Meet the Talented Emerging Artists That Should Be on Your Playlists This Spring

Check out the musicians PEOPLE will be jamming to this Spring! 

13283669 Winona Oak 13283662 Fior 13283804 Christian Lalama 13284899 James Reid
James Reid, Christian Lalama, Fior and Winona Oak. Photo: Edrey Paul; Brandon Phillips; Alfredo Flores; Julian Gillström
01 of 27

Niko Rubio

Niko Rubio: credit: Lauren Dunn
Niko Rubio. Lauren Dunn

Niko Rubio is California girl meets Latina queen.

Inspired by the likes of Shakira, Paulina Rubio, Alejandra Guzman and Julieta Venegas, this singer is bringing everything we love about these Latin music icons who "never let anyone box them in" and is making it her own.

"I decided to pursue music after moving in part time with my grandparents to give my mom time to work," she tells PEOPLE. "I grew to appreciate my Hispanic (Mexican/Salvadorian) culture. The food, music, charro and rodeos are all such important parts of growing up and I probably wouldn't have cared to learn about it if it wasn't for my grandparents."

It turns out, her grandmother accompanied her to an audition for La Voz (The Voice in Latin America) when she was only 12 years old. "I really give her a lot of credit for lighting the fire and supporting my music career."

Rubio, 21, is also as real as it gets, admitting that though she's constantly working to get ahead in her career, she's "just trying to find myself in all this."

"I was stuck in the pandemic from the ages of 19-21 and I feel like I've changed so much from then to now. My generation was kind of screwed and couldn't live out some of our most pivotal years of growth. We are all trying to find ourselves, so it's cool to see myself and other creatives trying new things in music, fashion and in art."

For now, she's working on new music and gearing up for the release of her new single "Love Me Till U Hate Me" — though she says working on her next project has not been an "easy process" and new sounds are in the works.

Listen to her dreamy debut EP Wish You Were Here.

02 of 27

Ali Gatie

Ali Gatie [Credit Virisa Yong]
Ali Gatie. Virisa Yong

Ali Gatie isn't afraid to get emotional in his songwriting.

"I want people to feel like I'm their friend who's been listening to their problems, and for them to use my music as an escape," the 24-year-old musician tells PEOPLE. "I always want my fans to feel like I'm approachable and my music to feel like it was made specifically for them."

Born in Aden, Yemen, the Iraqi singer's raw, conversational lyrics and smooth R&B-pop sound are reminiscent of his idols Ed Sheeran and Frank Ocean, but instead of looking to them for musical inspiration, Gatie often draws from his own ambitious childhood dreams.

"As cliché as it might sound, I really am inspired by my younger self — all of the risks I took, how big of a dreamer I was," he says. "That motivates me and inspires me to keep going and keep dreaming because I know that when you believe in something, you can make it reality."

Having already earned hits with songs including "What If I Told You That I Love You" and the two-times platinum-certified "It's You," Gatie is currently preparing for his first-ever world tour and working on his next project following 2021's The Idea of Her EP. "I think it has a lot of what the world has heard from me before and loves," he teases, "and some sides that the world has never heard yet."

Check out his latest single, "Crying in the Rain."

03 of 27


THE BLSSM [Credit Jesse Lizotte]
THE BLSSM. Jesse Lizotte

When choosing one word to describe their music, THE BLSSM opts for "triumphant."

"It's sincere as much as it is exaggerated. I'm a maximalist," the 24-year-old musician (who uses they/them pronouns) tells PEOPLE. "I like my sound to feel 'big' and really expressive. It's just an extension of my personality."

Shredding electric guitars and banging drum patterns clearly illustrate THE BLSSM's penchant for over-the-top production on rock-laced tracks like "HARDCORE HAPPY" and "DIZZY." Their lyrics, however, are filled with vulnerable inner dialogues about relationships and mental health.

"With being a big dreamer also comes this looming anxiety that burns inside of me most days, but on the outside I'm really bubbly and vivacious," the Sydney, Australia native explains. "It isn't me pretending or anything; both facets are true to my personality. I'm a very intense and feelings-driven person."

