21 Rising Stars for 2021: PART I
2020 was the year that Cathedral Music launched and as we took our first few steps, found our voice, learned our audience and pushed ourselves further in our art, we thoroughly enjoyed watching other artists take similar (albeit far more impressive) journeys of their own in 2020. Shining a light on impressive and aspiring new artists will always be an integral part of our mantra at Cathedral, and so we decorate your start to 2021 with the fresh sounds of 21 of our favourite emerging artists, all of whom had a formative and killer 2020.
In 2020 Asha Elia established herself as the freshest sound on the UK Christian R&B scene. She followed up on the success of her first two releases with her debut EP New Woke Deal. Nights Like This was the main track from this EP and picked up a huge amount of traction receiving nearly 300k streams on Spotify and another further 200k views on YouTube. We were so impressed with the lyrical balance that Asha managed to strike as she ventured down the under-trodden path of exploring both faith and personal relationships in equal measure. This record can therefore be a rare beacon of hope to young people who are trying to navigate through their spiritual and romantic journeys.
Beach Chapel became close friends of ours in 2020 and we enjoyed hosting them on the show twice, first in March to chat about their new French disco inspired track Dropkick and then again in July as we had the privilege of premiering their track Light Leaks. 2020 was a formative year for one of the most exciting bands on the indie Christian scene who experiment with a variety of genres as they continued to carve out their distinct ‘Beach Chapel sound’.
Cat Rae is an aspiring artist from the UK with an incredibly powerful voice. She announced herself to the world with the rhythmic Freedom Reign which contained a verse from the ever impressive Joshua Luke Smith. Cat showed off her range by dropping electronic-pop and drum & bass versions of the track with electronic duo Influxx.
Cat has just released ‘Fire’ her first track of 2021, with the promise of an album to follow later this month!
French singer-songwriter Claudia Isaki powerfully announced herself to the scene this year with her first two EP’s “My Home” and “Golden Hour”. She exercises excellent vocal control with her delicate and meandering melodies, she captures beautiful tones on her guitars and she knows how to construct impressive songs. In the midst of an impressive sound that is reminiscent of a young Corinne Bailey-Rae, she focuses her lyrics around her faith and provides the listener with a fresh and exciting perspective to worship.
Claudia Isaki was the recipient of our Horizon Artist of the Month on the November edition of our podcast.
One of the most exciting sounds in the indie Christian scene is that of Darla Baltazer. Throughout 2020 Darla has been creating dreamy, feel good indie tracks that carry a similar DNA to that which you would find on a Rivers & Robots album. Her skills go far beyond the writing of great music as she has been able to produce all of this from her bedroom studio in Manila, Philippines. Her indie, jazzy, lo-fi vibes make her music the perfect accompaniment for any evening.
We reviewed her EP ‘Not So Clever’ as our Sit Down Record of the Month for July’s podcast.
2020 was an incredible year for IMRSQD. In a formidable partnership with Moflo Music they experimented with sounds and genres, blending one into the other and creating a defining sound that put them at the forefront of innovation within the Christian music scene. With hints of rap, indie, neo-soul, lo-fi and R&B, there’s only one way to describe his sound, it’s IMRSQD.
Check out our interview with IMRSQD here.
We were overjoyed when Jon Webster agreed to be the first guest on the Cathedral Music podcast back in January 2020. He is one of those incredible multi-talented creatives who has so much to offer, he’s a dancer, videographer, photographer and artist who picked up a guitar and just happened (of course) to be amazing at that as well. Jon released a string of powerful singles in 2020 including a powerful reflection on the Black Lives Matter movement called “Why Should You Decide?” and he rejoined us on the podcast in July to chat about this further. Jon has just dropped his first album ‘Lovesick’ which we think you just need to dive into!
If you want a good example of how to drop a debut track, then look no further than Junior Garr, his powerful debut Waters received huge acclaim and has received nearly 2.5m streams on Spotify alone! It’s easy to see why he picked up such a reception, with an incredibly smooth and powerful tone to his vocals and an undeniable ability to write a killer melody, you simply can’t help but pay him attention.
Junior also provided us with a couple special projects towards the end of 2020 that you need to check out. The Black History Project released with TBN in October and a Christmas series with the Spirituals Choir performed at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.
Kelsey teamed up with John Mark Pantana, one of the most distinctive and enticing voices on the scene, for her debut track Northern Lights. This beautiful track was the first release from her Heaven’s Song EP which followed shortly after. This is a beautiful singer songwriter record which is full of clever and delicate vocals lines. Kelsey has clearly approached this project with endeavour and creativity to develop the embryos of good songs into mature pieces of art.
Levi is a young rapper from Arizona who has an abundance of natural talent and quickly established himself as a firm Cathedral Music favourite. Following on from the success of his first release Lamentations, Levi dropped his first EP ‘The Holy Hand Grenade Tapes’ which he developed in collaboration with Charlie Powers. This incredible EP allows Levi to experiment with his flow and sound whilst diving into lyrical battles of faith and personal experiences.
We got to hang out with Levi as part of our Cathedral Conversations series on IGTV
Megan holds a special place in the heart of Cathedral Music, we were blown away by her massive debut track ‘If I’m Honest’ which hits you between the eyes with its clever use of dynamics. As well as a great singer, she’s also one of the most fun people you will ever meet, we had the privilege of chatting to her three times last year, on our podcast, for the Solitude Project special and our radio show.
To be continued...
Part II coming soon.