By Brandon Ousley, Michelle Hyun Kim, Peter A. Berry, and Jaelani Turner-Williams of Third Bridge Creative
In this edition of the Trending Tracks Report, we discuss an Australian singer with an ear for soul, a surprise hit from Russia, a breakthrough track from an R&B vet, a dance cut that went viral in a slowed-down version, and a dreamy track from a young U.K. artist on the rise.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 22,872
@jacotene Thankyou for all of the love on “You Already Know”. Out now on all platforms! ❤️ #fyp #youalreadyknow #accapella ♬ you already know [demo_2021].wav - JACOTÉNE
Gifted with a soaring, resonant voice that's a cross between Adele and Amy Winehouse, 17-year-old Australian singer-songwriter JACOTÉNE’s buzz is rising, thanks to her second single, “you already know [demo_2021].wav.” True to dusting off pre-fame demos in the wake of her triple j Unearthed High win, the Epic Records UK signee revealed in an Instagram post that she penned the tearjerking power ballad at 15 years old. Her captivating delivery of the song’s wistful lyrics is striking a chord, attracting over 200k views on TikTok with posts of her singing it in various settings. Since its August 9 release and viral buzz, the song has had 280k Spotify spins and landed on editorial playlists like Next Gen Singer-Songwriters and R&B Weekly. These gains in the song’s growing appeal prove that JACOTÉNE is destined for stardom.
akiaura, LONOWN, and STM: “Sleepwalker”
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 3,318
With their latest TikTok hit, “Sleepwalker,” three relatively unknown musicians, akiaura, LONOWN, and STM, made their mark on the goth internet when the track debuted at No. 42 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart in the first week of September. Influenced by the gloomy sounds of Crystal Castles and darkwave, producers akiaura and LONOWN first released “Sleepwalker,” featuring ethereal vocals from 20-year-old electronic artist STM, on their June 30-released EP Ketamine Girl. The song instantaneously started circulating, amassing 13.5k TikTok videos and 15.2 million Spotify streams since June, along with a slowed remix released July 14 that has garnered 7 million Spotify streams. With some TikTok curators categorizing the song as phonk, originally a subset of Southern trap now popular on TikTok as a form of EDM, “Sleepwalker” shows how amorphous the label has become.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 755
Tinashe’s hazy and atmospheric new single “Uh Huh” shows a return to the pop singer’s DIY mixtape origins. On September 8, the 30-year-old released her sixth album BB/Ang3l, her third overall as an independent artist, following 2019’s Songs for You and 2021’s 333. Increasingly becoming a TikTok staple for its wistful and repetitious hook, “Uh Huh” now has 1 million Spotify streams. Also pegged to the album’s release, the single’s alluring music video — a minimalistic visual following “Talk to Me Nice” — garnered 1.2 million views since its premiere. Tinashe’s third BB/Ang3l single, “Uh Huh” flaunts the singer-songwriter’s mastery of alt-pop expression.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 2,016
Drawing on sugar-rushing rave pop and the heartfelt emotionality of emo, SUICIDAL-IDOL’s “ecstasy” was a genre-blurring dance track aimed straight at the saddest corners of the dancefloor when it was originally released in 2022. But the version that’s taken off on TikTok this summer (to the tune of 150k posts) is a little different. It’s a slowed version that totally transforms the song into something more delirious and strange. It’s easy to imagine with the pummeling, slow motion beats that it is connecting with creators who are used to similar sounds from TikTok-popular genres like phonk and synthwave. Consequently, it’s landed on several editorial playlists like big on the internet and Viral Hits Deutschland. Its success is a testament to the power of these sorts of remixes; it can change an older song's potential audience and impact.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 103
@kenyagracebaby Writing sad songs is my therapy 🥲✨ #songwriter #femaleproducer #dancemusic #drumandbass #dnb #liquid ♬ Strangers - Kenya Grace
British artist Kenya Grace released her major label debut, “Strangers,” on September 1, and is already projected to hit No. 3 on the official UK Singles Chart after debuting at No. 20. The track, which pairs drum and bass with dreamy, yearning-tinged vocals reminiscent of 2010s indie-rock artists like Stars, went viral on Instagram Reels as well as TikTok, where it has been used in 544k posts. Grace experienced more minor bouts of virality with previous songs (like last September's "Oranges" which was used in 10.9k posts), but her latest effort is evidence she knows how to work her social media presence. After she posted a snippet of “Strangers” on July 13, she made videos of herself working on the song twice more, released slowed-down and sped-up versions of the track, dropped a snippet on SoundCloud, continuing to promote the single long after its release.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Sept. 25, 2023.