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Saweetie, Jade Bird: The Women Who Made Waves At SXSW 2018, According To Shazam
South By Southwest 2018 is officially in the books. As always, the weeklong intersection of film, food, music, culture, and industry networking saw thousands of people descend upon Austin, Texas, to attend hundreds of pop-up events, screenings, panel discussions, tastings, and all forms of great live music.
SXSW long ago cemented its reputation as the annual coming-out party for music's rising stars, and often sets the stage for which acts the greater music industry will spotlight and start paying attention to over the coming summer.
This year, we asked our friends at Shazam to help us crunch the numbers to find out which performers' showcase sets made the biggest impact. Thanks to their help, we were able to isolate which artists were trending in Austin during the run of the festival, and we've identified seven female artists and women-fronted bands who performed at this year's SXSW and held their own alongside industry heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar & SZA, Imagine Dragons, Janelle Monae, and N.E.R.D. as the most-Shazam'd music of the week.
A local native who's been called the "Queen of Austin Soul," Tameca Jones has some impressive collaborations under her belt. She sung a duet with Gary Clark Jr. on his album The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim early in her career as a solo artist, and later on was joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt, Patty Griffin, and more to help pay tribute to the late musician Ian McLagan at the 2015 Austin Music Awards. This year, Jones performed a daytime set at the Palm Door on Sixth Patio on St. Patrick's Day, and her latest single "Good Boy" clearly made an impression.
Instagram model-turned-rapper Saweetie has officially parlayed social media success into a full-time career as a performer. Her viral hit "ICY GIRL," which samples Khia's 2002 sleeper hit "My Neck, My Back," racked up nearly five million plays on Soundcloud in the final three months of 2017 and caught the attention of Warner Bros., who just inked a deal with Saweetie this January. She performed at the Pandora Showcase at the Gatsby on Mar. 14 and HipHopDX on Mar. 16, with the second show serving as a release party for her debut album High Maintenance, which dropped the same day.
Taking a (temporary) break from her duties as the leading lady of garage rock outfit Heartless Bastards – with whom she's already released five well-reviewed albums since they landed their first record deal in 2004 with the help the Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney – Wennerstrom is now gearing up to release her solo debut Sweet Unknown on Mar. 23. She played the Paradigm Nashville showcase at Palm Door on Sixth on Mar. 14, and her two new singles "Extraordinary Love" and "Twisted Highway" both made their way up the Shazam rankings as fans took to their phones to learn more about the authentic bar-room rock songstress' new solo project.
Twenty-year-old bassist/singer and frontwoman Shannon Wise's airy, ethereal vocals help spin the Shacks' melodic grooves into a meditation on youth and longing that makes for the perfect soundtrack to a sunny summer day. The New York-based trio (who boast a combined age just barely north of 60 years – do the math on that one) played a late-night Mar. 15 gig at Empire Control Room and then took the sundown set the next day at the Radio Day Stage in the Austin Convention Center. With their track "Follow Me" trending sharply upward following their performances, and their mesmerizing cover of Ray Davies' "This Strange Effect" getting picked up for a new iPhone commercial that also stars Wise herself, these kids are definitely a group to watch.
An eight-member psychedelic pop group with members hailing from all over the globe, Superorganism's origin story is a charmingly modern tale of intercontinental collaboration facilitated largely by internet memes and Skype calls. With a sound that's simultaneously fresh yet reminiscent of the type of whimsical bedroom-produced experimentalism that set the high-water mark of the golden age of early aughts blogwave (see: Moldy Peaches, early Animal Collective, Myspace bands, et al.), Superorganism played primetime gigs during NPR's showcase at Stubb's BBQ on Mar. 14 and British Music Embassy @ Latitude 30 on Mar. 17, also appearing at the BBC Radio 1 Event at Clive Bar on Mar. 16. Their self-titled debut LP was just released on Mar. 2, and their breathy pop culture self-examination "Everybody Wants To Be Famous" was the big takeaway from SXSW 2018.
French-American indie pop multi-instrumentalist Sydney Wayser has been releasing albums as CLARA-NOVA since 2008's Silent Parade, along the way landing occasional placements in film and television programs such as Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods And Kings, "Shameless" and "Grey's Anatomy." After relocating from New York to L.A. in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Wayser revamped her sound and brought on a full backing band, but suffered setbacks due to disputes over masters ownership with her label. 2017 saw her on the road with Lorde as a backup singer while also working with GRAMMY-winning producer Shawn Everett, known for his work with Weezer, Alabama Shakes and others, on her new EP The Iron Age, which dropped on Mar. 2. She debuted her latest tracks at Palm Door on Sabine on Mar. 15, and new single "Echo" was clearly a crowd-pleaser.
A British singer/songwriter destined to hop across the pond to link up with Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers to record an album of Americana songs, Jade Bird assembled her 2017 debut EP Something American in a studio in the Catskills with the help of GRAMMY-winning drummer Matt Johnson and multi-GRAMMY winning Bob Dylan and Tom Petty contemporary Larry Campbell. Bird played four memorable primetime sets across the week – Elysium on Mar. 13, British Music Embassy @ Latitude 30 on Mar. 14, the Singer/Songwriter Showcase at Mohawk Outdoor on Mar. 15, and a St. Patrick's Day set at Cheer Up Charlies on Mar. 17. Her new single "Lottery," released just last month, understandably caught the attention of the assembled listeners. Bird was also honored with the prestigious Grulke Prize For Developing Non-U.S. Act, which recognizes artists breaking new ground and showing the most promise.