Every side of THE BLSSM's personality lends itself well to their passionately versatile artistic approach, influenced by the likes of poetic punk-rocker Patti Smith. "She's a poet, visual artist, and musician. I think everything is all one of the same, just different mediums," says the performer. "World building consists of playing around and communicating with all sorts of creative languages. I'm heavily inspired by anyone who's a multi-dimensional artist."

Listen to their brand-new EP, PURE ENERGY.

04 of 27

Christian Lalama

Christian Lalama - Press Photo 3 - Credit Brandon Phillips
Christian Lalama. Brandon Phillips

Christian Lalama's music will "knock you off your feet!"

This sweet 18-year-old is delivering all the love songs we need to drive around to this summer — beginning with "Girlfriend" and "Nobody Ain't You" that are sure to take you down memory lane.

Lalama, who finds inspiration through artists like Billy Joel and Elton John — along with Bryson Tiller, Brent Faiyaz and Marc Demarco decided he would become a musician when he was only a young boy and part of a band.

"The feeling I got from preforming was my favorite thing in the world. I knew I wanted more of that in my future so I got straight to work and have not stopped," he tells PEOPLE.

The R&B and pop-fuse singer assures that he's "easy-going" and likes "to have a good time" but is "also focused and determined to release relatable music that people can enjoy."

The "Gotta Be You" singer is currently working on new music to release this summer but for now — listen to his latest singles "Nobody Ain't You" and "Girlfriend."

05 of 27

Meet Me @ the Altar

Meet Me @ the Altar
Meet Me @ the Altar. Lindsey Byrnes

Meet Me @ the Altar's raucous, uplifting banger "Garden" went viral on the internet in 2020 and earned the band co-signs from members of iconic pop/punk bands All Time Low and The Wonder Years on social media — which is all quite fitting considering the band's origin story.

"We actually met online — through YouTube — and lived in different states when we met. We were an online, long-distance band for a while, based in different cities across the East Coast," band members Edith Johnson, Téa Campbell, and Ada Juarez tell PEOPLE. "We wrote all of our songs through text messaging. Fun fact — we still do that sometimes."

Despite hailing from different states, each member's connection to music runs deep. "We all come from families that have very musical backgrounds and talents," the band explains. "Always being around music growing up sure helps when it comes to deciding on doing it for a living."

While they formed in 2015, Meet Me @ the Altar's rise to fame over the last two years has coincided with the pop/punk genre's ongoing revival through artists like Machine Gun Kelly and WILLOW. When creating music, especially their forthcoming record, the band draws influence from the era in which the melodic, guitar-shredding sound was first popularized.

"Some, if not all of our inspiration stems from the early 2000s. We love how genuine music was during that time period," says the band. "We also love the feeling of nostalgia, so that's what this new album is all about. We love early 2000s Avril [Lavigne], P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Demi [Lovato], Jonas Brothers, etc."

Before their new album drops, get into Meet Me @ the Altar's recent EP, Model Citizen.

06 of 27


Budjerah: (Credit: Elliott Lauren Ryan)
Budjerah. Elliott Lauren Ryan

Budjerah is bringing the beats!

This 20-year-old Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke-inspired musician uses his vocals and electric beats to his advantage.

There's only ever one issue: his name is frequently mispronounced. "The most important thing people should know about me is how to say my name the right way. Boo (like book), jer, rah. My name is tricky but it's really special to me."

He released his EP Conversations on April 8, though when first checking him out, he'd like you to listen to "My Name," "I think it really shows who I am and my background."

Within that background is a family of musicians.

"I just grew up loving music and singing. My family are all good musicians, so I got a lot of encouragement to keep singing and to perform from them. I don't think I could've done anything else."

For now, however, he's focused on touring, "I got heaps of shows lined up, so I've been constantly thinking of the setlist for each show and ways to do it differently and keep it fun. I can't wait to see my fans and connect with people around the globe on my upcoming tour. Performing live is my favorite part of being an artist."

