Fresh off a February that saw breakthrough dance stars The Chainsmokers and Flume earn their first Grammy Awards, it’s a natural time to take a look at the current crop of rising dance/electronic music talent.
While the red carpet may not be a realistic fate for some of the more left field artists listed here, you never know where talent will take them. Gallant was the face of this feature’s 2016 edition and the singer went on to earn a Grammy nod for his ambitious debut album Ology.
From singer/songwriters and rappers to fresh-faced producers and underground club-shakers, here are Billboard Dance’s 15 artists to watch in 2017.
Top dance artists are essentially A&Rs these days. Look no further than what Diplo has built with Mad Decent or what Skrillex has accomplished with OWSLA. It was the latter who made 22-year-old Mark Johns the first solo singer signed to his tastemaking imprint after hearing her cover of Jay Z & Kanye West’s “N—s in Paris” a year ago. Her debut EP Molino’s title track showcases her potential in its balanced juxtaposition between seductive pop hooks and starkly confessional candor. With a debut album currently in the works, expect much more where that came from. – Matt Medved
Categorizing this 19-year-old Norwegian as an “artist to watch” would seem absurd in most places outside America. Alan Walker has been racking up staggering streaming numbers (more than 1.5 billion on YouTube and more than 1 billion on Spotify), despite having only released three proper singles, including 2015 breakthrough hit “Faded” (No. 80 on Hot 100), which topped the singles charts in more than 10 countries. Walker joined Rihanna on the European leg of her ANTI tour and is poised to see his star continue to rise stateside. – Matt Medved
This kid was born in 1997, but in his swift 19 years, he’s earned some serious street cred. He was scooped up as a member of the illustrious Soulection crew in 2014 (although he has sense taken leave), he was hand-picked to open for Mr. Carmack on his 2016 tour, and he’s set to play this year’s Coachella. His productions are cleaner than some dude’s who’ve been producing his entire life. Don’t be surprised when all the snooty beat heads and future bass fans you know can’t stop saying his name. – Kat Bein
It seems like there’s one future bass song each year that breaks through the copycat noise to uplift an unknown producer to viral heights. 2015 brought us Jai Wolf’s “Indian Summer,” and 2016 belonged to Petit Biscuit’s “Sunset Lover.” The mellow and melodic number racked up more than 108 million Spotify streams and launched its French creator onto international festival lineups – Matt Medved
Raised in Miami and working out of New York City, we named this producer’s debut LP After Hours one of the best dance albums of 2016. Just like the Magic City that inspired it, After Hours is a beautiful, tropical sunset blend of electronic cultures and styles. There’s some Miami bass, some dancehall, some Florida breaks, some video game bleep bloops, some freaky IDM; everything you need to keep the party going from dusk till dawn, then dusk again. Plus, she’s a killer DJ who’s been putting in work for nearly a decade. Now that the world is riding her sound waves, the only way to go is up. – Kat Bein
You may know them best for producing Chance the Rapper’s smash “No Problem,” but this New Jersey duo also boasts production credits for the likes of Anderson .Paak (“Am I Wrong?”) and Gorillaz, plus co-signs from GRiZ and Lido. Expect Ivan Jackson (trumpet, production) and Conor Rayne (drums) to make some more funk-infused noise in 2017. – Matt Medved
Dutch artist Sander van Dijck (aka San Holo) has made his name on a series of uplifting yet nuanced future bass and broken-beat releases, earning more than 45 million Spotify streams on his latest release “Light.” While he’s graced an impressively diverse range of labels from OWSLA and Nest to Monstercat and Spinnin’, the 26-year-old also finds time to manage his own eclectic bitbird imprint – Matt Medved
Even while your most pretentious friends will tell you future bass is the new lowest common denominator, none of them would dare say they find Mura Masa any less than super fly. He just copped a verse from A$AP Rocky and a big hit with “Love$ick,” so you’re almost guaranteed to hear more-a Masa on your radio in 2017. – Kat Bein
Raised in the Netherlands with Serbian-South African roots, multi-instrumentalist/producer Djordje Petrovic makes entrancing electronic music influenced by his transcontinental experiences. Don’t call him a DJ — Satori’s multifaceted live sets draw on his guitar, piano and other instrumental backgrounds while blending world music and melodic house music to awe-inspiring effect. With releases on tastemaking imprints like Crosstown Rebels and upcoming gigs at Get Lost Miami and Lightning in a Bottle, Satori is only getting started. – Matt Medved
Serious beat addicts already know to rock this Londoner’s sophisticated sounds, but he’s got a debut full-length LP scheduled to hit headphones in 2017, and I fully expect the rest of dance music’s heat-seeking community to climb aboard the TroyBoi train. He’s got a knack for multi-cultural amalgamations cut with a certain street-wise edge, a distinctly cool sound he tags simple #MyStyle. I’m stoked to see his that style evolves on a bigger project. – Kat Bein
Alright, you got me. These guys aren’t really a dance/electronic act at all (though they do have some loose ties to the scene via collaborations with Getter and a copyright infringement controversy with deadmau5). Nevertheless, I’m intrigued by these nihilistic New Orleans rappers who have cultivated an underground cult following throughout middle America. You may never hear them in a Manhattan club, but you better believe their visceral lyrics and slick beats are resonating in Michigan basements – Matt Medved
This San Franciscan is no newcomer, but 2017 is his year. Word on the street is Giraffage has a full-length LP in the works, his first proper release form 2014’s nostalgically adorable No Reason EP. His glorious blend of post-Internet pop hooks and ’90s R&B nabbed him a spot opening for Porter Robinon’s Worlds tour, and he definitely learned a lot about showmanship in the experience. His sound has only continued to sweeten on recent singles “So Cute,” “Bring Me Your Love,” and while I couldn’t be more excited for his upcoming release, it’s his recent live tour that left me truly inspired. If you ever get the chance to see Giraffage in 2017, don’t think. Just go. – Kat Bein
deadmau5’s mau5trap label has taken a welcome turn towards techno in recent years and this Los Angeles artist is one of the signees leading the charge. His 2016 Impactor EP is a four-track helping of gritty, distorted synths and sinister sub-bass that showcases the production chops that won him the ear of one of dance music’s most discerning producers – Matt Medved
This teenage brother-sister power duo is packed to the gills with musical talent. Luke, 20, and Tess, 18, look cherubic but sound like wise, dimension-traveling jazz elders both when they talk backstage and when they hit the set. Luke writes the playfully syncopated tunes, Tess provides mind-numbing live percussion. Skrillex is a big fan. You might have heard their influence on his remix of “Stranger.” Originally from Canada, Luke is heading to Los Angeles this year to rub shoulders with the big wigs and get as creative as he can, so definitely expect big things from Tennyson in the months to come. – Kat Bein
Berghain’s youngest resident DJ first visited the notorious Berlin nightclub at age 18 and made his Klubnacht debut a scant 4 years later. Now the 26-year-old can lay claim to one of its Ostgut Ton label’s most unique releases in 2016 debut We Grow, You Decline – Matt Medved