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Rising artists: Two Artists to Watch in 2023

Searching for new music is always an exhilarating but sometimes challenging task. With over 100,000 songs uploaded to Spotify each day, listeners are overwhelmed with choice. 2022 has also proved to be an incredibly exciting year for music. These artists perhaps hint at what is to come; a bright future for music looks likely with this kind of talent leading the way.


Lizzy McAlpine

To many, it feels that Lizzy McAlpine is a rising artist on the precipice of major chart success. Her debut studio album Give Me A Minute, released in the summer of 2020, demonstrated McAlpine’s potential, her unique tone, and her precise vocal delivery. Combined with her vulnerable and raw songwriting, this album is for an enjoyable listen. Indie-folk songs ‘Pancakes for Dinner’ and ‘Apple Pie’ both amassed over 20 million streams on Spotify. McAlpine’s second studio album Five Seconds Flat, released earlier this year, is an expansion of her indie-folk sound, incorporating, jazz, R&B, and indie-rock elements. McAlpine’s collaboration with Jacob Collier on ‘Erase Me’ is a particular highlight. There are brilliant uses of harmony throughout the record, but it is perhaps most prevalent here, where McAlpine and Collier’s harmonies act almost as another instrument. They build up tension leading up to the explosive bridge. ‘Erase Me’ details the efforts to seek comfort in replacing an ex with a stranger’s bed. The loneliness that accompanies this is only exacerbated by fears of being replaced or ‘erased’. ‘All My Ghosts’ is another standout track, with her ‘ghosts’ representing the past that is still haunting her while she attempts to start a new relationship (“All my ghosts are with me / I know you feel them too”). McAlpine’s vocal performance across the record is exceptional. Combining this with her raw lyricism, masterful harmonies, and natural aptitude for storytelling makes this album a must-listen.


Renée Rapp

Renée Rapp, while relatively new to pop music, rose to fame after winning the role of Regina George in Mean Girls on Broadway. The aftermath of the Broadway shutdown, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulted in many show closures, including Mean Girls. Rapp’s move from New York to Los Angeles was motivated by a desire to pursue music alongside her acting career (she stars as Leighton in The Sex Lives of College Girls on HBO Max). Rapp’s breakout single ‘In The Kitchen’ offered a glimpse into what she has to offer, demonstrating outstanding vocal ability and confessional writing. Rapp’s debut project, Everything to Everyone further develops on these qualities whilst also offering a wider range of genre and style. The gut-wrenching ballad ‘Don’t Tell My Mom’ offers an insight into the complexity of mother-daughter relationships as you enter adulthood, representing a desire to hide her struggles for her mom’s sake (“Don’t tell my mom, I’m falling’ apart / She hurts when I hurt, my scars are her scars”). ‘Don’t Tell My Mom’ is a devastatingly honest cut from Rapp’s EP that explores the tumultuous yet tight-knit relationship she has with her mom. Another standout track from Everything To Everyone is ‘Colorado’. Rapp expresses her desire to leave Los Angeles behind. She ponders what life would be like if she were more isolated and without her phone, removed from the public, and without some of the societal pressure: “I threw my phone into a lake / watch it sink to a better place”. Ultimately, she knows that this is something that she would never actually do, admitting anxiety for the unknown (“I’d choose the devil I know over the heaven I don’t”). This slightly more upbeat number represents a shift away from the musical style of the singles, all ballads. This expansion of style and sound will hopefully be explored further in future work. Everything To Everyone is an exciting debut project that indicates a promising future for Renée Rapp.


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