best emerging indie artists

Best Emerging Indie Artists: Summer 2023 Wrap-Up

Did you find your song of the summer? Do you have a list of your favorite albums of 2023 so far? Maybe you caught onto Del Water Gap if you watched The Summer I Turned Pretty. Or if you followed along with the New Music Friday trends, you probably checked out Olivia Rodrigo, The National, and Morgan Wallen. If you’re still searching for some of the best emerging indie artists of the year, stay tuned for a breakdown of new music discoveries. Our summer 2023 wrap-up will put some new artists on your radar as we head into spooky season.

best emerging indie artists

Best Emerging Indie Artists Summer 2023

Amanda Cross: Folk/Acoustic/Alt-Country

Amanda Cross’s music blends several genres, from folk to Americana, country, and rock. Her summer single “Desert Rose” has a haunting aspect that undoubtedly captures the atmosphere of the desert. The song comes to a powerful height, demonstrating Amanda’s vocal range and talent. “Desert Rose” sparks a similar feel to “The River” by Daisy Jones & The Six. Amanda Cross followed this single with “Tennesee,” a more stripped-down folk ballad.

ANI: Soul pop

ANI is a soul-pop artist whose music is pure, calming, and heartfelt. Her single, “Miss U,” is an easy-listening earworm and a perfect addition to any chill-out playlist. The bassline on this track drives the song but pauses for the listener to focus on the vocals and lyrics. The chorus is memorable and soothing as it echoes in your head. ANI most recently released “Waiting Game,” which features more of her soulful vocals and sultry sound.

Lucius Arthur: Pop/Rock/Punk

Lucius Arthur is a pop-rock/punk artist from the U.K. His summer single, “Bad Trip,” proved to be a success for his audience. “Bad Trip” creeps into your head and instantly has you singing along in an angsty way. The vocals are inviting and unique, calling upon fans of Måneskin or The Struts.

Lucius recently followed “Bad Trip” with “Scarlet Tears,” a 90s-inspired single with a guitar style similar to Radiohead. He shows an array of emotions in his voice and a wide vocal range to keep the atmosphere captivating. After hearing these tracks, fans should be enthralled with the surprises in Lucius Arthur’s music.

Luther Clayton: Folk/Acoustic/Pop

Luther Clayton is an emerging singer-songwriter from the U.K. His recent single, “It’s Amazing,” showcases his songwriting talent and acoustic influences. The slow-building progression of this song keeps listeners eager to hear the story unfold. Moreover, the lyrics are eloquently written and delivered by Luther’s unmistakable vocals. You can hear musical inspiration from Luther’s influences, Ben Howard, Bon Iver, and David Gray. “It’s Amazing” is a heartbreaking track with an unexpected yet relatable ending.

Elijah Delgado: Indie rock/Singer-songwriter

Elijah Delgado’s music is for fans of Gary Clark Jr., John Mayer, Young the Giant, or Paulo Nutini. His latest single, “Pipe Dream,” draws listeners in with a minimal introduction focusing on the vocals and lyrics. “Pipe Dream” has many layers that play to Delgado’s depth and ability to blend genres. The structure of this song continues to give as it builds to a culminating high.

Best Emerging Indie Artists Summer 2023

Del Water Gap: Indie pop

Del Water Gap (Samuel Holden Jaffe) is the most recognized artist on this list. His music became more prevalent with the second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty. His infectious singles, “All We Ever Do Is Talk,” “Losing You,” and “Coping On Unemployment” have infinite plays.

As a follow-up to his 2021 debut, Del Water Gap released his sophomore LP I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet. This album includes indie pop bops that will carry you into the end of the year. Standout tracks apart from the singles include “NFU” and “Glitter & Honey.” Del Water Gap’s second album is certainly gearing up to be a contender for AOTY.

Edgar Everyone: Electropop

Edgar Everyone is a French artist living in L.A. His most recent single, “Time is a nonlinear joke,” merges electronic, pop, dance, and funk. His style of music would resonate with fans of Tame Impala, Gorillaz, or Thundercat. “Time is a nonlinear joke” is psychedelic, melodic, and particularly transcendent. This track makes a great addition to any festival or concert pump-up playlist.

Cati Landry: Indie pop/Dream pop

Cati Landry is a Canadian singer-songwriter who fuses indie, alt, and dream pop sounds. Her latest track, “Mind’s Eye,” is undeniably memorable and melodic. The chorus flawlessly achieves the goal of being catchy within the first few seconds. The combination of romanticism alongside poetic lyrics encourages you to dig deeper. Cati’s vocals seem to float as they carry the atmosphere of this song. “Mind’s Eye” is full of dreamy melodies and longing expressions that will stick in your head.

LiketheAstronaut: Alternative

LiketheAstronaut is a new project from John Glenn of the band Stellar Young. Together with Dave Parker (Weerd Science producer), Josh Eppard (Coheed & Cambria drummer), and Kyle Hatch (Stellar Young guitarist), they released their debut EP. The EP, Moments Before, covers grief, new life, and reflection presented in an organic blend of soundscapes.

