Over the weekend of May 17-19, BMI hosted fourteen hot up-and-coming acts on the BMI Mermaid Stage at the 2019 Hangout Music Festival located in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The popular music discovery stage was a hotspot all weekend long, drawing steady crowds of festival-goers eager to sing and dance along with some of music’s most promising acts.
The Pro Era movement that DJ-producer Powers Pleasant co-founded has been going strong since it first grabbed the attention of boom-bap tastemakers and new-school backpackers in 2012. But the Brooklyn-bred collective broke new ground thanks to “Devastated,” the Joey Badass anthem that was co-produced by Kirk Knight, Adam Pallin, and Pleasant himself. The inspirational single went platinum in January—a first for Pro Era—and has put a brightened spotlight on the crew, a new level of attention that Powers is more than ready for. This fall the 24-year-old will release his debut LP after years of proving himself to be a top-notch tour DJ for Joey and fellow Beast Coast duo the Underachievers, as well as a talented rising producer.
Prior to his recent debut album, Marbled, Abhi The Nomad, who got his moniker because of his constant moving around the world as a kid, was buzzing enough on Spotify to make enough to live for a while in Lille, France. It was here that he signed to iconic record label Tommy Boy Entertainment (Ghostface Killah and Method Man) and started gearing up for the release. More than just a debut album, Marbled is the culmination of a long road spanning more than 10 cities, 8 states, and 4 countries. It’s the only person, place, or thing he could rely on, the only friend he had with him at every stop. And Marbled also represents his best chance to achieve the elusive stability he’s been longing for – that we all long for – ever since he was kid from Madras, India. His fresh sound is a mesmerizing blend of indie and hip-hop that is filled with ear-catching, radio-friendly rhythms.
SHAED is a head-bobbing pop project comprised of multi-instrumentalist twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst and powerhouse vocalist Chelsea Lee. Lee’s vocals weave divinely through the Ernst twin’s popsensible production that can make anyone move. Their debut single, “Just Wanna See,” is a genre-bending slow jam that has received international praise and favorable comparisons to bands like Florence & The Machine, Sia, Justin Timberlake, and Sylvan Esso.
The third album from L.A. ska-punk band The Interrupters, Fight the Good Fight, gets its title from a piece of graffiti spray-painted outside the studio where they made their debut. “It’s a phrase that’s followed us around for years, and it kind of embodies the message of this album,” says guitarist Kevin Bivona, whose bandmates include singer Aimee Interrupter, bassist Justin Bivona, and drummer Jesse Bivona. Aimee adds: “There’s a lot of darkness in the world right now, but we’re trying to drive that out by making our music the light. We’re fighting through everything with a smile on our faces.”
How many other new UK acts - least of all from Leicester - do you know whose sound joins the dots between the optimistic gospel-rap of Chance The Rapper, scattergun storytelling of Arctic Monkeys, electronic invention of Glass Animals and velvety vibes of vintage Dilla? Few new artists announce their arrival quite like Easy Life, yet Easy Life are in many ways like few other new acts, as at home with their free-wheeling sound as they are baring their soul. Beneath the musical bravado, though, things didn’t come easily for Easy Life – which is precisely the point. Now their music is proof they’ve come a long way.
morgxn is drawn to writing about human resilience in his fearless, vulnerable, electronic-soul songs: “How we pull ourselves back up even when we’re knocked down a thousand times,” he says. “I’m chasing the tension of wanting love, having it, and needing more. It’s that desire to go beyond the surface.
Born in Hexham, U.K., Jade’s early life was spent mainly in flight as an “army brat.” One of life’s few constants proved to be the influence of strong working women. At first via her mother and grandmother, who largely raised her, but later the female role models within the musical subcultures Jade become obsessed with: from empowering country heroines like Loretta Lynn to iconic alternative songwriters like Patti Smith. Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill was a similar early touchstone. Rolling Stone described her vocals as “raw and robust” with renowned producer Tony Visconti stating “she sings so adroitly, she’s very intelligent as a singer and there’s nothing she can’t do.”
