Local Artists to Look out for in 2022

Local Seattle Artist Travis Thompson

In recent years, the Greater Seattle area has sorely missed an artist that has the potential to revitalize the local music scene. Take a second to try and name an active local artist that’s not Macklemore. It’s hard for most people. Here are 4 artists that could change this very quickly. 

*[E] indicates a song with explicit lyrics

Travis Thompson – Hip Hop

Thompson probably has the most buzz surrounding any local artist since Lil Mosey came onto the rap scene on a national scale in 2018. The excitement he has created is immediately understandable when listening to his newest project, ‘Boulevard Boy’, dubbed after the major strip that runs through his hometown in Burien. Stylistically, his music is so unlike anything that has ever come from this area. He fits the modernized melodic rapper mold, but his sound is uniquely rigid and tense with emotion. In an age of unoriginality, he is the fresh breath of air that rap fans in King County desperately need. With the release of Boulevard Boy, Thompson is on the cusp of stardom, and you’ll want to be there when it happens.

Must-Listen Tracks:

  • Parked Cars (Featuring KYLE and Kota the Friend) – Boulevard Boy (2021) [E]
  • Crossfaded – Boulevard Boy (2021) [E]
  • WE GOOD! (Featuring ADÉ) – Reckless Endangerment (2019) [E]

The Head and the Heart – Alternative/Folk

The Head and the Heart, a Seattle-based folk/alternative band, have been releasing music since 2010. Although they have received consistent attention in the alternative and folk world, they’ve struggled to replicate this outside of the alt community; perhaps due to the inordinate amount of space they have between album releases, especially for an active and stable band. This is starting to change after the release of their 2019 album ‘Living Mirage’. Despite initial success with folk, the project decided to go in favor of a more alternative style. This paid dividends, with songs ‘Missed Connection’ and ‘Honeybee’ peaking at number 1 and 2 respectively on the alternative charts. Lead male singer Josiah Johnson claimed that the band was currently in the process of creating 3 full studio albums, so make sure to keep The Head and the Heart on your radar going forward.

Must-Listen Tracks:

  • Missed Connection – Living Mirage (2019)
  • Honeybee – Living Mirage (2019)
  • See You Through My Eyes – Living Mirage (2019)

Jay Loud – Hip Hop/ R&B

In 2018, Jay Loud came to Seattle with nothing. He spent time in a Tacoma homeless shelter before landing a deal with Los Angeles record label ‘Asylum’. Since then, he has created a diverse portfolio of music, ranging from R&B to modern trap sounds. Lyrically speaking, Jay Loud isn’t particularly noteworthy, but his consistent ability to create hooks and adapt his sound is creating waves in the underground rap scene. Jay is only 20 years old and has developed tremendously during his short career. Look for him to make waves in 2022 and well beyond.

Must-Listen Tracks:

  • Dior Socks (Featuring Jay Park) – Playlist (2020) [E]
  • Need it Back – Single (2021) [E]
  • Narcos – Naptown (2019) [E]

EMI – R&B/Pop

Seattle singer/songwriter EMI has the kind of sound where you wonder how she hasn’t reached stardom yet. She has yet to release a project but is turning heads in the R&B/pop scene with the steady release of singles and accompanying music videos regardless. Her sound is unique, genre-bending, and can change in an instant. Sometimes it sounds like she’s featuring herself on her own song. This range allows for success in both the R&B and Pop scenes, but she remains virtually unrecognized on a national scale. Expect this to change soon.

Must-Listen Tracks:

  • Wanna Be You – Single (2020) [E]
  • White Bars – Single (2020) [E]
  • Jekyll/Hyde – Single (2019) [E]

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