River Beats' Staff Picks: Top Artists to Watch in 2018
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River Beats’ Staff Picks: Top Artists to Watch in 2018

2017 has come and gone, and what a year for music it was! So many new artists burst onto the scene making their names known to the masses and gaining notable recognition from big-name artists.

It has been our mission at River Beats to shine a light on artists who we think deserve the spotlight, and our second annual list of “Top Artists to Watch” does just that.

Last year we featured some names that went on to become the hottest names of 2017: including k?d, Boogie T., Sunsquabi, Justin Jay, and Mura Masa. This year, our list is way more diverse and shines the spotlight on approx. 20 different artists.

Each artist below reflects a different genre and background not only of electronic music, but music in general. Some of these names are already well established, while some are making their way to the top. This is our list of producers/DJ’s/musicians that you must give a listen to in 2018.

Our top names were selected and written on by our staff. We have selected our top 18 featured artists for 2018, while the other 20 names are highlighted below the featured artists.

Blunts & Blondes

It’s no secret we are high on Tampa bass & riddim producer Blunts & Blondes. We recently hosted him in New Orleans for his debut show, and we have supported him all throughout 2017 (Read our exclusive interview here). There is just something about this dude we can’t get enough of. Boogie T. was high on our list in 2017, and his twin-riddim brother Blunts & Blondes could reach the Boogie man’s level in 2018.

Staff Writer: Sean Schmidt 


Elohim has been on the cusp of breaking out for several years now, and it’s looking like 2018 is going to finally be her year. After a huge 2017 that saw her collaborate on songs with both Louis The Child and Whethan, and support Alison Wonderland and Jai Wolf on tour, people are finally starting to take notice of the singer/songwriter. Elohim embarks on her own headlining tour in March, and is slated to play both weekends of Electric Forest in 2018. Her music is deeply personal yet pop-savvy enough to make sad-pop accessible to the masses.

Staff Writer: Jared Winkel 


Since releasing his hit single ‘DayDreamer’ in 2016, Los Angeles producer Medasin has been everywhere. It was almost hard to put him on this list, seeing that 2016-2017 really was his breakout year. The producer’s sound is very retro, bringing back some jazzy infused beats, mixed in with modern day bass. His ability to jump from chill ambient tracks, to hard bangers is what really sets him apart. You also probably heard his name a few times this year after he accused Skrillex of ripping off his original ‘Territory’ for his HUGE ‘Humble’ remix for Kendrick Lamar. Either way, Medasin is one of the future stars of dance music, and it’s time you started listening.

Staff Writer: Sean Schmidt 


Florida producer EGZOD is one of those artists who we have repeatedly listened to in 2017. Due to his childhood background growing up in the beautiful city of Nice, France, EGZOD captures “deep themes of world culture mixed with spirituality along the way.” EGZOD’s music has garnered over 4 million streams on Spotify, 3 million on Youtube, and millions on Soundcloud. His music is distinct and different from the mainstream spectrum, and this is why you should keep EGZOD in your 2018 playlist.

Staff Writer: Sean Schmidt 


From multiple quality releases towards the end of 2017, to throwing an epic rager on a streetcar, CRWNS is headed for a big year. His sound is just right for 2018. Blending hip-hop, trap, and future bass, CRWNS’ music represents a changing landscape in electronic music; one that ushers in new collaborations between producers and hip-hop artists alike. Along with his prominent role as editor in chief at Run The Trap, CRWNS looks like he will make a run at some point in 2018.

Staff Writer: Sean Schmidt 

Dreamers Delight

Following the release of his first full-length album, Ethereal Moments, a spring tour for 2018 seems to hopefully be in the works. Prior to this release, the artist gained a massive amount of fans via Soundcloud, due to his dreamy ethereal tones. The lowtemp signee is poised to have a huge 2018. 

Staff Writer: Kelsey James 

Digital Ethos

New Jersey based artist Charlie Quigley, aka Digital Ethos, is a name we expect to hear a lot more of in 2018. Digital Ethos has partnered with some of the biggest names in bass music including Space Jesus and the legend himself Bassnectar (Slather). His style is of course heavy with bass but he couples it very well with a spacey vibe. If the past has taught us anything, it’s that if your name ends up next to Bassnectar, you have a good shot of breaking out. 

Staff Writer: Calip Farris


DROLOE has had a knockout year as one of the stand out acts from San Holo’s Bitbird label. The Netherlands-based duo busted onto the radar with the release of Bitbird’s compilation EP, “Gouldian Finch” and soon after with the release of their own EP, “A Moment in Time.” DROELOE provides a unique sound while still staying true to the ethereal vibe of Bitbird.  At a time when the future bass genre has become diluted and oversaturated, DROELOE has found a way to make it their own with their use of dark bass lines and heavenly sounds, leaving listeners filled with emotion and a significant desire to hear more. 

Staff Writer: Lauren Blouin

Nick Hakim

2017 saw Brooklyn singer/songwriter Nick Hakim release his first full length album titled, Green Twins. Green Twins captures all of the honesty, the earnestness, and raw emotive power that has shone through in Nick’s prior work (a fantastic two volume EP from 2014, Where Will We Go). Green Twins is much more nuanced. Hakim effortlessly borrows and shifts from an assortment of genres- future soul, r&b, psychedelic rock- without ever becoming tied down by any.

This genre-bending type of music is what the future begs for. There is versatility, and then there is the truly vanguard. In my opinion, Nick Hakims vanguard sound is best showcased in “Needy Bees”. That song was featured in (and truly amplifies) perhaps the most intimate moment of this season of Insecure, a show with an extremely sensible musical selection. Though he’s received his fair share of press from the likes of Pitchfork and Complex, his last tour was still playing out to some very intimate yet dedicated crowds. We expect his stage to grow in 2018.

