Given that the way we consume and discover music has changed so much in recent years, the thought of discovering good shit can be a daunting one, and understandably so. However, one surefire way to know about the latest, great music is to take note of what independent artists are brewing at the moment. With Perú’s Independence Day still fresh in our calendars, it serves as the perfect excuse to check in with some of the most brilliant artists working in the underground pop scene.
For the past few years, Perú has proven to be a country that has been going through an amazing period of inspired music. Established figures in the indie world like Kanaku y el Tigre, Tourista, and Dengue Dengue Dengue have helped keep the country on the map and have remained constant with top level music in their respective fields. Relatively new faces within hip-hop like Pounda & Nomodico and rock bands like Liquidarlo Celuloide have kept those scenes thriving. Even the experimental fringes have found homes in labels like Buh Records and Superspace Records.
Younger generations, working primarily from their bedrooms, have been especially inspiring as of late. Generally parting from their own versions of contemporary R&B and trap music, these 20-something singers, songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, and producers —sometimes with one person assuming all those roles—have their own sound they are pushing forward into memorable music. And since most are almost fresh out of high school, they will only get better with time, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them.
Here are five of our favorite future pop artists rewriting the rules of the game, as well as a playlist showcasing many more artists below. For further explorations, we recommend you check out Chicha Morada Mix 2020, En La Mira Vol. 2, and New Sounds of Peru playlists.
One of the most prolific artists in the scene today, Diego Trip has been mesmerizing audiences with his mixture of trap, R&B, and psychedelic rock as heard on assorted loosies and albums like Al Espacio. This has prompted Diego Trip to expand into a full band which in turn has allowed Diego Zelada to release music under another alter ego (Pul Pitch), moving slightly away from the smooth grooves and trap vocal stylings of his best known project.
Sharing an affinity for quiet storm chords and rich melodicism of some of her more visible contemporaries, Patsy Rodríguez taps into that part of the R&B vocabulary where feeling and elegance collide. Yet there’s more of a classic indie rock easiness to her songs like “Melatonina” that makes her emotion more of an intimate thing. Her 2019 EP Transmisiones has turned some heads and her next moves will likely attract more attention.
Parting from the neo soul sound that’s dominating the self-produced section of the scene, Naomi Pérez lets loose with a slacker pop vibe aided by lo-fi instrumentation and immediate lyricism. Known as a member of the band Paradero Astral, she has shared the Bicolor EP to display her own music, spawning topical songs like “Cuarentena” which lets you know about the tone of her work.
While many other artists from her generation find inspiration in newer styles of music like trap, hip-hop, and R&B, Naïa Valdéz has stood out from the pack by combining modern dembow rhythms with popular music of Perú like huayno and saya, resulting in a sound that is sweet and seductive. Songs like “Helado de Mango” show an ear for catchiness and groove that makes her unique in the scene nowadays.
Sebastián Gereda has a knack for sophisticated, jazz-inflected harmonies and dancey beats that inform his soul pop songs. Having been part of the bands Gris Volta and Argentina’s Van Der Swami, he’s also a veteran of the scene, going solo as early as 2015, way before most of his contemporaries.