Which Bay Area Solo Artist Rose Above Others in 2019?

With the summer festival season closing and the annual “breakthrough artists of the year” lists being compiled, we looked into the online performance of three young San Francisco Bay Area solo artists who are starting to make waves.
Which Bay Area Solo Artist Rose Above Others in 2019?
Sara Mekinc

The San Francisco Bay Area is synonymous with music. Inspiring song titles and music powerhouses such as Dead KennedysFaith No MoreGrateful DeadSantanaGreen DayTycho, and H.E.R., there’s definitely something in the San Francisco water that sparks the creative mind. 

Historically, Bay Area artists are eager to do their own thing. This part of California almost single-handedly delivered the unique sound of psychedelia that marked the counterculture of the 1970s, styled the “California Punk Rock” of the anti-establishment 1980s and 1990s music scene, and galvanized the ever-present DIY spirit that can be felt in the breakthrough music acts of the last decade.

Curious to analyze how such self-made acts performed online in 2019, we turned to our Viberate database. We focused on artists according on the following criteria:

  • - a young solo artist (under 30 years),
  • - from the San Francisco Bay Area,
  • - released new music in 2019,
  • - talked about, but not (yet) a headliner, 
  • - creating in a specific genre.


Based on the criteria, we selected three artists for our analysis. 


1. Jay Som (1994), a San Francisco native, made a splash in the media this summer upon releasing the well-received second album “Anak Ko” and announcing a world tour in August. Creating her own “Lo-Fi Indie Rock” with a distinct, intimate DIY vibe that is sometimes compared to fellow Bay Arean Toro y Moi, Jay Som has a decent following already, with artists such as Hayley WilliamsTegan and SaraCourtney Barnett, and Clairo following her on Instagram.

Jay Som knows where she’s going. 
Source: Instagram

2. Caleborate (1993), from Berkeley, caught our attention with his Instagram following, as he’d already earned a follow from Post MaloneG-EazyBillie Eilish, and similar heavy-hitters. No wonder, as he certainly knows how to play the social media game. As legend goes, he commented on his favorite artists’ YouTube videos so relentlessly, they finally gave in and gave his music a listen – and discovered he isn't half bad. His “millennial Hip Hop”, seamlessly merged with old-school Rap in the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, quickly earned him recognition, and in July 2019, he released his new album “Hear Me Out” with accompanying videos.

Caleborate: hear him out. 
Source: Instagram

3. Still Woozy (1992), on the other hand, caught our eyes and ears by making this year’s Coachella and Lollapalooza lineup. Although having just entered the scene in December 2017, this Oakland artist has already gathered quite a fan following with his genre-bending, dreamy R&B sound and quirky, self-produced music videos. In May, he released his first EP “Lately”, while his older music continues to impress fans – his 2017 single “Goodie Bag” alone has already snatched more than 3M YouTube views and more than 32M plays on Spotify.

DIY comes naturally to Still Woozy. 
Source: Instagram

So, how has 2019 been for these three?

As our data shows, all three made progress in terms of new fans and listeners in comparison to 2018, with Still Woozy absolutely smashing it in recent months. His results are additionally impressive, as R&B is not among the most represented genres on our 500 Hottest Artists list, comprising only a good 5 %. 

  • - Jay Som doubled her Spotify following, gaining more than 700k monthly listens.
  • - Still Woozy has ten times more Instagram fans than a year ago.
  • - In 2019, Caleborate’s YouTube views increased by four times.

Landing spots in festival lineups and releasing new tracks proved successful for Still Woozy.

Although all three artists are worth watching out for in the next months, Still Woozy’s takeoff in particular can be understood as a sign of a specific trend. Namely, young people’s demand for DIY uniqueness in the contemporary Indie genre, which quickly gets an artist placed on various streaming playlists, and later festival lineups. Just like Mac DeMarcoBoy Pablo, and Connan Mockasin found their success thanks to their quirky character, we can expect this “dreamy wooz” to keep finding enthusiastic listeners in bedrooms across the globe. 


Cover photo: Charles Reagan Hackleman/Voodoo Fest 2019 



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Sara Mekinc

Sara Mekinc

Content Specialist at Viberate
Avid concert-goer, a sucker for creative wordsmithery, and 100 % biodegradable. Google "melomaniac".