By: Olivia Munson
The headliners of Coachella often serve as the driving force behind attendance. Especially with acts like Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino for Coachella 2019, concert-goers tend to forgo seeing other artists to guarantee a spot in the large crowds for a main performance. In spite of this, at this year’s festival, I encourage you to check out these artists to try something new and expand your musical horizons.
Originally from Seoul, South Korea, BLACKPINK debuted in 2016 under YG Entertainment. The K-pop girl group consists of members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa. The group’s first two title tracks, “Whistle” and “Boombayah,” reached number one and two on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart, while also becoming the fastest act to achieve this. BLACKPINK’s initial success brought the group several rookie awards at major Korean end of year shows, including Melon Music Awards and Golden Disc Awards. International success really took off after the release of the single, “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” last summer. The video for the single became the most viewed online video in the first 24 hours by a Korean act and the second most watched video of all time, later being surpassed by “Idol” by BTS. As of January 21, 2019, “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” holds the record for the most-viewed music video by a K-pop group on YouTube, with 620.9 million views. BLACKPINK will make their American debut at Coachella and be the first female K-pop group to perform at the festival.
2. Ella Mai
In 2014, Ella Mai made her way onto the music scene after she competed on season 11 of “The X Factor UK” as part of the trio, Arize. The group later disbanded but Mai released her first EP on SoundCloud the following year. Mai names Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, and Mariah Carey as some of the biggest influences of her R&B style. She was discovered on Instagram and signed to Interscope Records. Her debut single, “Boo’d Up,” reached commercial success when it rose to popularity on social media, as well as being played in clubs. Mai was one of the opening acts for Kehlani’s SweetSexySavage World Tour in 2017. “Boo’d Up” began to gain further recognition when she released a video in April 2018. Her self-titled debut album was released on October 12, 2018 and featured appearances by Chris Brown, John Legend, and H.E.R. At the 2019 Grammy Awards, “Boo’d Up” was nominated for Best R&B Song and Song of the Year.
Melissa Jefferson, professionally known as Lizzo, began her career performing with various groups, including Lizzo & the Larva Ink and The Chalice. Lizzo’s style is heavily influenced by alternative and underground hip hop. She released her debut album, “Lizzobangers,” on October 15, 2013 and reached regional and national successes. In November of 2013, Time named her one of the 14 music artists to watch in 2014. Lizzo made a guest appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman” in October 2014. She appeared as a guest judge on the 10th season of “Rupaul’s Drag Race.” In addition, Lizzo advocates for body positivity and promotes self-love. Her back-up dancers, The Big Grrrls, consists of all plus-size women. Her latest single “Juice” was released on January 4, 2019 and was named the singer’s “finest” single to date by Christian Hoard of “Rolling Stone.”
Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson first became known as a child prodigy for covering Alicia Keys’ songs on the Today Show. At the age of 12, she would compete on Radio Disney’s The Next BIG Thing. Her debut EP, H.E.R. Volume 1 (2016), was acknowledged by Usher, Pusha T, as well as Alicia Keys. The tracks from the EP were streamed over 20 million times on Spotify and over 65 million on other platforms. Forbes named her one of the “5 Alternative R&B Artists To Look Out For In 2017.” Recently, she toured with Bryson Tiller for his Set It Off tour, in addition to finishing her first headlining tour, the Lights On Tour. H.E.R. ‘s songs are often characterized as contemporary R&B, with Apple Music describing it as “downcast post-breakup material that sounded vulnerable and assured at once.” At the 2019 Grammy Awards, she was nominated for several categories including Best R&B Album, Best New Artist, and Best R&B Performance.