Breakout Indie Acts
It’s always exciting to see new artists arise and find success with a unique voice. From a retro soul singer out of Fort Worth, Texas, to a singer-songwriter from Richmond, Virginia, who can’t escape comparisons to a Disney princess, with style and grace we’ve got them.
To celebrate some of this year’s greatest best and brightest newcomers, here’s a rundown of our five favorite indie breakout acts of 2015.
Leon Bridges’ quick rise to prominence is a testament to his skill and style. Bringing a whole lot of retro flare and Sam Cooke-comparisons with him, the soulful Fort Worth, Texas, native was washing dishes and playing open mic nights until just last year. Teaming with two members of the band White Denim on his debut album for Columbia, Bridge’s has become a quick sensation. “Coming Home” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and his tours have been regularly sold out.
Out of Melbourne, Australia, Courtney Barnett made an impact in America with her double EP A Sea of Split Peas last year, but took it to a new level with her debut full-length, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, that was released in March. Thanks to her witty lyrics delivered with a relaxed slacker attitude, she’s both smart and cool and the Lou Reed comparisons come aptly without blindly defining her.
Tobias Jesso Jr.
Big props to whoever came up with Tobias Jesso Jr.’s honest album marketing campaign: “You can’t miss Tobias Jesso Jr.,” ads read. “He’s six foot seven.” With support from some major fans early on, including Haim, Adele and even Taylor Swift, Jesso Jr.’s 1970’s style piano ballads recall the likes of Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson without feeling too nostalgic. It’s just good songwriting on the debut LP, Goon, from this Canadian musician from North Vancouver, British Columbia.
That Natalie Prass started her musical career as a keyboardist and backup singer in Jenny Lewis’ touring band may make sense once you hear the new chanteuse’s self-titled debut. There are some remnants of Lewis’ folksy “Rabbit Fur Coat” here, but mostly Prass’ work speaks for itself hitting a timeless tone while her singing is sweet enough to draw regular comparisons to Disney princesses. Surely, it’s beautiful enough to imagine birds flying around her singing along, a la Snow White.
Out of Las Vegas, Shamir has got to be one of 2015’s most fun, feel-good acts. The 20-year-old’s suave pop style delivered on his debut LP, Ratchet, is perfect for a dance party, as his sassy style puts him on a new level. From recording his first EP in his bedroom while working at a Topshop to releasing his first full-length with XL Recordings, Shamir’s blend of disco, hip-hop and house music, brings an individuality that makes him unmistakable right now.