2023 has seen the rise of some phenomenal artists such as Tate McRae, Sam Ryder, Kenya Grace, Holly Humberstone and many more. Now you might be wondering: who are the rising stars sure to shine brightly in 2024? Insanity Radio’s Music Team make their predictions for the year ahead.
Mia’s pick – Kid Kapichi:
This quartet from Hastings have been releasing music since 2018 but next year seems like it’s going to be their year with a new album coming out in March 2024. Their music really challenges issues facing people in the UK such as poverty, mental health, violence, and other relatable topics with a punchy rock instrumental to match. They are extremely honest with their songs as well as having an element of humour to try and get across their message. A big theme in their music is politics and they take quite a critical approach to how the country is run, etc. If you like bands such as IDLES, Himalayas, Soft Play, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes or Rage Against the Machine, who really tell it like it is, and use their anger and frustrations in their music, you will really enjoy Kid Kapichi. Their latest single, ‘Tamagotchi’, is a song that reflects on the nostalgia of being young and a reluctance to grow up or accept the passing of time. There is also the element of fear that things are changing but the song reminds us that these memories of our youth are still part of our identity, even though we must take on adult responsibilities now and can’t be as carefree or innocent anymore. If you’ve never listened to this band before then alongside their newest release, I recommend the song, ‘2019’, which is a cynical take on becoming an adult and realising the state of the world at that time, and ‘Working Man’s Town’, which is about poverty and mirrors the cost-of-living crisis we’re facing right now (despite this song being released in 2021).
Molly’s pick – Katherine Li:
As someone who likes to listen to sad songs but also wants songs that can just be playing in the background, Katherine Li quickly became one of my favourite artists. Her music is pretty, relaxed and sometimes reminds me of songs like ‘ceilings’ by Lizzy McAlpine or ‘1 step forward, 3 steps back’ by Olivia Rodrigo – if you like these songs, I would definitely recommend listening to ‘Crush(ed)’. Just over a year ago, Katherine Li released Crush(ed), an EP that has six songs all about having a crush on someone but being crushed by it, as she sings, ‘you don’t even put me in your plans’. This year, she has continued to release more songs around similar themes such as ‘Like Me, Like Me’ and, most recently, ‘Isn’t It Obvious’. Most of her discography keeps to the idea of having a crush but can easily be related to friendships or a break-up too. Katherine Li uses TikTok to promote her music and has built up a following who appreciates both her music and her personality, too. She often posts short parts of her songs with a relatable POV (point of view) to attract an audience who will be able to understand her songs. For many new artists, using social media to spread the word about the music they are writing can be one of the most effective methods available to them. If her TikTok following keeps growing then Katherine Li really could see her music career taking off in 2024 and beyond!
Iona’s pick – Pearly Drops:
Pearly Drops are a Finnish duo that make beautiful and dreamy electronic music with hauntingly soft vocals. Formed of Sandra Tervonen and Juuso Malin in Helsinki, their album, Call For Help, released in 2020, has a mix of upbeat and darker, more otherworldly music. The album was entirely self-produced, with the duo describing in an interview with Glamcult that “we made it all by ourselves, and that we were fully responsible of every single detail from pre- to post-production”. Most of their listeners come from the US according to their Spotify, but I really believe they should be bigger this side of the Atlantic. What I’ve heard from them is well produced, and while there is a consistent theme woven through their discography, each track is exceptional. They describe themselves as “arriving as if woven into the twilight”, and I couldn’t describe them better myself. Their sound is magical. Tracks like ‘Smokescreen’ are more Crystal Castles-esque, whereas their most popular song, ‘Bloom For Me’, reminds me more of Grimes. In their interview with Glamcult, they mention their surprise at the success of ‘Bloom For Me’, as it was initially cut from the album. I can see their music featuring in indie films or TV, and if there was ever a Channel 4 Skins remake, I would want to see them on it. To me, they embody what it is to be a young person in today’s world, a mix of optimistic and dark-and-twisty, experimental and somehow familiar. I would love to see more performances from them, as it looks like they have only done a few live shows, but I can imagine that with the right opportunity, their live shows could be an all-encapsulating experience with a really immersive feel, similar to Tame Impala’s ‘The Slow Rush’ shows. As of the time of writing, the duo has less than 10,000 Instagram followers, so I encourage everyone to keep an eye on them and get in early!
FFO: Grimes, Crystal Castles.
Gloria’s pick – Essosa:
Born in East London, raised in Toronto and now back in the UK, Essosa is a singer-songwriter who manages to encapsulate an old school feeling in her music. She’s a first generation African, deeply rooted in her culture, and remains connected to her heritage in the UK. The music industry here exists on a smaller scale than in the US, but as the underground music scene grows, we can observe the emergence of artists such as Essosa.
She’d always sang when she was younger after watching her mum sing in a choir. However, she specifically began creating music as it became a way for her to channel her frustrations. Her lyrics when she was younger were about moving countries, and she continues to convey her life in her music today. So far, her current discography speaks on negative experiences whilst being Black and the trails that come with dating in your twenties – yet you wouldn’t assume as such unless you listen closely.
Essosa almost transforms her adversity into something positive and does this through careful consideration within the production process. She used to study engineering in school, so she knows what to listen out for and maintains a lot of creative control when with her producer. She embraces both the Pop and R&B genres as her music ranges from upbeat and animated, to passionate and sincere. Her old-school influences include artists such as Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson, or Mary J. Blige, whilst in recent times she’s influenced by Charli XCX and Kali Uchis.
