Last Year, I busted out my crystal ball and attempted to predict who would be best of the best in EDM in the year 2016. And by best of the best, I mean who would break out, who would be on the rise, and who would reign supreme above them all. It could mean a major rise in crossover popularity, or commercial success, or taking over the EDM scene, there is a myriad of ways these lists came together.
The previous inaugural list seemed to have more hits than misses (NGHTMRE, Jai Wolf, Alison Wonderland, and Martin Garrix specifically), and I figured why not try my luck once again for 2017.
So, with a new year getting ready to begin, here is my list for those three categories: the breakout stars, the on the rise artists, and the artist of the year, as well as samples of their music below each category. Feel free to comment with your opinions on my list, as well as with names of your own.
(2016 choices: NGHTMRE, Alison Wonderland, TroyBoi)
Somewhat quietly, Illenium has been brewing up some incredible sounding music lately, which is why I see him having a huge year in 2017. One of the fastest growing fanbases in all of EDM, Illenium puts out pure gold on a regular basis and his sound is just majestic. Comparable to Zed’s Dead or Seven Lions, with whom he collaborated with on the frosty “Rush Over Me”, his beautiful melodies and bassful tones are a recipe for success, and a somewhat lowkey 2016 overall surely means huge things are coming shortly.
Louis The Child
Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett, better known as the masterminds behind Louis The Child, have progressed splendidly since “It’s Strange” invaded our speakers in 2015. Their newest singles, “Weekend” and “Fire”, have planted the seeds for an expected boom for these Windy City guys. They’ve been a part of a ridiculous amount of major festivals this year and their reputation is spreading like wildfire. They’ve been on the scene for just a short time, but if they continue upping the game as they have been with each release I expect 2017 to be a major year for their careers.
You could argue it’s tough to call Ephwurd a breakout act since one of its members, Datsik, is already a big name in the business. However, this duo consistent of Datsik and Bais Haus embarked on this Ephwurd journey together quite recently; 2015 recently. And it’s not just because of the big name that this duo is on the list. They kill it live and their heavy sounds are ridiculously addictive, and slowly but surely they’re gaining that steam to break out. Their “Battle Sirens” remix seems like the beginning of an ascent for these two and I cannot wait to see what they do next.
On The Rise:
(2016 choices: Jai Wolf, Say My Name, Henry Fong)
Some of you know them as the co-stars of the Dillon Francis snapchat stories. However, don’t forget these guys are a damn good producer/DJ duo. Kyle Kaplan and Vinnie Pergola are their names and they have put out some sensational jams lately. One of their newest, “Someone to Talk About”, is a personal favorite that I admit I listen to on a nearly daily basis; seriously it’s great. And that’s just scratching the surface of the potential for these dudes. Their “Broken Halo” EP is a recommended listen, and do not be surprised to hear more of them sooner rather than later.
The potential for Cheat Codes, aka Trevor Dahl, Kevin Ford, and Matthew Russell, is stratospheric. These guys just know how to get the vibe right with their songs and they are one of the best listens going right now. Their sampling game is also ridiculously strong. Their 2016 singles “Sex” and “Let Me Hold You” create fresh and incredible new versions of the iconic Salt-N-Pepa and Kevin Lyttle songs that make you fall in love with them again. They also recently jumped on a track with David Guetta and Robin Schulz, so it seems everyone is beginning to take notice of the talent these three possess.
He automatically earns a spot here as the opener for the greatest tour of 2016 (Shelter tour with Porter and Madeon), but would’ve found himself here anyway with the bevy of quality songs he’s churned out lately. From “OK!” with Jauz and “Alright” with Yellow Claw, to “Still Looking” and “Light”, San Holo is carving his niche in the EDM scene. He seems loaded with talent that can range far across the EDM spectrum in terms of style, and that should propel him to a major explosion of success and popularity this coming year that is beyond well-deserved.
Artist of the Year:
(2016 choice: Martin Garrix, aka current DJ Mag #1 Artist)
I could have gone a few different routes here (DJ Snake, Porter Robinson to be more specific), but in terms of who is going to be the next artist to make that big leap I’m going to go with the enigmatic Marshmello. The Mello Gang has grown exponentially over the last year, and it seems like this is just the beginning. The fan base is there, and now Marshmello is rapidly gaining more popularity in the mainstream. He has put out some of the best work of any EDM artist this past year, and he’s getting better and better each time. He’s closing out 2016 with a slew of smashes like “Alone”, “Ritual”, and his “Let Me Love You” remix, which means he’s gearing up for an explosion in 2017. With the look and the sound, Marshmello seems poised to become the next big time EDM superstar a la The Chainsmokers in 2016.