So you've probably seen some 2016 watchlists already, or you're more like me and trying not to read them because they tend to annoy you for not bringing enough unknown artists. If that's the case, I hope this one is still of value to you (: About 2,5 years ago, in the summer of 2013, I discovered this guy Kygo who was creating this thing called Tropical House on SoundCloud. We know what happened since then, and my question here is: which tropical prodigy is going to blow up like Kygo this year?
To limit the huge amount of options, I've sorted them into two groups based on SoundCloud following. Since at that time Kygo had about 20k followers, I've used that as the maximum for this blog. The next one (find it here) will cover the range up to 10k. So here they are, in random order:
Since this list is filled with lots of Norwegians, let's start out with one as well. Like most of the selected names, TYMA only came to the (SoundCloud) surface in 2015, his first published track being from January 3rd last year. Simen Aakvaag, an Oslo-based student, managed to acquire over 3,5 million plays in one year with his catchy melodies and happy feelings-induced chorus lines. Most of those came from his remix of this Avicii cover by Madely Bailey below. If he can increase his number of releases a bit, 2016 is going to be his year.
We're switching to that other country overflowing with quality melodic and tropical house producers: France. It was in March last year that I suddenly saw some producers sharing work by a guy named HUGEL. Flo, as his first name is, lives in the Mediterranean city of Marseille and it's hard not to hear those influences in his music. Last year he added some tropical funky touches to tracks by Feder, Robin Schulz and Thomas Jack. But it was especially his second original Too Far Gone together with Katie Louise that really showcased his qualities. More melodic than tropical, I'll give you that, but this guy could go very big very soon.
Back to Norway. Kygo's hometown Bergen, to be exact. Sjur Kristian Gimmestad, stylised as SJUR, has been bringing a constant high level of Sax House for over 1,5 year now. It brought him an official Pitbull remix, if that's something to be proud of (at least you don't have to worry you make it worse). He also reinforced some already great covers with just the right beats and saxophone together with his his compatriot Dunisco, next up in this list. For now, let's suffice to say that if SJUR manages to succesfully translate his style to original productions, this guy will be on your radio in no time.
Basically all I said about SJUR can be said about his friend Dunisco as well, except for the Bergen part. Mats Gulbrandsen usually makes it rain pineapples and coconuts by putting out great remixes togeter with JeyJeySax'... sax (was that so hard to guess?). But it's actually a different style that really impressed me this year, his remix of Majid Jordan & Drake's dreamy My Love. Introducing a perfectly blended bassline and quite a unique chorus sound, he shows his versatility creating a really special atmosphere. More of this in the coming year and you won't be able to ignore Dunisco anymore.
We arrived at the only non-European in this selection, Canadian Shemce. There's actually not all that much I know about him, apart from that he recently received Facebook's blue checkmark which obviously puts him in a special league of people that are awesomely awesome and all that. On a more serious note, he's been finetuning his style over the last 1,5 year to an uplifting Melodic House vibe that is recognisable wether he's remixing 2Pac, Deadmau5 or The Weeknd. In this case I'm secretly hoping he doesn't switch to originals anytime soon, because these remixes are just soooo good.
Back to France, to a guy whose name didn't even exist a year ago. On the first of February 2015 there was Paxel's Klingal, an original release about as tropical as it gets. You could almost just dive into that waterfall that appears right before your eyes. The Bordeaux-based prodigy followed soon with a hiptrop remix doing right to Biggy's legacy (and featured in my mixtape btw). 2016 is the year he's going to continue with the originals and one day next year he might just strike absolute gold. Until then I'm just singing along to his latest perfect remix.
We're moving back to the Mediterranean for our Italian addition to this list, which is also the youngest. About a year ago I heard Francesco Romei’s first track under his FlyBoy alias, and I immediately noticed that although being tropical, his sound definitely had something distinctive. He’s been improving it ever since, at some times a bit more up tempo than others, but unique nonetheless. In his latest remix of Mary & Willy’s Maître Gims cover he seems to have found the perfect plucks. Really, they’re the perfect plucks, just listen for yourself.
Another Norwegian? Another Norwegian. Pegato or Patrik Halten from the city of Kristiansund is what I’d like to call the King of Tropical Strings. Maybe I’m prejudiced because I really like strings, but this guy manages to blend them into his tropical vibe so smoothly that it makes you wonder how people can do without. Maybe he didn’t rack up as many plays as some others in this list yet, but he definitely deserves each and every one of them. 2016 could see him making a big leap forward.
This is actually the only duo in this list, I just realised. Frenchies Dorian and César fell in love with melodic house in 2014, as they say themselves. After a couple of well-received remixes (of which Above The Clouds is my absolute favourite) they decided it was time to create some original tunes. The first result of this creative process is found below, and if this quality level is representative for their future releases there is no doubt: 2016 will see them rise to great heights. You just can’t listen to this and not become happy. Try it. You can’t.
The fact that EZY Lima is not in my Best Female Deep House DJs list (from last September) just goes to show how fast she has been growing. OK, I admit, it also means it wasn’t as complete as I hoped. But this German has only been seriously putting out music since the second half of 2015 and already it is just top notch Melodic and Tropical Deep House. And she manages to add a very unique touch, for instance with some trap influences in her Calvin Harris remix, of which I’m a big fan (tropical trap might be another thing exploding in 2016 btw). Of the thousands of Sorry remixes, of which hundreds with Tayler Buono’s cover, hers is definitely my favourite. 2016 should be her big year!
10 More Names
Obviously bringing this list down to 10 names wasn’t easy for me, and as said, the order is of no importance. However, before someone hangs me from a palm tree or I wake up with a pineapple in a place where it shouldn’t be, here are 10 more names that could have just as well been in this list:
Oleska LVNDSCAPE Edeema Adam Foster KarlK MKJ Lakechild Rainer+Grimm Gostan Mokoa
Did you enjoy this? Please let me (and others) know! Next up will be the ones with a <10k following! Got any suggestions? Tell me!