15 up-and-coming solo artists to add to your playlist
These artists are entirely true to themselves.July 13, 2021
In a scene chock-full of prolific bands, solo artists have often felt like a rarity. Still, that hasn’t prevented musicians such as Avril Lavigne and Olivia Rodrigo from gaining significant prominence within the alternative sphere.
No surprise, the underground is brimming with soloists who are ready to take their specific genres by storm. From singer-songwriters backed by supporting bands to multi-instrumentalists who tend to every aspect of their production, there’s no shortage of talent.
Here are 15 up-and-coming alternative solo acts that you should definitely already have on your playlists.
Before 17-year-old multi-instrumentalist Jordan Radnoti debuted under the moniker Jordi earlier this year, she was putting out drum covers that most of us could only hope to replicate via Rock Band. Now two singles into her tenure, she’s on the fast track to becoming a paradigm of alternative-rock eclecticism.
Survey the underground pop-punk community about their favorite solo acts and Nate Flud is sure to be a recurring answer. That’s for good reason. The singer-songwriter has been putting a unique, hip-hop–leaning spin on the genre since 2019. Showcasing punchy rawness across his discography, Flud is truly an icon in the making.
Darro’s budding music career hit a major speed bump early on when he underwent surgery for a brain tumor. Left with chronic illnesses and an initial inability to speak, let alone sing, the soloist rallied incredibly for the greater benefit of the scene. Today, he performs with visceral perspectives—both related to his medical experiences and otherwise—with smooth, radio-ready deliveries.
Years from now, we’ll all be regarding Bronnie as synonymous with alternative pop rock the same way we look back on Avril Lavigne. Diverging a bit from the mainstream modern era, the vocalist and her supporting band linger in the realm of gritty punk. If you can’t get enough of her discography, be sure to check out her radio show/podcast, The Bronnie Show!, for her music recommendations and commentary.
Underking is one of those acts that you just won’t believe is a solo project. Writing and recording masterful metal tracks, Maxwell Jeffries single-handedly rivals many quintets in both skill and energy. In just over a year since his debut, he’s already released three albums—all deserving of a front-to-back listen.
Two Eyes Open
Rising from the DIY ethos of pop punk comes Two Eyes Open. The solo endeavor of singer-songwriter Dustin Parlier, the project has covered expansive stylistic territory following its 2020 debut. From punk-rock aggression to evocative acoustic ballads, the ambitious displays are all linked by their stark relatability.
If your heart is stuck in the scene heyday of the mid-2000s, Jamie Stoffa will drag you to the present. Carrying on the torch lit by our post-hardcore favorites, the soloist infuses his sound with modern rock elements for an overarching tone that is simultaneously nostalgic and pioneering. We’re just waiting for his first Top 40 hit.
The solo project of Skatune Network’s Jeremy Hunter, JER first emerged in 2020 with the single “R/Edgelord.” That title alone set the precedent for their quirky, indie punk-influenced take on ska. Stepping away markedly from the genre as we’ve known it—and even the style they’ve showcased under other outfits—Hunter has effectively revitalized their niche with only three tracks thus far.
Singer-songwriter Anika Pyle exudes emotional elegance with her indie-pop tracks. Often employing vulnerable, spoken deliveries, Pyle is a wordsmith of the highest caliber, capable of resonating with even the most jaded elder emos. Now two years into her solo tenure, she just released her first LP, Wild River, this past February. No surprise, there’s not a skippable track to be found.
Consider your punk card rescinded until you’ve listened to Fuck Danny Denial in its entirety. After all, there’s no artist quite as emblematic of contemptuous alternative culture quite like Danny Denial. Ripe with dark, goth-reminiscent tonalities, their experimental ambiance provides the perfect backdrop for their harrowing displays of vulnerability.
Ergo, Bria exists as a bit of a sonic enigma—and a captivating one at that. Bouncing between thrashy, punk-influenced deliveries, soaring, soulful ballads and everything in between, the project manages to maintain a surprising cohesiveness. Just let that speak to the creative prowess of multi-instrumentalist Bria McCollum.
Ariel Bellvalaire is making a name for herself with country-infused alternative rock. Capturing a Nashville essence in her high-energy, stadium-ready anthems, she scratches an itch we didn’t even know we had. Though only three singles into her solo career, it’s only a matter of time before she’s regarded as a modern radio staple.
Cher Strauberry becoming the first transgender woman in professional skateboarding is no small feat. However, her debut solo album, Chering Is Caring, is a lasting legacy in itself. The punk-rock showcase builds on the foundational style that she developed under previous outfits, Twompsax and Evil Twins. If you’re a fan of the lo-fi, garage-esque facet of the genre, this record is an absolute must-listen.
You may know of Lande Hekt as the vocal powerhouse behind DIY punk trio Muncie Girls. If you haven’t checked out her solo work, though, you’re missing out considerably. Dropping two full-lengths since 2019, Hekt navigates socially relevant themes with open vulnerability. Her delivery is whimsically pared-back, though she refrains from straying too far from her punk roots.
U.K.-based soloist Danny Wright only debuted in 2017. Still, he’s positioned to become a modern scene icon with his ever-melodic, emotional approach to pop punk. Take a listen to his latest single, “L.A’s Raining,” and you’ll see exactly what we mean—it’s simply impossible not to fall for those vulnerable hooks.
Who are your favorite up-and-coming alternative solo acts? Sound off in the comments!