By Vrinda Jagota, Colin Joyce, Leah Mandel, and Kemet High of Third Bridge Creative
This bi-weekly column highlights five artists we think are destined for big things, based on analysis of Chartmetric data and the deep knowledge of our contributors. Here, we look at a hard-to-categorize singer/songwriter, a rising Afrobeats star, a viral rapper from Florida, an indie-pop band from London, and a new star in the Bronx drill scene.
Chartmetric Rank: 7,185
Rahill Jamalifard wears many hats: she runs a popular NTS radio show, is a visual artist, and is the lead singer of Habibi, a band that fuses psych rock, Motown-inspired harmonies, and Iranian musical influences. Some of Habibi’s lyrics are in Farsi—beautifully reflecting a diasporic experience—a technique Rahill has incorporated into her solo music. Two years after the group’s last album, she signed with Big Dada before releasing her debut full-length album, Flowers At Your Feet, earlier this month. While Habibi’s monthly Spotify listeners sit at 75K, Rahill has dramatically grown to nearly 300K monthly listeners in the last two months. The record, produced by FKA twigs and Arca producer Alex Epton, introduces Rahill’s work to new audiences via placement on major Spotify playlists, including Pollen, All New Indie, and Chill Vibes.
Chartmetric Rank: 3,862
Lagos-born ODUMODUBLVCK has a unique spin on Nigeria's burgeoning drill scene. While other international versions of the hard-nosed rap subgenre favor heavy bass and gruff rapping, he and his compatriots in the Abuja scene merge the nimble rapping of the sound with the delicate arrangements of R&B and highlife, creating one of the genre’s breeziest mutations. Fans have caught on to the singer and rapper's charm; he’s recently signed to NATIVE Records, in a joint venture with Def Jam, and hit singles like the sunny “PICANTO” have earned him over 1.1M monthly listeners on Spotify. Recent singles like the rebellious “DECLAN RICE” and his guest appearance on Joeboy’s “Normally” (which just hit #36 on YouTube’s Nigeria Top Songs chart) have earned him prominent playlist placements on New Music Friday and Most Necessary.
Chartmetric Rank: 8,104
Florida rapper Icandy has experienced a precipitous rise over the past few months thanks to her hit single “Keep Dat N***a” and a TikTok dance challenge that powered the kiss-off to viral success. Powered by a sample of an old KC and the Sunshine Band hit, the track is a hard-partying celebration of leaving a worthless ex in the past, a relatable sentiment that’s led to over 500K videos on TikTok and helped her garner over 3.2M monthly listeners on Spotify—including a spot on Rap Caviar. And though the rest of her tracks haven’t garnered the same kind of success, her confident bars on 2022 singles like “Da Roof” and “Lie to Me” prove that she’s got the technical skills to back up her viral success.
Chartmetric Rank: 5,523
In the wave of recent British post-punk updates, bar italia is new wave-tinged lo-fi rock, à la Slowdive and The Cure. Think Heatmiser meets Yves Tumor with a drop of Dean Blunt, whose World Music label released the London band’s first three projects. Now signed with Matador, the trio’s gotten a little more indie pop polish while retaining some grittiness for their third album, Tracey Denim, released on May 19. In March, they released “Nurse!,” taking their Spotify monthly listeners from 50K to 200K. Despite rare interviews and little social media presence, bar italia’s success is independent of their visibility. The group has strong playlist support from Spotify, is currently on 38 Pandora stations, and has a handful of international Apple Music playlists.
Chartmetric Rank: 10,686
Sha Gz is a luminary in the Bronx’s glowing drill scene. High voltage songs like “New Opp,” “The Purge,” and “Better Off Dead” arrived early this year and emphasize his identity as a gritty-voiced stick talker. Those early catalog cuts have made him one of the most-streamed drill rappers in New York’s Tri-State area, in addition to earning 1.5M monthly listeners on Spotify. The 18-year-old, who is committed to diversifying his beat selections and painting the culture surrounding drill in a better light, is a fixture on paramount Spotify playlists like Most Necessary, Out the Mud, and State of Mind. With a Chartmetric score that’s gone up over 500% in the last six months, the newly minted Sony Music signee is working steadily towards drill’s top spot.
The Methodology: Spotify’s Fan Conversion Rate
The Spotify data available in Chartmetric is a rich source of information for analyzing up-and-coming artists. We’re all used to parsing the most obvious and frequently accessed information, such as the number of streams for a given track, but other data points provide a more nuanced look at how an artist is growing a fanbase. The Fan Conversion Rate is an intriguing metric that can highlight the difference between artists whose music may appear widely in playlists and thus is frequently streamed vs. artists that have fans willing to follow them. It represents the ratio of Spotify followers divided by Spotify monthly listeners. Artists with a high Fan Conversion Rate are inspiring a specific action on the part of the Spotify users—clicking the follow button—that could potentially represent a more active and engaged audience.