10 INDIE ARTISTS YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO
BY BRENESSA ROACH | JANUARY 21 2023
Indie music is when an artist or label produces music without the help or funds of a major label. Often times, people tend to classify indie as a genre since associated with many genres, but it’s not a genre. “Indie pop” for example, is not different from regular pop, it just means that it is music by an independent artist. This classification might happen because music by independent artists has a specific DIY (do it yourself) sound. That is because independent artists usually are creating these songs on a lower budget and from their own homes using whatever they have (instruments, a laptop, home studio etc.) If you’d like to read more about indie music and its history of it, check out this article by .
Here are 10 independent artists to listen to. And stay tuned to the end of this post for a Spotify playlist with every song mentioned.
Julian Daniel is a Canadian singer from a suburb just north of Toronto. His genre falls under pop/dreamy pop infused with elements of rock and electronic music. I first discovered Julian through his song “Eighteen” which was released in June 2022. This song falls under the genre of rock mixed with a post-punk sound. Essentially, it is a song that reminds me of the kinds of songs you would hear in a late ‘90s, early 2000 movie, which is why I think I really love this song. His song “Lemontree” which was released early on in his career in August 2019 is currently his most popular song with 2 million streams. This song in particular has a summer vibe due to the elements of electronic dance music.
Recently, Julian’s song “Distance” was featured in Season 2, Episode 1 of the Netflix show “Ginny & Georgia”. This is very exciting and hopefully we can see more songs of his featured in shows/movies.
Listen to “Eighteen” by Julian Daniel on Spotify:
Check out Julian Daniels on Instagram: @juliandanielmusic
The High Loves is a rock band from Toronto that formed in 2018 and consists of Noah Monckton (lead vocalist and guitarist), Marko Stojanovic (lead guitarist), Jeremy Ugro (keyboardist), Jake St Jean (bassist) and Jaden Spanier (drummer). Drawing inspiration from groups such as The Beatles and The Strokes, The High Loves music is a blend of powerful vocals, ‘80s synth, mixed with danceable hooks. In 2019, The High Loves were the winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with their song “High-Rise”, which currently sits at 32K streams.
In March 2020, I worked with The High Loves to record a live off the floor session for their song “High-Rise”. Since then, have loved listening to their music and watching them grow. In July 2022, Noah invited me to their Toronto show at the Horseshoe Tavern alongside The Vaniers and Grizzly Coast.
On January 6, The High Loves released their third EP Something Famous, followed by an EP release show at the Horshoe Tavern in Toronto alongside Beyond The Sun and The Vaniers. My favourite song on the EP is “Sure of It”, which is also the most popular song on the album with 15.8K streams. Very excited to see and be a part of The High Loves growth in 2023.
Listen to “High-Rise” by The High Loves on Spotify:
Check out The High Loves on Instagram: @thehighloves
Ghasira Pornnoppadol, known by her stage name mindfreakkk is a Thai singer-songwriter from Bangkok, Thailand. Her musical style is a blend of retro synth pop with a little bit of R&B. She made her debut to streaming platforms in May 2021 with her hit song “Have You Ever”, which currently has 1.5 million streams. mindfreakkk is an artist who writes music inspired by mental health. Her songs are “a glimpse of her own mental reflection filled with chaos and hope” (Source: Spotify Artist Bio).
I discovered mindfreakkk on January 6 through the Spotify curated playlist “Jasmine”. Her song with Tokimeki Records titled “SLEEP PARTY” was the 120th song featured in the playlist. After diving into her Spotify, I discovered the song “Chaos Calls” which is my current favourite. Her sound is so unique, it’s incomparable to any other artists in the retro synth pop genre. I personally think that mindfreakkk is an artist that I would LOVE to see in the 88Rising collective and maybe even headline at a future Head In The Clouds festival!
Listen to “Have You Ever” by mindfreakkk on Spotify:
Check out mindfreakkk on Instagram: @mindfreakkk
Altameda is a band originally from Edmonton and currently based in Toronto, Canada. Their musical style is a blend between rock and folk with layers of warm and jazzy bass, 12-bar blues and the beautiful sounds of a wurlitzer electronic piano. They released their first song “Borrowed Suit, Secondhand Dress” in June 2016, followed by the release of their debut album Dirty Rain in July 2016. “Wish Upon The Weather” released in January 2019 on their second album Time Hasn’t Changed You is a favourite of mine. Additionally, “Neon (& That’s Why)” featured on their third album Born Losers is also a favourite.
