In the world of clickbait and alluring festival one sheets, one assumption is always made: the bigger the better. For many, the famous (and sometimes infamous) Coachella lineup drop is the very first example of this that comes to mind. This year is no exception, with Coachella 2020 headliner names — like the mysterious and majestic Mr. Frank Ocean — typed out in quadruple the font of those sharing the stage with them earlier that same day. Yes, we cannot pretend that the artists on the first two lines of the Coachella lineup are not some of the music industry’s most legendary acts, but what about the dozens of talent that you have to squint to see on your screen? Read our list below of the top five twelve-point-font performers who prove that when it comes to a weekend in Indio, bigger may not always be better.
You know that little button with the two arrows pointing toward one another in a circle when you go to play a song? The one you can click twice to replay the song over and over. I reserve that button for Amber Mark and Amber Mark only. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter is world traveled and her various life journey’s have added layers to her voice that create an unparalleled richness. Although her debut album, 3:33, was only released a little over two years ago, the R&B songstress has gained massive recognition including a GRAMMY nomination in 2019 and a blessing to cover Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride,” by the superstar herself. Adding to the list of career successes in such a short period of time is her upcoming Coachella performance, but even Mark nodded to the size of her name on the Coachella lineup in her instagram post stating, “Whip out your magnifying glass…” Regardless, Amber Mark’s is set to be one of the best performances of the entire weekend and her serene singing voice will have the whole desert swooning.
The beauty of 2019 has been the increased recognition of international artists, and Kyle Watson’s imprint on the electronic music industry is a global feat. Kyle Watson’s South African-infused house beats put any crowd in a trance with everyone dancing to the universal language of music. His debut album, Into the Morning, was an extremely versatile body of work that fused organic tones with the seductive elements that create a club hit. His set at Coachella will be the tangible gift given to us as Americans from the exposure and celebration of international music. And, as his beats get stuck in your head as you walk from stage to stage, this performance will be the gift that keeps on giving.
Although her groovy tech house hits are nocturnal by nature, VNSSA is a must see under the Coachella sun. If you have the pleasure of making it out to her performance on Friday, you will not only sweat out any stress that pre-Coachella may have caused, but you will also be floored by how badass this female DJ/producer is. Her collaborations with Walker and Royce gave her a voice in the industry as her voice is quite literally on their treasured tracks “Word” and “Rave Grave.” Now, VNSSA embodies all of the quirky house-music energy that festival goers mainline as a desert life source. VNSSA is the rising artist who will set the weekend off with high note throughout her stunningly-dirty low beat drops.
The indie queen with a radical dream: Raveena is a force on and off stage. Drawing outside the lines of bedroom pop, R&B, and Lofi, Raveena is an artist who truly makes art. Her albums Shanti and Lucid are her personal acts of activism, using her falsetto runs to foreground her roots as a woman of color. Raveena is also her own creative director often highlighting her Indian heritage in her music videos and making her visuals match her vision. The online love she has basked in since her initial release is a testament to her relatability as a performer and to the platform she has created for marginalized creatives. Although her name may be small on Day 2, Raveena’s worldly influence is larger than life.
To be a legend in the music industry today meant you created something never before heard. For that reason, but not that reason alone, Channel Tres is a legend in the making. Although he has been praised for the production behind his hits “Topdown” and “Controller,” his talent is far more imaginative and vivacious than simply the electronic music genre or any one genre at all. The Compton bred smooth-talker may seem like a DJ/producer upon your first Spotify scroll, yet his live performances will completely change your mind. Blending house beats with velvety vocals and a modern, cultural take on love song lyrics, Channel Tres throws out any essence of ordinary. His spot on the lineup may be 4 rows below Day 3’s headliner, Frank Ocean, but there is no doubt in my mind that Channel Tres will be the next avant-garde star attraction.
Words by Paulette Ely