SoundCloud will invest in the careers of nine emerging artists across various genres in the latest iteration of its First on SoundCloud 2022 discovery and acceleration program.
The artists chosen for this year’s program are EKKSTACY, Isabella Lovestory, Kelow LaTesha, KenTheMan, Nezi Momodu, Pote Baby, riela, ROSEMARIE and TITUS.
Under the multi-phase program, SoundCloud will co-produce original creative projects that mark career “first” milestones for the rising stars, including a first live show performance, music video or partner collaboration. It will also present original docuseries diving into the artists’ individual stories; release exclusive content including artist interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at their “First on SoundCloud” photoshoots; and host a special celebratory event to bring the artists and music listeners together.
Erika Montes, vp of global artist and label partnerships at SoundCloud, tells Billboard that the program will help participating artists “connect with more fans in new ways.” Citing an example from last year, Montes says the company worked with 2021 First on SoundCloud artist SoFaygo to produce his first-ever live show for fans in his hometown of Atlanta, including choosing the venue and creating the visuals and merch designs for the event.
Since launching First on SoundCloud in 2018, the program (which evolved into a year-long artist program in 2021) has helped propel the careers of several artists who got their start on the platform, including Kehlani, Baby Rose, DJ Cuppy, Che Lingo and Lil Tecca.
“We’re always paying attention to artists that are gaining heat from their unique communities on SoundCloud because it’s the fans that rally behind artists and power them to the next level,” Montes explained of the program selection process. “These nine artists are on the brink of stardom and each has a big year ahead, plus they embody the SoundCloud ethos — do it yourself, innovative and leading what’s next in music.”
Learn more about First on SoundCloud’s 2022 class below:
KenTheMan: Repping Houston, KenTheMan is known for her breakout single “He Be Like” and recent EP, What’s My Name, which includes the track “Rose Gold Stripper Pole” featuring 2 Chainz. She is currently working on her debut album due out later this year.
Isabella Lovestory: Honduras-born Latin-pop artist Isabella Lovestory writes compelling songs pulling from a range of influences like reggaeton, alternative electronic and beyond. Her debut EP Mariposa has set the stage for her unique brand of versatile Perreo-pop.
ROSEMARIE: LA-based R&B artist ROSEMARIE was discovered by Roddy Ricch’s manager and is known for her breakout tracks “Henny Talk,” “Catch 22″ and “Vision.” She’s currently working to launch new music and embark on her first-ever tour this year.
Kelow LaTesha: A dynamic fixture in the DMV rap scene, Kelow LaTesha garnered acclaim and a range of fans following the release of her definitive album TSA. Proving her ability to innovate and transcend genres, Kelow is set to release new music this year.
EKKSTACY: Genre-bending artist EKKSTACY recently dropped a song with HEALTH titled “Still Breathing” and is currently working on his sophomore album. He will be touring across the U.S. and Europe beginning this spring.
Nezi Momodu: Often referred to as “The Wordplay Queen,” Nezi made a mission to pursue eclectic music and art to encourage younger generations to “let their work speak for themselves.” Aside from being a hip-hop artist, Nezi is also a painter. She has created murals and her own album covers.
riela: Miami-raised riela conjures a variegated soundscape of reggaeton, R&B and pop informed by a multi-lingual, multi-sensory childhood in South Florida.
Pote Baby: Savannah, Georgia rapper Pote Baby is set to release his next project Turtle Crossing this year. He will also perform as part of a May tour with EarthGang and give back to his community with his third annual city event “Pote Day 2022” in his hometown.
TITUS: Alt-rocker TITUS is a versatile songwriter, credited on fellow artist 070 Shakes’s single “Guilty Conscience” from her debut album. He recently released his Lost Valley EP, and is working on his debut album.