2023: We made it! Welcome to Staged Haze’s inaugural “x artists to watch in x year” – one of our absolute favorite posts to work on.
We’re excited to share some of our picks for artists you need to get on your radar this year. We’ve also updated our playlist here so you can find your next fave artist with ease.
In alphabetical order:
For people who love feeling like the main character of a coming-of-age story, Alt Fiction provides the perfect soundtrack, mixing indie-pop and soft alt-rock, making you wish you were on a road trip down South California, resting your head against the car window.
The beachy vibes and uplifting melodies in songs like “Yesterday,” “People You Know,” and “Why Are You Still Here?” come to them naturally, as the band is originally from the Australian Gold Coast. But Alt Fiction’s surf-rock ambience also brings along some complex, well-thought-out lyrics, that anyone who has had a hard time (or still is) finding their purpose in the world can relate to. – Javi
In 2022, twenty-four year old Los Angeles native Sabrina Teitelbaum released a memorable sequence of four singles in 2022 under the moniker Blondshell. Although each is distinct, they all repackage female bitterness and rage into a fluid, charismatic rock song. Hopefully, these singles coalesce into a full-length project in 2023, one that could be one of the most impressive singer-songwriter debuts of the year.
Teitelbaum is currently supporting Suki Waterhouse on her US tour dates and is slotted to appear at festivals across Europe and the states: SXSW, Treefort Music Fest, and Primavera in the City, to name a few. Keep your eyes peeled for a US headlining tour or an opening run for another high-profile artist. – Emma
There’s something powerful about a band’s music, that is generally sad in subject matter, making the top half of your most streamed songs of 2022 when you’re actually quite happy, which is exactly what Boyish managed to do with their song “I Think I Hate It Here.”
Boyish, comprised of India Shore and Claire Altendahl, started making music together when they were attending Berklee College of Music back in 2021, and the rest is history. With over 15 million streams on their catalogue, Boyish has played shows with artists like MUNA, Japanese Breakfast, and most recently, Spill Tab, where I saw them perform for the first time. Despite being pretty young and incredibly early in their careers, they performed on that stage like they’ve been at it for years. – Kristin
Going to go out on a limb and say that Chappell Roan is well on her way to being the next Taylor Swift. Not only did she debut 2022 with an absolute banger in the track “Naked In Manhattan,” but she continued to release songs that got better than the last (“Femininomenon,” “Casual”): though my personal favorite has to be “My Kink is Karma,” which was also my second most-streamed song of 2022.
Roan, who actually has been in the industry for many years and even toured with Declan McKenna several years ago (I saw one of the shows), is just now fully coming into her own as an unapologetically queer pop artist with some of the best vocals in the game, making her mark in the indie pop space with incredibly catchy lyrics that can and will withstand the trends that come and go in pop music. Thanks to a recent run on tour supporting Fletcher, Roan’s set to embark on a headlining tour early this year and has already sold out several of the dates. Fingers crossed for a full-length album in 2023! – Kristin
Did you live through the pandemic? Then I guarantee you saw at least one video floating around the internet with a cover of Kanye West’s “Ghost Town,” and that person behind the cover is Chloe George, and her cover of the track currently has 18 million TikTok views.
Fast forward to the end of 2021, and George was signed to FADER Label and already releasing her own music (“The Door” is my favorite). Before releasing her own music, George built a strong songwriting career, collaborating with artists like Normani, Dua Lipa, The Chainsmokers, and more. – Kristin
While I only heard British musician’s music for the first time towards the end of last year, Connie Constance is definitely no newbie. Constance, whose real name is Constance Power, just released her sophomore album, Miss Power, towards the end of 2022, and I was enthralled with the project from start to finish.
Power’s stage name may sound familiar because she was a featured vocalist on “Heaven Takes You Home,” a track off of Swedish House Mafia’s Paradise Again, and she also released her debut album back in 2019. Despite having an impressive 3.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, I am curious to see if she’s able to break through the US (as far as I know, she’s never toured here). – Kristin
If you ever want a way to make yourself feel old, just Google a musician you’ve discovered and realize that they were already apart of a very famous boy band before starting to release their own music.
That’s what happened to me when I realized that Daniel Seavey is a former member of the massively successful boy band Why Don’t We, and also competed in the 14th season of American Idol. Despite being one of the very few people left on the face of the earth who continued watching American Idol in the 2010s, I don’t remember him much. Seavey’s musical style is very much alt pop in the same vein to artists like Lauv and Tai Verdes (their voices sound very similar to me), and despite only being 23-years-old and early into his solo career. – Kristin
If you’ve been following Staged Haze for awhile, you’re likely already familiar with Dora Jar, or at least recognize her name on our website, cause she’s basically a resident by this point. Just a few months after Dora Jar’s EP Digital Meadow dropped in 2021, Billie Eilish revealed the Dora Jar would be touring with her in Australia and New Zealand, arguably one of the most coveted opening act slots of the last century.