Check out Budjerah and listen to Conversations.

07 of 27


Alus [Credit Davey King]
Alus. Davey King

Alus works tirelessly to create her self-described "bad bitch bops," which she writes and engineers on her own.

"I will outwork the version of myself I was yesterday and keep evolving every day. I'm like a machine," the 28-year-old musician — whose career launched via a series of viral song covers from Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" to "Baby Shark" posted to her YouTube channel — tells PEOPLE. "I don't stop running. You haven't even seen the final version of me yet."

Born in New Jersey to an especially musical family, Alus has long known performing is her destiny. "I was born with this fire inside of me," she says. "My dad plays drums and trumpet, and my grandmother was a violinist who graduated from Juilliard and toured with The Rat Pack and symphonies around the world. I was born with a melody in my head, and naturally I started singing."

Aside from the musicians she shares blood with, Alus draws influence from artists who've made a lasting impact on culture, from Destiny's Child and Aaliyah to Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Madonna. "I grew up in the '90s and early 2000s, so icons inspire me," she says. "The melody choices, riffs, and pure entertainment value on stage is something I admire as an artist."

Check out her newest single, "Money Dance," which features Pulp Fiction-inspired cover art.

08 of 27


Fior [Credit Alfredo Flores]
Fior. Alfredo Flores

Fior may not have found the confidence to pursue music without her mom's encouragement.

Despite learning to sing and play piano as a young child, the 21-year-old performer born Zoe Fioravanti — who's graced the covers of Playboy Australia, Elle Arabia, and more magazines as a model — long kept her musical abilities to herself.

"It was just a hidden talent that I had and never shared with anyone — except my mom who walked in on me singing and playing Adele on the keyboard when I was 13 and was pretty surprised," she tells PEOPLE. "She really tried to push me to pursue it after that but it wasn't until early last year, when I was 20, that I took the leap to share what I could do with anyone outside of my family."

This year, Fior dove head-first into music and released her first two singles: the sweeping, emotional slow jam "Let Me Go" and disco-tinged, Scott Storch-produced dance bop "YOYO." The sonically contrasting tracks accurately represent the breadth of her genre-spanning artistry, inspired by artists like Adele, Bruno Mars, and Amy Winehouse, which fans will get to experience further on her upcoming debut project.

"Right now I'm trying to shape my EP or mixtape project. I hope to have that out by fall," she says of the forthcoming set. "I already have my top five or six [songs] in mind, but I love to push myself. I never want to stop making music."

Check out her latest single, "YOYO."

09 of 27


corook - achoo! Press Image 2 - Libby Danforth
Corook. Libby Danforth

Achoo! Corook is the next thing to bless your music downloads.

Corook, the 27-year-old bucket hat-flexing singer released her debut EP achoo! in April — and to get a good glimpse at who she is as a musician, she'd like you to listen to her song "Bad Friend."

"That's a really meaningful and painful song for me which is why I shy away from suggesting it. But it is a SAD BANGER!!" she tells PEOPLE.

She describes her music as "2000's Gwen Stefani does acid and decides to write a Broadway musical about the Beatles starring Timbaland." Her interest in music, however, stems from a childhood memory watching live music.

"My dad let me watch this Live DVD of Linkin Park and it was my first time ever seeing live music, if you count watching it on TV. I immediately started planning what my band would be," she says. "I had a notepad and wrote down which of my friends would be in the band and what instruments they would play. I was completely enthralled."

Despite her colorful aura and bouncy tunes, the singer draws inspiration from political figures and "truth tellers."

"People that search for and fight for the truth no matter how much it might hurt," she says. "People like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Brené Brown, and my girlfriend!"

She's currently working in Florida as she produces her next few songs and is "dog sitting."

Listen to her debut EP achoo!

10 of 27

Warren Zeiders

Warren Zeiders:
Warren Zeiders. Chris Phelps

Warren Zeiders is a "Wild Horse" who sings about "the truth."

