By Michelle Hyun Kim, Kemet High, Leah Mandel, and Vrinda Jagota of Third Bridge Creative
The latest edition of our bi-weekly column spotlighting artists that you’ll be hearing from in the future features a breaking K-Pop outfit, and emo rapper on the verge of stardom, a genre-busting singer from the U.K., a dance producer from Atlanta, and a rap duo with a unique brand of lyricism.
Chartmetric Rank: 3,061
Country: South Korea
The latest global crossover stars to emerge from South Korea’s indie rock scene are wave to earth, a DIY-minded trio whose city pop and jazz-inflected songs have become TikTok hits. This March, their 2020 track “seasons” became popular among TikTok users in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries who fell in love with its nostalgic sensibility. As the sleeper hit continues to grow with 58K TikTok Videos and 28.4M Spotify streams, one of wave to earth’s newer songs, “bad,” from their April album 0.1 flaws and all., is also gaining steam with 18.4k TikTok videos. With their number of monthly Spotify listeners increasing by over 2M over the last three months, the band hopes to expand their following into the US when they embark on their first North American tour this August.
Chartmetric Rank: 9,577
After introducing himself to the masses with dark wave songs like “sadboy” in 2019, Zzz. is now the next big thing on Grade A Productions, an imprint ran by Lil Bibby that previously assisted in the rise of The Kid LAROI and the late Juice WRLD. Similar to his labelmates’ coveted output of emo rap, Zzz.’s ability to coalesce unguarded lyrics and dejected melodies has put him in high demand among fans. Recent single “Sad & Alone” with Trippie Redd and last year’s “How Does It Feel” are evidence of how aurally convincing his music is, even if everyone doesn’t relate to it. The tracks have also been used to flavor editorial playlists like Internet People, DOPE., and tear drop on Spotify, where Zzz. has over 750K monthly listeners with just a few official songs out on the platform to date. In the thriving space of emo rap, he’s primed to continue making noise.
Chartmetric Rank: 1,447
Amaarae first hit the radar in 2020 with her debut album, THE ANGEL YOU DON'T KNOW, a fluid mix of Afro-futuristic beats, soft R&B, and nostalgic Y2K pop. In the three years following her breakout record, the Ghanaian-American artist has kept up the momentum: a remix version of her single “SAD GURLZ LUV MONEY” with Kali Uchis went viral in 2021, and has since reached over 346M listeners on Spotify In May, she was featured on KAYTRANADA and Aminé's joint project KAYTRAMINÉ with the song “Sossaup,” which was added to Viral 50 playlists on Spotify around the world. And this June saw the release of her second album and first on Interscope Records, Fountain Baby, to critical and commercial success. Lead single "Reckless & Sweet" has racked up over 7M Spotify streams, and her Chartmetric rank reached a peak of 711 this month. She’s got the sound, the look, the vibe, and most importantly, the fans of a pop star in the making.
Chartmetric Rank: 18,645
Atlanta-based producer Nikki Nair is one of the most exciting innovators in genre-blending dance music. He got his start DJing in an underground, DIY party scene in Nashville called TEKNOX, and started releasing music in 2018. Since then, he has been spotlighted by Four Tet, has started his own label for tracks deemed too offbeat for other labels, and has released countless tracks on Dirtybird, Fool’s Gold, and Warp that mix footwork, jungle, Baltimore club, UK bass, and more. He just released a collaborative EP with Hudson Mohawke called Set The Roof that is gaining traction, largely due to its playlist reach of 2.3M on Spotify.
Chartmetric Rank: 1,267
Flyana Boss, a duo that consists of Bobbi Lanea and Folayan Kunered, got their start as classically trained instrumentalists in college. Eventually, they went from trading verses over YouTube beats to recording music officially, starting with 2019’s “Bossi.” The track showcases their developing brand of caption-worthy punchlines, self-accepting lyrics and animated cadences. Those descriptions speak to why they’ve become household names on TikTok. Their follower count is quickly climbing to 600K, and they’ve already amassed over 13.8M cumulative likes so far. Most of that high engagement stems from the visuals that they’ve uploaded to tease their bossy banger “You Wish,” released in early June. They’ve gone viral for their Tiktok series that shows them rapping along with the track as they ride bikes, run around supermarkets or sprint through train cars (among other things). The song has also garnered upwards of 3M streams on Spotify, and has been featured on editorial playlists like Feelin’ Myself and big on the internet.
The Method: Using TikTok Insights to Identify Viral Moments
Spotting a trending sound on TikTok might be easy if you’re an avid user of the platform, with a carefully curated For You page and the available time to scroll endlessly through a never ending sea of content. But when you’re looking for a specific artist, the vastness of TikTok can suddenly seem more overwhelming than exciting. Luckily, Chartmetric’s TikTok insights make finding viral moments simple and accessible.
Take the popularity of wave to earth’s song “seasons.” As mentioned earlier, Chartmetric’s track stats tell us that the song is exploding on TikTok, but is there a way to clearly validate those numbers with another form of data? Heading to the track’s Tiktok insights page on Chartmetric is a great starting point. Here, we can look at videos from multiple angles: posts that are currently trending; posts with the most likes, views, and comments; and we can even pinpoint the first videos to use this track on the platform. You can also look back at a video’s number of views, likes, and comments over time to check that a viral moment still has staying impact. With these insights, it’s possible to sort through the clutter of content to find visual data that is actually useful, and can help you make smart decisions.