Best New Artists of the Month (April)

Some of our favorite rising acts in music, featuring Arlo Parks, Somni, whiterosemoxie, Chlobocop, Lil Loaded, Raissa, and more.

best new artists april


best new artists april

Every month, we round up some of our favorite new music discoveries. Look back at all of our Best New Artists here and keep up with them all on the Best New Artists playlists on Spotify and Apple.

First of all, we at Pigeons & Planes are sending love to all artists out there trying to stay productive. Every situation is different, but we're all having difficulties right now. There is probably no stranger time to be trying to launch a career in music, and being unable to connect directly with new fans and earn revenue through concerts makes things so hard.

This is our second installment of Best New Artists since coronavirus forced us all into lockdown, and what we've seen has been pretty remarkable. From A-list acts to new talent, there's so much music to provide a little relief and escape, and artists are getting creative with how they release and present new music. This month we had dozens of candidates for Best New Artists, and we whittled it down to what you see here but have so much more listening to do. Thank you so much to every artist putting out good music right now. It helps.



whiterosemoxie just turned 18 years old and lives in Detroit. He grew up in Detroit's public school system, but excelled academically and was accepted to a private school. Suddenly, he was surrounded by a whole new group of people, and he had to adapt and find new ways to connect. One of those ways was through music. His interests branched out beyond rap to include rock acts like Tame Impala and Paramore and electronic music like Skrillex.

"With the transition between crowds and places in my life, I feel like expanded my music taste," moxie says. "It made it have no walls. I always grew up understanding some people liked different things than me, but somebody else liked it so it didn’t mean it was bad. Just different. I definitely think my city and experiences living here have influenced me and my music heavily. When it comes to the range on the project, it really just comes down to raw emotion. Some days I was feeling good, some days I needed to get some shit off my chest. The energy of the day plays a huge role in the final product."

whiterosemoxie's project white ceilings mirrors his personal taste, from high-voltage rap like "trix," "newty," and "applause" to left-of-center, pop-leaning tracks like "date night" and "indigo." Stylistically, moxie switches it up frequently, but keeps things unpredictable with dynamic production and interesting combinations. What's most surprising and rewarding are moxie's most vulnerable moments: "west side boys" and "go." While almost all of the project was freestyled, these are two songs that moxie planned out and wrote himself, and they give a glimpse into how deep this young artist's talent goes.

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"I'm a UK-born, LA-based producer/multi-instrumentalist—and I guess singer now?"

Somni just released his second record Home through LA-based label Friends of Friends (Shlohmo, Daedelus, Baths, Perera Elsewhere) after years of making instrumental tracks. For the first time, he's incorporating his own vocals into his music. and even though the vocals are mostly pitched and manipulated, that human element breathes new life into his music. It also reflects his range of influences both in the instrumental and songwriting worlds: Flying Lotus, Shlohmo, Burial, Portishead, Elliott Smith, Cat Power, and Sufjan Stevens.

Title track "Home" is a good place to start. It's one of those songs with a bittersweet calmness to it. As an instrumental, it would still be a go-to background beat for mood-setting, but the vocals give it a gentle intimacy and meaning hard to achieve with just a beat.

"I was working on Home over the course of about a year and a half during a big transitional phase in my life," Somni says. "I left a city I’d grown to love but couldn’t see a future in (San Francisco), moved back to the city I grew up in (LA), back in with my parents, and essentially back to square one. The stress of making decisions and choosing certain paths in life can be overwhelming, and I think a lot of the creation of this record was a release of that energy for me. I’m hoping now that this album can grow past my own personal reasons for making it. Especially with all this craziness going on, I think people need art and music more than ever."



Raissa was born in Spain to Spanish and French parents, and grew up between Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, and Sydney. Now based in London and studying at Central Saint Martins, she's also finding time to sing, record, produce, and make her own videos for her first three singles. Originally inspired to start writing songs to Leonard Cohen at 11 years old, she's now making impressively polished modern pop songs with an edge.

Raissa's writing immediately stands out, as she paints vivid, specific scenes while touching on universal themes across each of her three releases so far. “This is me being fully honest and vulnerable about the cost of being a girl who isn’t going to make herself small, or big or anything really, for anyone,” Raissa says of "Bullying Boys," her debut single. “To be valid as I am.” She's just getting started, but the potential is already clear, and Raissa seems poised to do something special.