"I've found in life that it's easy to hear and be told what you want to hear. It's another thing to hear the things you need to hear," he tells PEOPLE. "I enjoy writing and conveying an important message in my songs. I try to give my fans an escape, but also a place to truly feel their emotions. Even if its ones we don't want to acknowledge."

His career is rooted in the "love and passion" for music he developed as a child — though he admits it's not something he ever knew he would have the opportunity to pursue.

Zeiders, 22, a recent college graduate who draws inspiration from classic country, to rock, Christian music, southern rock and punk rock wants fans to know he's first and foremost a man of faith. "If it wasn't for my faith, my roots, my family, and support system. I wouldn't be the man I am today," he says.

The country rising star released part two of his debut EP 717 Tapes in April — and he's most recently been spending his time on the road. He says he "never felt anything like the feeling I get from being on stage." What's next? He's working on the next phase.

Listen to 717 Tapes Vol. 2.

11 of 27


Lilyisthatyou [Credit Justin Abernethy]
Lilyisthatyou. Justin Abernethy

Don't mistake the unabashed confidence of Lilyisthatyou's music to represent every facet of her personality.

"I have anxiety, I have flaws, I have anger. I am not perfect just because I have followers or make cool music," the 22-year-old singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE. "I want people to know I feel the same emotions they do, and that I'm only making art to make all of our lives — including mine — more bearable for a minute and 50 seconds."

Inspired by the no-holds-barred approach of her pop predecessors like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, Lilyisthatyou blends pop and alternative sounds to craft club-ready bangers like her ultra-sexy debut single "FMRN," which she considers a perfect entry point into her world.

"['FMRN'] encompasses what I stand for — confidence and honesty," she says. "I think it's a great starting point to get into my music. I see so much progression between each single, and I'd love a fan to be able to go through them in order and hear that with me."

With five singles released to date, Lilyisthatyou is currently preparing to drop her next song in May and describes the forthcoming track as "something about being gorgeous, … the world burning, and people only caring about pop culture." But fans can expect to wait some time before hearing a full project from the musician.

"I'm working on an EP, but I'm taking my time. My first project means a lot to me, I want it to truly embody who I am as an artist, and I want it to be sonically stunning."

In the meantime, jam out to Lilyisthatyou's latest single, "ALL ABOUT ME."

12 of 27

Prateek Kuhad

Prateek Kuhad - New Pub 2022 - Jamie James Medina
Prateek Kuhad. Jamie James Medina

Prateek Kuhad is embracing his heritage through his music.

Kuhad, a 32-year-old musician who writes his music in both English and Hindi tells PEOPLE he "absolutely loves writing songs."

"To this date, I consider writing and finishing a good song as one of the most satisfying experiences you can have," he adds.

When first checking him out, he'd like fans to listen to "Favorite Peeps."

"We just put that out and it's an awesome song! The track is about dealing with anxiety and how the people around you who love you can be such pillars of support, and how also you need to be that pillar for them as well."

The singer is currently working on his upcoming album The Way That Lovers Do and writing on the road.

You can presave The Way That Lovers Do, out May 20 here.

13 of 27


Blessing [Credit Coughs]
Blessing. Coughs

You can thank Shawn Mendes for inspiring Blessing to pick up a guitar.

"It was Handwritten by Shawn Mendes that made me want to pursue music," the 20-year-old musician tells PEOPLE. "After about a month of listening to it nonstop, I bought a guitar and started singing and writing music. I've always loved music, but his album made me fall in love with it."

Blessing's since used her skills on the instrument to craft guitar-driven soft R&B/pop tracks on debut EP, the girl next door, including the lovelorn recent single "character," which she's especially proud of. "[That] would be the first song I'd want people to play when first getting a glimpse of my work," she says. "I feel like it's one of the best songs I've written at the moment."

Choosing music as a career path was a bold choice for the singer/songwriter, as working as an artist isn't exactly common in her culture. "I'm Nigerian, and I'm pretty proud of it being that generally our parents want us to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers," she says. "I'm proud to be a bit of a rebel."

Check out her brand-new EP, the girl next door.

