The 30th iteration of South by Southwest is about to touch down in Austin, Texas. Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life will gather to celebrate one of the largest multi-media festivals in the world, free-basing off the latest technology, film, and music
The music scene at SXSW is the biggest draw and often provides a launchpad for emerging artists to break out and get noticed. With its fruit salad of genres, the festival has something for everyone. Whether you like country, rock, rap, dance, or even electro-pop, you won’t have to search left and right in order to get down.
I went through over a hundred musical acts that will be appearing at SXSW and found ten that are set to breakout. You’ll find them below, along with the odds that their new-found fame will lead to the most song and album sales among their breakout brethren.
With there being a plethora of musical talent out there, I know I’ve missed a bunch of bands. What other artists are you looking forward to seeing at this year’s SXSW festival? Comment below.
Arkells (Genre: Rock. Hailing from: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada): 4/1
Arkells are one of the best bands to come out of Canada in a long time and they’re making another appearance at SXSW. Their latest album, High Noon, went gold last year and it included hits like “Leather Jacket” and “11:11.” They’ve won many awards and are no longer Canada’s little rock secret. This band is about to explode onto the American scene, so go and check this showcase group out from March 16th to 19th or download their songs here.
XYLØ (Genre: Indie Pop/Rock. Hailing from: West Lake Village, California): 5/1
XYLØ is a brother-sister duo that is about to bring dark, melodic indie pop/rock to Austin. Chase Duddy (production, songwriting, drums) and his younger sister, Paige Duddy (songwriting, vocals), bring a very experimental sound to their music. Their range jumps from rock to electronica to hip-hop. This band has only been around for just over a year and they’re already turning heads. XYLØ is on the precipice of stardom and can be found on Itunes.
Anderson .Paak (Genre: Rap. Hailing from: L.A., California): 17/3
Anderson .Paak hails from sunny Los Angeles, California, and has been busting his butt in the L.A. music scene since 2011. Considered a musical prodigy, this West Coast-based rapper and singer/songwriter has gone from obscurity to part of Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Family. He’s already collaborated with hip-hop’s current kingpin, Kendrick Lamar, and his new album (Malibu) has received rave reviews and could be his big breakthrough. You can see Anderson .Paak at SXSW on March 18th or download his stuff here.
BJ The Chicago Kid (Genre: R&B. Hailing from: Chicago, Illinois): 9/1
Bryan James Sledge, better known by his stage name “BJ the Chicago Kid,” is a singer-songwriter who has lent his voice and writing talents to a who’s-who of hip-hop and R&B stars, including Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and Kanye West. Now he’s putting the world on notice with the soulful sounds off his first full length album, In My Mind. Gospel, blues, pop, jazz, and of course hip-hop are all represented in his repertoire. Expect a big surge in album sales after his set at SXSW.
Ninet Tayeb (Genre: singer-songwriter/alt-rock. Hailing from: Israel) 11/1
The #1 musical artist/celebrity in Israel, Ninet Tayeb brings her rock sounds to the rest of the world. Her voice will blow you away. A new English-language album is set to be released sometime this year so expect to hear a bunch of songs from that in Austin. If you have never heard Ninet, you are in for a loud and proud stage show that will quickly turn you into a fan. Will a big-stage showcase at SXSW lead to more downloads? Expect a big 2016 for this breakthrough star.
KRNE (Genre: Electronic. Hailing from: Oakland, California): 12/1
California Bay native KRNE (pronounced Krane) started producing music back in 2013. His love of jazz and a newfound affection for electronic and hip-hop beats have helped him evolve his own blend of Trap EDM sounds. His unique style has made him one of the top electronic acts to keep an eye on at this year’s festival. Besides the above soundcloud track list, you can find KRNE on Itunes.
Little Simz (Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop. Hailing from: London, England): 13/1
Formerly known as “Lil Simz,” this English rapper, musician, actress, and singer released her debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, back in 2015. The track “Dead Body” is a must-add to your playlist and an example of why Little Simz is about to bust through. She’s not new to the scene; she’s been writing music since her early teens. But don’t label her as an MC or rapper as she prefers to be called an all-round artist and someone “you can’t put in a box.” You can put her on the stage at SXSW, though (March 16) or find her music here.
The Yawpers (Genre: Rock. Hailing from: Denver, Colorado): 15/1
What do you get when you mix punk rock with American roots music and a sprinkling of Walt Whitman’s poetry? You get Colorado’s own The Yawpers. Their music is an edgy and engrossing trip that you can rock out to. American Man is the band’s second full-length release, and it’s a lot of fun to turn up to 11 as you go screaming down the highway. Expect this band to be a big time hit at SXSW on March 16 and for that to translate into more downloads.
Daddy Long Legs (Genre: Garage Blues. Hailing from: New York, NY): 20/1
Considered one of the wildest and most exciting groups of the modern roots and blues genre, this little band from New York City will have your feet stomping and the scotch flowing. Lead singer, Daddy Long Legs (aka Brian Hurd), growls and wails out the verses. Go ahead have a few drinks and dance because the Blues are gonna get ya. If you get a chance to check these guys out make sure to strap-yourself-in-and-check-your-pants because it’s a raucous good time. They rocked SXSW last year and are back for another round on March 16. Add this group to your playlist here.
The Cactus Blossoms (Genre: Bluegrass Country. Hailing from: Minneapolis, Minnesota): 24/1
Take a trip back to the good ol’ days with this duet’s soulful, bluegrass country sound. The Cactus Blossoms will remind you of The Everly Brothers vintage pop sound or even Buddy Holly. Who knew that this kind of music could come out of Minneapolis? Rolling Stone Magazine included The Cactus Blossoms in their “Country’s Artists You Need to Know” category. Page Burkum and his brother Jack Torrey are bringing their twang to the SXSW stage on March 18. Or you can listen to them at home.
(Photo Credit: Nickdika (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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