Established in 1986 as a platform for promoting local upcoming talent, Austin’s South by Southwest festival is today the world’s biggest of its type. Over the years, the SXSW has become famous for providing an international stage for up-and-coming acts hailing from Austin and across the world to showcase their talent. From The Strokes and John Mayer to Courtney Barnett and HAIM, the festival has become a stepping stone in the careers of many of contemporary music’s biggest names.
As this year’s edition gets up to speed, Coggles offers up our guide to the best new acts appearing at SXSW we expect to storm to success in 2018. Whether you’re fortunate enough to make the trip yourself or will be watching at home via the festival’s live stream, here are the five artists you won’t want to miss.
Hailing from West London with Turkish, Irish and Bajan heritage, 22-year-old Nilüfer Yanya lit up the music world in 2017 with her breakout single “Baby Luv”. Last year saw Yanya share the stage with the likes of The xx, draw praise from The Guardian, i-D, & The FADER for her romantic, soulful indie-rock, with “Baby Luv” named among Pitchfork’s songs of 2017. There is growing anticipation over what Yanya will produce in 2018, and the young artists has been widely tipped to be one of the outstanding artists at this year’s SXSW festival.
Shot to notoriety after reworking Rihanna’s “Work” into her native Spanish in 2016, Barcelona-based Bad Gyal has swiftly become of the Hispanic scene’s most exciting emerging artists. Following up her Rihanna cover with YouTube sensation “Indapanden” and releasing her first mixtape “Slow Wine” before she was yet 20, Bad Gyal has since worked with high-profile producers such as Dubbel Dutch and sold out every major venue in Spain.
Having stormed out of Manchester in 2017 with her unique blend of samba, R&B and trap which she calls “urban jazz”, wunderkind Diana De Brito or IAMDDB has been touted as one to watch by most UK music critics this year. “Shade” is her swag-filled breakout single, a brash rejection of all the haters. “Bitch I’m the wave, you can go home,” she proclaims in rich, smoky vocals on a track that announces IAMDBB as one of British music’s best new artists.
Requiring little introduction in 2018, the latest single from Aaron Maine’s synth-pop project saw Porches veer away from the impressive electronic sophistication of 2016’s Pool towards a subtle, stirring sound. The track is charged with Maine’s signature melancholic falsetto and features Blood Orange a.k.a Dev Hynes on backing vocals. The album it comes from, This House, followed in January and offers another accomplished dose of romantic, intricate synthpop that should be the soundtrack to your spring.
A rapper, singer and graphic designer based out of L.A., Duckwrth’s infectious funk rock and electro mix will no doubt bring benevolent party vibes to Austin. Taking his cue from pioneers including OutKast, N.E.R.D, & Michael Jackson, Duckwrth comes to SXSW as a relative unknown outside his native California but will undoubtedly leave a star thanks to his irresistible charm and energy.
Header image property of Mahala Marcet. Words by Liam Roberts