14 of 27

Jake Scott

Jake Scott: Credit: Rachel Deeb
Jake Scott. Rachel Deeb

Jake Scott does it "Like No One Does."

Scott, the 30-year-old pop singer-songwriter behind the catchy collaboration with Russell Dickerson "She Likes It" describes his music as "hopelessly romantic with a dash of swagger — and then a big ole side of gut-wrenching heartbreak."

Hilariously enough, Scott says if he didn't pursue a career in music — he literally couldn't do anything else.

"I've always loved music, and when more people other than just my mom bought my first EP, I knew I had to at least give it a shot. That and I'm so scatterbrained, I'd definitely get fired from any other job."

His inspiration, however, comes from artists "who can tell stories that make the world around you stand still." He mentions Taylor Swift, John Mayer, Sufjan Stevens and Chance the Rapper — and says he's "constantly chasing that feeling in music and life."

He's currently working on his debut album and says he's "so excited." Though for now, he suggests new listeners turn to a song that "wrote itself" like "Favorite T-Shirt."

You can also listen to his latest release "Texas Girl."

15 of 27

Gang of Youths

Gang of Youths [Credit Ed Cooke]
Gang of Youths. Ed Cooke

Gang of Youths has been performing together for more than a decade, ever since lead singer David Le'aupepe welcomed some musically-inclined friends into his Sydney, Australia house for a jam session.

"We all came to it differently. For me, I just loved playing music. I did it as much as I could, really," the band — which also includes Jung Kim, Max Dunn, Donnie Borzestowski, and Tom Hobden — tells PEOPLE. "Then one day I was invited to Dave's garage for a rehearsal for a project that quickly became Gang of Youths."

Since then, the band has released three studio albums including their most recent, 2022's angels in realtime., which was influenced by sounds from all over the world. "This latest record really drew a lot of inspiration from the American minimalists, your [Steve] Reichs and [Philip] Glasses," said the group. "It equally references UK garage as well as a lot of the GREAT Manchester bands."

As they work on "alternative versions" of the album's tracks to be released soon, Gang of Youths' current tight-knit relationship remains similar to the pure friendship they held upon first meeting. "We are a group of true friends that are lucky enough to make music together," the musicians detail. "We are complete nerds in many ways; many many aimless conversations about sport, history and food fill our days in the studio."

Check out their latest album, angels in realtime.

16 of 27


Reiley. REILY

This pop star loves a good bop.

Reiley recently released his new single "blah blah blah," a sample from the 2001 track "Can't Get You Out of My Head."

Aside from his catchy tunes, Reiley, 21, is also known for his beginnings — coming from a country with a population of 50,000 called the Faroe Islands.

And despite his start in a small place, Reiley draws inspiration from the "big performers" like Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury. "About three years ago I discovered the visual world of K-pop music videos which has also inspired me massively," he tells PEOPLE.

A few fun facts about him: He trained gymnastics for 10 years and has "a dog named Bianca."

The "Let It Ring" singer assures that though he considers his sound to be "very pop" — he does realize he's still learning.

"I'm still a baby musician and I'm constantly evolving and discovering new sides to my musicality," he says.

Check out Reiley's newest single "blah blah blah" here.

17 of 27


MAY-A - Danny Draxx @dannydraxx
MAY-A. Danny Draxx

This artist MAY(-A) be the next big thing.

MAY-A, the 20-year-old singer from Australia behind the hit "Say Nothing" with Flume says "music is in her bones."

"Writing is therapeutic for me so I think I always would've ended up somewhere in the music world," she says.

Though her music primarily lives in the indie music realm, MAY-A —who was just on tour with GAYLE — is also teasing that she's "f---ing with autotune."

Her inspirations come from various artists for different reasons — like Amy Winehouse because she "gives no f---s," Taylor Swift for her "songwriting" and Doja Cat because she's "the full package."

If there's one thing to know about her though, it's that she's easy-going, "I'm pretty chill, I'm down for a conversation, if you see me in public just come up and say hey."

Listen to her latest release, an EP titled Don't Kiss Ur Friends.

