The San Francisco Bay Area is synonymous with music. Inspiring song titles and music powerhouses such as Dead Kennedys, Faith No More, Grateful Dead, Santana, Green Day, Tycho, 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:
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 Williams, Tegan and Sara, Courtney Barnett, and Clairo following her on Instagram.
2. Caleborate (1993), from Berkeley, caught our attention with his Instagram following, as he’d already earned a follow from Post Malone, G-Eazy, Billie 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.
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.
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 %.
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 DeMarco, Boy 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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