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Artists we discovered this year, underground and in the mainstream

By:
Roshni Rakshit (@roshni_rakshit)

2020 has been quite an eventful year when it comes to the major changes the world witnessed, in terms of literally everything.

With everything around us falling apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we turned to artists for relief: both old and new. Just like always, art didn’t disappoint. It stood as a symbol of hope for life itself and kept us all together in this. 

While some artists have been around for quite some time, it was the year 2020 when we discovered the might of their talent -- in the mainstream, and underground. Here is a list of artists from various fields that we discovered in 2020.

AP Dhillon

Although AP came on to the scene in 2019, he popped off in 2020 with a number of bangers that we bumped all summer long. From Majhail, to Brown Munde, to Toxic, to the song of the summer that had us simultaneously jamming out and in our feels-- Excuses with Intense and Gurinder Gill -- AP kept it bumping throughout the year. His latest album Not By Chance with Gurinder Gill and Money Musik is out now.

RaHeaven (real name Rahel Yohannes)

Born in North London and coming from an Eritrean heritage, RaHeaven was one of the freshest musical finds of 2020. She is an RnB singer whose debut single “7 AM” can be found on Spotify. The lyrics of the song showcase one’s frustration with a lover who doesn’t get the message and fails to leave after a one-night stand. Apart from the lyrics, her RnB vocals inspired by her Eritrean heritage were praised as well. Considered fresh, sexy and powerful, this unique take of a song speaking about the nature of one-night stands was an instant hit and an immediate favourite.

Gurinder Gill

Brown munda Gurinder Gill also came on to the scene heavy this year with AP Dhllion & Co, with his vocals being featured on a number of the year's hit songs, establishing him as a major rising star and one to watch. We can't wait to see what other projects he's featured on next. His latest album Not By Chance with AP Dhillon and Money Musik is out now.

Sammy Virji

Sammy Virji is an Electronic Dance Music Producer who launched his debut album Spice Up My Life in the year 2020. Hailing from Witney, near Oxford, Sammy is also a DJ who already has 23k monthly Spotify listeners and 13k followers on Spotify. He has already had his own tour in the United Kingdom and his music primarily focuses on bassline and garage. You can check his music out on Spotify.

King Von

King Von was an American rapper and songwriter from Chicago who was signed to Lil Durk's record label. King Von released a number of solo tracks this year, and a few collabs with Lil Durk, and was looked at as a major rising star on the rap scene, before he was tragically shot and killed outside an Atlanta nightclub in November.

Shinda Kahlon

Shinda Kahlon was another name steadily on the rise this year, being featured on banger after banger, and proving himself to be one to watch, alongside AP Dhillon and Gurinder Gill.

When Chai Met Toast

When Chai Met Toast is a South Asian music band, hailing from Kochi, India that changed the game for Independent musicians, especially in 2020. Their followers have grown tremendously since the band’s inception in 2016 and this year they were a part of Spotify’s RADAR , A global emerging-artist program, that helps emerging artists at all stages of their development and strengthens their connection to audiences. Specialising in rock and electronic music, this band brings a twist of Indian folk tunes to their songs, gaining them a cult following. You can hear their music on Spotify.

Pop Smoke

Although Pop Smoke first debuted in 2019 with his single Welcome to the Party, his second mixtape Meet the Woo 2, was released in 2020, and 2 weeks after the release of the project, Pop Smoke was fatally shot in a home invasion in Los Angeles. His debut studio album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, was posthumously released in July 2020 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with all 19 tracks from the album charting on the Billboard Hot 100.

We can't wait to find more new artists in 2021, and see where these names, big and small, end up on the way.

Here's to great music!

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About the Author: Roshni is a self-proclaimed Comedy Queen who specializes in laughing at her own jokes. Her hobbies include making people smile, watching movies and analysing them, reading books, practicing yoga (occasionally), hogging on well-cooked biryani and scrolling through dog videos and memes on instagram. Her love for writing stems from her love for art in general, which is fuelled by her background in theatre. Catch on her instagram at @roshni_rakshit daily, where she regularly shares her experience with movies and occasionally offends people with her political sense of humour.

5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.

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