18 of 27


2DEEP by Ifster
2DEEP. Ifster

2DEEP goes hard — and he's about the hustle and bustle.

2DEEP, a 29-year-old DJ is bringing the "electronic and Latin sounds" that mirror the music he grew up dancing to with an Ecuadorian and Colombian heritage.

"I like to push myself further than what people think is possible. You don't see a lot of Latin DJ's/producers in the electronic world and one of my goals is to create more spaces for people like me, so that those who follow have more opportunities and so that young Latinos can look up to someone that looks like them and know that they too can make it if they continue to work hard at their dreams," he tells PEOPLE.

He grew up in the Bronx and Ecuador before eventually moving to Los Angeles — where he realized he was "intrigued by how music touches people."

"When I was 16, I asked my sister to enroll me in DJ school as my birthday present which later propelled me to start producing my own music a few years later," he says. "There is something really special about being able to create my own distinct sounds and set different vibes through my music and that continues to drive my creativity and passion every day."

Aside from his personal taste, this DJ finds inspiration by some of the best: Kanye, Pharrell, Tainy and Dj Blass.

The musician is currently working on new music while working to build "Reggaetonlandia" — "the best Latin party in LA, and finding new and creative ways to keep pushing the culture and expanding the brand."

Listen to his latest single and collaboration with Natanael Cano and Steve Aoki on "Natakong."

19 of 27

Ricky Montgomery

Ricky Montgomery [Credit Angela Ricciardi]
Ricky Montgomery. Angela Ricciardi

Ricky Montgomery strives to craft music that's original — even if it doesn't top the charts.

"I try really hard to make things that feel unique," the 29-year-old musician tells PEOPLE. "I don't care if I have the biggest song of the month. I just want to make a memorable sound that endures across time."

Luckily the Los Angeles-born performer doesn't have to worry about lacking success, as many of his singles including "Mr. Loverman" and "Sorry for Me" have already gone viral on TikTok, with more than 500K videos featuring his music on the platform.

Inspired by artists across all genres including Radiohead, The Beatles, Kendrick Lamar, and Björk, Montgomery's connection to music is more visceral than sound-specific. "Melodies haunt me and fill my nightmares and the only way to quiet the voices is to purge them in song," he says passionately.

Fresh off the release of his latest EP It's 2016 Somewhere, made up of new songs and reproduced takes on tracks from his 2016 independent album Montgomery Ricky, the singer-songwriter is looking forward to focusing on brand-new material.

"I'm completely diving headfirst into the next album. I've spent so much more time with those 2016 songs than I ever wanted to while I was making that project — for good reasons," he says. "I'd really just like for the next thing to feel completely new and different."

While you await his next project, listen to his new EP, It's 2016 Somewhere.

20 of 27

Dylan Conrique

Dylan Conrique [Credit Neema Sadeghi]
Dylan Conrique. Neema Sadeghi

You may already know Dylan Conrique from acting roles in the teen web series Chicken Girls or ABC crime drama The Rookie, but over the last two years she's been writing and releasing honest, confessional music.

"I've been singing ever since I was little, but it wasn't until I started singing lessons and performing that I realized I loved being on stage and wanted to do that for a career," the 18-year-old musician, who's been spending time studying the craft, tells PEOPLE. "Getting into songwriting also really helped me with my growth into a developing artist, and learning piano has made me so much more confident with my songwriting and live performances."

Conrique's hard work is paying off. She's already racked up over three million TikTok followers and earned a major smash hit on the platform with the emotional "Birthday Cake," lyrically inspired by a friend whose mother died when they were young. "Seeing how many people ['Birthday Cake' has] impacted so far has meant the absolute world to me," she says of the piano ballad, which has been used in over 150,000 TikTok videos. "I hope more people get to hear it and find comfort in it and learn more about me."

Listeners will certainly gain more insight into Conrique's artistry soon, as she's been in the studio "nonstop" writing and recording new material in a similar raw, soul-baring vein as "Birthday Cake."

