There is no shortage of great music available for comspumption, and everywhere you look you can find some undiscovered musical gem that deserves more attention. That is why I am bringing you this list today. This isn’t a top-seven list — this isn’t even a genre specific list — this is my own personal list of independent bands and musicians that you need on your playlists! I have great respect for musicians that create something truly unique, that do not fear to walk their own artistic path, and for that reason, I am shining a light on some of the artists that have created music worth listening to.
- Laura Hickli
This truly talented songstress hails from Canada and is renowned for her dark-folk, angelic voice and highly inspired sound. She creates music with real depth, and, always, she digs deep to find the power in raw honesty. Currently promoting her song and video for “Play Your Magic,” this track is going to move so many people emotionally, and, for me, this sort of song is a shining example of what makes music so important and powerful.
2. Nature Ganganbaigal
This Mongolian nomadic folk/metal performer and composer is one of the most impressive musicians I have come across in years. Not only does Nature create cinematic soundscapes perfect for both movies and video games (To Where Tengger Leads Me), but he is also the frontman of the metal juggernaut that is Tengger Cavalry. Nature Ganganbaigal’s camp is currently pioneering some of the most eclectic and groundbreaking sounds on the scene. Blending a true passion for his homeland and his deep understanding of what makes for a great song, Nature should be added to your playlist immediately.
3. Clayton Bellamy
I know, this artist you might actually know about, but this is my list, and he truly deserves a place on it for his recent solo efforts. This high octane country singer from Bonnyville, Alberta has been raising the genre’s bar for years now. As a member of the popular trio known as The Road Hammers, Clayton is no stranger to the spotlight. Currently promoting his new solo album Five Crow Silver, Clayton once again proves that he is a defining voice in country music. As an added note, I am going to award Clayton Bellamy the “Frontman Of The Year” award. I made this up just now, but he deserves it. After recently seeing him play at the annual Dauphin Manitoba Countryfest, many musicians can learn a thing or two about proper frontman stage presence from this heavy hitter.
4. Joshua Smotherman, know as J.Smo of (B.U.N.K.S)
Hip hop has become something vastly different than what it once was, and, for many musicians and listeners, it has taken too far of a step away from its socially-conscious roots. From Manchester, Tennessee comes the lyrically demanding, old school flavor of the talented rapper J.Smo (B.U.N.K.S). This artist knows what he loves about hip hop, and he embraces the power of what came before today’s ego-infused, misogynistic and completely synthed-out club-hop. Releasing his current video for the inspired track “Banks of Savannah X Endurance,” Joshua is always at work on something new and exciting. If you have a soft spot for the golden age of hip hop, then look no further than this real artist.
Have you heard of Ramsey yet? If not, rest assured that you will soon enough. This dark and mysterious artist is absolutely on fire with her unique brand of dark-synth-pop. Not one to fear treading in deep, murky, sexual and vulnerable waters, Ramsey is lighting L.A on fire with her new video release for the daring song “See You Bleed.” I don’t need to sell this artist to anyone; she is talented, and she is something truly new. If you like music, you should head over to the Ramsey camp as soon as possible.
6. The Black Atlas
This one was one of those musicians that came out of nowhere for me. My life is now divided into “the time before The Black Atlas” and “the time after the Black Atlas joined my life.” I find the world a much more interesting place because of this impressive musical act. They are one part Mars Volta, one part TOOL and something completely different from both of those together. They are both dark and inspired, emotionally driving and impressively creative. It would be a shame if you missed out on them, so I suggest that you check out their awesome song “Moonsong” now.
7. Kevin Roy
Last on my list, and definitely not least, is the trail-worn, beautiful and soulful country sound of Kevin Roy. This Canadian musician has a lot to be excited for — not only has he been receiving radio play on prominent stations, but he is also getting closer to the official launch of his highly anticipated album Heartworn Highways. Where many musicians lean heavily on making as much noise as they can, Kevin Roy focuses more on the stripped down honest approach to true songwriting. If you like his music, make sure to support it, because musicians as busy as Kevin Roy appreciate the help along the journey.