Music lovers are curious to listen to the new trends that the top new music artists around the world are bringing on. Independent musicians are having global exposure through platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify, YouTube and Instagram. Some artists make a point of masking their regional accents in their music, to ensure a better shot at breaking through global markets while some others stay true to their culture.
The “indie” title in rock music will be a confusing one. It was originally used to refer to bands that operated outside of the mainstream but have come to be referred to a particular genre that involved catchy lead guitars, energetic drum beats and wordy lyrics. We’ve charted young indie rock artists from around the world you should listen to right now.
The 24-year-old French-British rapper, singer, and songwriter from London has established himself as one of the UK’s best indie artists after experiencing homelessness and poverty. This distinguishable artist combines house, techno, grime and drill in his songs that makes people so excited and gives a sense that anything and everything is possible for his future. Octavian has won the BBC’s Music of Sound Award in 2019. He has appeared on tracks produced by Diplo, Mura Masa, Take a Day Trip, JRick and A2 and has collaborated with popular artists including Skepta and A$AP Ferg. He is signed to the British record label Black Butter Records.
The Indian singer-songwriter Aditi Ramesh is known for her compositions that seamlessly merge pop, jazz and Carnatic classical to forge a distinct sound. She is loved by the audience for her refreshing candid way of songwriting. Most of her works are based on daily experiences which include Marriageable Age, which is about parental pressure, and Stuff On Our Minds, which is about people’s need to get wasted. Aditi has played over 50 gigs, in eight cities across the country including NH 7 Weekender, Pune. She started the all-female band Ladies Compartment. She has toured in various cities, judged college singing competitions and composed music for a short film. She is a part of four bands which includes her own Aditi Ramesh ensemble – Ladies Compartment and a jazz-fusion band Jazztronaut.
The Indian electronic music producer Ritviz Srivastava has already had his breakthrough moment with the popular music video Udd Gaye, the official Bacardi house party anthem, that was released in 2017 on the comedy collective All India Bakchod’s YouTube channel. Ritviz realised his call for electronic music and was inspired by the house producer Tiesto. He established his signature sound which he calls ‘Hindustani dance music” is a mid-way point between the club-oriented instrumental dance tracks and the more melodic vocals-based compositions. He released Barso, Jeet and Ved following the immense popularity of the first song Udd Gaye. His bass-heavy tracks are generously peppered with Hindustani Classical music.
The 23-year-old British singer and songwriter from London crafts soulful, piano-led pop. Her debut single was Silence, released in May 2017. She is best known for her single Why Her Not Me, which she wrote about her father’s choosing another life over raising her. The audiences regard the single as another breakup ballad. She became one of the popular indie artists among a broader audience by supporting Dua Lipa during The Self-Titled Tour in October 2017, and with her supporting act for other performers including Rag’n’Bone Man. Grace described herself as angry, frustrated and heartbroken in her childhood and was changed after her stepfather gave her a guitar.
Mikaela Mullaney Straus
The 21-year-old American singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer from Brooklyn, New York is known by her stage name King Princess. She became one of the best indie singers with her singles 1950 and Talia released in 2018 before her debut album Cheap Queen was released in 2019. The former One Direction superstar Harry Styles is often credited for King Princess’ stratospheric rise as he tweeted lyrics from her debut single, 1950, to his 33 million followers a few weeks after its release. However, 1950 was one of the best songs of 2018 and would have surely found its audience without him. She is assured to gain the left-field pop stardom enjoyed by the likes of Years & Years and Hayley Kiyoko as she recently signed to Mark Ronson’s label Zelig Records, an imprint of Columbia Records.
The 20-year-old Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, rapper, deejay and guitarist from Spanish Town, Jamaica is better known as Koffee. She rose to prominence with her debut single Burning in 2017. The artist, who signed with Columbia Records in 2019, cites reggae legend Protoje and rapper Giggs as her influences. Koffee shared the stage with the reggae star, Chronixx, while supporting him during his UK tour in 2019. She is now on the mission to come up with music for preserving and sharing Jamaica’s roots and empowering the youth of her generation. She has won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2020 for her 2019 EP Rapture. She became the youngest person and only woman to be awarded in the Best Reggae Album category.
The 26-year-old English singer, songwriter, and record producer has been popular for mainstream radio support from BBC and his collaborations with James Bay, Chance the Rapper, Allen Stone, Pharrell, Rag’n’Bone Man and Maverick Sabre. His background in gospel complements his music to be soul-warming. His latest singles are Only One to Blame released in 2019 and Change for Me released in 2020. He cites Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye as inspiration for his music that combines classic pop and hip-hop influences with that gospel sound. He has signed for the American record label Columbia Records.
The 24-year-old Thai-born, New Zealand-raised indie musician based in Bangkok started composing music at the age of 18. He became one of the top indie artists from Thailand with his single Lover Boy released in 2018. Phum has gained a lot of airplay for his music inspired from various genres, especially neo-soul. He has quickly reached among a broader international audience online in the past couple of years. His latest single release is Softly Spoken from the album Bangkok Balter Club followed by Lover Boy released in 2018 and Hello Anxiety released in 2019. He has toured internationally in 2018, performing in various countries in Asia, Europe, and America.
The 26-year-old Malaysian singer-songwriter Bil Musa, who hails from Kuala Lumpur, is popular for her gorgeous pop music creations. Her music stands out with well-crafted, smart, and soulful lyrics which range from upbeat and energetic to chill and relaxing. She started her career by releasing her acoustic guitar-based songs on Soundcloud and quickly adapted her style to become more digital and pop-based. She signed for Malaysian record label Yuna Room Music in 2014 and performed at various events and festivals like Urbanscapes, Laneway Festival, Festival Belia, Rock The World and Iskarnival. Her latest singles are Let Me In, released in 2020.
The Indonesian singer and songwriter is one of the good indie artists with her soulful, husky and powerful voice reminiscent of Erykah Badu. Her songs are mostly about love, life, and everything in between and are mostly rooted in gospel, jazz, soul and pop music. She has collaborated with various Indonesian musicians and bands such as Iwan Fals, Jamie Aditya, Benny Likumahuwa and Jazz Connection in her early career. Her debut singles album HELA released in 2016. HELA is a multi-colour album that is poetically presented and deeply explored. Her latest single “ Apart was released in January 2019. Her lyrics are mostly light-hearted and carry the undeniable romantic spirit of soul and jazz music.