"Everything I've written has been about what I was going through at the time, so it really represents my experiences as a teen so far," she explains. "I want my songs to feel like little diaries and a look into my life."

Listen to the single TikTok's raving about, "Birthday Cake."

21 of 27


Col3trane: Photo Courtesy of Marc Tousignant
Col3trane. Marc Tousignant

This musician is "Clutch" for all of your vibey needs.

Col3trane, a 23-year-old R&B singer from London is gearing up for the release of his debut album Lush Life on May 6.

The musician toured with Dua Lipa in 2018 — and when describing his music, he says hopes it "sounds like a Christopher Nolan film."

Though when it comes to himself, he admits he prefers to remain a mystery where "nobody" knows "anything" about him.

His inspirations come from D'Angelo and John Mayer, who "really made me wanna start playing guitar and writing songs."

Check out his latest music video to "Logan Paul" here.

22 of 27

Winona Oak

Winona Oak [Credit Julian Gillström]
Winona Oak. Julian Gillström

Winona Oak writes songs based on her own experiences, but she welcomes all listener interpretations of her lyrics.

"I think the most interesting thing about art is what you'll learn about yourself while consuming it," the 27-year-old musician tells PEOPLE. "Every single person will think about their own different stories and experiences while listening to my songs. Even a sad song for me might be somebody's happy song. That's the beauty of it."

Long before Oak scored international pop hits like "Hope" with The Chainsmokers and "Oxygen" with Robin Schulz, the Swedish musician recalls having to take "a leap of faith" to even pursue music — but quickly realized it was the right choice, not just for her artistry, but for her wellbeing.

"I decided to give it all to music when I was 19, I was pretty lost and insecure but I always felt like home when writing songs," she explains. "I got a huge relief from my anxiety when I was singing and I still do. I think it's very healing."

Oak is now preparing for the release of her debut album Islands of the Sun, preceded by the airy, electrified title track, and she'll take the project on the road as an opener for Oh Wonder and Alex Benjamin's upcoming tours. "In the midst of it all I'm also creating new music and trying to stay sane, hah," she quips.

Listen to her latest single, "Baby Blue."

23 of 27

JC Stewart

JC Stewart: photo attached, credit Rashidi Noah
JC Stewart. Rashidi Noah

JC Stewart epitomizes "depressing pop music that can make you dance, but on a slip and slide of your own tears."

Stewart, 25, began his career at 15 as a songwriter and he "never looked back." "Proper calling or something like that," he says.

"I'm just a guy who grew up on a farm in Co. Derry, Northern Ireland who had a dream to write songs for a living, and it went too far and now I'm here," he tells PEOPLE. "Also, I thought Crocs were cool before Crocs were cool, so take from that what you like."

Now his days in Ireland are long behind him and he's been in Los Angeles since — "working on what is by far the best music I have ever made."

"I'm currently trying to figure out what form it will come out in, but I am so unbelievably excited about it," he says. "Getting to come and sit in the sun and be inspired alongside some of my favorite people felt like real once in a lifetime opportunity, and I really hope people get to hear what I created."

His biggest inspirations? "Old men playing the piano."

Listen to his latest single "Love Like That."

24 of 27

Shaina Taub

Shaina Taub [Credit Jimmy Fontaine]
Shaina Taub. Jimmy Fontaine

Shaina Taub wants to make the world a better place with her music.

"I'm passionate about using my songs as a vehicle for social change, in the great American tradition of protest music," the singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE. "I'm the co-chair of the NYCLU Artist Ambassadors, a member of the Working Families Party Artist Council and a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus."

Belonging to a diverse array of music groups hardly scratches the surface of Taub's career accomplishments. Her original musical, SUFFS, which chronicles the American women's suffrage movement, is currently running at Manhattan's Public Theater, and she's in the process of writing lyrics for a stage adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada — with Elton John composing the music — set to open in Chicago this summer. On top of all that, she just released her third studio album, Songs of the Great Hill, earlier this month.

