Billboard Dance is back with the second edition of its monthly series Ones To Watch, where our editors put the spotlight on those on the bubble and charging upward. Some of them are streaming beasts, while others are room packers, but all of them are making real buzz in the community and cutting through the noise.
February’s crop represents Brooklyn, London, Dallas, Chicago and California in a range of styles and sounds. There’s something here for everyone. Without further ado, let’s introduce this month’s group, each endowed with great promise and potential to lead the way for years to come.
Medasin may only be 20 years old, but his production chops prove he’s skilled beyond his years. His moody, lush productions have been clutch in fully transforming A-list records like Portugal. The Man‘s “Feel It Still” and DJ Khaled?’s “Wild Thoughts” with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller. On the originals front, however, is where we are most excited. He recently put out a 30-minute mix that features 16 unreleased, exquisite songs of his to tease his upcoming EP, Irene. The music speaks for itself. 2018 is slated to be a breakout year for Medasin. — DAVE RISHTY
If you’ve been on Spotify at all over the past year, you’ve likely come across Shallou‘s name several times. His tranquil tones and lullaby melodies massage the membrane of over three million monthly listeners on the platform. Ben Harvey, SiriusXM Chill’s Program Director, has also been an early supporter of the project. His new song, “Lie” featuring RIAH, just landed at No. 43 on Billboard‘s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
While the streaming and radio support is great, you may be asking, is it translating over to the live space? Looks like it: His upcoming headline stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York are already sold out, plus he’s currently direct support to Big Gigantic on their Got The Love tour. Shallou is the real deal, so if you’re not drinking the Kool-Aid yet, you might want to take a sip. — D.R.
The Tortoise and The Hare may be the perfect way to describe Two Friends’ journey. The lovable duo, who are best friends from California, have been steadily dishing out original records since 2013, evolving their sound from progressive house to soul house and now dance-pop, but with a distinct, boppy flair.
Over the years, Eli Sones and Matt Halper have built up an impressive catalog of music that stands at 30-plus million Spotify streams and continue to reel in the college crowd big time. They are currently selling out rooms left and right on their Just a Kid tour and actively engaging with their fans on social media every step of the way. They’re not flashy, they’re not sexy, but they’re next. — D.R.
Brooklyn-based DJ and producer CODES is proof that persistence pays off. In 2016, he was down on his luck, working as an instructor at music production and DJ school Dubspot which infamously closed under fraud complaints that it wasn’t paying teachers, himself included. He was stressed, fed up and disheartened, and though he thought about quitting, he never gave in. He took his frustrations out on the decks and in the studio, honing his skills as a turntablist and cooking up what became his Bumps EP. Martin Garrix started dropping his tunes, and today, he’s releasing with the superstar’s label STMPD RCRDS.
Two months ago, he released three funky house grooves on his Pleasure EP, which set him off on his first headlining North American club tour. He followed that with a Bumps and Boombaps remix EP, and he’s currently writing his second EP for STMPD. He can give you bass, house, funk, or just tear up the decks until your head spins. He’s turned his luck around with hard work and vision, and now that’s he’s turned on, expect to see his name poppin’ up from coast to coast. — KAT BEIN
Kattison & Parx
?Since late 2017, rising London producers Kattison and Parx have ignited a hit-making firestorm on Spotify with many of their tracks — thanks largely to the sultry “Sunrise” and retro house gem “Alright Now” off their self-titled collaborative EP — making the cut on the streaming giant’s multiple dance playlists. Generating over two million streams of the project since its release in September, interest in each artist’s solo productions has spiked.
Kattison’s 2014 jam “Know You’re Ready” and three-track EP in 2015 titled End Our Sleep have seen a significant surge in streams, as well as his Sly One-assisted single “High On You.” Meanwhile, Parx’s double-punch of house bangers with his remix of Kokiri’s “Other Side Of Love” and current single “Fantasy” (alongside Adam Engle) lead the producer’s 2018 supercharged year.
Both Kattison and Parx’s standout end to 2017 was followed up by their current collaboration “Nodus,” featured on Big Beat Records’ Big Beat Ignition: Paris compilation. The duo seem to been releasing new tunes every couple months so if 2017 was their “sunrise” year, then 2018 is looking to be a high-noon for both. — JORDAN DIAZ