Here at Remezcla, we’re always on the hunt for new music to share with all of you. 2015 didn’t disappoint in that respect, giving us plenty of new artists who broke the mold, surprised us, and caught our attention. Some dropped amazing debuts, others hit the road for jaw-dropping and head-turning performances, and others still shared singles that we left in our rotation for days on end.
Artists like Messiah and Fvded aren’t new per se, but they made a strong push to take their careers to the next level this year, and for that we salute them. Meanwhile, acts like Niño Árbol are definitely new (he’s only 16!) and already making a mark on the world and our playlists.
Whatever the case may be, there were plenty of new faces that kept our speakers bumping throughout the year. Here are our favorite breakout artists of the year, all of whom you can check out on our Apple Music playlist. –Afroxander
Audri Nix (Puerto Rico)
“2015 was a big year for me, because it was my debut in the music world. I released my first song ever (“1,000 MPH”), and then followed that with two more singles (“Veneno” and “Chanel Bleu”) off my upcoming EP.” In her own words, Audri Nix is being modest about her first year in music. She’s the latest MC to come out of the highly fertile Puerto Rican hip-hop scene, showcasing a fresh sound, tons of attitude, and her skills at every turn. Audri is adept at crafting seductive atmospheres, but she’s also a pro at slicing smooth and sensual beats in half with her hard-hitting bars. For her big year, she adds, “One of my biggest accomplishments was being named on the list of ’13 Women in Hip-Hop You Need to Know,’ and the success of my remix for 18plus’ ‘Crow.’ 2016 is going to be even bigger for my career. I’m releasing my debut EP El Nuevo Orden Vol. 1 in early 2016, and a stunning visual for it real soon.” –Marcos Hassan
Niño Árbol (Mexico)
The late Aaliyah taught us that age ain’t nothing but a number, and this year, that seemed to be truer than ever in Mexico, as we witnessed a cohort of up-and-coming producers who came out sounding like they’ve been in the business for years. One of them is Guadalajara-born electronic artist Kevin Martínez, who had an exceptional year putting out music under his Niño Árbol moniker. The 20-year-old producer released his Distancia EP through NWLA, and showed us his skills by concocting techno opuses with a cinematic eye. He brought his dance party to places like Boiler Room Guadalajara and All My Friends Festival, and there’s no sign of him slowing down. –Cheky
John Grvy (Spain)
John Grvy rode the momentum of his late 2014 release 199X, with dreamy synths and alt-R&B vocals that made for an aural experience so pleasing it got its own remix EP, courtesy of the likes of BSN Posse and M∆T∑. He also linked up with frequent collaborator LWLGHT and current Spanish trap wunderkind Yung Beef for a spooky funeral music anthem in “Ohmai.” The love didn’t stop there, with GRVY playing various festival and tour dates before being announced on the bill for SXSW 2016. Though he certainly had a strong year without releasing that much new material, we anticipate 2016 will be on fire for the crooner, as he reaches even more ears on a larger scale. –John Calderon
Raven Felix (USA)
Raven Felix took the next step towards stardom in 2015, as she worked with major industry names and flooded her fans with a plethora of new music.
Since releasing her mixtape Valifornia in 2014, the San Fernando Valley rapper has continued to solidify her status within the hip-hop world, aligning her sound with the likes of Wiz Khalifa and even garnering a co-sign from Snoop Dogg.
Building off the buzz of the project, she spent 2015 dropping a number of new tracks. Felix teamed up with producers like Lil Jon and Mike Free on “Get it From My Momma,” “Trippy,” and “All On You,” featuring Wiz himself.
The mixtape and subsequent releases feature a range of flows, clearly defining her sound while showcasing her ability to both sing and rap. With Taylor Gang behind her, the sky is the limit. –Zoe Montano
Nicola Cruz (Ecuador)
Out of all the artists that shone bright this year, Nicola Cruz was among those that rose the fastest, winning critics and audiences’ hearts alike. The France-born, Ecuador-raised artist hit the mark with his short and wonderful Andes-step EP Invocación, but his true opus was his debut album, Prender el alma. Released through ZZK Records, Cruz connected the dots between club music and Andean folk by crafting organic rhythms with an electronic foundation. While acts like Chancha Via Circuito and El Búho can be described in a similar way, Cruz has already shown he’s found his own voice and path, one that ultimately set him apart from the pack. –Cheky
Age ain’t nothing but a number; such is the case for 16-year-old Eduardo Amezcua. This Tijuana producer has dominated the Mexican festival circuit in a matter of months, and even got veteran electronic label Static Discos to put out his music. This year, he played All My Friends and Mutek, and he’s slated to play the 2016 edition of NRMAL. He even got to flex his skills at Boiler Room Tijuana. Grenda is no novelty act, though. His music has its own personality – a blend of trap beats and synth otherworldliness that stands out from cookie cutter producers across the globe. –Marcos Hassan
Marineros had a tremendous year as the buzzy indie band on everyone’s lips. The angsty Chilean duo had been steadily building an audience and considerable anticipation over the last two years, thanks to a handful of sparse singles. But they kicked 2015 into overdrive with their opening slot at Lollapalooza Chile and their lauded show at SXSW. Then came the announcement that mega producer Cristián Heyne would be working on their debut album O Marineros, which went on to become one of the year’s great critical successes. With all these accomplishments under their belt, and the release of their album still fresh in our minds, we can’t wait to see what Marineros has in store for 2016. Let their gentle reign begin. –Richard Villegas
If 2015 was the year of the Spanish remix, it was also the year of Messiah, the self-proclaimed “el mejor con los Spanish Remixes.” The New York-based singer/MC churned out no less than half a dozen hip-hop hits en español this year, most notably “Commas” and “Hotline Bling.” “Mi Celular,” his charming cover of the ubiquitous Drake hit, even received a confounding music video, in which someone somehow had an iPhone 6 in 1999. Never mind, though – the momentum provided Messiah the opportunity to headline shows everywhere from Uptown to Santo Domingo, drop a full-length mixtape with DJ Flipstar, and release collabs with the links of Lito Kirino and Farruko. While we enjoyed his remix and collab-happy year, we’re looking forward to original music from El Artista in the new year, with his new album reportedly on the horizon. –John Calderon
Another young Mexican producer who had a great year was Phynx. The SsenSorial crew and Gold Frame Records affiliate isn’t one to stay married to a particular genre, but he does have a deep, soulful, and slightly sensual approach to his production style. So whether he’s messing around with guitar samples and fast juke beats (“Silver Chord”), paying respect to an Aztec goddess through Caribbean-style rhythms and rich synths (“Tonantzin”), or remixing the hell out of J Balvin’s “Ginza,” bringing him to the blurry line between R&B and slow perreo, Phynx always sounds in control. –Cheky
Jesus Torres has been spinning his breezy, feel-good beats at every Mexican party worth attending for the past year and half or so, and he’s gained a following as a skillful beatmaker, thanks to his SoundCloud loosies. His signature blend of baile funk-filtered hip-hop, bass, and R&B is infectious and danceable, but mostly it’s evocative – tropical yet nostalgic, which gives him dimension beyond your average DJ. He kept us on our toes all year, thanks to tracks like “I Luv This” and “Agora,” just two memorable moments from the Mexican beatmaker this year. –Marcos Hassan