If you are not listening to European artist you should open Spotify right now. If you want to listen to some European artists (all the ones from this list included) you can check out this playlist.
We tend to limit ourselves when it comes to music. It could be related to genre. Or maybe you only tend to listen to music from the charts. Only music from your own country. Only music in English. Whatever it is, it’s holding you back. Because there is a lot of great music for you to explore and these eight European artists are proof of that.
Aside from providing extra diversity to our playlists, listening to European artists is a great way to get immersed in a new language. The best thing to do when you are learning a new language is to listen to the music and watch the films that are produced in that language. It’s not only a great way to catch the rhythm and natural flow (learn puns and rhymes), but it’s also something that will get you excited to learn it. Sometimes learning a new language can be discouraging, but getting excited about the culture and entertainment associated with that language will bring back your excitement
So there are many reasons why you should be listening to European artists. Whether you are European and want to learn more about your neighbours or you’re from somewhere else in the world and want to get a taste of the music produced on the continent, these eight picks are a good starting point.
1. Aya Nakamura, France
Aya Nakamura was France’s most streamed female artist last year and with reason! She is a French pop artist of a Malian origin. Her songs combine RnB with really dancy beats. She sings in French but uses expressions from English, Arabic and Bambara. She’s a black woman in an industry known to discriminate in favour of lighter-skinned artist. And she is dominating! Her songs are fabulous and you should go listen to them right now!
2. Mahmood, Italy
European artists from Eurovision tend to have a reputation for being a bit extra and not something one would listen to outside of the contest. In recent years that has changed and Eurovision has been a great place to find artists and songs to add to your playlists. This year one of the artists that stood out was Mahmood, whose song Soldi just missed first place. He is an Italian singer-songwriter from Milan. With influence from Sardinia, the Middle East and the popular charts, Mahmood is serving some really fresh sounds, which are well worth hearing.
3. Alyona Alyona, Ukraine
A female rapper is a rare occurrence, especially in Eastern Europe. But a rapper who raps about tolerance and acceptance – what? The music videos are also really cool. She is a fresh name in Ukrainian rap and a gem among European artists. Her first music video “Рибки” (“Fishes”) went viral on YouTube collecting over a million views. You should definitely go check her out!
I speak that people need to accept us as we are and need to believe in us and let us do what we want to become and do what we want. I talk about how we become tired of telephones, and how we want to run away somewhere where we can play music. I talk about how I moved and left our homes and we are sad and miss our homes. Normal things. (Alyona Alyona for Vogue)
4. Cledos, Finland
A fresh face in Finnish music, yet Cledos is already collaborating with Mikael Gabriel. He has slavic roots and his name Vladislav means “he who owns fame/glory” which is the perfect name to capture his rise to success. He released his first music video “Töis” on June 1st 2017 and since then his career has blown up. His style is distinct from Finnish rap and recalls the international scene. He’s also a taekwondoin (person who does taekwondo) and he doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, which he’s really outspoken about. You don’t see that in the rap scene very often.
5. Von Wegen Lisbeth, Germany
Von Wegen Lisbeth is a Berlin based indie-pop band that makes upbeat pop music that you can dance to. They are fresh, upbeat and will be a great edition to any playlist, whether it’s for a road-trip, a dance party or for your morning commute. They also have great music videos and a the best name for an album ever created: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Lake Malawi, Czech Republic
This cool indie pop band represented the Czech Republic at Eurovision and “Friend of a friend” was a hit. The band consists of lead vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist Albert Černý, bassist and keyboardist Jeroným Šubrt, and drummer Antonín Hrabal. They’ve performed at major Czech music festivals Colours of Ostrava and Rock for People, and The Great Escape Festival in the UK. They have also opened for Thirty Seconds to Mars in Prague in 2014!
7. JEREMY?, Bulgaria
Very few Bulgarian bands make it outside of Bulgaria, but this one has been featured in festivals around Europe, including EXIT in Serbia, The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and Camden Rocks in Camden, London. They are well worth the attention of any lover of rock music. They sing in English and just recently released their first song in their native Bulgarian. Highly recommended for fans of Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters. This Balkan band should not be missed!
8. Angele, Belgium
Angèle is a Belgian musician with a classical background. Her parents are well-known performers/artists and her brother is Romeo Elvis, a delicate rap artist and they do have songs as a duo, which are perfect. She was one of 2018’s biggest breakout acts in French and Belgian pop.
Her style serves elegant, catchy electro-pop tinged with a hip-hop flow that dips in and out of other pop styles like reggateon and house with ease (Festicket)
There’s plenty of other European artists worth listening to out there. To name a few: Julian Uhu, Solju, Sofia Jannok, Ghali, Lomepal, Ostava. You will find them all (and lots more) in the conveniently created playlist on Spotify.
What are your favourite European artists? Share in the comments and we’ll add them to the playlist.
Featured photo source: https://unsplash.com/photos/G4fPRLboREI
Currently going into her final year of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Gery has been writing in a personal blog since 2014 and has been published in publications StudentVoices and FictionHub on Medium. She debuted her first play 'Liminality' at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is already planning her next project.