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SoundCloud Taps 9 Artists for 'First on SoundCloud' Accelerator Program

SoundCloud
Courtesy of SoundCloud

The enhanced iteration of the streaming service's existing artist discovery program will include direct investment in "dream collabs," merch and more.

SoundCloud is amping up its First on SoundCloud artist discovery program.

Today, the streaming service revealed the 9 artists selected to take part in its new First on SoundCloud accelerator program: Charmaine, Ela Minus, Kid Quill, Lourdiz, Otis Kane, Pa Salieu, Payday, Sofia Mills and SoFaygo. More information on each can be found below.

Unlike the original First on SoundCloud, which was introduced in March 2018 to showcase emerging artists on the platform via SoundCloud apps, playlists, newsletters and social and out of home advertising, the accelerator will also see SoundCloud making a direct investment in each artist by producing such "career-making firsts" such as their first “dream collab” projects, merch drops and cover art.

The campaigns will additionally entail introductory profiles by SoundCloud guest editor and music journalist Kiana Fitzgerald; original content such as artist interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes peeks at their first photoshoots; features on the new “First on SoundCloud” playlist on the SoundCloud homepage; career development from SoundCloud’s music industry veterans and experts; and a live event that will bring together the selected artists with the SoundCloud community.

Each of the artists will receive a further lift by having their participation in the accelerator announced by artists and tastemakers including D Smoke, Rico Nasty, creative photographer and designer Ciesay of Places + Faces and NBA star De’Aaron Fox.

Since its inaugural edition in 2018, First on SoundCloud has helped launch the careers of such artists as Cuppy, Che Lingo, Kehlani, Baby Rose and Lil Tecca.

“We’re very excited to introduce this new class of breakout emerging artists, all sharing the special qualities that represent the SoundCloud artist community at its core — they’re innovative, original, and DIY at heart,” said Erika Leone, vp, brand marketing at SoundCloud. “‘First on SoundCloud’ has always been about amplifying emerging artists and driving discovery for listeners. With the new accelerator program we’ll work directly with the artists over this year to help them drive real, meaningful advances in their careers, while helping them reach new creative milestones and growing their global fan-bases.”

The announcement of the accelerator program comes amid SoundCloud’s increasing efforts to position itself as an artist-friendly standout in the streaming arena. Earlier this month, the company announced the April 1 rollout of a “user-centric” royalty system for some of its artists, which will pay out based on how many fans listen to their music as opposed to the number of streams it gets. On Feb. 18, the platform also hosted its first-ever livestreamed gaming tournament, designed to give existing SoundCloud creators exposure in the online gaming community.

Further information on First on SoundCloud’s 2021 artists:

Charmaine

Zimbabwe-born, Toronto-based hip-hop artist Charmaine first uploaded music to SoundCloud when she was seventeen in 2012, and today she’s one of Canada’s most buzzed-about new artists. Drawing influence from rappers like Lil Jon, Dem Franchize Boyz, and Lil Scrappy, Charmaine blends brash hip-hop swagger and addictive R&B in her unique style of music.

Ela Minus

Colombia-born, NYC-based Ela Minus is a true DIY artist who designs and builds hardware synthesizers and performed, produced and recorded her 2020 debut album Acts of Rebellion entirely by herself. Self-made and punk in spirit, Ela puts her own spin on traditional electronic music that is complex and exudes a vibrant warmth.

Kid Quill

Hailing from Indianapolis, Kid Quill’s music combines melodic rap verses, witty hooks, and old school hip-hop samples. Jump starting his career with a top 10 chart-topping album in 2016, Quill has amassed 120M+ streams, performed at festivals like Lollapalooza and Firefly Festival, toured with artists Bryce Vine, Quinn XCII, and Skizzy Mars, and built a loyal fanbase.

Lourdiz

Beginning her music career as a songwriter for the likes of Anitta, blackbear, G-Eazy and other now-superstars, San Antonio native/LA resident Lourdiz is establishing her own genre-bending sound that's cutting through. Lourdiz began sharing her personal work on SoundCloud in 2019, drawing inspiration from her rich Mexican heritage, personal experience and perspective.

Otis Kane

LA-based artist Otis Kane’s natural talent as a singer, songwriter and producer has led him to work with some of music's very best, including Pink Sweat$, Julia Michaels, Wiz Khalifa, The Jonas Brothers, and more. Otis first shared his work on SoundCloud in 2014, and his 2020 debut EP Therapy garnered worldwide attention featuring his soulful vocals and melodic production.

Pa Salieu

British-Gambian rapper Pa Salieu blends West African sounds into his style of UK rap. Since his single "Frontline" became the most played track of 2020 on BBC 1Xtra, Pa Salieu’s profile continues to rise globally with late night television performances and collaborations with everyone from FKA twigs to Virgil Abloh.

Payday

17-year-old artist Payday spent her childhood bouncing state-to-state, with music becoming the one reliable source to express herself. At just 8-years-old, she started making music and by 12, began uploading it to SoundCloud. She has since independently amassed millions of streams, graced the covers of taste-making playlists around the world, and is a welcomed and refreshing genre-defying voice for her generation.

Sofia Mills

Sofia Mills got her start releasing her indie-pop infused demos on SoundCloud in 2016, written and recorded in her bedroom in Rockport, Massachusetts. One year later, her track “Coffee Breath” went viral on TikTok, amasseing over 4.5M streams on SoundCloud alone. At just seventeen years old, she released her first EP All My Pals in 2020.

SoFaygo

19-year-old Cobb County, Georgia rapper SoFaygo cites Chief Keef, Young Thug, Usher, and Drake as inspirations for his versatile style of music-making he describes as “wavy.” Building a name for himself on SoundCloud and beyond, SoFaygo has reached 15M+ streams for hit track “Knock Knock” with Lil Tecca, and garnered attention from famed rappers like Trippie Redd.