Staff Writer: Christopher Hoglund

Vallis Alps

Vallis Alps has been on our radar for the majority of 2017. Their style, described by Triple J as “acoustronica” as well as the geographical divide that has separated them through most of their early creative process caught our attention early on and we have been hooked ever since. 2017 has been a monumental breakout year for the pair, they’ve embarked on a full U.S. tour which ended with a notably packed crowd for their first US festival appearance at Lightning in a Bottle this year. Vallis Alps continues to wow us from the beginning. You can read our full interview with Vallis Alps here. 

Some notable songs are “Young”, which is known by most of the world as their breakout debut. Their newest track “So Settled” which dropped earlier this month, really solidifies Vallis Alps place with the best of them. Mark our words, Vallis Alps will gain huge notoriety in 2018 and beyond. If you are a fan of Oh Wonder, ODESZA, or Jai Wolf; Vallis Alps will be right up your alley.

Staff Writer: Megan Robinson


After Bassnectar dropped one of their tracks at Middlelands earlier in the year, people wanted to know more about the young producers. The New Orleans based duo has received praise from blogs across the spectrum, including OSWLA’s beloved blog NEST HQ. They have released multiple original tracks and remixes throughout the year, and expressed they have much more in store for next year. They’ve expanded outside of the southern region recently, so who knows where 2018 will take them next? 

Staff Writer: Kelsey James


COFRESI has been one of those artists that is so multi-talented, it’s near impossible to fully describe the magic that is going down on stage. The first thing you’ll most likely notice is he’s an incredible drummer, but if you watch more closely you’ll see there is so much going on behind the scenes. While he is flipping your favorite tracks with drum covers, you’ll see he’s also throwing some live mashups and truly gives a whole performance. He signed onto Madison House this year, so plan to see him touring more in 2018.

Staff Writer: Megan Robinson

Daily Bread

Rhett Whatley aka Daily Bread has been gaining some serious traction with the likes of the electro-soul lovers with his fresh spin on the genre – think if DVS and Gramatik had a love child raised in the streets of Atlanta. Whether Whatley is sampling 1920s blues, remixing Gorillaz, or flipping the latest Childish Gambino, his rhythms maintain an ethereal sound that keeps your soul fed and ears wanting more. The Bread crushed 2017, and 2018 is looking up and up for the Atlanta native.

Staff Writer: Halina Marie

Flats Stanlie

Flats Stanlie burst onto the scene in 2017, winning The Untz Challenge as the Staff Selection for his track “Bloom” and earning him a slot in 6 major festivals, including Electric Forest and Imagine. The Michigan-based producer has a unique sound that bridges the orchestral melodies of Odesza with the grimey bass of Excision. While Flats Stanlie is still bubbling under the radar outside of his home state, with his debut EP slated to drop soon, that could all change in 2018.

Staff Writer: Jared Winkel 


Yaeji is a hot up and comer who is providing a fresh spin on house music. Merging traditional house characteristics with those of hip hop and pop, the 24 year-old Korean-American has quickly become a hot topic amongst blogs and music heads. Highlight tracks including “Raingurl” and “Drink I’m Sippin’ On.”  Her music combines head-bobbing beats with soft vocals and gently balances elements of pop and techno that just make you want to move. In a recent interview with Resident Advisor, she says of her music, “I live in this weird in-between world of not-pop and not-quite-dance,”. She recently launched a live tour in which she not only DJ’s but also sings and raps in English and Korean.

Staff Writer: Lauren Blouin 


Taska Black is another standout from the Bitbird roster and is one artist you should definitely keep an eye on in 2018. His highlight tracks include “Dreaming” and “Leave Me.” Taska Black was labeled by Bitbird founder San Holo as a top act to watch in 2018. Taska Black’s intoxicating melodies and powerful bass lines fill you with the ultimate feels and displays the producers’ broad talent.

Staff Writer: Lauren Blouin


These Wisconsin natives have been making waves in the Great Lake area for a few years now, but 2017 brought them to the front of the midwest up and comers. We detailed their plans for 2017 in a recent interview. In it, the two made a point to not be locked down by a specific genre and have been producing diverse music since their formation.  This year alone, they’ve released a load of original songs and shared stages with Nero, Rusko, BTSM and a River Beats favorite, Boogie T. As for 2018, RCKT PWR has a long-anticipated EP in the works and some big shows – which have yet to be announced.

Staff Writer: Brian Boru 


MONXX accumulated just under 2.5 million plays in 2017: a massive breakout year for the bass heavy producer. Several of his songs hit over 200k plays, including his collaboration with Emilian Wonk, “Carnage”, his remix of Midnight Tyrannosaurus’s “Demon”, and his newer remix of “Scum” by Datsik. Ending 2017 and starting 2018 with the “Stay Wonky” tour (finishing off in January 2018), it’s easy to say that MONXX had a career-high year. With 2017 being an insanely hot year for Riddim, who’s to say where MONXX will go?

Staff Writer: Stassi Pappas

Here are the rest of the names you should keep an eye on for 2018 

SoDown | Vincent | Oliver Tree | PartyWave | Fox Stevenson | Curbi | MestoOf The Trees | MTNS | The Last Artful Dodgr | Option4 | OR:LA | Bedouin | Dr. RubinsteinH.E.R. | Giorgia Anguilla | öona dahl | Fisher | SHY Martin | AsheFlats Stanlie

Featured Photo: Rukes.com

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