USC Rising: 20 student artists you should know

From Doheny Library to your music library, check out these student musicians on the rise. Pictured above from left to right are Kyle Lux, Ella Collier, Jordyn Simone and Vietta. (Design: Ellie Gottesman, Photos by Emily Sagen)

From “tapping in” with Saweetie to getting introspective with UMI and feeling moody with Mk.Gee, USC alumni shined in your summer playlist with their latest releases. Now, a new class of Trojan artists is ready to fall into your back-to-school playlist.

Kabwasa — 2020 graduate

A sonic fusion of R&B, hip-hop and neo-soul, Kabwasa, a 2020 graduate, will sweep you off your feet with his gorgeous, funky vocals. His infectious energy and head-bopping tunes make him a must-listen on this list.

Vietta — junior

Your next new chart-topping indie-pop star is a junior philosophy, politics and law major and goes by the name Vietta. With sonic roots in R&B and soul, her chill alternative beats paired with harmonious, sweet vocals make her an artist you should definitely keep an eye on. 

Ellie Williams — sophomore

Singer-songwriter Ellie Williams is here to make the soundtrack of your life. A rising alternative pop artist, her acoustic ambiance with emotive, captivating lyrics is truly a sonic force to be reckoned with.

Ashley Fulton — sophomore

If you need new music for your next girls night, look no further. Multi-genre songwriter and producer Ashley Fulton absolutely radiates power through her skillfully catchy R&B beats and authoritative vocals. Think Rihanna meets Jessie Reyez. 

LAMI — 2020 graduate

LAMI’s music sounds like a sunset drive down an L.A. thoroughfare: full of heart and soul. LAMI’s modern, laid back approach to funk makes for a perfect soundtrack to just sit back and ride the beat.

Kyle Lux — junior

With more than 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, Kyle Lux is a must-listen. Echoed vocals over rollicking lo-fi, hip hop beats bring out a subdued, yet mesmerizing tone. Fans of Frank Ocean, Myles Cameron and Bren Joy will especially enjoy listening.

Ayoni — senior

Ayoni is here to change the face of pop music with intricate vocal arrangements and poetic lyrics. Never failing to connect with her audience, she emotes vulnerability and musical prowess in every track she drops.

FUN SUCKR — Zoe D’Andrea: junior, Samantha Short: senior

Experimental electro-pop duo FUN SUCKR changes the game with its unique sound and infectious energy. Fusing ’80s influences with quirky, futuristic synths, the duo is undoubtedly a pair to keep your eyes on. 

Kid Hastings — junior

Complete with soft, intimate vocals, atmospheric instrumentals and vulnerable lyrics, Kid Hastings brings you up-close and personal with his poignant sound — perfect for a quiet afternoon in a hammock on McCarthy Quad. We promise you won’t regret a listen.

Ashes To Amber — senior

Ashes To Amber falls nothing short of a psychedelic pop genius. With remnants of early 2000s California rock music, his music guarantees to complete your driving-to-the-beach 

playlist. Fans of Coin and Wallows will enjoy it.

Jordyn Simone — senior

Former “The Voice” contestant Jordyn Simone cites Anderson .Paak and Ari Lennox as inspirations for her distinctive sonic blend of R&B, hip-hop and rock. With impressive, powerful vocals and confidence radiating off of her lyrics, her music is beyond repeat-worthy.

Sally Boy — senior

With deliciously funky, acoustic beats, indie artist Sally Boy simultaneously exudes unmatched chill and sonic funk. By all definitions, he’s a perfect addition to your Sunday afternoon playlist.

Manley — 2020 graduate

Female rocker Manley features warm, emo-guitar hooks. Manley’s intimate and confessional lyrics are like reading pages of a diary. Check out her music if you’re into Girlpool and Frankie Cosmos. 

San Andrea — junior

New indie-folk and alternative pop artist San Andrea’s music can be described in three words: cheerful, head-bopping and ambient. His first, newly dropped single is an essential part of your summer playlists.

Joe Avio — senior

Funky and atmospheric, Joe Avio’s music is beyond a must-listen. His quiet intensity and smooth vocals make for a developed, intimate sound. Fans of Joji and James Bay should listen.

SAMI — senior

Jazz saxophone major SAMI is producing a fresh take on electronic music. Her warped melodies and heavy-hitting drum tracks provide a space for her candid lyrics to be heard.

Ella Collier —junior

A fresh, powerhouse voice with a strong pop sensibility, rising star Ella Collier drips confidence in every note she delivers. With strong, authentic lyrics, needless to say you’ll be blasting her music before your night out. 

Maverick — sophomore

Noticed by Rex Orange County on his latest jazz cover, Maverick is paving his own path, seemingly merging his technical jazz background with bedroom pop. He also plays in USC student-led band Unsalted Butter, whose sound consists of heavy bass lines and funky piano riffs.

Leesto — junior

For more sensual R&B, look no further than Leesto. With a recently dropped album, DJ and producer Leesto is not only a force in production talent — he provides those perfect late-night hip-hop vibes for those late study hours. Fans of Aftertheparty, Chris Brown and The Weeknd should give a listen.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Ashley Fulton’s year. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.