Riassa's third single, "Angel Energy," came out in February, and her debut EP is planned for the summer—we've heard some of the songs, and it's sounding great. 



19-year-old fijitrip is from Alta, in the far north of Norway, a town that (according to Google) is known for beautiful views of the Northern Lights and the sun not setting for months on end during the summer. From this remote location, he's making songs that bubble with unbridled creativity, jumping between sounds and styles, mixing bright pop vocals with multi-layered electronic production that feels more handmade than overly polished. The newly released Tech EP feels like some unique blend of PC Music, Sigur Rós, and early Dirty Projectors, and it's very compelling.

“My approach to making songs isn't very dependent on where I’m based or where I’m at," fijitrip tells us. "If I've got my laptop, or even just my phone, I can pretty much get my ideas locked in. The process of making songs varies a lot for me, but it often can start with an idea for a chorus, a broader concept, or a beat I've made that just screams make a song out of me. I am always getting creative ideas in and out, so for me it's just a matter of deciding when and which one to pursue and make into a product.”

fijitrip's Tech EP is out now.

AG Club

AG Club

Imagine what an early ASAP Rocky song mixed with Brockhampton would sound like—what you're hearing in your head might be close to AG Club's breakout song "Memphis." The Bay Area crew had no idea that from the eclectic collage of music on the nine-song project Halfway Off the Porch, that track would be the one that ended up on Spotify's Viral 50 chart, racking up over a million plays.

"No way. 'Memphis' was one of the last songs we made and honestly I wasn't vibing with it at all," says Jody Fontaine, rapper/singer in AG Club. "We never thought it'd be the most played song on the project. After it started going up though, it started to make a lot of sense."

With their small catalog so far, the guys are already proving to be more than a one-off hit, flexing different styles and skills that they've developed in-house. They handle everything from music videos and marketing to production and instrumentation on their own (read more about that at Lyrical Lemonade), and it allows them to run with any new idea they get. That's always been an advantage, but it's especially valuable right now.

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Everything about Chlobocop feels designed to throw you off balance. From her visuals to the sonic variety across her music to her delivery, it's hard to get a read on this young artist, even something as simple as what country she's from. That biographical information doesn't really matter, when the music is this interesting—a mix of ominous rap tracks like "999" and extra-terrestrial ballads.

Chlobocop, it turns out, is from Scotland. "There are a few really raw talents [here], but people just ain’t used to that shit nor understand it which kinds of puts a ceiling on the level you can get to," she tells us. "It's sick because it keeps [the scene] its own thing, but it’s gonna take a little bit more time for people outside of Scotland to really get it."

Of the inspiration for her unique sound, she explains: "It’s so weird I don’t really get inspired by people but I get inspired by how songs make me feel in the moment. For instance my next project has a lot of guitar in it, that shit comes from when I first heard 'Bonnie and Clyde' by Jay and Beyoncé. I got chills when I first heard the guitar come in. I jus wanna make people feel how artists make me feel when I hear their song."

Stay tuned for much more in 2020.

Max Leone

Max Leone

Three singles in, Portland-raised, Los Angeles-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Max Leone is making a case for himself as one of pop's next young stars. Like Darkroom labelmate Oliver Malcolm, Leone is creating the kind of compelling pop music that feels new and exciting but also wouldn't be out of place on the radio or Billboard charts.

His latest track "The Beach" might be our favorite so far. It hooks you right away with a melody vaguely reminiscent of a Ben Folds Five hit, but then those drums come in like a gut punch and layers of swirling guitars and layered vocals lift things into the clouds. Leone says of the song, "I’ve found that attraction can sometimes cause us to sacrifice dignity. 'The Beach' is about that blind recklessness that is often emotionally damaging, but it’s still fun in a way."

Leone's working on his debut, which is set to be out later this year. By then, it's hard to imagine him not being much bigger.

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Lil Loaded

Lil Loaded

Lil Loaded is a 20-year-old rapper from Dallas, and his come-up is the product of some incredible internet luck. He told Complex that right after he uploaded the "6locc 6a6y" music video, a popular YouTuber Tommy Craze found it while searching for music videos with 0 views to react to. Long story short: that video has over 13 million views now.

