It seems that each day, a new artist is being discovered on the social media app, TikTok. Doubt the power of this video-sharing platform? Just check out Spotify’s public playlists labeled, “Viral Hits,” or “big on the internet,” which features songs made popular (or re-popular) from viewers on TikTok using snippets of the sounds. But it is not just already known pop songs that are being used in viral trends online, music from new artists are gaining traction and giving spotlights to unknown names. With their songs becoming popular sounds or a part of certain trends on TikTok, these individuals are making it onto the charts and redefining how the music industry runs. It seems that social media is where the up and coming singers/songwriters of our generation are living. Here are seven of these young artists that you should know and which songs to add to your playlist immediately!
Her newly released single, “drunk text me,” is already trending on TikTok with fans using the lyrics to sing-along or act out scenarios. The emotional lyrics hold a Gen-Z twist as they ask, “I want you to drunk text me,” something that for the twenty-somethings and under is a signal that someone still cares about you. But also, a form of closure for those who never get it. Jayde is not necessarily asking for a fresh start but for an explanation in her words. In “drunk text me,” she is speaking to this ex-lover, asking questions about what they are doing post-breakup and asking the devastating inquisition of, “do you taste me on her mouth or just whiskey?” which feels reminiscent of Fletcher’s “Bitter”. Breakup songs are nothing new and neither is the concept of drunk-texting someone you love. Yet, Jayde makes this request feel both youthful and heart-wrenching with her soft vocals. It’s almost a more mature driver’s license as it is a song you don’t just hear but feel within your soul. Lexi Jayde is extending sad girl autumn into the winter with this one.
Favorite line: “Cause I’m no closer to closure/Wish you weren’t sober/We’re over, but I’m not over it.”
Her song, “Hailey” climbed the charts after being released this past year. Doing most of her own advertising and promotion, WRENN gave fans the inside scoop on the breakdown of the hit; sharing that the inspiration was from discovering her then boyfriend had been cheating on her with a girl named (you guessed it!) Hailey. The soundbite towards the end of the song includes an actual conversation between her ex and Hailey that was captured on WRENN’s security footage where they confess to the affair and dismiss her feelings. WRENN proves that the more personal the art, the more powerful it can be.
Favorite line: “You say she’s just a friend, well okay/Why’s she showing up at midnight on my birthday?/Why’s she crying in your arms looking a mess?/And you’re looking at me like you gotta confess/Not the first time you held her”
English singer and songwriter Maisie Peters is not quite new to the spotlight, having gained popularity from YouTube. But for those who are unfamiliar with her work, the song “I’m Trying (Not Friends)” has surely introduced them to Peters as it is all over the For You Page (FYP). A classic friends to lovers to foes trope, Peters gives us all in these lyrics: humor, angst, acceptance, and heartbreak. Fans are also loving Peters for the way she self-promotes her music on TikTok, with most videos making jokes of herself, singing along with excitement at the hit, or having friends use the sound. She gives people a sense of realness and the song does exactly that too. Peters is someone you cannot help but root for especially when her songs are straight-up bops. Her other music is worth checking out especially for pop lovers.
Favorite line: “Three shots, lemon drops/One for being lost and alone in your early twenties/One for being obsessed with someone who puts you secondary/One for calling guys with guitars in a cemetery/Just me? Okay.”
GAYLE’s song, “abcdefu” has become a popular trend on the app, with many filming videos with their brothers and joking, “I know someone is singing this about him.” If you haven’t heard this song on the radio yet or added it to one of your “FU” collaborative playlists with your friends, then you are most definitely living under a rock, and missing out. Because, this song is everywhere. Even my mom knows it. Even celebrities have hopped on the TikTok trend, boosting GAYLE’s popularity as she was just on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The simplicity of the lyrics makes the song relatable to all (even those on good terms with their exes). The upbeat sound to the song makes you want to dance while screaming at the top of your lungs. After the year we all have had, GAYLE is an artist that we need, especially if we have been avoiding therapy.
Favorite Line: “Everybody but your dog, you can all f*ck off.”
His song, “Seventeen Going Under,” has taken the internet by storm. Everything from Fender’s voice, to the chords, to the lyrics make this song both beautiful and heartbreaking. His words paint a vivid scene, showcasing Fender’s storytelling skills in only mere minutes. This song trended on TikTok as many people, mostly those who are female-identifying, linked the sound to stories of abuse they have faced. While perhaps not the intention when releasing the song, Fender’s “Seventeen Going Under,” has given a voice to the voiceless and connected strangers from across the world. This is most definitely not the last we will hear of Sam Fender.
Favorite Line: “I was far too scared to hit him/But I would hit him in a heartbeat now/That’s the thing with anger/It begs to stick around.”
Her song, “late to the party,” is an anthem to every twenty-something that feels like they are failing. The relevance of this song goes to show how loneliness and an overwhelming fear of not achieving your dreams at a young age is a universal feeling and no one is truly ever alone. It is voices like Emei that connect TikTok users by being vulnerable and also self-deprecating. The unique melody catches a listener’s attention and the words keep them drawn in till the end. Despite what she sings about, it is clear that Emei is going places: probably all the parties.
Favorite Line: “Twenty-one without a grammy or degree/Too bad that’s sad maybe at twenty-three/Don’t wanna care how people look at me/But I still feel late to the party.”
Her pop-rock song, “Dress” defies gender stereotypes as she praises a male crush for daunting a dress. Sands went viral on TikTok when she posted videos explaining her inspiration for the lyrics was Harry Styles’s Vogue cover where he wears a gorgeous dress and the toxicity that ensued when Candance Owens made her: “Bring Back Manly Men,” comment. “Dress” reclaims the narrative around gender constructs and proves once and for all that men can rock dresses and still be manly. Sands is an example of artists supporting artists and also human beings supporting each other’s rights to do whatever they want to. I cannot wait to see more political commentary in her songs as we need more voices to go against the norm.
Favorite Line: “I love the way you wear that dress/Making everyone upset.”
These are only a handful of the talented and underrated artists of our generation. Each day, there is a new creator that is worthy of praise and appreciation for the art they share. But these seven singers are ones to not only continue to look out for, but thank TikTok for bringing to the surface. While some OG fans already knew these names, others only discovered them through social media which goes to show that the internet can really be a platform for young talent and we need to take these individuals more seriously as they are the future of music.