Best New Artists

The best new artists of the month, featuring Metro Marrs, psykhi, Domenic Haynes, Luna Li, Skiifall, Tora-i, dexter, and more essential rising talent.

Best New Artists June 2021
P&P Original


Best New Artists June 2021

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.



When I asked psykhi to list some of his musical influences, he sent me a playlist of his current favorites—Sonic Youth, the Stooges, Ramones, and Young Thug all included. His mixed bag taste is evident in his two debut singles. “White Picket Fence” gives grunge-y guitar rumbles under his half-singing, half-rapping flow, while “Rat Poison” is more alt pop with Playboi Carti-reminiscent vocals. 

The videos for both records are just as striking. Directed and imagined by visual artist Peter Spanjer, in “White Picket Fence” psykhi is in a hot pink jacket (made by the London designer Strongthe) perched on a white horse. Standing in front of a concrete wall, an unexpected environment for a wild animal, the visual becomes a metaphor for culture shock and displacement. It’s a theme familiar to psykhi—he was born into the Ashanti tribe of south central Ghana and moved to London, where he’s now based, when he was 14. The inspiration for his artist project was born out of this journey.

“psykhi represents the human psyche and aims to create art that explores the full spectrum of human emotions without imposing too much of a personal opinion,” he says. “I strive to create intense scenes that invoke a sense of wonder and rawness.”

Now signed to Globe Town Records where he’s compiling his EP youth, we’re excited to watch and hear psykhi share his unique perspective with us all.—Caitlin

View this video on YouTube

Metro Marrs

Metro Marrs

The first time Metro Marrs made headlines, it was because the 18-year-old Atlanta artist was detained by police after he threw out ten thousand dollars to his classmates during his high school graduation. The moment seemed like a successful stunt—it even landed coverage from TMZ and The Wendy Williams Show—but Marrs later explained that he just wanted to give back to his classmates after a difficult year coping with the pandemic. Once the dust settled, he partnered with Cash App and YouTube Music and set up a foundation to give back to other graduating classes.

Stunt or not, Metro Marrs delivered once he had people’s attention. Working with Since The 80s (J.I.D., EarthGang, NJOMZA), Quality Control Music (Lil Baby, City Girls, Lil Yachty), and Playbook Records (founded by Brandon Banks and Blake German), he just released his debut mixtape Popular Loner. Throughout 10 songs, the young rapper and songwriter showcases his ability to bridge hip-hop, pop, and alternative, merging addictive melodies and hooks on tracks like “Prosper” and “Oh Yea” with left-of-center production choices and deliveries on cuts like “Back of the Club” and “Joyride.”

Metro Marrs has all the makings of a modern star, but he’s also got the youthful, forward-thinking spirit of a disruptor. With the music he’s making and the support system he’s got to help him navigate these early stages of his career, expect to see him making more headlines in the near future. On his first project, Marrs tells us, “Popular Loner is a way to escape the world you live to reach a new era. The loners are not alone.”—Jacob Moore

View this video on YouTube



The term DIY gets thrown around a lot these days, but the 18-year-old South London artist who goes by dexter operates in that mode in the purest form. In 2020, dexter—whose real name is Charmaine—started self-uploading music she recorded on her iPhone. It was acoustic and stripped down to the core, but the songwriting and vocals alone were enough to win over fans, eventually catching the attention of BBC Radio 1 hosts Annie Mac and Sian Eleri and landing her on playlists that introduced her songs to hundreds of thousands of new listeners.

While she was quietly taking off online, she hadn’t even told her family that she was releasing music. She was completely anonymous, known only as “dexter,” and it wasn’t until recently that she let her family know that she had, well, unintentionally launched a music career. Now the secret’s out, she’s finally got a microphone and a MacBook, and she’s working with creative incubator Common Knowledge and releasing music through AWAL while working on her debut EP. As the still untitled project evolves, new singles like “Blue Skies” elevate her sound by weaving in new influences and styles, shedding more light on the potential of an incredibly gifted songwriter building on a simple but powerful foundation.—Jacob Moore

View this video on YouTube



Montreal artist Skiifall knew music would work out if he put in the time. So in high school, every day when lunch ended, he left the building and headed off to youth centers around Montreal to record at free studio sessions. With just three official releases to date, Skiifall’s music has been spun on BBC Radio 1, he has fans in Jorja Smith, Virgil Abloh, and the OVO camp, and he just landed a spot as the soundtrack to a new Louis Vuitton campaign video. All without spending a dime on studio sessions.

