12 Great Artists You've Probably Never Heard Of

Music is powerful, sometimes drowning us in emotion while, at other times, it allows us to drown our emotions in it.

There doesn’t seem to be a formula for success in the music business, but thanks to YouTube, many artists who wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day have a platform to share their work. Many of us stumble upon works of sheer genius, and spend hours in the corners of YouTube, clicking links to unknown music we think may be similar to our latest discovery.

Here is a collection of 12 artists/bands that should have their names in lights, telling the world of their greatness:

  1. Yuna. This amazing Malaysian pop vocalist is charismatic singer-songwriter. She has a talent for setting her innermost thoughts to beautiful melodies that won’t soon leave anyone listening to them. A lot of people seem to have discovered her when she did this cover of Frank Ocean’s Thinkin’ ‘Bout You. Once you hear it, you won’t want to stop singing it, and trying to sound as angelic as Yuna does. Check out her YouTube channel to get hooked on her amazing voice.

  2. Austra. Discover some of the best workout music you can ever hope to add to your gym playlist. You may think it’s Florence + The Machine at first, but something gives Austra a bit of edge. Lose It is one of those songs you sing aloud, but only with earbuds in and the volume all the way up because you know you sound awful. We can’t all have that cool gurgling quality to our voices. Some songs, like Beat and the Pulse sound like they should creep you out, but you end up feeling like a cool kid and loving it.

  3. Naturally 7. It doesn’t get much more resourceful that this. These guys don’t need any instruments. Their voices are all they need. Wall of Sound is a great intro to what they do. They’ve toured with Michael Buble, but they still haven’t hit radio stations everywhere, and there’s no good reason for the latter. If you’re not convinced yet, watch them play invisible instruments in this video of solos.

  4. Lucia. From Romania, she’s not exactly unknown, but she’s probably not on your iPod either. There’s a barrier that needs to be broken down, because the western world needs to know of her greatness. Silence is the perfect introduction to the seemingly effortless beauty of this artist’s voice. She most definitely plays for love.

  5. TaDa. From dance to reggae, she can do it all. Weekend is a bubbly, feel-good tune you’ll want to blast as you cruise around town in your convertible. It’s perfect for a beach day, or an energy boost as you clean the house. You can imagine how TaDa gets down when it’s just her and new tracks when you listen to How Dis Go – her remix of Rihanna’s So Hard. Check out her YouTube channel for a sampling of the styles she masters.

  6. Iyeoka. She is classy, and you only have to hear her sing three words to know it. Her voice takes you to places you’ve never been. Speakeasies, basement recording studios, and jazz clubs form around you as you sip a dirty martini. Simply Falling will make you want to listen to anything she has ever done. By the end, you’ll be whispering to Iyeoka, “You have broken into my heart.”

  7. Bedouin Soundclash. You’ve probably heard When the Night Feels My Song, but had no idea who was behind it. These guys have a great indie feel, putting a spin on reggae to deliver an interesting sound that transports you to an indie coffee shop. Some of their material is very chill while others, like Nothing to Say make you want to get something to wave in the air as you jump up and down, yelling the chorus.

  8. Judah Tha Lion. This Bahamian artist has a distinct style that defies genre and leaves listeners incapable of assigning a description to it. His abilities to seamlessly shift from reggae to rock to rap, tossing in a bit of falsetto will make your jaw hit the floor. You’ll find it hard to believe the same artist that causes goosebumps with the pared down, skillfully executed Hurricanes can show you a “wybe”.

  9. Justin Nozuka. He writes the songs you wish someone wrote for you, or would at least request on the radio and dedicate to you. After Tonight kind of makes you want to be in love. Literally. Swimming in an ocean of love, listening to him play his guitar, singing about your dreams coming true in one night. Save Him brings tears to your eyes as you imagine the life no one should have to live for a minute.

  10. Lucy Spraggan. She entertained judges and audiences time and time again on X Factor with her original stories in the form on songs. She is the best kind of storyteller, full of honesty, humility, and style. Tea and Toast will make you feel all of the feels. If you’re in the mood for something more fun, check out Last Night.

  11. Kamilah. Here’s one to watch out for as her exposure increases and she grows in confidence. In her audition for NPR’S Tiny Desk contest, she performs an original called 1600 Miles. It’s pretty cool when an artist can just sing a song, no gimmicks, tricks, or add-ons.

  12. Cloudeater. This band describes itself on its website as “an unlikely collision of musical fragments” born of the culture in Atlanta. In 2013, the band announced that one of the members decided to walk, so it would not continue to make music as an entity. Luckily, we still have their music. Check out Decade for a more relaxed – by Cloudeater standards – introduction. Then do the best thing you can for your ears today. Listen to Hardly Wait.

Do you have any favorites none of your friends have ever heard of? Leave their names and links to some of their best work in the comments. We need more music!