As you can guess, Dora’s fan base grew exponentially quickly and exorbitantly after this opportunity: and it’s well-deserved. Thanks to this exposure to a whole new area of fans, Dora was able to get her music out to a larger audience, eventually leading her to embark on her first ever headlining tour in 2022. While she’s certainly growing her career at a rapid pace, I am manifesting that 2023 is going to catapult her to an even bigger height, thanks to her unconventional style and sound. – Kristin
No project from 2022 captured the emotional depths and complexities of longing, identity, and dread like Ethel Cain’s Preacher’s Daughter. It was an exceptional album in every possible sense, weaving stories of love and anguish across folk, indie, and anthemic arena rock instrumentals. The narratives that the character Cain spins are deeply steeped in re-constructed worlds of Christian imagery, rural limitations, and Southern landscapes, giving listeners an unrivaled opportunity to feel, not just hear, Cain’s defiance. The world she crafts is one of her own making, a place where her stories and truths do not define her, but bend to her influence.
And people took note of Ethel Cain, real name Hayden Anhedönia, so much so that Cain’s “American Teenager” landed on Obama’s list of top songs. Whatever’s on the horizon for Cain in 2023 and beyond, her originality and storytelling abilities put her in a lane of her own, and is an artist to watch. – Mitch
With their boisterous electronics, the New York City duo Frost Children return the hyper to hyperpop. Their 2022 album Spiral is tremendous fun, spurting through big, bossy beats with the sneering attitude of a tweenage gamer. Hyperpop is at a stylistic crossroads, losing its adventurousness in favor of conforming to Spotify Editorial’s definition of the genre.
With two studio albums under their belt, Frost Children enter 2023 prepared to break out of the NYC scene and bring some much-needed volatility to the avant-pop world. – Andy
In a hilariously serendipitous turn of events, I discovered Georgia Parker’s music just hours before I ended up seeing her perform at a songwriters showcase in Los Angeles (I already had tickets for it). Lizzy McAlpine fans: get this girl on your radar. With songs produced by McAlpine’s producer-in-crime, Philip Etherington, Georgia’s vocals and lyrics are on par with McAlpine’s but live in the same vein of sadness as artists you know the team at Staged Haze loves: i.e. Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams, Jensen McRae, etc.
With only 4,430 monthly listeners at the time of this article being published, I am confident saying Parker’s music (“Selfishly Indulgent” is my personal favorite) is going to put her on the map this year. You heard it here, first. – Kristin
You heard it here first (maybe): Grace Enger is on the verge of explosion. “The Neighborhood” may be her first and only official release, and she may have had exactly zero monthly listeners on Spotify prior to this track, but you know that something big is coming from an artist who 1) Gets a placement on New Music Friday for their first song ever, and also gets a spot opening for Alexander 23’s fall tour with again, only one song.
It just so happens that Alexander co-wrote and co-produced said track, which makes the whole opening gig make a bit more sense. While I’m one to critique the circle of musicians who have been working with the same producer and essentially releasing different versions of the same music (cough cough, Alexander 23, Conan Gray, and Olivia Rodrigo passing around producer Dan Nigro), I’m curious to see if Enger can build her own path in this tight-knit circle of creatives.
If you want to feel good about yourself and your accomplishments, maybe don’t read what I’m about to say. Hannah Jadagu is a 19-year-old college student from Mesquite, Texas and is currently studying at NYU while simultaneously releasing her own music on Sub Pop Records (home to artists like Beach House and Father John Misty).
She also writes and produces all of her music, which can be best described as indie, lo-fi music like Clairo’s earliest releases. OH, and one more thing: she played a string of shows with Ritt Momney, Wet, and Faye Webster last year. What were you doing before you turned 20? Probably not that (and neither was I). – Kristin
Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out for rock n’ roll musician Hannah Wicklund this year. If you’re into bluesy-rock music like I am, then just trust me, you’re going to want to be involved with what this gal has in store for 2023. Although no new music has been officially confirmed, I feel that big things are coming. Wicklund, who toured with Greta Van Fleet last year and also happens to be dating the band’s bassist, Sam Kiszka, has been dropping hints on her social media revolving around a potential collaboration between the two: leading me to believe that there’s a good chance that something’s coming this year.
Whether there’s a new collaboration or new solo music in the works, I’d be happy to listen to anything she puts out. And yes, I am manifesting a new album to come sooner rather than later. – Taylor
Kali Flanagan is not so much a newcomer, since their debut single “Back to The Start” made its way to multiple indie-pop playlists on Spotify, but the 18-year-old is still only at the beginning of their career, and we can only see them going up from here.
With melodies and lyrics that bring an energy similar to that of Clairo and Faye Webster, KALI’s newest EP Maltman and Effie is slowly but surely becoming one of today’s indie-kids favorites.
