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Six emerging artists you need to hear this April

The latest and greatest DJs and producers rising to top this month. From deep rolling rhythms and experimental pop to restless club music and d&b, here's April 2021’s list of upcoming talent you should be keeping track of

ASTRYD

UK Duo ASTRYD made a name for themselves over the last four years as residents and founders of Dialogue, hosting parties in London and Bristol. They launched a label of the same name in 2019 with debut single ‘Lapse’, and the imprint has since become a platform to display their techno-leaning releases and other core artists. Their first EP ‘Blind Summit’ was written during lockdown and explores themes such as togetherness and isolation. Fractured beats and swirling soundscapes roll throughout the EP, from the downtempo moments of ‘Numbing’ to speedier BPMs on ‘Allocated Leisure Time’. 

Plenty of their inspiration has come from the dancefloor; during their four years of parties they invited guests such Afrodeutsche, Machine Woman and object blue to join them. As we await the re-opening of clubs, they continue to move things forward with ‘Blind Summit’ dropping this month, as well as an online stream and panel with queer techno collective Opulence. Part of the profits of their EP will go to Misery, a mental health collective and sober club-night focused on healing for queer, transgender, non-binary and intersex BPOC.

For fans of: Giant Swan, Etapp Kyle, Cassegrain

BABii

Multidisciplinary artist Daisy Emily Warne aka BABii’s latest work ‘MiiRROR’ embodies the dark and the light; the yin and yang of her life experiences expressed throughout a 10-track album. Accompanied by expansive soundscape, her style of storytelling and intimate, thought- provoking lyrics guide the listener through a myriad of emotions. From the sound of glass smashing in ‘DRiiFT’ through to the final words on ‘Mother’, she reveals that much of her inspiration comes from her childhood. Daisy is an artist in every sense of the word; her album comes with a book and live A/V show that expands her story visually. 

‘MiiRROR’ is her second LP, following her debut ‘HiiDE’ in 2019, and a three tracker ‘iii’ in March last year that was released across three CDs complete with self-designed artwork. BABii’s music has been championed on the airwaves by the likes of BBC Radio 1 and 6Music, and her latest work seems destined for more success.

For fans of: Aïsha Devi, Eartheater, Shura

IYESHA

Influenced by the parties and collectives she found as a student in Leeds, IYESHA started DJing in friends’ bedrooms in 2019. Key players were Flesh in Tension, Not Exotic and Love Muscle, all of whom champion LGBTQI+ folk and people of colour in the city. She cites these events as instrumental in shaping her sound, which is characterised by rampant techno, footwork and ballroom, with squeaky club edits throughout. 

“I love to put it all into one big bouncing party mix,” she says. While clubs have been closed, IYESHA has brought the energy of the dancefloor to people’s homes through her shows on NARR Radio and Rinse FM, as well as her pumping slot for Love Muscle’s charity live-stream last year, alongside Eris Drew. Says IYESHA: “Every time I’m mixing or even just finding new music to play, I’m always keeping in mind the euphoric feeling I get from the Leeds parties that I love.”

For fans of: LSDXOXO, Quest?onmarc, Sippin’ T 

EMA

Irish DJ, promoter and Woozy record label “boss/mom” EMA is busy. The Dublin-based artist moved back to Ireland in 2019 after a three- year stint in Berlin, her arrival home coinciding with a Boiler Room gig in the capital. With a sound that cross-pollinates breaks, dub and low-end chuggers, EMA is a distinctive selector who digs deep into the undertones of modern soundsystem culture. Her SAUCE show on Dublin Digital Radio supplies a consistent dose of lilting beats, but it’s over on the Woozy imprint and event series where EMA’s vision flourishes. 

After the ‘Woozy001’ compilation last September, 002 will be announced in the next couple of months with a debut release from Coe. Keen to nurture local talent, EMA is part of Skin&Blister — a collective who encourage female, trans and non-binary creatives to participate in DJ and production workshops. Expect to explore a lot more from EMA soon.

For fans of: re:ni, DJ Fart In The Club, Laughing Ears

DJ Sofa

Helsinki-based producer DJ Sofa has rocketed onto the drum & bass radar with her artfully crafted rollers. Weaving together influences from classic British sounds such as jungle, early- 2000s d&b, and ‘90s staples such as The Prodigy, DJ Sofa’s tunes pay homage to the melodic vibes of early liquid and the bold sound of jump-up. You’ll find no foghorn here, though; her music offers a nostalgic trip brimming with sublime rave energy, with a nod to roots reggae and hip-hop in her sample selection. Her latest EP, ‘One Nation’, gained recognition from Doc Scott, while other tunes have received support from the likes of Sweetpea and Mantra.

Working closely with label boss Physics on Midnight Sun Recordings, last month saw the release of her latest remix ‘Live For Tomorrow’ — which she describes as an “early-2000s melodic dancefloor roller”. Tunes such as ‘Feel So Good’ are set to drop on Finnish label Breaking Point, and another outing on Midnight Sun will see DJ Sofa offer a jazzy, late-‘90s-esque roller with ‘Heistotron’. It’s undeniable big things are coming for this underground northern talent.

For fans of: Clipz, LTJ Bukem, Roni Size

Hadiya George

Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Hadiya George’s vocals have become recognisable through memorable records such as Honey Dijon’s single ‘Not About You’ and Horse Meat Disco’s ‘Home’, which featured on their 2020 album release. Gaining much of her momentum last year, her latest work has been signed to The Remedy Project, a new label founded by London DJ and A&R Melvo Baptiste that comes under the ever-growing Defected umbrella. 

Hadiya’s musical life started from the tender age of six, immersing herself in local bands and orchestras in her hometown of Georgia right through to her college years. Her new single ‘Hot Flavor’ was made in collaboration with fellow Atlanta-based collective 3lo, and displays her talent for writing music and lyricism. There is more in the pipeline, so keep your eyes on Hadiya this year.

For fans of: Noname, Yazmin Lacey, Floetry

Words: Anna Wall, Niamh O’connor, Safi Bugel, Liohness