I always think it’s funny when I follow an artist online and think to myself, “Oh wow, they don’t have that many followers,” after seeing that they have ~80,000 followers. I laugh to myself because after that immediate thought, I realize that while 80k might seem small next to follower counts like Ariana Grande’s 276 million, 80k people is a LOT of people. Nevertheless, whenever I find a musician or band who has a “small” following, I feel embarrassingly proud of myself for finding an “unknown” artist. While the greedy, gatekeeping devil on my left shoulder tells me I should keep these smaller artists to myself, the angel on my right says that their music is simply too good not to share. (The devil on my shoulder is satisfied by knowing that this article will be proof that I listened to these artists before they got huge.)
All that being said, here are my 5 favorite artists with under 500k monthly listeners on Spotify, and some of my favorite songs of theirs.
- Tucker Rivera – 82,149: Honestly Tucker is the inspiration for this article. He has under 5k followers on Instagram and just over 80k monthly listeners on Spotify, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how TikTok or Reels haven’t blown him up yet! That darn algorithm.
Anyway, Tucker’s music is lyrically beautiful, as is the production and music itself. If you like songs you can dance to, cry to, or do both at the same time to, he’s your guy.
My favorite Tucker Rivera songs:
- . just in case, if that’s alright .
- Slow Dance
- Downtown Girl
2. Hastings – 104,470: Hastings is one of the opening acts for The Band CAMINO on their upcoming tour (which I am SO excited to go to). As of now, Hastings has under 4k on Instagram, and just over 100k listeners on Spotify. He has 2 songs out as of now but announced about a month ago that more music is on the way soon!
My favorite Hastings songs (yes, there are only 2, so I’m ranking them):
- Heart’s Not in It
3. Ben Kessler – 171,830: Ben has 17k followers on Instagram but is quickly approaching 200k monthly Spotify listeners. I started listening to him after he released False Art with Lizzy McAlpine (who I ADORE), and he has become one of my favorite artists to listen to while driving at night.
Lyrically, Ben’s music is very relatable and comforting, and I’ve found that his music is great to listen to if you want something chill. Here are my fav songs of his:
- Cruise Control
- Everything to Everyone
- I Think I (with Lizzy McAlpine)
- Love You Now, Love You Later
4. Melina KB – 185,067: Melina has almost 4k Instagram followers and almost 200k monthly listeners. Her song “I’ve Had Enough” is one of the most empowering and encouraging songs I’ve ever heard; I think this song was maybe viral on TikTok, but it came on while I had one of my Daily Mixes on Spotify playing and I was hooked.
Melina’s music is almost Broadway-esque to me, I like the way she tells stories, so if that’s something you look for in music, she may be up your alley!
My favorite songs:
- I’ve Had Enough
- Baby Steps
- If We’re in Love
5. Cloudy June – 200,305: I first heard Cloudy June in an Instagram reel where she was promoting the song “Unthinkable”. Cloudy is another artist who really let’s herself be vulnerable with her lyrics. Her music is also so catchy and fun to have a bedroom dance party to!
Cloudy is bisexual and in an interview with The ANTI Magazine described “Kill Your Darling as: “what Charlie Puth would sound like if he was a bisexual woman.” As a former Charlie Puth superfan and current normal fan, I couldn’t agree with this description more.
Here are my 3 favorite Cloudy songs:
- Kill Your Darling
- Pretty Pills for Broken Hearts