One of the great things about SXSW is the incredible breadth of art and culture that is put on display. Whether you’re looking for film screenings, culinary demonstrations, activist groups or modern art, you’ll be in the right place to find it. Though wandering around the fest presents an air of exciting uncertainty, music is one part of SXSW that can’t be overlooked. Whether you’re trying to build a personal festival schedule from scratch or simply want to know who’s who at the event, make sure you catch these featured artists at SXSW this year:
A-Trak is without question, one of the most versatile DJs in America today. The artist has made a name for himself both as a musician and as the co-founder of the innovative record label Fool’s Gold. He combines all aspects of popular club music to create a sound perfect for dancing and moshing. A-Trak’s reach in the musical realm has become so broad that he’s helped produce albums for some of the world’s biggest hip-hop artists. One fun fact: his brother is the lead singer of pop-funk sensation Chromeo. A-Traks set is sure to feature his original work mixed in with some of todays biggest dance and hip-hop hits!
It can be argued that Big K.R.I.T. stands with Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West among the most prolific hip-hop artists in the world right now. Since the digital release of his debut mixtape, “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here” in 2010, he has absolutely blown up in the public eye, and with good reason. K.R.I.T. revived the sound of southern hip-hop favorite UGK by blending it with a host of modern samples and high-energy performances. His work draws on beats sourced from anything you can imagine. Everything from ’90s Bay Area classic groups like Souls of Mischief to current vocal stars like Adele can be heard in K.R.I.T.’s music. If you see one hip-hop show at SXSW 2015, make it this one.
Marina & The Diamonds
If you’re looking for a softer pop sound coupled with an incredibly engaging stage presence, look no further than Marina & The Diamonds. Don’t let the name fool you, Marina Diamandis is basically a solo artist but tours with a backing group. Hailing from Wales, Diamandis has wowed audiences all over the world with her pop stylings on tracks such as “Obsession” and “I Am Not a Robot.” She’ll be playing a set at The Empire Garage, and it’s sure to be worthy of penciling into your schedule.
Perhaps one of the most inventive groups performing at this year’s festival, Hiatus Kaiyote comes from Australia and delivers its own blend of R&B. The group’s music has been described as “future soul” and features the stunning vocals of its lead singer, Nai Palm. Supporting Palm is a group of incredibly talented multi instrumentalists who provide beautiful soothing rhythms. What’s truly distinguished Hiatus Kaiyote is the band’s eloquent lyricism, which comes across more as poetry than traditional songwriting. Since the release of its debut album, “Tawk Tomahawk” in 2012, Hiatus Kaiyote has been promoted by high-profile musicians such as Questlove and Erykah Badu.