Now 19 years old, Skiifall was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and moved to the Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighborhood of Montreal when he was 8. Growing up, he always thought he’d become an actor, but soon found himself engrossed in music after falling in love with Chicago and Atlanta rap, citing Chief Keef, Migos, Rich Homie Quan, and Young Thug as early influences. He began making music at youth centers around the city and invested as much time as possible into his craft, often switching between youth centers to get as much free time in the studio as he could. It was in these sessions that he met several frequent collaborators and producers, all of whom are Montreal natives that he still works with today.

In November of 2020, Skiifall released what he considers his first official offering, “Ting Tun Up”—an energetic, piano-driven track charged with 808s and guided by vivid songwriting, true to its Montreal roots and even featuring a seamless combination of English and patois lyrics. The song and video quickly made waves around the internet upon release, and eventually caught the attention of UK rapper Knucks’ manager, whom Skiifall became a fan of after hearing the song “Home.” A few months later, the two connected for the official “Ting Tun Up” remix, which was then followed up by the darkly melodic “Bentayga Dust” in May.

At just 19 years old, Skiifall has rapidly established himself as a promising new voice out of Montreal through his unique blend of calm vocal tones and evocative songwriting. He’s dedicated himself to making music work, and after speaking with the rising talent on the phone, one thing becomes clear: if you ever need him, you can find Skiifall at a youth center in Montreal, carefully building out his sound.—Seamus Fay

Domenic Haynes

Domenic Haynes

21-year-old Domenic Haynes has an unquestionable voice that grabs hold and doesn’t let go, richly textured and unique enough to instantly stand out from the mountains of music we listen to every week. Inspired by greats like Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters, Domenic is building on a solid foundation of blues, funk, psychedelic rock, and hip-hop without ever getting stuck in the past.

“When I first started shaping that musical palette I was really attracted to Erykah Badu and Amy Whinehouse’s tones and deliveries,” Domenic says. “Totally different in their respective essence but they both had this way of fucking with the pockets they play in, it’s like magic and this gritty kind of grace. Love to them and the medicine.”

Domenic released a three track EP last year, but 2021 seems primed to be a year of growth and reaching new heights for the 21-year-old. The timeless “Crazy” is the song that caught our attention and Domenic explains the message: “It’s about that grueling chase after something you desire. For a while I thought it was literally about a woman but I realized that your external world is just a reflection of your inner state and this situation was actually just an attempt at trying to find my way back to myself by confiding in this woman. She was running away from me because she wasn’t the answer, the answer is never extrinsic. It’s inside, always.”

There’s a lot more music on the way from the nature-loving artist, exploring different genres and sounds, but for now “Crazy” is on repeat. Watch the premiere of the music video below.—Alex Gardner



London artist Tora-i makes thoughtful, layered R&B songs that are built on traditional foundations and bought to life by modern production flourishes and impressive music videos. Her latest single “Serial” tackles personal growth in the context of a relationship, the power of Tora’s vivid lyrics matched by the rich and varied production. On “Vein,” Tora’s voice is given space to soar over simple keys before the beat drops and changes the feel of the song completely. The music video, directed by Aliyah Otchere, is unmissable too.

Of finding the right visual accompaniment for her songs, Tora-i tells us, “The aim is to make them go hand in hand. Right now I’m more experienced in the making of music so I’m still growing visually (likewise with music) in order to execute the vision, because at the core of it, it’s just about making the message clear.”

To hear more, catch up with Tora-i’s 2020 Cavalier EP and look out for lots more music from the rising artist this year.—Alex Gardner



cityboymoe is quickly becoming one of the UK’s most intriguing new talents and above all, he is a storyteller. Capturing the pulsating beat of North West London, he alchemizes new wave soul with R&B and hip-hop in a mixture of self-confessional musings, exploration of identity, and candid observations. From detailing the complex relationship with his faith in recent single “City on Fire” to painting a distinctly British picture with lyrics like “Nandos and bandos’’ in “turned out alright,” it’s the drive to stay true to himself that has carried him forwards.

“London raised me,” he explains via email. “The people, the music, the streets. It’s all an influence, it’s in my name. London allowed me to relate to people from all backgrounds and walks of life, it’s strengthened me because not everyone has your best intentions. It’s given me stories to tell.”

