For the second year running, Your EDM is choosing a group of breakout artists for the past year. A ‘breakout’ artist is a difficult thing to define, but for us, it’s more than just about a growing presence and force in the streaming world.
Last year, we chose Illenium, Rezz, and San Holo for a variety of reasons. But most of all, they became absolutely gigantic acts in a short span of time and their fanbases are ravenous.
For these artists in particular, we looked at performance of posts on our Facebook and other social media in comparison to that of posts about larger artists. This year, these artists have begun to outperform artist posts about Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, etc., showing that fan engagement and interest in these artists is on the rise – sometimes at an astronomical rate.
Our 2018 breakout artists are: Ekali, Fisher, and Kayzo.
Given two more days at the end of 2017, Ekali would have started this year with his massive collaboration with Zhu, “Blame,” so we’re just going to give him that one. Over the course of this year, he’s gone above and beyond with his productions, capitalizing on the success of his track “Babylon” with Denzel Curry, which was remixed by Skrillex.
He teamed up with Medasin and Elohim for “Forever,” has been teasing a new 1788-L collaboration, dropped “Blood Moon” with Tynan and Hekler, and released his debut EP.
Aside from music, Ekali came out as bisexual this year, rallying against homophobia in the same tweet.
With an album on the way in 2019, Ekali more than deserves the title of Breakout Artist in 2018.
Our team debated including Fisher on this list, as we also included him on our Artists To Watch in 2019 list. But consider the magnitude of his blow up and the Grammy nomination this year, his presence on both lists is more than warranted.
Despite the controversy over his involvement with Chris Lake (who, by the way, is credited on every track he worked on), Fisher’s personality and on-stage presence are what make him so electrifying to watch and interact with. After packing out ACADEMY in Los Angeles to the brim earlier today, he and Chris Lake just sold out three nights at the Shrine in downtown – that’s over 18,000 people.
He must be doing something right. Hell, he even has Elon Musk’s attention.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Now hang on, Kayzo is already huge.” And he is, yeah. But in 2018 in particular, he truly broke through and began honing in on his musical identity even more than before. Not only did he drop his debut album OVERLOAD, he also began putting out collaborations with Papa Roach and Underoath.
He also returned to Lollapalooza, where he actually brought out Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach, and drew one of the biggest crowds to Perry’s Stage of the weekend, not to mention touring all over the world and running many of his successful DOGHOUSE shows. He’s also got a heart of gold.
With the album and singles, Kayzo has dropped a fair bit of music this year. But more than that, he’s grown as an artist more than a lot of other DJs who’ve just coasted along their tours this year.
You might have your own ideas for breakout artists in 2018, and we want to hear them! Let us know who’s had a big year in the comments, but take note, they might already be featured on our Artists To Watch list for 2019.