Historic DJ Marco Collins is one of two Seattle disc-jockeys honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Collins, who broke bands in the ‘90s like Beck and Pearl Jam on his now-infamous radio station 107.7 The End, has since been profiled by Vice and released a documentary about his life, The Glamour & The Squalor (see a trailer below).
Collins, who is today a DJ at the popular indie radio station KEXP 90.3 FM, has always had an ear for new talent. It’s what helps to make him buddies with folks like Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain and what keeps him connected to the Pacific Northwest music scene and beyond.
Here, we caught up with Collins to ask him which artists he would seek out to work with if, say, he was an official A&R person. And this is what he told us (in no particular order, of course). “These are the Top 10 artists I would try to sign right now,” Collins says. “If I had my own record label.”
Check out what else he has to say about these 10 artists below.
1. Cassandra Lewis – “Darlin’”
“Cassandra is hand’s down one of the most authentic and striking voices I’ve heard in decades. I first saw Cassandra play on the Willamette River in front of a tugboat, in her hometown of Portland, Oregon where she stunned and brought an unfamiliar audience to their feet for a standing ovation. Not many artists can bring me to tears, Cassandra does it within three songs. That’s how pure this shit is.”
2. Alec Shaw – “Nobody But You”
“Another Seattleite that the world has yet to discover. One of my favorite songwriters right now. Equal parts Jeff Buckley, Paulo Nutini, and Radiohead. Sublime.”
3. Jarv Dee & Bad Colours – “Black Skin”
“Blakhouse is the name of Jarv Dee & Bad Coulours’ new about-face EP and is easily one of the best releases of the year. Jarv is a well-known Seattle rapper who flipped it and released a house record. NOBODY saw this coming!”
4. Payday – “Vampire (w/ Danny Brown)”
“Not many people know Payday came from Marysville, Washington. She’s 17 years old and unapologetic with her rhymes. FIRE.”
5. The Sleepovers – “Leave This Party”
“It’s hard to categorize the music of The Sleepovers, a one-man musical journey that deviates between indie pop and slow jam R&B. His shit is sooo hooky.”
6. Chong The Nomad – “Get Back”
“Chong The Nomad never ceases to amaze me with her live shows. I’ve not seen many electronic artists perform with that kind of passion and fury. Pure joy coming outta this one.”
7. Left At London – “Pills and Good Advice”
“Her record starts off with a 10-minute folk/hyper pop opus and segues into a Rufus Wainwright-ish musical about a Seattle politician that jumped to his death from a building in downtown Seattle in 1936. Nat Puff is a fuckin’ genius who constantly surprises me with her songwriting (as well as her social media stunts).”
8. Hotel Amber – “Summer Daze”
“Hotel Amber is the musical moniker of Carson Janke. It’s dream pop with a serious R&B lean. And he can play guitar like a motherfucker.”
9. Daisies – “Legalize Summer”
“The Daisies are one of the most underrated artists in the PNW. They’re based in Olympia & produce brilliant electronic pop ala St. Etienne. I simply LOVE them.”
10. Cataldo – “Ding Dong Scrambled Eggs”
“I’m still not sure why this group isn’t huge. Intelligent pop music.”