This edition of our bi-weekly column highlighting five artists that you’ll be hearing from features a Texas rapper with co-signs from regional legends, an emerging acoustic folk artist, a new songwriter interested in genre exploration, a Detroit rapper with a flair for storytelling, and a genre-hopping indie-pop artist from Canada.
Chartmetric Rank: 3,766
Bay City, Texas rapper Virgil René Gazca has built a reputation as a nimble creator of slick flexes and sly threats on the brash tracks he makes under the name That Mexican OT. He’s had low-key hits, including the biting “La Cobra,” the sleek “Slide,” and his boisterous shoutout to his crew “Kick Doe Click,” but over the last few weeks, his latest single “Johnny Dang” (released May 26) has proven a real breakout moment. Boosted by features from Texas legend Paul Wall and DRODi, the song has entered YouTube’s US Top Songs chart, peaking at #61, and garnered editorial placements on Get Turnt, Most Necessary, and Internet People. TMOT now has over 1.2M monthly listeners on Spotify (after sitting at 100K in mid-May), which seems to grow with each breakneck bar he spits.
Chartmetric Score: 8,349
Ahead of The King, his first full-length for record label 4AD coming out on September 8, Anjimile has shared a title track–signaling the beginning of groundbreaking success. In this track, the folk singer-songwriter sharpens the delicate acoustic guitar stylings of his debut album, Giver Taker, as a clamor of arpeggiated steel strings and ominous choral vocals create a sense of extravagance and power. The track, which delves into themes of spirituality and self-determination, has also ready been placed on Spotify’s All New Indie (1.3M followers) and Terra Incognita (193.1K) playlists.
Chartmetric Score: 5,849
Genre: Indie Folk
After appearing on JPEGMAFIA’s 2019 “Free the Frail,” Helena Deland’s celestial indie folk has been a slow burn. Since releasing Someone New, her debut album in 2020, and Hildegard, a joint album with fellow Montrealer Ouri the following year, the Canadian singer-songwriter made writing about the human connection an art form. In May, Deland returned to a steady stream of support for two new singles: “Deceiver” and “Spring Bug.” The first one is a collaboration with electronic artist claire rousay for Mexican Summer's Looking Glass series, which reached the top 65% of the most popular songs on Spotify weeks after its release. The second one is her first solo single in three years and seems to have boosted the artist's popularity as her Chartmetric rank has increased 77% since the release. Support for Deland is steady; her songs (including 2018’s “Claudion”) have been placed on 16.9K total Spotify playlists, including All New Indie and undercurrents.
Chartmetric Score: 10,565
Detroit native Veeze’s popularity is a result of his whimsical storytelling and slick wordplay, but his approach is far more jocular than his peers. He hasn’t released a full project since 2019’s Navy Wavy, only building anticipation for the follow-up, Ganger. The project’s lead single “GOMD,” originally released in March, has seen a 262% increase in views on YouTube (nearly 5M). In May, the track received a rambunctious remix featuring Lil Uzi Vert, boosting the track’s presence on TikTok by nearly 17%. Veeze, who is based in Atlanta, serves as an extension of the Detroit to ATL pipeline (as formed by Jeezy) with co-signs from Lil Yachty and Lil Baby. With midwest and southern markets behind him—and editorial support on playlists like Out the Mud and Most Necessary—Veeze is a cross-regional talent.
Chartmetric Score: 3,382
Genre: Indie Pop
Saya Gray’s music is a document of a mind ablaze: Listen to her radiant mix of jazz, pop, and rock, and you might hear Gray archiving everything from heartache to existential crises. Last year, after signing to British indie label Dirty Hit, she released her debut album 19 Masters, which received critical acclaim on year-end lists at NPR and TIME. Following the May 25th release of her newest EP, QWERTY, as well as her solo debut at Primavera Sound days later, her profile has soared: Her Chartmetric score has increased by 16.2K spots. In the two and a half weeks since the release of the project, her Spotify monthly listeners have also grown by 67%, with much of that growth coming from Spotify playlist support like POLLEN and All New Indie.
The Method: TikTok Followers vs. TikTok Videos
You can’t do artist discovery without TikTok. The short-form video platform, which launched internationally in September 2017, has for the past several years been one of the most important tools for understanding which tracks and artists are breaking and how fans are engaging with their music. When looking at TikTok status for this feature as well as the Trending Tracks Report, we pay close attention to changes in both TikTok Followers or the number of TikTok Videos created for a particular track. A spike in TikTok followers potentially represents passion for the artist themselves and often suggests that the artist is proficient in creating content for the platform. An artist that knows how to use TikTok well obviously has a serious advantage in terms of getting their music into the hands of passionate fans. The number of TikTok videos for a given track, however, may or may not represent a strong interest in the artist themselves, but it does speak to the utility of the music for TikTok content creators. There are often overlaps between these metrics, of course. Certain artists excel at both their own short-form content, and at creating music that lends itself to adoption by other creators, and when they hit this sweet spot, and we can see this proficiency for an artist early on, it bodes well for their long-term popularity.