Luck is one thing, but it only pays off if the music genuinely connects, and if "6locc 6a6y" doesn't do anything for you, you're out of your mind. Loaded has an effortless delivery draped in a Southern drawl, and while his hook isn't the melodic type of chorus that a lot of YouTube rap hits feature these days, it's just as catchy.

With his more recent singles like "Wit The Business," Lil Loaded is hinting at some versatility, and it sounds like there's a lot more in store. “I feel like when '6locc 6a6y' blew up so quickly, it gave me a reason to keep going at this rap shit," he tells us. "I still got a lot to prove. I got hundreds of unreleased songs and my next project is already done.”

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Jonah Yano

jonah yano

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Jonah Yano already made an impression with his appearances alongside fellow P&P-approved duo Moneyphone, but "Shoes" is a revelation. Recorded with his father Tatsuya Muraoka during a visit to Japan in October 2019, the song and its accompanying video documents his first time seeing his father in 15 years. Personal and lovingly tender, "Shoes" is a triumph and a reminder to never drift too far apart. 

"'Shoes' is a song almost 20 years in the making," Yano explains over email. "My dad first recorded that song in the late '90s. The recording you hear is actually that same recording except for my vocals which I recorded last year. The song is conceptually inspired by the Earl Sweatshirt song 'Playing Possum" where he samples his mom and late father. When I heard that song it made me realize that I have a story like that to tell so I listened back to all my dad's old music and after experimenting with a few different tunes I landed on the version of 'Shoes' that came out. I've been trying to figure out how to reconnect with my father for almost my whole life and this song turned out to be the perfect way"

"Shoes" tells a beautiful story, one that's partially conveyed through emotion alone, embracing the innate power of a bond with his father half way across the world. It speaks for itself, and it's a beautiful introduction to Yano's output. But he also has a debut album on the way that promises to live up to the high watermark he's set with "Shoes." "It's my first musical body of work that follows a specific intention and theme all the way through," he adds. "The songs all tell the different stories of my family dynamic growing up along with my grappling with my cultural identity... This album has a lot of the stories that make me who I am today." 

Jonah Yano's debut album Souvenir is scheduled to drop later this year via Innovative Leisure.

Donte Thomas

donte thomas

Portland rapper Donte Thomas dropped an album called COLORS in 2019, a cohesive body of work with a clear theme that showed his versatility across rapping and more melodic moments. "After a few psychedelic trips, I found the confidence to create a sound that I was proud of," he explained. "Not only does the album concept revolve around the science of chromesthesia, but it gives the listener an experience of my creativity from every angle imaginable.”

This year, Donte returned with a deluxe edition featuring four more songs that build on the sound of COLORS and represent some of his best work yet. “It feels great to be releasing during this time, because music helps us to get through our everyday situations," he says. "It’s unfortunate that we, as a people have to suffer due to the poor decisions from our government, but I think the music helps us take our mind off things.”

Leaning into his keen ear for instantly sticky melodies he raps and sings over colorful production, cementing himself as an essential artist in a Portland scene that is slowly but surely bubbling up and demanding attention.

Arlo Parks

arlo parks

19-year-old Arlo Parks was a poet long before she became a musician. Throughout her adolescence in South West London, the Nigerian, Chadian, and French artist found belonging in poets like Ginsberg, otherworldly authors like Sylvia Plath and Haruki Murakami, and spoken word recordings on YouTube. 

Parks had trouble feeling comfortable in her own skin growing up; she described herself as “a black kid who can't dance for shit, listens to emo music, and currently has a crush on some girl in my Spanish class.” As a quiet child, using her words gave her solace—birthing a gritty, visceral storytelling that shines through her songwriting today. Sonically, she draws inspiration across the board, citing artists like King Krule, MF Doom, and Jimi Hendrix as musical influences. But from her debut single “Cola” to her most recent release “Eugene,” Parks’ intoxicating lyrics take center stage.

A little over a year into her career, Parks has already accomplished so much. The neo-soul artist has headlined her first London show, played to packed crowds at Glastonbury, and received widespread praise for her 2019 EP Sophie—all before she turns 20.