There is so much good music out there, and many of the fan favourites, chart-topping artists have been on their A-game recently. Taylor Swift surprised the world with not one, but TWO new albums, Ariana Grande’s positions can still be heard at the top of the charts and all over TikTok, The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” is holding strong in the charts, despite his snub from the Grammy’s, and Billie Eilish has been active with 3 singles before the end of 2020, and a new duet with Rosalía to start off 2021. Not to mention Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” has been breaking records for the biggest debut and highest daily streams on Spotify.
There is no denying the talent and appeal of today’s popular artists, but there are lots of other musicians out there chasing their dreams and creating amazing music. As someone who has found some of my favourite artists in the indie scene, I love finding new artists and sharing them with friends, family, or anyone who is willing to listen (or screenshot my Instagram story). I thought, what a better way to show people new music they’ll love than by suggesting it based on the music they already love! If you’re looking for some new music, keep reading!
Calling all Swifties, this one’s for you! We’ve all witnessed Taylor through many eras and musical styles, but one thing that always remains constant is her incredible songwriting and storytelling abilities. While I don’t think I will ever find anyone who quite matches Swift, at least in my mind, there are many artists whose writing styles remind me of her own.
- Sasha Sloan: A singer-songwriter who has written songs for artists like Camila Cabello, Katy Perry and LANY, Sasha Sloan’s music is full of honesty and maturity. It’s this honesty, like on “Matter To You” off her 2020 debut album Only Child, that makes her stand out to me as a writer. “Keep On” continues this honesty while offering inspiring and motivational lyricism at an upbeat tempo.
- mxmtoon: A young artist with great achievement under her belt already, I would characterize mxmtoon as lush, dreamy, acoustic pop. The track “fever dream” is my personal favourite, but other standouts include “ok on your own,” and “bon iver.” Like Sloan, honesty, maturity and lyricism are what makes me draw parallels between mxmtoon and Swift.
The Weeknd has a very definitive style. Drawing on R&B, hip hop and pop, this Canadian artist’s most recent albums, After Hours and My Dear Melancholy, have a great mix of upbeat hits and heartbreaking ballads. His voice is capable of holding impressive notes and spitting quick phrases. His talent and style are truly unique and unmatched, but there are a few artists that I think you’ll like if The Weeknd frequents your playlists.
- anders: Also hailing from Toronto, anders has a similar style blending of R&B and pop. His song “I Don’t Want Your Love” was the first I heard, which immediately reminded me of the musical aesthetic of The Weeknd. The song has been remixed and re-released with Loud Luxury, which you’ve probably heard if you listen to the radio! He also has some more Hip-Hop style tracks like “Don’t Play,” that kind of add some Drake vibes to his repertoire.
- Zayn: While he is not exactly a small artist, I feel like Zayn’s music is often underappreciated. I know some people are still upset about his split from One Direction, but I was always an OT5 kind of girl! Zayn’s impressive vocal range, silky smooth tone and R&B influences make him a great choice for fans of The Weeknd. With slow ballads like “iT’s YoU” and up-tempos like “Still Got Time” over three albums, there’s surely a song for your liking!
Ariana Grande has captured the hearts of many music fans since her debut album Yours Truly in 2013. Throughout her career, but especially on her more recent albums, Ari has blended pop and R&B styling to create a sound that is unique to her. I don’t know anyone who is doing quite the same thing as her. However, if you are looking for some more music to pair with Positions, here are two artists you may consider!
- Victoria Monét: Along with her own singing career, Victoria has a long history of song-writing with artists like Fifth Harmony, Brandy, Selena Gomez and even Ariana Grande herself! You may know Monét from her opening bill on Ariana’s Dangerous Women tour, as well as their duet “Monopoly.” If you haven’t already listened, some songs a Grande fan may like include “Experience,” “Freak” and “New Love.”
- Chloe x Halle: Another artist who’s worked with Victoria Monét is sister-duo Chloe x Halle. I remember watching the 2019 Grammys and being blown away by their voices when the duo sang “Where is the Love” in tribute to Donny Hathaway. With songs like “Do It,” “Ungodly Hour,” and “Who Knew,” Chloe and Halle are sure to sound good alongside Ariana’s endless number of hits.
Another Canadian talent who has been experiencing much success is Shawn Mendes. With the release of his fourth album, Wonder, and two movies on Netflix just before the New Year, Mendes is reaching new heights in his career. While Shawn has always displayed incredible dedication, song-writing and vocal abilities, Wonder marks such maturity and growth with more experimental styling and never-before-heard vocal highs. Shawn has evolved a lot in the last few years, but one thing always remains true: his clear passion and talent. If you’re a Mendes fan, check out these artists to add to your playlists.
- Ruel: Drawing parallels to Shawn Mendes’ early introduction to musicianship, Ruel is a natural talent, who still only 18, has been on the rise since 2015. Beyond his young age, Ruel also compares to Mendes in musical style. “Real Thing,” feels like a track off Shawn’s self-titled album, with a hint of R&B flavour. Other standouts include a soulful “as long as you care,” and piano ballad “courage.”
- Cody Lovaas: Another artist that reminds me of Shawn Mendes is California singer-songwriter, Cody Lovaas. With a similar John Mayer guitar vibe to Mendes, “Just So You Know,” is a great track with a groovy melody and catchy lyrics. In “Love No More,” Cody’s vocals are full of both passion and vulnerability and paired with strong piano and the soulful voice of Cailin Russo. If you like Shawn Mendes, you’re sure to like Lovaas too!
There you have it; there are 8 new artists to listen to! It’s hard to compare some of the top artists, especially today when so many musicians do not fit into one description or genre, but I hope you find something you like based on your favourite popular artist, or maybe one you didn’t expect!