Taub's passion for music was sparked at just nine years old when she learned Stephen Sondheim's "Our Time" through a musical director at theater camp. "My life began when I first heard that piano intro, and everything I've done since has been in search and service of that feeling," she says. "Singing together in groups is one of the most powerful healing and community-building tools we have, and I've happily dedicated my life to it."

Working across genres including pop, jazz, folk, and funk in both theater and her solo career, it's not easy to describe Taub's music in simple terms — but she's figured it out: "I never quite know what my 'genre' is, but as a loud and proud Jewish singer-songwriter, I like to call it 'heavy shtetl.'"

Check out her new album, Songs of the Great Hill.

25 of 27

Classless Act

Classless act: (Credit : Travis Shinn)
Classless Act. Travis Shinn

Classless Act is an "urgent spark of rock and roll madness."

Classless Act, the band opening for Mötley Crüe on tour this summer consists of five members including: Chuck McKissock, 22, Dane Pieper, 24, Franco Gravante, 25, Griffin Tucker, 20, and Derek Day 24.

Currently, this band is "showing the world who we are and how we run."

"Individually, we are journaling our experiences and hiccups. Whether it be with a pencil or some stringed instrument through a recording device. But our united mission at this time in space is visual representation," Day says. "We've filmed a smattering of videos ( both live and music videos) within the span of a month before hitting the road with Dorothy, which we are on now until end of May 2022. During these road adventures we share our mischief through social media until and through the stadium tour in the summer,"

The best part is ... they're actually good friends.

"I, along with the rest of my partners in crime, are complete goofballs. We live and breathe music, and take it so very seriously when it comes to progressing ourselves in that craft," he says. "But we don't take ourselves too seriously. If it looks like we are having too much fun, it's because we are."

But if you're a first-time listener, Day suggests you listen to "All That We Are." "It's the dot on the musical map where each band member meets to shake hands. Not to say we don't vibe with the other tracks; many of them lean toward a specific feel whereas 'All That We Are' seems to have a little bit of everyone's squeeze."

Watch the music video to "Time to Bleed."

26 of 27

Alex Rose

Alex Rose
Alex Rose. Alex Rose

"Me Fije" — and when Alex Rose is on, it's always a good time.

The reggaeton singer, 29, released his latest single "Melodrama" in January and is currently working on his newest album El Nuevo Rockstar — though it wasn't always smooth sailing.

"When I started off in the industry and building my career, I would have to work as a pizza delivery and a kitchen cleaner for fast food restaurants just so I could afford studio time," he tells PEOPLE. "I would work countless third shifts and come out exhausted, but I did not let that stop me from pursing my dream. I thank God I did not give up because what I have reached so far is a testament to that."

Rose, who makes music in English and Spanish describes his music as "refreshing" and showing "real emotion." "I always try to write songs that are real-life experiences that I've personally gone through."

His love for music dates back to his days cleaning and listening to music with his family on Sundays. And his father remains his biggest inspiration.

"I learned from him discipline and determination. He was the person who introduced me to countless songs from salsa to baladas that I would take inspiration from to make who Alex Rose is."

And of course, he also loves the "maximo leader" Daddy Yankee.

Listen to his latest singles "Me Fije" "Melodrama."

27 of 27

James Reid

James Reid
James Reid. Edrey Paul

James Reid does it all!

The 28-year-old Fil-Aussie musician created his own record label and simultaneously works on his own music. You may also know him from the hit reality series Big Brother.

"I'm Fil-Aussie, born in Australia then moved to the Philippines when I was 16. I randomly ended up in a reality show shortly after (Big Brother) and after winning, a lot of doors opened up for acting and singing," he tells PEOPLE. "I had starred in multiple blockbuster films and TV series but music was my calling."

He continued, "To create music that is authentic to you is a process of self-discovery. I loved it so much that I left acting and started my own music label (Careless) in 2018 with the goal of building artists and creating music from the Philippines that the world can't ignore."

When checking out his "pop/funk/R&B" sound, which is always rooted in "love" — he suggests new listeners check out his song "Soda," a song he considers the "beginning of a new sound."

Check out his single "Hello 2.0" here.

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