By now it’s probably common knowledge that social media has completely altered the music landscape for independent artists. For many, it’s broken down barriers of access allowing musicians to share their art with fans all over the world at a mass scale. The ‘Independent Artist Only‘ playlist is no exception.
What began as a simple suggestion on Twitter sparked a chain reaction that has led to the discovery of thousands of artists from around the world.
Speaking on the playlists inception British singer Kelli-Leigh stated
“I started the playlist about a month into lockdown. I felt like there weren’t enough playlists for independent artists available so wanted to start something that championed amazing independent music. I didn’t expect to be inundated with music! Within weeks the playlist had over 1000 submissions!”
Kelli-Leigh’s mission was simple to champion and spotlight independent artists with the hope of introducing them to a wider audience, subsequently widening their fanbase and building a community of musicians who supported each other.
The playlist is now partnered with HyperTribe a company that strives to empower artists and continue to support the efforts of independent talent trying to ensure their voices are being heard.
As the project continued to build momentum the team here at IndustryMe began submitting our own picks for the playlist beginning with US-based R&B singer JeRonelle and his track “Think of You”. The single caught our attention for its powerful vocal delivery and stirring synths.
In celebration of the playlists, it’s growth, and on-going contributions to music discovery we asked Kelli-Leigh to curate a list of a few of her favourite finds over the last few months.
BrooksJourney – Forgive Me
“A really talented young artist. Lyrically very interesting and deep. ‘Forgive Me’ touched me by its honesty. He’s been creating all his artwork for the singles as well.”
Meet BrooksJourney a 24-year-old Ghanaian artist from Amsterdam who began his musical career back in 2017 with a mixtape entitled “BrooksJourney 2”.
3 years, a feature from Rockie Fresh and a performance at the ‘Woo Hah’ festival later, BrooksJourney is ready to take the world by storm.
Challenging himself to release a new song every two weeks, the rapper is on a mission to connect with his fans and really take them on a journey. Stay tuned to see what he’s got in store.
Kathleen Frances – Define
“This was the first song I found when starting the playlist that blew me away. Her voice is exquisite. She also produced this single herself.”
Kathleen Frances is an indie artist from Bristol, whose introspective lyricism and impassioned was inspired by James Blake, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, Celeste, and London Grammar.
Following a positive reception to her debut single “Define”, which she recorded and self-produced, the singer has caught the attention of several industry names including BBC Radio 1 presenter Phil Taggart who featured her track on the Chillest show, in addition to becoming a finalist for Glastonbury emerging artist 2020.
Exciting days are ahead for Frances who has is hard at work on her next release.
Sabiyha – Choorile
“A really exciting young artist. This piece of music is a retaliation to how women are viewed; how they are supposed to be, and names they are called if they don’t behave to men’s standards.”
A symbol of female empowerment, South London’s Croydon Sabiyha’s music is centred on self-love and acceptence. The British-Guyanese artist single “Choorile” is all about reclaiming a slur typically used against womxn perceived to be too loud, unruly or assertive. The pop singer’s sound is a vibrant blend fusion of both of her cultural perspectives.
LaKyoto – Zurich
“Such an exciting un-signed band from Scotland with an 80s flare and excellent musicianship.“
LaKyoto is a four-piece Alternative-Pop band from Edinburgh who first entered the scene back in 2017 with their single “Runaway”. Often compared to the likes of Everything Everything, Foster the People, Fenech-Soler, and The Wombats, the electronic synth-pop sound is known for its striking guitar-driven melodies and punchy rhythms.
The band have several notable achievements to date including being featured on Made in Chelsea and the Official Premier League and New Pop Revolution playlist, only serving to increase their reach.
Valencia – Vibe
“Gorgeous voice, flow, and lyrical content, Valencia stood out with this absolute vibe of a track “
Writing since the age of 15, Valencia has captured audiences with her infectious on-stage presence. Since discovering her passion for music the singer has spent time touring as a backing vocalist for a number of recording artists. After a number of years honing her craft under the tutelage of vocal coach Ametria Dock, Valencia took the plunge and began her solo career.
Since then she has opened for Flo Rida and AJR at the Family Arena and received co-signs from the likes of Eric Bellinger and B.Slade (formerly Tonex) for her song, “Vibe”, positioning her as an artist to watch for the future.
Lemzi – W.O.D.A.T – London
“Love the positivity in this record & Lemzi’s flow – ‘We only do amazing things’ set to a bed of laid back soul/Jazz.”
East London rapper Lemzi has been grafting since the release of his mixtape series “LemziFreeBies” back in 2011. To date, his career boasts several notable achievements including featuring on Sky News and London Live and being voted MSG London artist of the month (Jan 2019), in addition to being a finalist in both Coffee Music Project London and Afropunk 2019.
As well as making his mark within the musical sphere Lemzi is hard at work trying to positively impact his community as a youth mentor and workshop practitioner.
ORÎ – Fire in the flood
“Exiting LGBTQ artist and songwriter with a stunning voice whos been featured twice on the playlist so far.”
Blending a diverse range of electronic pop and soul soundscapes, former Rise and Run frontman ORÎ is a breath of fresh air.
For the singer, music was a passion that became a place of solace as he grappled with his sexuality. ORÎ decided to channel the chaos and anthemic chorus’ and thus a star was born.
While his vocals clearly take inspiration from the likes of Sam Smith, the singer’s funk-driven hooks and far more reminiscent of artists like the Weekend.
ZAHYÓN – Not Today Satan
“Love this record and ZAHYÓN‘s vocal depth and the electric guitar edge on this strong pop record”
You may recognise ZAHYÓN’s face from your TV screens where he was coached by Sir Tom Jones. talents have recently gained him a spot on the latest season The Voice UK on ITV.
The Nigerian born, Manchester-based, ZAHYÓN is an Alternative Soul & Pop artist whose passion is evident from his rich vocal delivery.
After teaching himself to play the keyboard by ear at the earlier part of his career, ZAHYÓN spent several years as music director before releasing his debut single in 2017.
Since then ZAHYÓN has lit up stages across the country including a successful UK tour and performances at Kingstock Festival, Croydon Festival, and Ignite Fest.
More about HyperTribe
HyperTribe was born out of a frustration at the fractured and biased way in which the music industry worked. It was time for a change. The Hypertribe community is here to support music artists. That means we want to help you navigate your path to a sustainable lifestyle with less pain and anxiety than those who have trodden this path before you. It really is that simple. As you progress on your journey, our hope is that you will be inspired to start to work with and support the artists behind you, who are in your shoes today. In this way, we can encourage a music community which is run by artists, for artists.