“A Part” is the lead single from this project, which holds a scope of deeper emotions masked by upbeat elements. “Slumber Still” is a favorite from the EP that pulls in every direction of life when you explore the lyrics. “Slumber Still” has layers of despair, vulnerability, and hope. The contrast of the ethereal instrumentals and significantly personal lyrics will have you listening repeatedly.

PRIMOVERE: Indie pop/Altnernative

PRIMOVERE is an 8-piece Italian group that combines influences of indie pop, post-rock, new wave, and classical music. Their two most recent singles, “Funeral” and “Dopamine,” both hit with an abundance of emotions.

On “Funeral,” a glimpse of hope shines in the chorus of a mostly subdued and melancholic track. The song starts soft and focused, gradually building to a more amplified sound. The feelings of “Funeral” pierce the audience both musically and lyrically. “Dopamine” follows a similar suit, with flawless vocals and a clearly communicated message. The style of PRIMOVERE echoes the likes of The National with their ability to evoke a goosebump feeling from a ‘never-before-heard’ song.


Other best emerging indie artists of the summer include Holly Humberstone, Babe Rainbow, Shak SYrn, Anthony Ortiz, Nation of Language, and Cannons. All of these artists and more are featured in a selection of playlists below.

BEST EMERGING INDIE ARTISTS PLAYLISTS

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New Music Spring

New Music Emerging Now: Spring Fever

If you want to catch up on the best new music releases this spring, look no further than our New Music Emerging Now: Spring Fever playlists. As always, this past season has unlimited music to discover from your favorite indie, pop, singer-songwriter, and alternative artists. Strong album releases came this month from Ed Sheeran, The National, and Joy Oladokun. Hot new spring singles included drops from Babe Rainbow, The Japanese House, Anderson Hao, and Diving at Dawn. Take a deep dive into our New Music Spring playlists below as the holiday weekend kicks off into summer.

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New Music Emerging Now // Spring Albums & EPs

Ed Sheeran--Subtract // Singer-songwriter

Ed Sheeran shares an emotional diary of personal turmoil in relationships and professional life on -Subtract. The preliminary concept of Subtract was always acoustic and stripped down, but recent events in his private life tragically lined up with the theme. Sheeran sought instrumentals from Aaron Dessner of The National to channel some of Subtract’s more profound, intimate moments. Sheeran processes the loss of best friend Jamal Edwards and touches on grief, depression, and uncertainty. He pens his deepest, darkest songs with “Salt Water,” “Sycamore,” and “Borderline.” “Life Goes On” relates to grieving the loss of his friend while the world spins on with the daily grind.

In contrast, “Dusty” is the perfect parent-child track about listening to records and being carefree in a moment of childhood innocence. The song is squeezed between heavier tracks, bringing sunshine as Sheeran recounts a shared morning ritual with his oldest daughter. Subtract lulls to a close with a Celtic-inspired tune, “The Hills of Aberfeldy,” written with Foy Vance, to give a solemn and yearning end to a primarily heartbreaking album.

Joy Oladokun-Proof of Life // Singer-songwriter/Folk

Joy Oladokun delivers Proof of Life, a stepping-out for the upcoming artist. The album sends an uplifting message to those going through “Changes,” trying to remain hopeful and working on self-improvement. Standout tracks that convey the message of the album include “Taking Things For Granted,” “Somebody Like Me,” and “Trying.” On these tracks, Oladokun longs for acceptance and understanding while challenging herself to be unbothered by opinions.

The range of artists on this album flaunts Oladokun’s genre-crossing flair. The Nashville-local singer is opening for Noah Kahan on his headlining tour, who is featured on “We’re All Gonna Die.” Other emotive collaborations on Proof of Life feature Mt. Joy, Chris Stapleton, Manchester Orchestra, and Maxo Kream. “Sweet Symphony” ft. Chris Stapleton accentuates the soulfulness of the two artists’ voices. Proof of Life is soul-searching, eloquent, and introspective, often sounding like pages of a musical diary.

The National-First Two Pages of Frankenstein // Alternative

Excerpt by Kate Freeman@what.kate.listens.to

The National’s most recent LP almost didn’t happen. Twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner crafted their signature undulating instrumental pieces, while lead singer Matt Berninger struggled to pen lyrics due to depression and writer’s block. Thankfully, two things helped spark Berninger’s return to form: his wife and lyric collaborator Carin Besser using the phrase “your mind is not your friend;” and picking up a copy of Frankenstein from the bookshelf. The lonely, desolate setting of the book’s opening felt relatable at the time. It was an appropriate starting point for the characteristically melancholy band’s ninth album. 

First Two Pages of Frankenstein sees The National shed their earlier angular guitar sounds and harshness in favor of more delicate tracks, perfect for their vulnerable yet wry lyrics. The album is arguably their heaviest emotionally, but to counteract this, it is also their shortest in over ten years. In the standout lead single, “Tropic Morning News,” Berninger proclaims, “There’s nothing stopping me now from saying all of the painful parts out loud.” 

