With all the stresses of university, sometimes you just need to get away to your safe place! For a lot of people, this place can be found in music. From punk rock to rap to jazz, there’s something out there for everyone, no matter what you’re going through. But instead of listening to the same album over and over again, why not try something new? Subcultured has tracked down some up-and-coming student artists that can make a new song get stuck in your head or maybe even inspire you to create something of your own. Links for all the artists are at the end of the article!
Jack and Eliza
Jack and Eliza are a duo from New York who have gained attention for their surf rock sound. They are both 21 and are studying at New York University and Columbia University. They currently have an album out called Gentle Warnings. Their music is inspired by The Beatles, Motown, The Mamas and the Papas, as well as modern indie bands such as Tame Impala. What makes them stand out is the nostalgic feel of both their songs and videos (check out Secrets for this). They describe their genre as “naked”, highlighting the exposed nature of the songs and the stripped down focus on the vocals and harmonies.
Listen to Jack and Eliza’s music out on YouTube.
Mike Brown is a 19 year old singer/songwriter from Surrey, who is currently focusing on his music via his YouTube channel. Musically, his songs would appeal to fans of Vance Joy and The Lumineers, and his original songs Right Right Right and Idaho bring a new chilled-out flavour to folk pop. Mike has been working on songwriting for the past few years. Having started from a young age, he now plays the piano, the guitar and the drums. Music has always been an escape for him and his greatest inspiration is Tom Fletcher from McFly.
Check out Mike’s YouTube channel.
Joy Nkoyo Effiong
Joy Nkoyo Effiong is a second year student studying Classical Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, having previously attended the BRIT School. She was only 8 when she started learning classical violin and she started writing songs at 12. She also sung in gospel choirs as a child and went on to learn the piano. She is inspired by David Bowie’s artistry, Regina Spektor’s storytelling and TuneYards’ sound world and vocal delivery. She has been compared to Eska and Lianne La Havas in the past. Balancing studying and music is difficult, but she alternates between pop music and orchestral work. She wants to be an artist in the future, but also use what she’s learnt from her studies. Her melodic work is perfect for fans of soul and dreamy pop.
Alessia Cara is a singer from Canada who was signed to the record labels EP and Def Jam last year, when she was just 18. She first put up a cover on YouTube when she was 13 and since then has gained over 450,000 subscribers. Her best known song is her debut single Here from her album Know-It-All. The single, which topped the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop songs, is about secretly hating parties – something a lot of us can relate to! Her soulful voice and relatable lyrics earned her fame and, as a result, she will be going on her first tour this year. Her YouTube channel has songs from her album, but also covers of many popular songs. We recommend checking out her version of Love Yourself and Stay With Me.
Check out Alessia on YouTube.
Jonny Onismiss is a 19 year old rap artist, who also works as a care assistant. He started making music at around the age of 12 and first got into rap through the song Ready to Die by Notorious B.I.G. – he thinks the rhyme schemes in it are “mind blowing”. Having been inspired by many other artists since then, Jonny is committed to creating a unique sound and to maintaining his individuality. He has recently made a video for his new song Jumpman, available on YouTube under the name TRK.
i-D (2015) nyc duo jack and eliza make ‘naked’ surf rock. Available at: https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/nyc-duo-jack-and-eliza-make-naked-surf-rock (Accessed: 3rd February 2016).
Wikipedia (2015) Alessia Cara. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessia_Cara (Accessed: 3rd February 2016).
YouTube (2014) Jack and Eliza. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYzvOFZYh5iJASx8PlkYrCg (Accessed: 4th February 2016).
YouTube (2014) AlessiaCaraVEVO. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlessiaCaraVEVO (Accessed: 4th February 2016).
YouTube (2014) Mike Brown Music. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRZETD2mfFkbWoLZkcmVW9g (Accessed: 4th February 2016).
YouTube (2014) TRKOfficial. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-fKlNsZLuDpT2GXleq2Yug (Accessed: 4th February 2016)
Facebook (2014) Joy Nkoyo. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/joynkoyomusic/photos/a.187042191506189.1073741828.169164896627252/260247510852323/?type=3&theater (Accessed: 24th February 2016).
Text by Jess Madanayake