Music, a wonderful thing that has been with us for ages, is a way for us to express our thoughts and feelings that cannot be said verbally. Music evolves as time flows, changing every century. Stanford University states that popular music is one of the staples of the youth. “At an adolescent party, the key question is not what you do but what music you listen to,” which I am sure a lot of youth can agree with. For youths, music determines if you are a trendy or an old school person and you will probably mix with people who have the same music taste as you do.
As the music industry expands and becomes increasingly accessible to the world, more and more talented singers are brought to the spotlight as they manage to create music the public wants or relates with. Unfortunately, not all singers get that opportunity. Though they are talented, these singers and songwriters are sadly underrated.
1. Jeremy Zucker
In 2019, 'comethru' by Jeremy Zucker hit two billion streams on Spotify, according to Top Charts. Zucker is an indie-pop artist whose songs have a really chill vibe due to him having a mellow and calming voice, bringing about a peaceful feeling when you listen to his songs. The majority of Zucker's songs lean more towards love songs, which can be relatable to youth of today who might face tons of relationship problems. Besides, Zucker has also written a song about depression which is 'all kids are depressed'. In modern society, there are still a lot of people who refuse to admit that depression is a legitimate issue, and Zucker has used his own way to spread awareness regarding this topic. Hence, it is worth spending your time listening to some of Zucker's songs.
Photo from The Honey Pop
If you enjoy falsettos, you will definitely love Tora, a four-piece electronic band from Byron Bay, Australia. According to XS Noize, the band is made up of Thorne Davis on drums, Shaun Johnston on bass guitar, Jo Loewenthal on lead vocals and Jai Piccone on vocals and guitar. The band’s official website states that they have known each other since their schooling years and have been playing music together until now. Tora's music is a mix of pulsating rhythms and harmonic singing. Both lead singers’ vocals are simple yet unique and during the climax of their songs, their amazing falsettos take the stage, making the song complete.
Photo from XS Noize
How can we leave out rap when it comes to pop music? NF is a rather underrated artist, and most people know him from his song 'Let You Down'. If you have heard of NF's music, you will notice bits and pieces of Eminem's style in there. He does not hesitate to show his inner darkness in his songs and also likes to share his tragic childhood story through his music, as stated by Pitchfork. If you do not like Eminem's harsh and brutal lyrics, then NF is the one for you. NF is slightly milder and you can hear the sadness and heartbreak in his music regardless if it is in his voice or lyrics, so the listener can really connect with his story. As a lyrical rapper, NF does a great job expressing himself through his songs and resonating with the listeners’ mood.
Photo from NME
4. Alec Benjamin
Everyone has probably heard Alec Benjamin's song 'Let Me Down Slowly' which hit 800 million streams on Spotify. Benjamin is a talented singer and though he has a high-pitched voice, he does not go too harsh on his voice and can sound rather fragile at times. Most people who listen to his songs can relate and connect with them as he has a very emotional and youthful tone and his song's lyrics are very poetic and descriptive, painting a picture with each word. Fun fact about Alec Benjamin, he can actually speak Mandarin quite fluently. According to Hype, he learnt the language in high school for three years and can understand simple Mandarin. He has also made a cover of 'Me and My four Sisters' by Ah Niu's!
5. Alex Ungku
As for our local scene, surely there are also some underrated artists who you should check out too! Alex Ungku is a singer-songwriter who deserves more attention from the community. Ungku’s voice has a very unique and special tone, which I would describe as angelic. In his song 'I Miss You, Still', he recorded the chorus using two layers of voices and mixed them well, which can grab your heart and let you feel as if you actually lost someone special to you. Ungku is talented but unfortunately, he is not a full-time singer so he has not released that many songs yet.
Photo from PMC
Not only famous artists produce good music. Some artists who just started their career also deserve more opportunities to be exposed to the public. Popularity does not necessarily define talent, and there are many factors that determine an artist’s success. All artists should get a chance to gain the spotlight they deserve, and it is up to you to discover and support these new artists.
By Eason Soong