If you’re not on TikTok, you may be missing out on some major music discoveries. After all, Lil Nas X became one of the greatest artists almost overnight with his track “Old Town Road,” among other young musicians. Gen Z video creators are choosing and becoming the next best thing in alt music.
Here are 10 artists to explore outside of their most well-known tracks. From emo rap and hardcore rock to jazzy indie, you’re sure to find a great addition to your Spotify playlist.
Ricky Montgomery, the Honeysticks
Check out: “Out Like A Light“
Ricky Montgomery released his solo album in 2016 and gained a small following with “This December.” Now, four years later, he was shocked to see his track “Mr Loverman” get passed around TikTok so much, he landed on Spotify’s “Viral Hits” playlist and earned a TikTok verification. He also fronts a successful indie band called the Honeysticks. Both Montgomery’s solo tracks and the band’s music offer chill and romantic vibes, perfect for anime fans using this sound.
Check out: “when the flies fell“
Sub Urban blew up almost overnight with his chaotic and simply creepy track “Cradles,” which became the sound for an energetic, literally kickin’ dance challenge in 2019. Recently, he released his debut EP, Thrill Seeker, featuring hit single and second TikTok phenomenon “Freak” featuring REI AMI. Alt fans who aren’t on the popular video app will dig Sub Urban’s dark tone and hushed, sultry voice.
Check out: “No Brainer“
“I’m crazy, but you like that/I bite back,” Ashnikko sings in her popular track “Daisy.” These lyrics pop up in several TikToks across the platform, conveying everything from sexual expression to straight-up girl power. And that wasn’t even her first song to go viral on the platform with “STUPID” gaining traction in 2019. Ashnikko has a colorful and haunting aura, where she combines hip-hop beats with iconic goth girl energy. If you need even more reason to check out her other songs, she collaborated with Grimes on “Cry.”
Check out: “Are You Tired?”
This may be RØSÉ‘s first single, but great things lie ahead for this budding rock star, who has quite the following of Warped Tour fans on her TikTok account. “Are You Tired?” landed at No. 2 on the iTunes rock charts after the song’s release, and the singer has plans for more music soon. However, it wasn’t an easy process.
Check out: “thank you anxiety“
Avenue Beat encapsulate the world’s feelings in “F2020” and went viral for giving this year the finger. It felt a little too close to home when these women also tacked on the lyric about how we still have no money. Maybe 2021 will be different? Needless to say, this indie-pop act have a bright future ahead of them with the release of their 2019 self-titled EP and the quarantine covers from 2020.
Check out: “6pills“
What started off as a song in his garage landed Curtis Waters a major hit across one of the world’s largest social media platforms. “Stunnin'” is used for the “What I’d Wear If…” challenge, where video creators share their quarantine outfits as well as thematic movie costumes. Naturally, Waters is full of good vibes and boosts your self-esteem by 100 when you hear his laid-back vocals on both “Stunnin'” and his debut album, Pity Party. Fans of Machine Gun Kelly will love this artist, especially the pop-punk vibes Waters gives off in “6pills.”
Check out: “Pad Thai“
Jack Stauber got his big break on TikTok when both millennials and Gen Z users found his experimental indie track “Buttercup.” Most recently, “Oh Klahoma,” a quirky synth track, has become the perfect sound for ghost TikToks. For those who don’t know, this song is the background to the #ghostchallenge, where content creators head out in sheets and sunglasses and have a Halloween photo shoot. Surely Stauber will lift your spirits and make you feel wonderfully weird year-round.
Check out: “Evil Spider”
BENEE has been on the rise in the indie-pop scene for a while, but “Supalonely” featuring Gus Dapperton made her explode into the music mainstream. It even landed her late-night show performance spots. Her work, new and old, is a culmination of rock, pop and jazz that will make you feel groovy AF. TikTok users proved they are “just a loser” with their viral dance to the vibrant track.
Check out: “Body“
Indie rock band Mother Mother swept through the video app and found a lovely home on #alttiktok where people made makeup, music and goth-related content to the sound of “Arms Tonite.” This Canadian group’s record Oh My Heart took off more recently than when it was released in 2008. Their dark lyrics and upbeat rhythms are perfect and appealing for alt playlists of all kinds.
Check out: “im used to it“
Rapper and vocalist Powfu is a force to be reckoned with on TikTok, as his tracks “death bed (coffee for your head)” featuring bedroom-pop favorite beabadoobee and “Eyes Blue Like The Atlantic, Pt. 2” with Alec Benjamin, Sista Prod, Rxseboy and Sarcastic Sounds made the rounds on the app. Emo-rap fans will certainly find something to love with Powfu’s poetic lyrics and melodic collaborations.
Who’s your favorite music discovery from TikTok? Sound off in the comments below!