Music

On The Up: The Must-Hear Emerging Artists This Month

We’re bringing you another new crop of emerging talent to put firmly on your radar this month. Our June edition features artists are collectively delivering daydreaming Texas indie rock, powerful trans rap and pop anthems, multinational R&B, Rick Rubin-approved Americana, and indulgent art-pop. Peep our latest slate of must hear artists On The Up below.

Why Bonnie

Originally from Houston but now living in New York, Why Bonnie are the latest signees to Texas-based label Keeled Scales — the home to fellow Lone Star State natives like Sun June and Buck Meek. Fronted by Blair Howerton, Why Bonnie glistens with the same sun-soaked sentimentality as that of their label-mates. Where 2018’s The NightgownEP showed promise from the indie rockers, early singles from their upcoming debut album, 90 In November, flash polish in Howerton’s ambitious lyricism and reassuring melodies. “I wanted to capture the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to the landscape that shaped you while still dealing with the anxieties of what lies ahead,” Howerton said of the title track. It’s a lovely intention and how Zach Braff’s classic Garden State explored the idea of when “home” isn’t home anymore. 90 In November comes out on August 19th.

ZORA

ZORA is a Minneapolis-based trans rapper, singer, and producer, making incredibly important music. Her latest single, “All Around The World!” was written as a trans pop anthem in the wake of numerous, inexplicable anti-trans bills being brought up by lawmakers. On “Runnitup,” the 22-year old spits like Leikeli47 over menacing footwork production. And the way she delivers the chorus on “Happiest I’ve Ever Been” is a powerful moment meant to come across with both acceptance for her refreshed mind-state, but still a sense of unease because it surely came at a cost. This is music about acceptance, realizations about who we are, and that people need to be allowed to be themselves to be truly happy. Zora’s debut album, Z1, is due out on June 17th via Get Better Records, a queer and trans owned and operated independent label.

Marcus King

Hailing from Greenville, South Carolina, Marcus King first picked up a guitar when he was 3 years old and never looked back. The 26-year-old writes songs like Steve Miller and sings like Chris Stapleton. His 2020 album, El Dorado, was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and received a sneaky Grammy nod for Best Americana Album. Now he’s set to release his next album, Young Blood, on August 26th, which is once again produced by Auerbach and will be out on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings and Republic Records. Something tells us that this is who his labelmate Post Malone aspires to sound like when he dabbles in country songs.

Charlotte Dos Santos

On her 2017 Cleo EP on Fresh Selects, Charlotte Dos Santos established herself as an equal parts jazzy and exotic R&B vocalist. Tracks like “Red Clay” show the unique context she has as a Norwegian-Brazilian and now with her debut album, Morfo, due out in October on Because Music (Christine And The Queens, Metronomy), she’s promising to lean in even harder to her roots. “I am a child of the world, born in two cultures and on this album I am digging deeper into my ancestral roots and into my consciousness,” she said in a statement. On new singles “Hello, Hello” and especially “Away From You,” Dos Santos is downright elegant, but approachable at every turn.

Ruby Red

Ruby Red is the Oakland-born, LA-based alt-pop duo of Daniel Laner and Fernando Fine. Their productions are taking off in bigger, bolder fashion than on their modest, but notable 2020 Area Of Effect EP. On new tracks like “Too Late To Call” and “Overflow,” the synths are bouncing harder, the lyrics are more assertive and the overall vibes are well… sweatier. And like all good pop music, theirs is growing deeper towards emotional dancefloors with hooks that hit.

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