5 small artists you ought to know


courtesy of artists's Instagram

As the race to replace fallen music stars continues to fluctuate, smaller artists hope to fulfill their place. Ryce (middle), Mills. (top right), Sam.sts (bottom right), glibs (top left), and Public Library Commute (bottom left) all collected 200,000 listeners or less on Spotify, sparking vibrations in the music industry. “All 5 of these artists are on constant rotation throughout my playlist, and each of them brings something different,” sophomore Lorenzo Alarcon said.

Peyton Stack, Staff

With countless genres and artists in today’s music scene, quality musicians and singers fly under the radar, hoping to catch their so-called “big break”. Most of these artists operate without a music label and use smaller platforms to reach as wide an audience of listeners as possible; as a result, the possibility of hitting the mainstream market seems attainable with help from the media and word of mouth. Although the majority of smaller artists struggle to gain attention, a few manage to grasp it through quality music and increasing exposure.

#1: Mills

After being discovered by fellow rapper/musician Felly, this young indie-pop artist released his debut single “Kanye In My Head” in 2018, collecting hundreds of thousands of plays on multiple platforms. After releasing the single “Water,” (his most popular single to date) in the summer of 2019, Mills. followed up with his first album Clashing Thoughts. As of today, Mills. continues to make soulful music and garnered almost 90,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and recently gained attention from pop star Justin Bieber via Instagram. “I heard about Mills. through Justin Bieber’s Instagram and love his music,” NC senior Josh Zignego said.

#2: Sam.sts 

Producing, mixing, and rapping since his early high school days, Indianapolis’ Sam.sts entered the music scene through Soundcloud. After receiving attention for his singles “Skateboard” and “Tokyo”, new listeners enjoyed his unique sound and indie-pop genre style. In 2018 Sam.sts released his hit single “Applesauce”, with it becoming a classic summer bop and gaining over 3 million plays on Spotify. Sam.sts plans on releasing new music soon, consistently appearing with producer YOG$ and working at the Wilder record studio. “I discovered Sam earlier last summer and have played him non-stop ever since,” NC sophomore Emma Pearson said. 

#3: Public Library Commute 

Before taking his talents to the microphone, Conrad Hsiang, also known as Public Library Commute, produced several beats for different artists to perform with. Hsiang first entered the scene by featuring on rapper Healy’s “Slalom” that collected over 4 million plays on Spotify. Since then, P.L.C. has released a pair of albums and a collection of vibrant singles that struck a chord with listeners. Hsiang also recently went on tour with the trending group Surfaces and released his new single “Summertime”. 

#4: Ryce 

With fast flows and deep lyrics, Ryce used social media and networking to help build his music career. Collaborating with Khai Dreams on the song “sameTVshows” and with Forrest Frank of Surfaces on the popular song “Lately”, the rapper most recently released his new single “Yeet!”. As his 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify continue to grow and his fan base expands, so do his catchy choruses and energetic verses. 

#5: glibs

Like most of the other singers on this list, singer/rapper glibs’ music fits into the intersection of chill pop and rap. Though his fanbase might seem small with only 58,000 listeners, glibs looks to increase this number with another hit single like “Waves,” which collected 1.2 million plays on Spotify. Dropping singles and albums on a consistent basis, glibs provides a plethora of music that uplifts the spirit of any and every listener.  

As more popular artists rise and fall, smaller artists can seize the opportunity to replace them. As 2020 continues to stagger on, we may see a few of these up-and-coming artists blow up with plenty of catchy music to offer.