With over 900,000 monthly listens on Spotify, Ethan Bortnick is not what you’d call an emerging artist, but if there are any fans of his in this school, I am wholly unaware of them. Personally I feel like Bortnick is one of those artists you won’t discover through other people, even I found him from TikTok a couple years ago. Our ignorance to this prodigy is amazing considering the popularity he has. At five years old, he was performing concerts and by seven had appeared on both the Tonight Show and Oprah, as well as several other feats and talents. Bortnick started his career playing piano as a child, but he now makes music that is a combination of alternative and indie. While only in his twenties, he has performed with famous musicians such as Elton John and Celine Dion. While his music may not be for everyone, he has a unique sound that is sure to give some people a thrill.
My dreams of existentialism live in the wild west. Catastrophic global issues distract me from personal and vulnerable conversations with myself. I assume the role of an outlaw. --Ethan Bortnick
It’s likely many of you have never heard of Filk music, despite the genre being coined in the 1950s. This genre holds ties to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror (more broadly fictional folk) and has a sound similar to folk music. Max is a queer German-born artist who in 2022 won the YoungArts voice award. Around the same time, she began releasing her own music, but she also posts covers of other songs on her Instagram. Her music has a very story-like quality, which is no surprise considering she’s an avid reader who enjoys folktales and fantasy. While her collection of songs is short right now, you can always listen to the covers she posts on her and stay updated about new releases through her TikTok.
Sitting at 220,000 monthly Spotify listeners, Moon Walker is not a very well known band, having just started releasing music in 2021, but they are gaining traction with help from their TikTok and multiple media interviews. When asked by New Noise Magazine about the genre of music their band creates, frontman Harry Springer says, “I always just say that we’re rock. We have a multitude of different influences that extend into all genres but at the end of the day, we’re just two people raised on rock music, trying to make as much noise as possible with a guitar and a drum set!” However, their songs include hints of a multitude of genres and the topics of their songs definitely give off punk vibes. If you’re into music that rages against society, this is a band I would highly suggest listening to. Two of my favorites of their songs are I’m Afraid I’ll Go to Heaven and New Commandments.
Consisting of six siblings—George, Isabel, Adam, Emily, Eliana, and Jack Jones—this band was formed in 2014 but thanks toTikTok, they’ve been able to grow their audience in more recent years. At least to me, it’s pretty obvious that the ‘6’ in their name comes from the fact that there are six of them, similar to the band R5. But if you’re a curious person like me, you might be wondering what the ‘SM’ stands for. I did too, and don’t worry, I found the answer. With the band starting when the siblings were younger, they chosen the name Summer Monkeys, but as they got older they shortened it and the name is now more of a dedication to their younger selves. Currently their Spotify is at just over 41,000 monthly listeners but with new songs coming out and tour dates set, hopefully that number will increase. The music they make is pop, with traits of alternative, rock, indie, and folk with unique sounds with “driving synths, head bopping instrumentation, and a vocally punk edge.”
Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated -- Adam Jones (Confucius)
Another folk artist, Tophouse is a band originating from West Montana and currently located in Nashville. Using instruments less common in todays bands such as the banjo and violin, the band creates a unique sound that draws inspiration from folk, bluegrass, Irish, pop, and rock music. The band sits at almost 168,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and is still releasing new music with their next one, titled Be Nobody, coming out on the first of March. If you’d like to get a taste of their music, or keep updated with new releases, consider giving their TikTok a follow.