While watching the MTV VMAs this weekend, we noticed that typically our award shows recognize musicians that already have big names for themselves, but independent artists aren’t as often seen for their efforts. Here’s a list of indie artist alternatives on Spotify for 8 musicians with millions of monthly listeners.
Conan Gray -> The Honeysticks or Sophie Cates
While Conan Gray’s art can be recognized as acoustic pop, his indie counterparts brush upon those genres separately. The Honeysticks’ have gotten more and more acclaim since the release of their popular lo-fi acoustic song, “Out Like a Light”. If you’re looking for another male voice with a sweet tone and bright vocals, lead singer Ricky Montgomery definitely delivers. However, if female vocals are more your speed, Sophie Cates (formerly Silver Sphere), has a similar vibe to Conan Gray’s bedroom pop music. Although no longer independent, her album, “Yikes!” was self-produced and one that we’ve all needed.
Check out these two great sing-along songs!
Kehlani -> Janine or Haley Smalls
Two small r&b artists with passionate vocals should be getting the same Kehlani appreciation. Janine is a soulful singer from New Zealand who covers all the bases on music production from writing songs to directing her own music videos. Janine even left the scene of big music corporations to become independent again after splitting from Atlantic Records in 2019. Another international gem, Haley Smalls, is from Canada and makes for some catchy and head-bumping tunes.
Give these underrated pieces a play!
Clairo -> Neanderthal or Fazerdaze
Beware of the artists listed below, for their music will be stuck in your head for weeks! Neanderthal is a musical anomaly, and although little is known about the group itself, they produce some ethereal and melodic songs. They are truly the definition of indie, with most of their current listed songs besides remixes are free for use on digital streaming platforms. Fazerdaze also has Clairo energy with her main genre listed as dream pop and heavy use of electric guitar and reverb effects.
Stream these two songs ASAP!
The 1975 -> Fickle Friends or Julian Lamadrid
Like The 1975, these artists love their synthesizer. Fickle Friends is a UK band like The 1975, but with a female lead which makes this band the perfect alternative for anyone trying to expand their radar for more electro-pop bands. Additionally, Julian Lamadrid’s repertoire is a great find if your favorite song by The 1975 is “Somebody Else”. Raised in Dubai with Mexican roots and pulling influence from lots of different cultures’ versions of rock music, he’s been growing pretty quickly over the past few years on Spotify.
Play these tunes at your next dance party!
Lord Huron -> Semler or Enny Owl
These two unknown folk artists with very distinctive sounds are slated to be big one day. Semler’s lyricism is quite clever, with the occasional raunchy line. Their voice has a soft power and is relaxing to no end. Calming is also one of Enny Owl’s fortes and with your eyes closed, listening to her unique vocalism, she may transport you to a mystical fantasy land.
These beautiful dancing in the woods songs need to be listened to right now!
Dominic Fike -> Sidney Gish or tomteahouse
Sidney Gish has been on the rise since she first made her debut on Bandcamp in 2016 with album, “Ed Buys Houses”. Although both of her albums were self-released, she has connected with even bigger artists and was able to tour with Mitski for a little bit in 2018. Newly produced artist, tomteahouse, has a handful of singles on Spotify and would be the creation of Dominic Fike and Jelani Aryeh if they had a child. Being the least followed artist on this list, tomteahouse is a dark horse and this artist will definitely be a recognizable name one day.
Add some of these snappy songs to your best driving with the windows down playlist!
Beach Bunny -> Wallice or Forth Wanderers
If you like Beach Bunny, these next two pop-rock artists are some good finds. Wallice has had the help of her childhood friend, Marinelli, in producing a bunch of her singles. Her style now would not lead you to believe where she started off, but believe it or not, she originated as a jazz performance major in school. Forth Wanderers claims to practice composing their music like a game of telephone. Each band member has their own additions to the music and after bouncing it around for quite some time, it becomes fully developed and turns into an EP.
Listen to their most popular songs here!
Peach Pit -> skirts or Strawberry Runners
These last two musicians deserve more acknowledgment. Skirts is special in that her music is tender and informal, and even though you can’t expect the same sound from any song, you can expect your ears to be blessed. Strawberry Runners has the essence of traditional soft rock that makes for enjoyable and feel-good tracks.
Follow their platforms and fall in love with this music!