It's that time of year again -- when countless numbers of fans and participants from the music, tech, and entertainment communities (and more) arrive in Austin, Texas for the South By Southwest festival. The music selection at SXSW can understandably be a bit overwhelming, with a massive range of acts featured from every style imaginable. From electro, to hip hop, to singer-songwriter and beyond, the festival covers all the genre bases. After combing through hundreds of acts, here are our top 3 picks for emerging artists to catch during the music week portion of SXSW, which runs from March 15-20.
WHO: Lukas Graham
WHEN: Spotify House, Main Stage - March 15th @ 12pm
WHY: There is no doubt that Lukas Graham is having a very big year. The 27-year old singer's catchy, pop-rock soul style has already garnered him significant success in his home country of Denmark, where his last album went quadruple platinum. Now Graham, who was essentially unknown in the U.S. at this time last year, is poised for international success. He currently has a Top 10 Single ("7 Years"), a highly anticipated album due out later this year, and is in the midst of a largely sold out tour. His success translates live -- Graham belts out his songs with soul and honesty beyond his years, and it doesn't hurt that he and his bandmates (who all grew up together) have fantastic onstage chemistry as well. Lukas Graham is on everyone's list to watch this year, so don't miss him @ SXSW on March 15th.
WHO: Anderson .Paak
WHEN: NPR Showcase @ Stubbs - March 16th @ 11:15pm
WHY: Up until recently, rising hip-hop star Anderson.Paak (real name Brandon Paak Anderson) had largely made a name for himself as a featured artist on tracks by big time acts like The Game, Schoolboy Q and most notably Dr. Dre (he was featured on 6 tracks from Compton). But with recent the release of his new album, Malibu, Paak has given us more than enough reason to pay attention his solo work. His style draws comparisons to Kendrick Lamar - in the sense that it's raw, real and has serious soul and R&B influence. Paak's got a voice of his own though, and it shines on Malibu in what Pitchfork calls "a sincere, soulful project, brimming with honesty and humble perseverance." Be sure to catch out his sure to be packed set @ SXSW next week.
WHO: Troye Sivan
WHEN: YouTube Stage @ Coppertank Events Center - March 18th @ 9pm
WHY: With close to 4 million followers, Troye Sivan has been a well-known YouTube star for several years now. But the 20-year old South African-born artist's music career has only just recently begun to take off. His first major label album, Blue Neighborhood, was released late last year to critical acclaim, and has been building momentum ever since. The stand-out single "Youth" has charted in almost 20 countries, and has racked up nearly 9 million views on YouTube. Sivan is a confident, refreshing young artist who isn't afraid to be himself or speak his mind, which makes him a stand out in the industry. And his unique brand of honest electro-pop resonates with his fans, who he fosters a deep connection with both on and off the stage. He has a lot of buzz leading into his performance @ SXSW, so don't miss his show @ the Coppertank Events Center on March 18th.