11 artists I discovered in 2011

One of my goals in 2011 was to get to know more upcoming & indie artists. By reading more and more music blogs I came across some cool new artists this year. Here are 11 new ones I’ve checked out and liked.

#1 – The Weeknd
Possibly my favorite new artist. I stumbled across “What You Need” through Miss Dimplez and fell in love with the song. Then I checked out his first mixtape, House of Balloons, and just couldn’t get enough of that haunting style and cool vibe. Extra bonus – the Drake connection! House of Balloons is still my favorite mixtape from The Weeknd, but I’m excited to see what he comes out with 2012. Please come and do a show in Chicago!

#2 – Frank Ocean
I love hearing new R&B artists and he had a lot of songs I liked this year. My favorite song is “Back” except that there are no non-bootleg videos out of that one, so here’s another song I enjoyed from him.

#3 –  Bei Major
His single, “Trouble,” has been getting a lot of play and I recently learned that he actually has a pretty long history of songwriting and producing. I hope to hear more from him in 2012.

#4 – St. Bagu
Some of the former members of Berto Ramon (who I loved) have regrouped to form St. Bagu. I just LOVE this song, Time Freeze Moment. And I love seeing hip hop bands with lots of live instruments.

#5 – Yelawolf
One of the first times I really heard anything about Yelawolf was on Carson Daly’s show, on a rare evening when I actually stayed up that late. On a sidenote, I really like Carson’s show, he always features some interesting musicians. Anyways, as the year went on, the hype around Yelawolf just grew and grew. I even had a chance to see him in concert this fall, and the show was full of energy. But the moment that really captured my attention was seeing the video for Pop the Trunk. The vibe is so crazy and I feel like it really captures that crazy Alabama atmosphere (not that I really know what the actual atmosphere is).

#6 – Mateo
Hey, if Alicia Keys can get behind Mateo, so can I. He first caught my attention with Say Its So. And then he recently started this Stripped Series, where he covers songs, just him on the keys. I love it and I want more!

#7 – STS
I stumbled across his mixtape, The Illustrious, over the summer and his track with Yelawolf, “Hello Sunshine” really caught my ear. Since then, I keep coming across his name on various blogs so I’m curious to see what’s next. I like his style, though.

#8 – Lana del Rey
I recently saw her video for “Born to Die” which is all over Vevo, so I’m probably kind of late to this party, but I love it. The video is so visually interesting and her voice and this song really grab your attention. You should definitely check out her previous hit, Video Games, too. Although, how she got to this point is pretty interesting.

#9 – Astonish
I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see Astonish perform twice this year. I’d been hearing his name from Coleen, the brains behind Starsounds, and she knows her stuff. There are a bunch of tracks off his recent mixtape, The Astonishingly Odd Project, that I really like.

#10 – Grieves & Budo
I had a chance to meet these two this year and they are just the type of guys you want to hang out with. Super funny and smart. And I love their style – they collaborate really well and they have that instrumental, jazzy vibe to their tracks that I’m really feeling.

#11 – Top $ Raz
I just listened to his track, The Man, literally the other day so I don’t know too much about him yet. But the Motown vibe is really cool and the video is simple but good. I have to thank Jessica at I Heart Dilla for telling my about him.

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