Discovering new bands and artists has been a hobby of mine for quite a while. I have always been one of the few people who actually go to a concert before the headliner starts because I love discovering new bands through the opening act.
However, now as a senior in college, it’s been very difficult to find the time to go to concerts, so I’ve been relying on my Spotify and browsing some of my favorite music blogs.
Here are a handful of my favorite artists from the past year!
I first discovered Greta Van Fleet from a music podcast I listen to: Promoter 101! One of the hosts compared them to one of my all-time favorite rock bands – Led Zeppelin baby! When I heard this, I was skeptical because that is a pretty substantial comparison. So, right away I listened to “Black Smoke Rising” and was in complete awe. Last year, they actually won a Grammy for best rock album of the year and they are only in their early 20s! If you do nothing else in January, check them out.
Grace Potter was actually a recommendation from my first music industry boss (thanks Chris!) She was originally in a band but then broke off to pursue a solo career. Sadly, she stopped producing music in 2015, but then in late 2019—boom! Daylight. Grace Potter’s Daylight is such a raw and beautiful album. She explains why she’s taken so much time off from music and how she’s really missed performing because the stage brings her a unique comfort. Grace Potter’s honesty with her fans is inspiring. She is open about her depression and anxiety but also shares how she copes. I’ve really looked up to her over the years and that powerful booming voice. She’s actually performing live at the Anthem on January 25th and I am super excited to see her live for the first time!
I first saw Hembree live when I was a freshman in college at SXSW with my mother. NPR Spotlight had a showcase open to the public featuring some of their favorite artists and bands from that year. Hembree had a phenomenal live performance and clearly attracted some of the major labels to come out to their showcase as well. It’s rare to find an indie band nowadays that pursues music full-time without any major support so I admired their passion and hard work. I continued to support them while I was abroad in London and went to one of their shows again last summer while I was interning in New York. Hembree released Culture in the Spring of 2019 and have been touring non-stop ever since! I can definitely see them rising to become a dominant rock band this year! Highly recommend checking them out when they are in DC next month!
This band is probably the most unique group I’ve discovered in all of 2019. I found out about BAILEN through their manager, Christine, who I met over the summer while I was in New York. She mentioned to me how they are one of the most distinctive bands on her current roster and said they were a mix of a modern-day Joni Mitchell and Simon & Garfunkel. After listening to I Was Wrong, I get Christine’s reference! I’ve been completely blown away from their live performances I’ve watched on Youtube and their latest album release. I don’t know of many bands that perform with their brother and sister, but clearly it’s a trend now in rock bands.
Of course, I had to save the best for the last for the queen herself – Sheryl Crow! She sadly released her last album this past year in late 2019, but what a gem! This album is a collaboration with musicians who’ve inspired her throughout her career as well as some up-and-coming artists. Each song on the album is a different genre: country, soul, rock, folk, etc. Incredible versatility and range! Even Stevie Nicks is featured on this album so therefore you have to listen. I’ve seriously had this album on repeat since Christmas.