The EP’s soul-bearing title cut, “Caught Between 2 Worlds” is currently getting a major push with 102.9k Spotify streams. Since the release of the EP, the rising R&B sensation’s Chartmetric artist rank has risen 1.1k spots, and his Spotify monthly listeners have grown 52.7%.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 865
Just as summer came to a close, 17-year-old Inglewood rapper 310babii began making waves with “Soak City (Do It),” his sunny ode to letting your freak flag fly. It was an immediate hit on short form video, soundtracking over 79k videos on Tiktok, and it also attracted the attention of industry vets and tastemaking young stars. There’s a remix featuring fellow LA locals like the charismatic jokesters BlueBucksClan, Tyga, superproducer DJ Mustard, and Shoreline Mafia’s OhGeesy. Off the strength of that remix, the original track — and 310babii’s work as a whole — has drawn the eye of curators at Spotify, landing him on playlists like Internet People, Get Turnt, Most Necessary, and more. He’s just a teen, and he’s still yet to play his first show, but all eyes in the LA area seem to be on him.
The Method: Keeping It Local
Not every breaking artist needs to have their eye set on global domination, especially if their hometown is already repping them better than a national PR campaign could. In the case of the success of 310babii’s “Soak City (Do it)," the viral dance trend didn’t come from a popular influencer but courtesy of the halls of 310babii’s own high school. That hyper-local engagement was enough to kickstart the track’s journey through short form, as the dance and song spread beyond the westside. But no one is forgetting 310babii’s roots: he currently graces the cover of Spotify’s Westside Story playlist, and of the 117 plays he’s gotten on radio over the last 28 days, 70% of those spins came from Los Angeles. There’s no doubt more to come from the young rapper, but whatever’s next doesn’t need to be a national smash — the LA scene is well-equipped to lift him up.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Oct. 3, 2023.