It’s no new trend that kids are getting acquainted with computers younger and younger, and with developments in consumer music production applications, it’s no surprise that they’ve got the potential for a whole lot of creative output at their (tiny) fingertips. It’s true that young stars have always existed—Buddy Holly opened for Elvis at 19, Lil Wayne joined the Hot Boys at age 15, and the newly 18-year-old Justin Bieber could probably build a bomb shelter out of his platinum albums, but this is the future, so let’s talk future music. Join us as we count up ten musicians under twenty who are shaping the sounds of imminent new styles of music.
Madeon – 17 – France
Bursting onto the scene mid-2011 with his sample opus “Pop Culture”, Hugo Leclercq, the 17-year-old electro/house wunderkind known as Madeon has already seen official remixes from The Killers and Deadmau5. Eschewing a 2012 debut EP for a slew of new singles this year, expect to see the youngin’ smashing crowds from Coachella to Creamfields.
Unicorn Kid – 20 – UK
At just 20 years old, Oliver Sabin, aka Unicorn Kid, is already a teeming fixture on BBC Radio 1 with his upbeat, nü-rave, chiptune-meets-rave house productions and seapunk sensibilities. This fresh-faced Edinburghian’s track “Tidal Rave” earned him the honor of “Hottest Record In The World” from BBC Radio 1 DJ “Zane Lowe.”
Lex Luger – 20 – US
If you haven’t heard a Lex Luger beat at this point, you’re either ignorant or lying (or both). Boasting production credits that run the gamut from Waka Flocka Flame to Kanye West & Jay-Z, the elusive 20-year-old born Lexus Arnel Lewis is easily one of the most prolific beatsmiths in his age group. By the time you read this, Luger may already have turned 21, but this Brick Squad bandleader has been schooling the game for years.
SCNTST – 18 – Germany
The youngest signee to Boysnoize Records,18-year-old Bryan Muller, aka SCNTST, began playing the drums at ten, although he only began producing what he calls “advanced techno” upon teaching himself Ableton Live in early 2010. Bryan’s clearly been doing his homework—Cuts from his Monday EP were at the top of several 2011 “best of” lists, and he plans on dropping two more EPs later this year. It hasn’t gotten to his head though. Accounting for his eclectic signature style, Bryan states, “I believe that you don’t have to be young when you start producing music. But to sound different, in my opinion you need to know a lot about different kinds of music.”
Mmoths – 18 – Ireland
Emerging at 17 with the ethereal hip-hop-meets-chillwave instrumental, “Summer,” Ireland’s Mmoths has had a busy year, getting signed to SQE Music (alongside dubstep mega-giant Rusko), and getting shout-outs from Flying Lotus. But recent high-school grad Jack Colleran has remained humble, despite being days away from a new EP sure to skyrocket him to the front lines of indie electronica. Talking about Berlin fashion week, Colleran jokes, “It’s like, ‘See these shoes they cost $500.’ And I’m like, ‘See my shoes they cost me 20 quid at TK Maxx.’”
Spaceghostpurrp – 20 – US
A hip-hop head straight out of the swampland, Miami’s own Spaceghostpurrp (real name Muney Jordan) is no stranger to comparison. More Three 6 Mafia than Lil B, this enterprising 20-year-old rapper and producer is known for both his collaborations with A$ap Rocky and his nonstop output. These days you can catch him repping the RVIDXR KLVN, prepping a number of new EPs, and time-traveling with intergalactic rap shamans, Metro Zu.
King Krule’s – 18 – UK
Formerly Zoo Kid and born Archy Marshall, King Krule’s steely voice is reminiscent of a crooning Billy Bragg. Often performing solo, with just a voice and a guitar, this 18-year-old rising star has been making waves in the indie scene with his stripped down productions and heart-on-his-shirtsleeves sensibilities. Keep this kid on your radar—playing festivals at 18 is about as cool as it gets.
Syd the Kyd – 19 – US
You might know her as Odd Future’s DJ, sound engineer, producer, and resident female, or even as part of space R&B duo The Internet, but before all that, her parents knew Syd the Kyd as Sydney Bennett. Arguably the most educated and outspoken member of OFWGKTA (at least in terms of real issues), Syd has gone through a wild few years with both her group and her side project. Check out her first video below and stream tracks off The Internet’s first album, Purple Naked Ladies.
Glass Popcorn – 15 – US
Who knew avant-garde sensibilities existed within the under 20 age group? Cue 15-year-old art rapper Glass Popcorn (real name: Will Neibergall), who got his first big break performing at video artist Ryan Trecartin’s show at MoMA PS1. With songs like “Ed Hardy” and “Warren Buffett,” this Arizona teen went from bedroom productions to gold chains and well-dressed crowds through just a few online connections. We’re totally unsure as to where this one’s going, which is why we like it.
Porter Robinson – 19 – US
And finally, last but most definitely not least, Porter Robinson is a recent high school-grad from Chapel Hill, NC with quite the resume to submit with his college applications. Starting out on Acid Pro at age 12, the 19-year-old signed to Skrillex’s OWSLA label in the summer of 2011, and is already an internationally touring festival headliner with his pulverizing fidget/dubstep/electro sound. After releasing his Spitfire EP last September, Robinson toured extensively with Tiësto and on his own North American Spitfire Tour.
Are we forgetting anyone? Let us know in the comments below!