5 Solo Artists You Should Be Listening to Today

In today’s age of endless releases, myriad playlists, and social media shares, it can be hard to know where to start to find the music you want to listen to. The question may arise: Who are the great acts amongst all the noise? Who are those needles in the haystacks?

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We wanted to distill all the static out there into five essential solo artists to listen to. Musicians who will bend your mind, inflate your spirit, and shatter your expectations. Here are five musicians of all genres that you should be listening to.

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1. Sunny War

When we wrote several years ago about Sunny War being an artist to watch, we had no idea how high she’d rise. Recently, after releasing her 2023 album, Anarchist Gospel, the folk and roots artist has popped up on late-night shows, city billboards, and coveted taste-maker outlets. She’s also opened for many a big name, including Mitski, and has been slated for well-known festivals. But beyond the hype, War is simply a skilled guitar player (finger-picking and all) and a haunting songwriter.

2. Danielle Ponder

The longtime former lawyer-turned-performer, Danielle Ponder has one of the biggest and best singing voices on the planet. Ponder released her 2022 LP, Some of Us Are Brave, last year. Since then, she’s toured with the likes of Marcus Mumford and has been on the lips of many an insider. She’s played late-night shows, performed at spots like Lollapalooza. and cemented herself as someone to watch and listen to. Some of Us Are Brave is excellent front-to-back, dreamy, informative, and deep.

3. Kassa Overall

Kassa Overall is changing the game. The artist bridges jazz, hip-hop, spontaneity, city life, cerebral investigation, and more into these spastic, beautiful songs. In one moment, you could be listening to a honey-sweet melody over boom-bap drums, and in the next, you could be feeling like you’re falling blissfully through a Syd Barrett-created wormhole. Overall’s music is like if Mozart chopped up your iTunes playlist and rearranged it into a Jackson Pollock painting.

4. Black Belt Eagle Scout

Emotive and rooted, indie rock and timeless calls to nature—these are just some of the words that run through listeners’ minds when they hear the music from Black Belt Eagle Scout. Frontwoman for the project—Katherine Paul—released her latest LP this year, The Land, The Water, The Sky, and with it her brand of electric guitar playing and spell-like vocals became even more well-known. Born in Anacortes, Washington, Paul wrote her latest record on her native soil, letting her family and ancestors’ history run through each note.

5. Shana Cleveland

The frontwoman for the popular indie rock band La Luz, which is a standout project in and of itself, Shana Cleveland is a stellar solo artist. She brings her brand of part-spooky, part-spiritual, part-historic, and part-vaudevillian music to the fore. Cleveland is a genius lyricist and her often spare but lilting guitar accompaniment, demands that fans listen up and listen closely. Check her out in any of her projects, especially her solo work like her latest album, Manzanita (2023).

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins / New West Records

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