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Five Artists You May Not Have Heard Of To Start the New Year

If you have had the same songs on repeat for too long or are just looking for some new tunes to add to your playlist, look no further… I’ve got you. 

SIPHO.

SIPHO. is a singer-songwriter and producer. His music crosses the thresholds of many genres including R&B, gospel, and jazz. The Birmingham- raised artist has a nuanced and powerful sound, influenced by Frank Ocean, Solange, and Sampha.  AND GOD SAID, his recent EP plunges into his relationship with Christianity and spiritual scepticism while also addressing the struggles Gen-Z face and “all the fuckeries that we’re having to go through”

His impressive vocal range sets him aside from other artists. At times, his tunes are mellow and dream-like (ALMOST LOST and MOONLIGHT PT.1 and PT.2) which contrasts with his bold and sharp punchy tunes (BODIES and CIRCLES). The already signed Dirty Hit artist produces addictive songs which are rooted in enlightenment and perspective on life. 

Recommended songs: MOONLIGHT PT.1, OUTRO, OCCASION

LALA LALA

Lala Lala, formally known as Lillie West, is an indie powerhouse utilising syrupy guitar riffs, mellow synths, and crispy drums. If you like Phoebe Bridgers, Conor Oberst, and indie rock you’re bound to appreciate her tunes. The Chicago-based artist’s lyricism is poetic and at times macabre. West rifles through her experiences of loss, alcoholism, and toxic relationships. Superficially, the melancholic lyrics are concealed by the upbeat tone of her tunes which are oozing with catchy hooks and repetitions. The 28-year-old artist discusses the realities of adulthood while still making you feel like the main character in a teenage coming of age movie. 

Recommended songs: Lala Song, Destroyer, DIVER

Indigo DE SOUZA

The first time I discovered De Souza I had her two albums on repeat for weeks on end. Themes of existential angst, conflicting feelings of relationships, and death commonly feature in her colourful lyricism. Her indie-rock and synth-pop tunes are swimming in texture which stems from the snappy drums and gooey baselines that her vocals melt into. 

I Love My Mom, her debut album, grounds you in the importance of parental love which is permanent rather than relationships which can fade- “I love my mom more than any of you fools”. De Souza owns her physicality “And if you ghost on me again/These tits will ghost on you forever” while shunning ghosting in modern relationships. At times you’re enveloped by her tender vocals whereas seconds later you’re listening to her screaming, leading to a cathartic release. 

Any Shape You Take, her second album, dives deeper into motifs of mental health and death in songs such as Darker Than Death, Die/Cry and Kill Me. The North Carolina singer is honest and vulnerable while also producing refreshing tunes. Whether you’re feeling existential or heartbroken, you will appreciate De Souza’s grungy music. 

Recommended songs: Ghosts, Take Off Ur Pants, Kill Me

MAX POPE

I first discovered Pope through his cover of Florence with Loyle Carner. The Brighton born artist indulges in a plethora of soundscapes such as jazz, blues and indie-soul which complement his velvet voice to produce an angelic and smooth sound. In his most recent EP, UP, the influence and connection Pope developed with nature while taking a break from creating music has translated into serene tunes. His lyrics touch on life, love, and human connections. Pope’s songs feel soothing and gentle, relishing in sweet melodies which harvest an internal sense of peace. 

Recommended songs: Man On The Wire, Gone To Count Sheep, All That I Need 

LITTLE SIMZ

Simz is the rap god of our generation. If you find yourself lacking in motivation or empowerment Simz should be your go-to. Her six albums consist of soliloquies narrated by an introvert who’s confronting her daddy issues, observing the general incompetence of our government, and battling the misogyny embedded in the fabric of the music industry. She’s explicitly aware that she’s better than her peer rappers but she still faces discrimination which she expresses in her single Venom- “They would never wanna admit I’m the best here/From the mere fact that I’ve got ovaries”. 

The emotionally intelligent Londoner produces introspective and self-expressive lyrics. Groovy beats, R&B bass and orchestras mirror her emotions and amplify the energy already rife in her hip-hop songs. She’s “your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper”, if you haven’t already heard of her, you will not regret simmering in her tunes. 

Recommended songs: Wings, Pressure, Venom

This article is part of a themed week to commence the term at UOB Her Campus, focused on all things fresh, new and inspiring to kick off 2022.

Lily Turner

Bristol '23

Second year Geography student studying at Bristol Uni.
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