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6 Breakout Artists You Need on Your Summer Playlist

With festival season in full effect, there’s a plethora of new artists on the rise. While headliners are usually the main attraction at festivals like Coachella and Hangout Fest, those smaller names on the lineup are just as worthy of recognition. After all, there is a reason those names made it in the lineup!

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up with new music releases, let alone find underground artists. If you’re looking to add new music to your summer playlist, have no fear—here are six breakout artists whose names you’ll probably recognize in a smaller font. One day, their names will be in flashing lights in the center of it all. 

Chloe x Halle

If you like: Pharrell, Beyoncé & SZA

You may recognize sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey from Freeform’s Grownish, but they’ve been on the scene since 2013 when their cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” was discovered by the singer herself.

Since then, the duo professionally known as Chloe x Halle signed a $1 million contract with Beyoncé’s label, Parkwood Entertainment. They have gone on to release their debut record, The Kids are Alright and were nominated for Best New Artist at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. They also performed “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl LIII.

If you’re into infectious harmonies and contemporary R&B, these sisters have got your back. 

Conan Gray

If you like: Troye Sivan, Lorde & Billie Eilish

Conan Gray used to be a teen growing up in Texan suburbia. Now, he’s juggling a music career and a filmmaking degree at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. 

Gray, 20, creates music with light, dreamlike vocals that almost serves as social commentary to the world around him. In his song “Generation Why,” he explores the misconceptions of adolescence in the 21st century. Another song, “Crush Culture,” criticizes the “manipulation” that plays into falling for someone. 

Because his criticism lays over harmonies and airy pop beats, it’s no wonder Conan Gray’s on the rise. His sad boy pop landed him a gig opening for Panic! at the Disco on the second phase of the “Pray for the Wicked” tour. 

The Aces

If you like: HAIM, LANY & Maggie Rogers

The Aces are an all-female alternative band from Utah. The group is comprised of sisters Alisa and Cristal Ramirez and their friends Katie Henderson and McKenna Petty. Like any great band’s origin story, The Aces met while they were in school and decided to turn their musical hobby into a career.

In 2016, they were signed to Red Bull Records and have since released their full-length debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic. They also supported 5 Seconds of Summer on their 2018 “Meet You There” tour.

If you’re into fun and upbeat alternative vibes, The Aces should be the next band you add to your library.

Lizzo

If you like: Cupcakke, Janelle Monáe​ & Missy Elliott

If you’ve ever heard the saying “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch,” then you’ve already been exposed to none other than Lizzo.

Lizzo, who just released her major label debut album Cuz I l Love You, is renowned for twerking on stage while playing the flute. Yeah, you read that right—the flute. That’s not the only thing that makes the rapper and singer stand out among the crowd. She is also a beautiful and confident plus-sized woman who preaches her truth and inspires others to do the same.

Cuz I Love You surrounds themes of self-love and body positivity and is definitely worth listening to. Lizzo’s discography is an impressive one that’ll get you on your feet in an instant. 

Njomza

If you like: Sia, Dua Lipa & MØ

You may recognize Njomza as one of Ariana Grande’s six “bitches” in the “7 Rings” music video, but what you didn’t know is that she’s also a singer-songwriter. Although she is a co-writer on Grande’s hit song, Njomza writes her own music—and it’s bomb.

Njomza creates alternative pop music that’s heavily influenced by R&B and she carefully crafts her visual aesthetics. Naturally a brunette, Njomza has been known to wear colored wigs to match each era of her music. For her EP, Sad for You, she sported a millennial pink bob. She currently wears a light blue long bob with bangs for her Vacation EP.

All in all, Njomza’s music is a vibe, especially if you want to chill by the beach and slow things down a little. 

Rosalía

If you like: Kali Uchis, J Balvin & Camila Cabello

Rosalía is a Spanish singer-songwriter known for her modern interpretation of flamenco music. While her music still features traditional components of flamenco (like the guitar), she has incorporated hip-hop and trap beats to give it a modern flair. Her angelic voice has caught the ears of Pharrell Williams, J Balvin and James Blake—all artists she has collaborated with. 

Her eclectic style has contributed to her successful crossover into the U.S. and her second album El Mal Querer made the top 10 of the U.S. Latin Pop charts. Although Rosalía’s music is entirely in Spanish, it’s still infectious and worth giving a try. 

Trust me, you’re going to want these artists on your summer playlist. They aren’t going anywhere but up.

Samantha Olson is a University of Central Florida alumna who served as senior and deputy editor for HCUCF. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in journalism with a minor in creative writing and a certificate in editing and publishing. When Sam isn't admiring city life and art museums, she's working as Seventeen Magazine's editorial fellow and running Shifter Mag alongside her BFF, Victor.  For daily doses of Sam, follow her on Instagram.
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