After a year touring as a guitarist for fellow up-and-coming artist Ber (“Meant to Be”), Landon Conrath is finally getting his time to shine. With songs like “Jericho” and “Trader Joe’s”, the singer-songwriter and producer brings a refreshing and optimistic approach to the alt-pop spectrum.
The Minneapolis musician put released his debut album Nothing Matters Anyway last September, with its deluxe edition following right before the New Year. Jake Luppen (Hippo Campus) and Jamie Sierota (Echosmith) were also part of Landon’s first LP project. – Javi
With traces that remind me of Mac DeMarco and Del Water Gap, Nick Wagen has become a constant presence on my playlists. With a production style that feels like a shift of atmospheres, and a voice that has a presence and personality of its own, Nick’s music is easy to differentiate from other bedroom pop artists.
His friendly and warm on-stage attitude also makes you want him to thrive and see him become a prominent name in the indie scene. So, if you see Nick Wagen’s name as an opener for one of your favorite bands this year, do yourself a favor and make sure you don’t miss it. – Javi
Endorsed by one of rock’s largest influences—Tom Morello of Rage the Machine—London duo the Nova Twins released their debut album just three weeks before lockdown in 2020, and have climb the ladder to success in a highly white male-dominated space.
However, my hopes are high, considering thee genre-bending, rock-leaning artists like Rina Sawayama, Sasami, and Bartees Strange have been dominating the “indie” space recently. Their next step is taking over the US – and I think they won’t have a problem conquering the country, considering they just got a slot opening up for MUNA on their newly announced North American tour.
Though I’m newly introduced to the Nova Twins—who aren’t actually related—I look forward to seeing where they go in 2023. – Kristin
I know that the actress to pop star pipeline is pretty trite, but once in a blue moon, the subject is actually talented in both lanes. This is true for Broadway-actress-turned-sitcome-star-turned-pop star Renée Rapp, who is quite literally, everything we needed right now. On top of playing my personal favorite, Leighton, in HBO’s The Sex Lives of College Girls, Renée is taking the world by storm, with a personal and delightful first EP, Everything To Everyone.
With a dedicated fanbase, and a voice that makes hearts flutter, The North Carolina native is inevitably on her way to superstardom, and we can’t wait to see her take over the world. – Javi
I’ve been following SATS for some years now, and it feels like they are finally getting the attention and appreciation they so desperately deserve. Originally from Texas, the five-man group seem to be able to turn the most mundane moments of life into compelling and charming lyrics. On tracks like “I’m So Bored,” “Vices,” and “Take Your Time,” they show a distinct, brand new sound.
With two albums out, Sarah and the Sundays have quietly made their way into lineups of festivals around the country, including Austin City Limits, and I can already see them being some of the newer names in posters for Lollapalooza and others soon. – Javi
First of all, Stacey Ryan has almost 9 million monthly listeners on Spotify and her biggest song has a whopping 63 million streams, but I still feel like she’s just barely cracking the surface of success she’s going to find once she really does explode.
The 22-year-old Canadian does have 1.5 million followers on TikTok, but I’m going to sound stuck up for a second and say she’s actually one of the most talented artists I’ve come across that have built their careers off of that godforsaken (and incredibly addicting) app. Her vocals are incredibly angelic, warm, and quite near flawless: and I personally find that sounding perfect and also approachable and welcoming is a dichotomy incredibly hard to execute. Ryan is going on tour with Jake Wesley Rogers later this year: a duo that’s one you shouldn’t miss. – Kristin
When I first heard Syd Franklin, it was at a showcase in Los Angeles and I wasn’t familiar with her music. But after performing just a few songs, I was an instant fan. Despite only having about 4k monthly listeners on Spotify, she managed to score 1.3 million streams on her song “Make It Hurt,” which is only one of two songs she’s officially released to the public.
Here’s the kicker: she went pretty viral on TikTok last year for performing one of her songs that is yet to be released and one that nearly made me cry when I heard it live. I’m not sure about the logistics about the timeline of releasing a song, but I’m unsure if she’s been signed or not and has to wait via contact, etc, but you can check it out here. If you’re a fan of ballads and love a good female vocalist who has pipes for days, literally on the verge of Adele, you’ll love it. – Kristin
This Midwest-bred band has been around for a little over three years (their anniversary was this week!), and naturally, their sound has evolved with time. Their discography goes from synth-pop to alt-rock, with touches of lo-fi, but there has always been a common theme that can be found in their lyrics: they want you to feel seen and understood, and it makes you believe that everything you are feeling actually makes sense.
The sense of community they’ve been able to create has given them a loyal following that only continues to grow. Their support, on top of the group’s natural talent and revitalizing music, is creating a path for Worry Club to stand out in the sometimes-overcrowded indie scene. – Javi
20 Artists to Watch in 2020
21 Artists to Watch in 2021
22 Artists to Watch in 2022
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