This mission to stay true to himself and his city is part of cityboymoe’s charm. Instead of relying on hyperbole or exaggeration, he’s earnest in the complex navigation of his journey as an artist and a person. As a result, there’s a sense of relatability as he flits between narrative and reflection. “There’s discord between what we desire and what benefits the soul,” he told Complex a few weeks back. “Our wants aren’t always beneficial.”

Writing and featuring on Mustafa’s When Smoke Rises and with his upcoming single, cityboymoe offers a glimpse into a UK scene spawning exciting subgenres whilst establishing himself as one of the most captivating emerging artists.—Rani Boyer



Normally, we wait until an artist has at least a few songs released before we include them in Best New Artists. And normally, we’ll try to get familiar with the artist and their story before we write about them. But the case of an artist who goes by mynameisleonidas is anything but normal.

The artist behind the project is signed to Parisian label Kitsuné Musique, but a statement from the label claims: “We still haven’t met, nor spoken.” The artist has remained anonymous, and nobody involved will confirm exactly who he is or where he’s from, but his heady, lo-fi, bass-heavy debut single “elevate in the village” is a track that is too interesting and unique not to share. Plus, a preview of some upcoming music has us convinced that whoever he is, he’s onto something.

In an attempt to get more info, we sent over some questions to mynameisleonidas via email and got responses from the artist behind it all, included below.—Jacob Moore

On his decision to stay anonymous: “Like you said, we live in an over-sharing age of everything whereas leonidas lived in a no phone-internet-whatsoever environment. I’m keeping it simple having faith in what really matters in life. Music is one of those things and I just want people to focus on it.”

On the two voices featured on “elevate in the village”:  “You’re right, there is someone else. I met her a few months ago in my village, she was riding a centaur while humming an overwhelming melody. Rather than involving her I would say that I invoked her on ‘elevate in the village.’ For this reason among others, I won’t reveal her identity but rest assured, you’ll hear from us again soon!”

View this video on YouTube

Luna Li

Luna Li

Hannah Kim, known on-stage as Luna Li, brings the warmth of lush soundscapes and dreamy vocals to Toronto’s indie scene. As a multi-instrumentalist, her sound is a patchwork of beautifully arranged live instruments from harp and violin to synths and electric guitar. 

Last year, in the midst of universal uncertainty, millions of listeners found comfort in Luna Li’s self-produced beat videos. These short, blissful instrumentals earned her a slot on 88rising’s ASIA RISING FOREVER online festival and caught the attention of artists including Noname, Jessie Reyez, and Melanie Faye. In February, Luna Li compiled these beats into the jams EP—a delightful 10-track, 10-minute project best enjoyed on repeat.

Luna Li’s most recent singles “Cherry Pit” and “Alone But Not Lonely” are brimming with gentle affirmations, whimsical storytelling, and unmatched musicality. As you drift through these mystical songs, you’re left wondering how she ever condensed her ideas into 60-seconds in the first place.

Last week, Hannah Kim left her part-time job teaching music to pursue her career as Luna Li full time. With her debut album arriving later this year and a tour with Japanese Breakfast kicking off this fall, Toronto’s music-making moon fairy is on track for nothing less than a breakthrough year.—Nico Tripodi

View this video on YouTube

JT Flowers


This isn’t JT Flowers’ first time in the Best New Artists feature. We originally highlighted him in mid-2020 with only two songs out, when he’d been making music for only a year. Maybe it was a little early, but the potential was clear. The versatile artist told us he was influenced by “everything from trap music to UK drill, neo-psychedelic rock, dream pop, R&B, grunge, hip-hop, and alternative music,” and was working on building a sound of his own.

The first step in that process is now complete with the release of his debut project, Steel Rose. It feels as if there is still a lot of space for JT Flowers to grow, but the surprising combination of sounds and unique approach is clear. Many of the songs are rooted in modern rap, but delivered with a unique vocal tone and the ability to weave in touchpoints from guitar-music of different styles.

Steel Rose is a love story,” JT Flowers says. “The stories in it are real and the story arc is true. Every single sound you hear was created by me and five of my closest friends. The project was co-executive produced by Mac Sutphin (my college roommate) and me. The whole thing was recorded out of a bedroom. I’ve never even been to a studio before! So I mean it when I say this project is a raw extension of my people and my life.I know this project is gonna hit home, especially for anybody who’s had the shit kicked outta them by life / love and still had to find a way to keep fighting forward through that pain, fear and discomfort. It’s about the power of vulnerability.”—Alex Gardner

Listen to Steel Rose here.