Billboard Dance's Ones to Watch: July 2018
We are officially underway with the second half of 2018, as we welcome another edition of Billboard Dance's discovery series Ones to Watch. This month's selections spotlight a wide array of genres from trance to afrowave to indie electronic and more.
Previous handpicked artists for this series include Loud Luxury back in March, who have rocketed to new heights with their record "Body," as well as Shallou who was featured in February and has since amassed tens of millions of streams.
Without further ado, here are Billboard Dance's July picks.
You’ve been jamming to Louis the Child’s “Better Not” all summer, but the coy voice behind the summery message is a strong personality you should carry in pocket. Wafia was born in the Netherlands, though represents equally for her Arabic roots and Australian connects. Raised in Brisbane, she releases on the taste-maker label Future Classic, the same school that gave you Flume, Cashmere Cat and Chet Faker. Her 2017 single “Bodies” reflects her own family’s struggle to immigrate from war-torn Syria into the Australian continent, though she translates that conflict through uplifting melodies that stick to listeners of all backgrounds. Depth matched with universal appeal makes Wafia as a big thing brewing. Watch out for more.
How many producers can say they've projected their future sounds onto the side of the Sydney Opera House? That's a more exclusive club than Berghain, but West Coast North American Eprom holds such a distinction. Beyond the country of Australia, Eprom counts collabs with Bassnectar, Claude Von Stroke, and a bunch of nasty, gnarly works with G Jones. Eprom earns ears and respect with deconstructed bass beats that shake the ground as they rip through the time-space continuum. It's a mind bending experience matched only by his energetic love sets at Dirtybird Campout, Electric Forest and venues around the world. It's only the beginning for this brain busting beast, and we're calling it.
Berlin up-and-comer Ben Bohmer has received some major looks as of late, securing key support slots to trance greats Above & Beyond, as well as alternative dance trio Rufus Du Sol. He's become a key member of the Anjunadeep family and most recently, released his five-track Dive EP that takes listeners on a melodic, emotional and cinematic journey.
When culture breakers and shakers like Drake and Beyoncé start pushing a new sound, it's time to jump onboard. Cue "Afrowave," a genre concocted by South Londoner Afro B who describes the style as a fusion of hip-hop, dancehall and Afrobeat melodies. His new single, "Drogba (Joanna)" featuring Wizkid is beginning to pick up momentum and has already garnered millions of streams. Keep your eye on this underground act.
Approximately seven months ago, Monstercat split up it's label into two brands: Uncaged and Instinct; the former representing the harder, bass-leaning sound and Instinct encompassing more pop-leaning styles. Conro is leading the charge of the latter for Monstercat. The Canadian singer, songwriter and producer has made some great strides at dance radio lately with his uplifting record "Take Me There," which has spent 10 weeks on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart so far. Get familiar with this name.