18 or Under: Teens Making Awesome Music

Ahh, youth. So precocious yet so intriguing. Although most of us scoff at our teenage years as being full of bad fashion and petty drama, it’s actually one of the most creative periods of our lives. Unburdened by jobs or bills, it’s a period where people start deciding what they want to do in life and start making those goals reality. Below, four young musicians who are doing better than we are:



Irish teen Soak, real name Bridie Monds-Watson, describes herself as a “leprechaun.” Short Irish kid who appreciates dragons & dinosaurs, she writes on her Facebook. Has wonky bottom teeth & writes songs. The self-deprecation might rub people the wrong way, but hey–weren’t we all that way at 17? Besides, her music is a testament to her mounting maturity, regardless if she’s aware of it or not. Her single “Blud” is a Cat Power-esque indie ballad that showcases her fragile yet dynamic voice, and her recent EP of the same name cements her place as a young artist to watch.



The Tigers From Niger

This trio of recent high school grads from Hawaii just want to have a good time. Their mix of hip-hop with cool summery beats is like the perfect soundtrack to a lounge-y beach party, and singles like “Songs of the Neon” and “The Morning After” show an impressive array of genre mixing. Featuring members Paris Robert Gray and brother and sister Jon and Kaylee Smith, the band has been gradually releasing singles over the past year while playing small gigs across their hometown in Honolulu. Their first EP, VOGUE LATER, will be released later this year.



Lupa J

Sixteen-year-old Lupa J, real name Imogen Jones, is a classically trained violinist who lists Grimes and Radiohead as one of her inspirations. One listen to “Statues” or “Eyes Unclouded” makes that rather obvious. Her songs waver between icy classical music and electronic pop, creating a mysterious allure in her music that sounds familiar yet still fresh. In addition to writing/producing her own music, she also shoots and directs her own music videos. The only exception is the video for “Statues,” which was shot by her mother, of course.




If you read a lot of music blogs you probably already heard of Låpsley. The 17-year-old 18-year-old (apparently she just had a birthday) producer has already struck a chord with singles like “Painter (Valentine)” and “Station.” Her unique sound mixes soulful r&b with sparse electronic music–think James Blake or How to Dress Well. Coming from an acoustic background, her cross into electronic music results in a sound that’s both restrained and delicate, something that’s rare for young musicians who usually try too hard to impress. Luckily for Låpsley, it looks like most people have already fallen under her spell.

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