Every year tens of thousands of attendees from the music, tech and entertainment communities (and more) descend on Austin, Texas, for SXSW. The event features one of the most eclectic range of genres of any festival out there, and as usual this year is no exception. From rock, to hip hop, to EDM and beyond, there is something for everyone. After combing through hundreds of acts, here are our top 3 picks for cutting-edge artists to catch during the music week portion of SXSW, which runs from March 17-22.
WHO: Leon Bridges
WHEN: March 19th, 2:30pm @ Hype Hotel
WHY: Texas born crooner Leon Bridges transports listeners back to the sounds of Sam Cooke and the 60s with his charming folk/du-wop soul sound. His refreshing take on the days of R&B and Motown is something that hasn't been heard in years, but his intimate spin on the genre is able to transcend its old-school roots to appeal to modern music lovers everywhere. Bridges has been building momentum quickly since late last year -- in the span of 6 months he has gone from waiting tables to signing a major record deal with Columbia. His live shows have been selling out like crazy, so be sure not to miss his performance at SXSW's Hype Hotel this year.
WHO: James Bay
WHEN: March 20th, 11:45pm @ St. David's Historic Sanctuary
WHY: Up and coming singer-songwriter James Bay has been on the rise since he released his debut EP, Let It Go, to critical acclaim last year. After wrapping up a noteworthy tour with Hozier and nabbing the Brits Critics Choice award, Bay has set himself up to build on that momentum with a slew of performances scheduled all across the world this spring. He is a treat to see live -- Bay's gravely, soulful voice has a rare candidness to it, and pairs perfectly with his mellow style... which shows hints of influence ranging from gospel to pop. James Bay is definitely an artist to keep an eye on in 2015, so don't miss his set at SXSW this year!
WHO: Ryn Weaver
WHEN: March 18th, 10:00pm @ Hype Hotel
WHY: Pop music has a fresh face in Ryn Weaver, whose shimmery, alternative take on the genre has the industry buzzing. Her debut track "OctaHate", which was released on SoundCloud last summer, gave her instant indie 'It Girl' status and earned her significant support from established artists like Charli XCX and Benny Blanco. Using this momentum, along with a much-hyped album expected to drop later this year and a string of major festival performances lined up, Weaver seems poised to break in 2015. Don't miss her unique, authentic take on pop at her SXSW debut next week.