Characterized by the lo-fi sound, banal lyricism and nostalgic aesthetic, the bedroom pop movement has taken the internet by storm over the past couple of years.
The music world seems to be undergoing substantial changes right now. While we’re only just becoming accustomed to music in an era where platforms like YouTube, Bandcamp and SoundCloud have changed the ways in which young and aspiring musicians are discovered, there are also more resources, tools, and knowledge available than ever before.
Universal music programs have allowed aspiring singer-songwriters, rappers and instrumentalists alike to effectively master all facets of music production and song-crafting. Moreover, with relatively inexpensive equipment, there’s been a recent trend of savvy self-taught musicians rising to fame from the comfort of their bedroom.
The self-motivated teenagers of the “bedroom pop” movement include acts such as Clairo, Gus Dapperton and Rex’s Orange County and often feature a lo-fi sound and DIY production. They are afforded the ability to “play around” and experiment with psychedelic and nostalgic sounds without the intervention of any producer or record label. The coming-of-age artists themselves often include banal lyricism and a nostalgic aesthetic.
Above all else, “bedroom pop” is authentic, charming, nostalgic and contemplative, from the writing and producing to the recording. The sound is real and is fresh, while the personality of the artist themselves is given more light to shine as free, open, creative – and independent.
1. Gus Dapperton
For Gus Dapperton, the lines have always been blurred. The Warwick, NY native began writing and producing his original music in high school, but didn’t pick up vocals and instruments until later. With a well-rounded musical skill set, he released his first single “Moodna, Once With Grace” in 2016, followed by two EPs, Yellow and Such in 2017 and You Think You’re a Comic! earlier this year. Now 21 years old, Gus seems to finally be coming into his own as an artist, carving out his own niche with a dreamy sound that takes bits from the 80s, evident in the success of songs like “I’m Just Snacking” and “Prune, You Talk Funny.”
2. Elijah Bank$y
While he wasn’t fully committed to the rap game in the past, Elijah Bank$y has managed to carve out a nice niche for himself in New York’s underground scene. Inspired by a wide range of eclectic artists all the way from hip-hop legends of the 90s to renaissance painters, Elijah Bank$y poetically raps about life in his hometown in upstate New York. From the grassy fields and puffer jackets to the relatable lyrics themselves, Bank$y seems to really fit the mold for suburban teenagers with dreams of achieving stardom.
Perhaps the best example of rising from the bedroom to touring musician, Claire Cottrill, or Clairo, rose to fame after posting a music video for her song “Pretty Girl” which she shot herself in front of her webcam. Simple, nostalgic and catchy, Clairo’s infectious personality shone through on the music video she recorded without make-up in just 30 minutes. In June, the music video has now racked up over 16 million views and counting. While the 19-year old never expected to blow up this way, she went on to release a pair of follow-up singles in “Flaming Hot Cheetos” and “4EVER” and just recently released her debut EP diary 001 and hasn’t looked back since.
4. Rex Orange County
Alex O’Connor, aka Rex Orange County, rose to fame when he shared his DIY “UNO” recording which featured a buoyant keyboard riff and his hypnotic half-vocals back in 2016 on SoundCloud. Based out of Grayshott, UK, he’s gone on to be featured on Tyler, the Creator’s album Flower Boy contributing his vocals and songwriting to “Boredom” and “Foreword.” His original songs have skyrocketed in popularity as well, with “Best Friend” and “Sunflower” both surpassing 22 million streams of Spotify, with his most popular track, “Loving is Easy,” breaking through the 30 million mark.
5. Cosmo Pyke
Often compared to his contemporaries King Krule and Yellow Days, Cosmo Pyke (which is actually his real name) similarly brings a jazzy flow, distinctive voice and soulful sound to the table. A skater, graffiti artist and now model, the 19-year old multi-instrumentalist from Peckham, UK is wise beyond his years and is just beginning his international touring.
Words by Braeden Alexander – Check out all the artist listed in Spotify Playlist.