One year passes, another begins. And with it, hopeful newcomers who may soon be stars. Here’s our list of Berlin musicians to watch in 2020.
Lxandra might just become Berlin’s answer to Lorde. The Finnish Berliner grew up on the Suomenlinna islands and has an instinctive feel for catchy melodies that avoid sounding generic. And she has a Lorde-like edginess to her voice. It sets her apart from many of her contemporaries, but may also go down well with listeners. She composes from her piano, which gives her sound a hint of Soléy, a kindred musical spirit from Iceland.
80s psych ballads
Word on the street is that Polish Neuköllner Adam Byczkowski, aka Better Person, was in the California studio with indietronic heroes MGMT last summer. If you’ve experienced a Better Person show, as Jessica Pratt’s support or at an underground location on Ziegrastraße with a lot of fog and sex in the air, for example, you’ll love his falsetto ballads.
Berlin-based band Fenster have always been good for a breakaway project. Singer John Moods made a start. Now JJ Weihl, master of vocals, guitar, bass, percussion and synth, is following up with her project Discovery Zone. It already sounds like the great Weyes Blood. Debut album Remote Control comes in 2020. A zone to discovery, we think.
We Will Kaleid
Jasmina de Boer and Lukas Streich sound like James Blake — if he had a female singer permanently on board. Their ambitious pop is Björk-like and breakbeat driven.
Fans of Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Tori Amos, but most of all Regina Spektor, will find great pleasure in the Norwegian singer’s ballads. Inger Nordvik, however, twists her songs through Nordic folklore and adds a bit more jazz to the mix than the others. In February, her debut album Time will be released. It already shares its title with one of Tom Waits’ best ballads.
It’s hard to believe, but the four members of HYMMJ all grew up in Berlin. The band has been going since 2013, but it took until now for the gently chugging indie pop to develop a maturity that sounds not like Berlin’s suburbs, but the big, wide world.
The five young men from Hamm in Westphalia are so successful already that it’s hard to believe they don’t have a record out yet. But don’t worry — it’s coming in 2020. With a number of EPs under their belt they’re already playing venues like Columbiahalle, where bands like their (presumed) idols, Arctic Monkeys, perform. And they obviously live in Berlin by now.
At first, Dena Zarrin, aka Madanii’s, songs sound like internationally compatible pop music. But then come these influences from all over the world, and noise moments that break the mainstream vibe. Not to mention the visual concept that always links the music with live gigs and videos.
Original text by Stefan Hochgesand and Thomas Winkler
Translated by Aida Baghernejad