It’s the release of her single ‘Waste My Time’ that has gained her the most notoriety. Due to it being extremely reminiscent of the late ’90s/ early ‘00s, the song has left listeners yearning for more. It’s her first single to surpass 1 million streams, and the reception to the track has confirmed for her that music truly is what she’s meant to do. Her nostalgic sound has put her on the radar as an artist that I believe is one to watch in 2024.
Maya’s pick – cowboyy:
Hailing from the south-west of England, cowboyy is a young three-piece that’s creeping to the forefront of the alternative music scene. Before releasing any music, they were playing live around the country, even creating a buzz at Brighton’s ‘The Great Escape’ festival – it’s this classic, punk approach to music that makes them so interesting. The band have been gigging as often as possible from the get-go, giving an enigmatic performance complete with cowboy hats and “big stupid guitar solos”, as they put it. Their twangs of virtuoso guitar playing scratches the brain in all the right places, blending angular elements of math rock with glimpses of classic rock, topped off with frank, quasi-meta lyrics. Loaded with the wit and pessimistic sarcasm of someone in their early twenties, the title of their EP, Epic The Movie, speaks for itself. Aside from the ridiculous title, the band’s lyrics articulate the anxiety of modern life, from environmental issues on ‘Plastic’ to interpersonal musings on their first single, ‘Gmaps’. Following the success of a new wave of math rock bands, cowboyy is sure to please with their enthusiasm and playful approach to guitar music.
To find out just how much they get around, you can find them on Instagram. While their online presence does little to demystify them, it serves as a string of experimental gig posters all featuring one very specific shade of electric blue, another characteristic that makes the band so memorable.
Elisha’s pick – deary:
Dreampop/shoegaze duo, deary, was brought to my attention when they opened for Slowdive at Troxy, London, back in November and they were a perfect fit for the evening. While clearly inspired by the ’90s movement and artists within it such as My Bloody Valentine, deary go beyond imitation and craft the perfect balance of revival and reinvention, giving the classic sounds of shoegaze a unique and modern spin. I’d hope that since their support at gigs, like Slowdive’s, that their cult following expands. Their sound may be more niche than other mainstream artists but I think their stage presence and ethereal vocals warrant them the title of ‘One to Watch’, especially as the genre experiences a resurgence.
Haslem’s pick – Scott Lavene:
Scott Lavene’s songs are mostly him talking over music, in a kind of poetic style. A bit like Blur’s ‘Parklife’, for example. It’s really smooth, though, and it isn’t always as free form as some other similar songs. His tranquil storytelling is quite familiar, yet still original, and the everyday realism and relatability of his songs are often sprinkled with a gently humorous surreal overtone. All his songs are pretty relaxing. While they are relatable, working class, and often pretty poignant, they’re not depressing, usually. The music complements the stories perfectly. Definitely one to listen to, especially if you’re into Pulp, The Streets, and Blur!
Charlotte G’s pick – Sam Tudor:
When I first found Sam Tudor’s music this year, I found it hard to describe. The artists themselves describe the music as ‘genreless’, as the latest project brings together artists from all across Canada with nine tracks spanning different styles and tones that blend beautifully together. There is a very strong jazz influence in the rich instrumentals and layered vocals from the group. The music is often just as delicate as it is lush. The lyrics span topics from loneliness and abandonment to love, fulfilment and loss. Sam’s earlier release, Quotidian Dream, was much more focused on world-building and sharing an eery atmosphere with listeners than their later release, ‘Two Half Words’, with the singer’s website being highly interactive, bringing the audio format of the release into the visual.
Sam Tudor encapsulates what it means to be experimental. Every choice made is clearly intentional and well thought out, from the mesmerising melodies to the peaceful mixing on the tracks. In 2024, I hope that we keep seeing collaboration from Sam Tudor and I hope that this continues to push the boundaries of genre.
Kayla’s pick – The Warning:
Originating from Monterrey, Mexico, The Warning are a hard rock power trio, formed in 2013, by the Villareal-Vélez sisters. Now, more than ever, they are taking the rock world by storm. Some of their musical influences include Muse, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Queen, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Esperanza Spalding and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.
The Warning began when a group of young sisters decided to form a band, having been raised on various instruments and finding their passion in electric guitar, bass and drums, as well as learning to play music through the video game, ‘Rock Band’. Initially, they posted videos on YouTube of their performances, including their massively viral cover of ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica, posted in 2014, which remains their most popular video at over 20 million views. As the sisters and their skills have thrived, so has their fanbase and success. From YouTube sensation to worldwide icon, the band will be touring through North and South America in the next year.
Their latest single, ‘MORE’, truly demonstrates the capabilities of these women to create and perform, with striking lyrics, thrashing riffs and impassioned music. Despite their progression into stardom being already so evident, they remain a band that is lesser known and appreciated. Personally, I think their talent and energy matches, if not rivals, that of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. Their lyrics have the quality of being emotional and personal, but easy to pick up and sing as you thrash your head to their incredible rhythm. You thought the era of rock from Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco was left behind? Think again. The Warning are bringing it back to life.
Charlotte B’s pick – Topline Addicts:
Topline Addicts are an indie rock band who have released amazing songs such as ‘Dance With Me’ and ‘Sweet Things’. Their unique style is the perfect mixture of vintage and modern with memorable melodies that will be stuck in your head for days. Each song has a fun and comforting energy that is hard not to succumb to, even when the lyrics and story are bittersweet. They are perfect for those who are fans of bands like The Beach Boys and Foo Fighters.
Contributions written by Insanity Radio’s Music Team, with an Introduction by Lottie Macro, edited and published by Lottie Macro, photography by Elisha Heslop.
Contributors: Mia Clarke, Molly Barnes, Iona Price, Gloria Aina, Maya Baker, Elisha Heslop, Haslem Stroud, Charlotte Gadd, Kayla Delaney and Charlotte Bayley.