What’s it like being an up-and-coming artist and having your music called out by the biggest pop star in the world? Ten artists found out on Tuesday night (Oct. 6), when Taylor Swift shared a list titled “New Songs That Will Make Your Life More Awesome (I promise!)” on social media, and included shout-outs to songs from emerging singers like Erik Hassle, Seinabo Sey and Kehlani (a few better-known names like M.I.A. and Hailee Steinfeld were also given nods).
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) October 7, 2015
With 64 million Twitter followers and 49 million Instagram followers, Swift’s posts each receive an absurd number of eyeballs — but it’s not the social reach that has impressed some of the artists recommended by Swift. Instead, it’s Swift herself co-signing artists so early on in their respective careers.
“I’ve just been looking up to [Swift] so much, ever since her career began,” Phoebe Ryan, whose gorgeous debut single “Mine” got a shout-out, tells Billboard. “She’s been somebody that I’ve seen grow, and the fact that she’s giving me an opportunity to get my music out there a little bit more, into the ears of some of her fans, it’s super cool to me. It’s something that I’m not going to forget to do if I’m ever in her position.”
“I freaked out, but more than that, I was really honored,” says Frankie, whose delightful “New Obsession” made the list after the song appeared on her debut EP Dreamstate in August. “So many people reached out, so many of her fans, and everyone was so supportive. It was interesting to get a look inside her fan base and see how loving they are.”
Frankie, a songwriting newcomer from Oakland, found out about the post last night while out to dinner with her friends for a girls’ night. “I noticed that my phone was blowing up,” she recalls. “Selfishly, I thought it was the pic I just posted on Instagram getting a lot of love. Nope!”
Meanwhile, Ryan — who released her debut EP Mine and signed to Columbia earlier this year — got an excited text about Swift’s post from a friend, whom she didn’t believe. “I was like, ‘That can’t be real — there’s no way,’” Ryan says. “I looked at my name on the list, and I was like, ‘I will just shut up and wake up tomorrow morning, and it’ll be like Christmas.’”
“I was walking back to the dressing room after playing before Tove Lo at Vogue Theatre in Vancouver last night,” says Erik Hassle, whose sleek pop track “No Words” led off Swift’s list. “A lady working at the venue showed me the picture and said something cool happened while I was playing! I play ‘No Words’ last in the set, so it was extra crazy.”
Swift has co-signed up-and-coming artists and served as a curator to little-heard songs in the past, serving as a champion to tour mates Ed Sheeran and Haim while recently helping Alessia Cara’s single “Here” approach the Top 40 of the Hot 100 chart. Although it’s too early to project what kind of sales or chart bump “Mine” and “New Obsession” will receive thanks to Swift, both artists see this single social media post as a crucial endorsement.
“I have no idea what it will do, but the fact that I got my recognition just makes me feel really validated,” says Frankie. “It’s a pat on the back that I’m doing something that’s appreciated.”
“It’s tangible evidence that something’s working,” Ryan adds. “It feels like I’m not crazy, in a way. People actually like the song, it’s not just me pushing — and it feels really, really good.”