The album features three collabs that are any indie fan’s dream – Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift. The most notable, “The Alcott” with Swift, earns her a writing credit and gives fans another heart-wrenching duet following “Coney Island” from evermore.

Frankenstein is relatable yet elusive, with glimpses of joy between waves of sorrow. Perhaps the exception is closer “Send For Me,” where Berninger stops looking inward and offers sincere kindness—a hopeful close to the album and the beginning of a new chapter for our favorite sad dad band.

New Music Emerging Now // Spring Discoveries

Anderson Hao “GET a GRIP” // Acoustic/Pop

Anderson Hao is gearing up to release her debut EP featuring recent singles “GET a GRIP” (ft. Lance Redeker) and “SECOND RATE.” The artist’s soft vocals and poignant lyrics are similar to the style of beabadoobee, Gracie Abrams, or Olivia Rodrigo. Hao’s simplistic tone on “GET a GRIP” instantly lures listeners with, “You’ve got your guard up, I’ve got this nagging feeling, so I hide my neck for two weeks. The track weaves in subtle elements as Lance’s voice accentuates but never overpowers Anderson’s. It culminates to a sonic height with the duality of vocals and instrumentation at the end. Anderson’s knack for candid and straightforward songwriting radiates in every song she has released. Be on the lookout for her EP, What a Hard Winter, on May 31st.

Babe Rainbow “Super Ego” // Psych-pop

Australian band Babe Rainbow recently took the stage at Shaky Knees Fest in Atlanta with their newest single, “Super Ego.” The four-piece band is known for their signature throwback sounds, which dominate “Super Ego” as the stellar production drifts listeners into a daze. “Super Ego” brings all the psychedelic vibes similar to a 60’s chill jam. One line even brings to mind Steve Miller Band’s iconic “Fly Like An Eagle” as the vocals soar over “and we were looking back through your computer.” Stay tuned for their upcoming EP, Fresh As A Head of Lettuce, set for release on June 16th.

Christian James, Laith, & Annalee Beck “Useless” // Alternative

Raleigh artist Christian James drops a collab track with Annalee Beck and local NC producer Laith. The upbeat style and carefree production are juxtaposed with the melancholy lyrics of being “Useless.” “Useless” embodies waves of ocean tides in the introduction, seemingly washing away spring and kicking off summer. “Nothing sounds right / I was slow dancing on the white rug, spillin’ wine / I love the fact that I am useless,” Christian repeats each word perfectly on the beat.

Diving at Dawn “Playing Your Records” // Alternative

Diving at Dawn, the solo project of Pete Hobbs from The Boy Least Likely To, goes on a sentimental flashback of experiencing music on vinyl for the first time. Hobbs paints a vivid image of exploring his father’s record collection as a kid and creating a core memory of spinning vinyl. This track is a must-hear for any record collector who loves the crackle of an old LP. “Playing Your Records” has similar vocals to Beck on “Stratosphere” and a melange of music Hobbs grew up listening to (Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Wings). Some songs were meant to be pressed on vinyl, and this one emulates that exact notion.

Dylan Kelley “Wherever You Are” // Country

Breakup songs have existed for ages but always seem vindictive, overly emotional, or often cliché. Dylan Kelley’s new single “Wherever You Are” is an ode to an ex, wishing them well in whatever journey they pursue after the relationship ends. Dylan’s storytelling on this track is spot on and sends the message softly but clearly in the most endearing way. Country music fans will want to put “Wherever You Are” on repeat and, for once, look back fondly on an old flame.

The Japanese House “Sad to Breathe” & “Sunshine Baby” // Pop

The Japanese House, solo artist Amber Bain of Dirty Hit, returns with sensational singles “Sad to Breathe” and “Sunshine Baby.” The debut single, “Boyhood,” from her upcoming album, In the End It Always Does, marked her first release since 2020. “Sad to Breathe” is an acoustic, more stripped-back style single that accentuates her pure vocals. The lyrics cut deep on processing the end of a relationship, “I go to bed, and I’m cryin, ’cause it’s sad to breathe the air when you’re not there.” George Daniel, drummer of The 1975, adds his magic to the production with the signature chimes of piano similar to The Birthday Party or The Man Who Married a Robot.

“Sunshine Baby” captures the bittersweet qualities of a relationship when you don’t want a good thing to end. “Putting off the end, ’cause in the end it always does,” is contrasted by “sitting in the backseat, driving with my sunshine baby.” Amber’s voice and diction on this track embody her feelings. Matty Healy’s backing vocals and a smooth sax solo brighten up the song like a warm spring day. In the End It Always Does is set for release on June 30th.

Lost Hearts “Night to Remember” // Rock

Lost Hearts brings pop-rock back to the forefront of the country-dominated city of Nashville. “Night to Remember” is a classic, catchy, live anthem. The lyrics on this single give listeners a glimpse of the mid-2000s. The simple concept of pining for someone that you can’t have rings out in a universal and memorable chorus. Lost Hearts have what it takes to command a stage and be the next big addition to rock tours around the US.


As May nears a close, we are still playing catch-up with new music this spring. Discover everything you see here and more on our New Music Emerging Now // Spring Fever playlists.

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