With Miami Music Week upon us, it’s time to shine a light on the rising stars of electronic music. From fun to futuristic, conceptual to vying for that main stage, these five buzzworthy acts are coming in hot on streaming platforms and crushing the club circuit. Welcome to Billboard Dance‘s March 2018 edition of Ones to Watch.
This month brings diversity in its ranks. We’ve got effervescent feel-good jams stacked against grimy warehouse steamers. We’ve got some crossover trap and some bilingual bliss. We’ve got budding stars from Los Angeles and New York City, though South Korea gets a real big shout out. Add all five of these groovemeisters to your playlist to impress every style in your crew.
Loud Luxury is on a hot streak, and have the perfect storm of support right now for their dangerously catchy single “Body” (featuring Brando), out on Armada. The record recently breezed passed 25 million Spotify streams and is commanding the dance radio airwaves. It was also just certified Gold in Canada and is No. 1 on the country’s Shazam chart. And yes, Loud Luxury is also packing rooms on their Body Heat Tour, with sold out shows in Toronto, Ann Arbor and more. The duo’s catalog doesn’t run too deep at the moment, but if their original releases to date are any indication as to what their future holds, they are going to climbing up those festival billings very soon. — DAVE RISHTY
Sweet and mellow, sweaty and street, Brooklyn-based Yaeji can serve it up any way you want. She was born in New York City’s Queens, but she grew up everywhere from Long Island to Atlanta before her parents took her to their native South Korea to fight against total Americanization. That patchwork of cultures mingles in the art student’s brain and filters through to her dynamic sound. Her style is rooted in house music, but there’s just as much hip-hop and pop bubbling under its surface. Whether it’s her makeup tutorial music video for “Last Breath” or her recent cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit,” she treats the line between underground expectations and mainstream trends like a game.
She sings her tunes with whispery vocals, moving in and out of English and Korean like interchangeable parts. She’s got the underground buzzin’ on “Raingurl,” a funk-fueled bit of grit for the late-night dance floor crowd. It’s the slayer single from her five-track EP2, released on Godmode in November 2017. It’s followed by the dreamy haze of “Drink I’m Sippin’ On.” Yaeji proves her résumé on the road where she’s packing clubs across the country and flying in for festivals around Europe. Look out for your chance to catch up on the come up. — KAT BEIN
Boombox Cartel are a bit past the up-and-comers stage at this point, but the duo’s ascension in the dance world is definitely something to take note of. In a space that’s filled with plenty of trend-watchers and genre-switchers looking to accelerate their careers, Boombox Cartel have always stuck to their guns and succeeded with great integrity. Their 2017 Cartel EP is a great example of this and features noteworthy live gems like “Jefe” and “Dem Fraid”. One of their latest releases, “Whisper,” is the furthest they’ve deviated from their trap sound, but their tasteful execution has both satisfied core fans and cultivated new ones. — D.R.
Representing South Korea via the wild streets of Berlin, since 2016, Gou has released groovy house tunes situated squarely between dance floors of the future and her cultural roots. The multi-faceted talent dug her heels deeper into a personal aesthetic on recent three-track EP, Once. Those cool vocals are her own, and she’s singing in her native Korean tongue. Once was released on tastemaker-favorite Ninja Tune, and we think you’re gonna love its versatile collection of hazy Brazilian vibes, late-night club beats, and ’80s b-boy electro. — K.B.
In a sea of wannabe LA producers and DJs, PILO’s seductive rhythms and nonchalant aesthetic have quickly catapulted him to success, including steadily growing bookings along the West Coast, and productions alongside some of the underground’s finest — such as Justin Jay, Dean Grenier and Harvard Bass.
Down the pipeline for this year, PILO is debuting a two-track EP on Tiga’s Turbo label, and an eight-track collaborative album alongside synth expert, Baseck. Not to mention, the rising after-hours star is slated to launch his PILO Presents event series — as well as a hybrid live tour — later in 2018. — JORDAN DIAZ