Slenderbodies writes songs for you to experience like a blanket or a warm breeze of equatorial air. The California-based duo met while attending University together, and came together as a creative force three years later. The two wrote, recorded and produced their debut album sotto voce over the span of a month and 380 miles. The result was an emotionally impactful, sonically soft collection of songs, with intricate airy guitar work complemented by gentle vocals and present drums. With vivid imagery at at the forefront of vocal waves, the duo paints portraits of siren songs, sultry nights with foreign lovers, lost romance and home. Now, experience ‘take you home’ and ‘the one’ from forthcoming EP soraya.
Since starting out as school boys, this five-piece band has become notorious for stealing every stage with the outrageous, jaw-dropping performances that have become the Shame signature. Their riotous two-year journey has included gate-crashing a Glastonbury stage, supporting The Fat White Family, Warpaint and Slaves, performances in Europe, Austin, Texas, a nomination for best new artists at the prestigious Anchor awards, headlining their own UK tour and releasing the double A-side single, “Gold Hole/The Lick,” and follow-up, “Tasteless.”
Dreamer Boy is the musical project of Zach Taylor, based out of Nashville. In late 2018, he and roommate/producer Bobby Knepper collaborated on their debut project, Love, Nostalgia. The Dreamer Boy team also includes Adam Alonzo, and Cody Clark, and all live together in their home/workstation dubbed “The Dream House.”
Looking to inspiration from masters of the three-minute opus like Tom Petty, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen, Isaac Flynn started sending his demos around to friends and musical peers on the Kansas City scene—without telling them who was behind the work. The honest opinions were unanimously positive, and Flynn knew he was onto something. So, he started piecing together his dream lineup—because despite Hembree being his creation, he wanted the project to come to life as a band. Fast forward to their debut EP, where the single “Holy Water” became a hit on the radio. From there, the band created a solid regional following before breaking into the national spotlight, drawing attention from the likes of Spotify and Apple. This led Hembree to sign with the esteemed Nashville-based Thirty Tigers label. Now, with several songs in commercials, more radio play, SXSW showcases, touring North America, and an opening slot for Phoenix—the band’s debut album, House on Fire, is out and well deserving of all the exciting anticipation. (Photo by Stephen Shireman)
After cutting his teeth as the trumpeter in the multi-platinum band Capital Cities from 2012 – 2015, the Los Angeles-born half-Filipino vocalist-instrumentalist goes rogue, adding a new dimension of possibility to not only his sonic weapon of choice, but to pop music as well. Spencer's independent debut single, “Just Wanna Dance," debuted at #47 on the Spotify US Viral Charts, and in 2018, he kicked off the year opening for the Chainsmokers, Jason Derulo and Betty Who. His first solo single “Diggy” exploded right out of the gate as well, as it soundtracked a “Fall Style” campaign for Target and was featured prominently in the blockbuster Happy Death Day, the Netflix original movie Step Sisters and the popular video game Just Dance 18.
By the time Buddy was old enough to drive, he’d already been thrust into hip-hop’s fast lane. A rising rapper from Compton, California, he was discovered by Scott Vener, signed by Pharrell, and tapped for collaborations with Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar. It was the kind of breakthrough most new artists dream of, but Buddy found himself restless, eager to get to work realizing his own artistic vision. In 2016, after years of industry groundwork, he summoned the courage to go his own way. Harlan & Alondra, his highly anticipated debut album, is both a declaration of independence and a vivid reintroduction. It’s Buddy, invigorated, in his element, and on his own terms.
Festivalgoers on the hunt to discover music’s next big act need look no further than the breezy oasis of the BMI Mermaid stage at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Carefully curated with every musical taste in mind, BMI will feature an eclectic mix of talent you won’t want to miss. Take a look!