My favorite genre in my Spotify Wrapped 2021 was indie pop, an all-encompassing genre that found its way into my headphones whether I was happy, sad, angry, or somewhere in between.
My most comprehensive and neatly curated Spotify playlists – like “sob in the subway,” “the first snowfall” and “spring soundtrack– feature artists like Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Lorde (often known as girlboss, gaslight and gatekeep) as well as equally acclaimed but less popular contemporaries like Japanese Breakfast, HAIM, St. Vincent, Lucy Dacus, Maggie Rogers and MUNA.
These are some of my favorite female artists who are all immensely talented and in their early twenties, on the independent music scene to keep your ears open.
Crookes is a 23-year-old Bangladeshi-Irish Neo-Soul and R&B singer from South London. It was first brought to my attention by my friend late last year, who loved a single from her debut album “Skin.”
The happy and bittersweet »when you were mine“, as described in a heartfelt Instagram Publishis about the artist’s complicated first love and set against the backdrop of his colorful hometown of Brixton.
Many of Crookes’ songs are rooted in her multicultural upbringing and her experiences of love and loss, as she further explained on Charli XCX. podcast recently. In her music aesthetic, she often incorporates a distinctly South Asian flair into album covers and red carpet looks.
“Skin” is an excellent body of work in its entirety that gives listeners an all-encompassing sense of Crookes’ creative and personal identity and builds on his incredible EPs,”Radiation,” “Reminiscence” and “Perception.”
Some of my favorite tracks on “Skin” are “19th floor“, a touching piece on the experience of urban immigrants with audio excerpts from the artist’s Nani, and “Difficultyan upbeat number about arguments with family members she loves.
Humberstone’s name might sound familiar to readers who somehow secured tickets for pop-rock sensation Olivia Rodrigo”ACIDTour since it will be the first part of Rodrigo in big cities like New York and Philadelphia in the weeks to come.
While the 22-year-old British singer-songwriter has yet to release her debut album, she has already landed the title of British Rising Star 2022. Humberstone may not have a huge amount of work to do as she’s only been officially releasing music since 2020, but the quality of her voice and songwriting has me excited for what’s to come.
“Limit— her very first outing — is about being by her sister’s side through a mental health crisis and beautifully captures the emotional precariousness of her situation.
His cover of “Radiohead”fake plastic trees», his most recent EP, «The walls are too thin“and the latest singles”London is lonely” and “I would die 4 Uwill no doubt resonate well with listeners of Gen Z artists like Rodrigo, Conan Gray, Gracie Abrams and Maisie Peters.
Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, McAlpine has been making music across indie, pop and folk genres since 2018. The 22-year-old singer’s 2020 album, “Give me a minute,” had symbolically laden tracks like “Apple pie” and “pancakes for dinner” which speak to the elusive idea of home being people, not places.
Disney idol Joshua Bassett wrote a rather prophetic post Tweeter in the pre-pandemic world in 2020 claiming artists like Rodrigo and McAlpine would change the music industry in the next five years. He couldn’t have been more right about Rodrigo, who has just won multiple Grammys – so it won’t be long before McAlpine’s potential is recognized in a similar mainstream capacity.
His album “five seconds flatwas released on April 8 and encapsulates all that is wonderful and existential about being a young woman today.
McAlpine adopts a much darker tone and eclectic sound in intro songs like “judgment Day,” “an ego thing” and “Erase Me (feat. Jacob Collier).” My friend Gillian, who introduced me to McAlpine, blasted the bubbly song “all my ghosts‘ in his car recently – and I was very intrigued to hear more songs so visceral with images of youthful spontaneity and electricity.
Similar tunes on the album are softer in nature like “called you again” and “That’s a shame” and the luminescent final digit, “orange show fast lane.” McAlpine even collaborated with singer-songwriter-producer FINNEAS on “hate being lame», after having invited him to the project via instagram direct message.
The final artist on this list is the incomparable Griff, who won the UK Rising Star Award 2021 and is currently opening for Dua Lipa on the European leg of her”nostalgia for the futureSimilar to Crookes, Griff grew up outside of London and is of Chinese and Jamaican descent.
As well as being an incredibly talented force of nature in British pop at the age of 20, Griff also has a great sense of style, often adapting his own eccentric outfits and styling his hair into an exaggerated bubble/ball. braid.
His first album, “One foot in front of the other“, came out last year and featured its hit single”Black hole.” A more heartbreaking song, “Good product», lets his unique evocative voice shine through.
What I love about Griff is his impeccable ability to collaborate with others and produce a diverse range of music. His YouTube series”Against the watchgives him an hour to reinvent a cover of a popular song.
I really wish studio versions of these covers were available to stream on Spotify, especially my recommendations of the videos for Glass Animals'”heat waves“with Dan Smith of Bastille and Billie Eilish”when the party is overwith JC Stewart and Tom Odell. Other brilliant collaborations include “Good hunting ground” with Maisie Peters and more recently, “head on fire», with Sigrid, King Princess and MO.
If you want to learn more about artists who may not necessarily be on the Billboard Top 100 but are still worth your stream, these independent women are more than capable of producing songs that everyone can listen to.