Listen to “Borrowed Suit, Secondhand Dress” by Altameda on Spotify:
Check out Altameda on Instagram: @altameda
ego apartment is an alternative-pop/r&b band from Japan. The band formed in 2020 and consists of Dyna (producer and bassist), Peggy Doll (guitarist and vocalist) and Zen (guitarist and vocalist). The band alternates vocalists depending on the alternating Japanese and English lyrics and overall style of the song. ego apartment is one of my newest discoveries this year as I have been on a Japanese music/artist wavelength. I discovered them recently as they were featured in the Spotify curated playlist ”Tokyo Rising” for their song “REACH!” which was released in October 2022. I also enjoy the songs “the wire” which was released in April 2022 and “NEXT 2 U” on their debut album EGO APARTMENT. “NEXT 2 U” is also their most popular song currently with almost 1.8 million streams.
Listen to “REACH!” by ego apartment on Spotify:
Check out ego apartment on Instagram: @egoapartment
GRAE is a rising new wave, alt-pop singer and multi-instrumentalist from Toronto, Canada. She made her debut to streaming platforms in October 2019 with her EP New Girl. This EP features one of her hit songs “Your Hands” which was actually featured in Season 1, Episode 6 of the CW show “Nancy Drew”. GRAE’s musical style is so unique as she blends pop with ‘80s synth, punk and jazz, complimented by her smokey vocals and catchy hooks.
I first heard GRAE last year because of the song ”Soft” which was the title track for her debut album Whiplash which was released in April 2022. Since then, I have grown to love her songs “Forget You” and “Your Hands”. GRAE has been featured multiple times on Spotify curated playlists like “indie pop & chill”.
Listen to “Your Hands” by GRAE on Spotify:
Check out GRAE on Instagram: @yourgirlgrae
Marko is a singer-songwriter from Canada that I discovered in March 2022 because of his song “HIDE”. This is currently his most popular song with 3.3 million streams. This song has a catchy guitar intro, a strong drum beat, and amazing layered vocals by Marko. There isn’t much information about Marko on the internet, but I think his music tells his story anyways. In December 2022, he released his song “You Won’t” which is currently charting on multiple Spotify curated playlists such as “indie pop & chill”, “All New Indie”, “soda” and more. Really looking forward to hearing what Marko releases in 2023 and hopefully he can release an album as well.
Listen to “HIDE” by Marko on Spotify:
Check out Marko on Instagram: @musicbymarko
jame is Dominican singer based in Los Angeles, United States who I recently discovered through the song “A Vacant Love”. jame’s musical style is a blend of Latin-pop, wavy funk, alternative and R&B. In my opinion, I have not heard of any other artist with this musical style. As someone who loves and appreciates Latin culture, it’s so beautiful to see jame using a Latin type beat (maybe it’s bachata) layered in with an R&B type beat. The transitions between his English and Spanish lyrics makes it seem like there are two people singing. His voice in English is very light and silky and in Spanish his warm, sultry vocals shine through.
Another song I really enjoyed by jame is his latest pop infused with bachata song from December 2022 titled “Con Mi Coqueta”. Paying attention to the production and lyrics, this is a song about spending the holidays with your loved ones. Layered beneath the main beat, there are sleigh bells to give it that merry and jolly vibe. Currently, jame only has 68K monthly listeners, but that will definitely grow within this year.
Listen to “A Vacant Love” by jame minogue on Spotify:
Check out jame minogue on Instagram: @holasoyjame
sundial is an American pop duo from Boston, Massachusetts. The duo consists of Dorothy Chan and Jisu Kim, two friends who started making music in 2016. They rose to popularity with the success of their song “your text” released in October 2016. This song is currently their most streamed song of 25.1 million streams. I personally started listening to sundial quite recently after discovering their songs “liar”, “rollercoaster” and “24” in “Jasmine”, a Spotify curated playlist highlighting Asian artists worldwide. In September 2022, sundial embarked on a North American tour as the opening act for the singer NIKI. Hopefully in 2023, sundial will release an album and maybe embark on their own tour.
Listen to “your text” by sundial on Spotify:
Check out sundial on Instagram: @sundial
Uwade is a Nigerian born singer/songwriter currently based in New York, USA. Influenced by Gospel music and R&B growing up, her production style is a blend of those two layered with her honey vocals. She debuted to digital streaming platforms in September 2019 with her single “Nostalgia”, which is currently her most popular song sitting at 3.6 million streams. As well, her second most streamed song “The Man Who Sees Tomorrow” released in April 2021 is a favourite of mine. She has not released any new music since her last song “Do You See The Light Around Me” which was in January 2022. Hopefully, 2023 can be a year for her to release new music again.
Listen to “Nostalgia” by Uwade on Spotify:
Check out Uwade on Instagram: @uwade.music
You can find these 10 artists with all songs mentioned in this article on our Spotify playlist below: