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Exploring the Underground: South African Musicians Defining Diversity in Every Genre

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCT chapter.

Discovering music is my greatest joy as well as my biggest frustration. Skipping countless songs on the curated “For You” playlist can be so tedious, and I always end up listening to the same 5 songs I had on repeat anyway. When I do find new music to listen to, whether it’s a recommendation from my music streaming service, a suggestion from a friend, or a new find on TikTok, a new dilemma arises:

The longing to see my favourite artist perform live.

As much as I adore living in Cape Town, it’s often a blip on the radar for the international bands on tour. So, I made a pact with myself during college: dive headfirst into the local music scene and soak up as many live shows as humanly possible. This is one of only a handful of great decisions I made during college.

Our local scene is like a musical potluck, with a little bit of everything thrown in. From the heart-thumping beats of rock concerts to the soul-stirring vibes of neo-soul jams, each show leaves me buzzing with excitement. Our music scene isn’t just diverse—it’s a whole vibe, a melting pot of cultures and sounds that’ll blow your mind.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to six artists who are breaking the mould and making waves in South Africa. Get ready for your next musical obsession – and you can thank me later.

1. Coasters

if you enjoy: Beach House, beabadoobee, Clairo

Indie pop at its finest! Listening to the mild guitar and gentle harmonies of Coasters will make you feel like you’ve just met your love interest in a coming-of-age film. Their EP, “Heartbreak Looks Good On You,” is a delightful paradox – despite the title, it’s a heartwarming experience with every listen. With their dreamy indie-synth sound and infectious choruses, Coasters will have you humming their tunes as you shuffle through the morning rush to your lectures. It’s the kind of music that paints your world in pastel hues, leaving you with an undeniable urge to hit replay.


2. Seed of amenti

If you enjoy: Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Greentea Peng

I first heard Seed of Amenti at an open mic show. A hush fell over the room as she took the stage, and from the first note, goosebumps rippled across my skin. Her harmonic melodies captivated every soul in the room. I’m not exaggerating when I say this: It was a spiritual experience. With each word she utters, each melody she spins, Seed of Amenti pours her very essence into the music. It’s a mesmerizing blend of spoken word and trance-like melodies that transport you to another realm.

Seed Of Amenti

3. Yamiko

if you enjoy: Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, Summer Walker

Whether you’re happily in love, healing from heartbreak, or feeling the excitement of a newfound crush, Yamiko’s music speaks to the heart in ways that are truly extraordinary. Each note that she sings drips with sensuality and emotion. This, coupled with her magnetic stage presence and stellar dance moves, makes her a must-see performer. Yamiko has a knack for capturing the very essence of love and relationships in her music, creating an experience that’s both intimate and electrifying. With hypnotic R&B sounds, alluring lyrics, and vibes that’ll have you swaying from the first beat, she’s a performer you simply can’t miss.


4. Internet Girl

if you enjoy: Blur, Paris Texas, Dominic Fike

When it comes to the vast landscape of alternative rock, it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – and that’s exactly where Internet Girl thrives. One look into their discography, and you’ll quickly realize that pigeonholing them into one specific box is a futile endeavour. With each EP they drop, Internet Girl takes us on a sonic journey through uncharted territory. One moment, you’re coasting along to their laid-back indie tunes, feeling the warm embrace of summertime vibes. The next, you’re swept up in a whirlwind of electrifying alternative rock, leaving you craving more. Internet Girl knows how to get the party started with tracks like “COKEHEAD,” and they’re the perfect companions for those sunset drives with tunes like “Die In LA.” Their lyrics range from deeply personal to playful and witty, with a hint of defiance that reflects angst amongst today’s youth. They’ve crafted their own rulebook, forging a path that’s uniquely theirs. If you’re looking for a band that defies expectations and blazes its own trail, look no further than Internet Girl.

Internet Girl

5. kila g

If you enjoy: Giveon, Lucky Daye, dvsn

The Elegant King himself, singer-songwriter Kila G, is the epitome of a true performer. I’ve been lucky enough to catch several of his shows, and one thing is for certain, Kila G doesn’t just perform – he ignites the stage with a contagious energy. With his seamless fusion of R&B and Soul, he takes the audience on a journey through his soulful melodies and captivating lyrics. From tales of humble beginnings to the highs and lows of the music industry, Kila G bares it all on stage, leaving the audience spellbound. His lyrics touch on raw and relatable topics, from love to life’s struggles, painting a picture that resonates with every listener.

Kila G

6. black lung

if you enjoy: Nirvana, Idles, Alice in Chains

This is for my hardcore rock fans out there. I felt such amazing energy the last time I went to a Black Lung concert. The energy coursing through the crowd was nothing short of electric as we all jumped and headbanged to the hardcore guitar riffs, belting out the infectious chorus of “Trouble” in unison. From that moment on, I was hooked. However, it’s not just their music that captivates – it’s their raw, unbridled energy on stage. Black Lung perfectly combines Grunge and Punk with a hint of Psychedelic Rock in a way that entrances you. With every jump and shout, they draw you deeper into their world, creating a truly unforgettable rock experience.

CDBaby; Black Lung

Whether you’re on a mission to broaden your musical horizons or searching for that perfect addition to your meticulously crafted playlist, there’s one surefire way to discover hidden gems: attend live concerts. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of experiencing music in its purest form, surrounded by fellow music enthusiasts.

By supporting local talent, you’re not just indulging in a night of entertainment – you’re actively contributing to the growth and vitality of your music scene. From indie bands to underground artists, there’s a wealth of untapped talent waiting to be discovered from the best of our South African Musicians.

Hi there! My name is Kelly-Ann and I am an undergraduate student at the University of Cape Town, majoring in Film and Television studies. I am passionate about anything related to film, alternative rock music, and activism. When I'm not jotting down ideas for my next article, you can find me rewatching Bojack Horseman, curating a themed playlist, or rigorously following my skincare routine.