By Cy White, Photos provided by the artists
Amidst all the madness of 2020, including the shutting down of live events and ongoing socio-political unrest, one thing came out of it: brilliant artists with inspired music.
Leti Garza. A name synonymous with the full expression of Latin music worldwide. Her album El Unico Para Mi is required listening to anyone who proclaims themselves a lover of Latin music. With over 15 years as a musician (and a lifetime as an artist), she’s opened up the world of Latin music to all who listen to her. From Latin jazz to Afro-Latin rhythms. From boleros to merengue. With the Brown Recluse remix of her classic rendition of aunt Eva Garza’s “La Empaliza,” we even get techno.
On March 24, she will add folk to her repertoire with her new “EP” Borderland. If she isn’t already, this legendary singer needs to be on your radar!
Find Leti Garza on her official website.
Hoo-boy! Did Mama Duke have a year in 2020! She released her debut album, Ballsy. Was named the Austin American-Statesman‘s and Austin360’s Artist of the Month. She received not only recognition but praise from both the Austin Chronicle and USA Today for her album. By and large, I’d say that puts her in a good space to take the Austin music scene by storm. Her fearless expression of her sexuality and her Black-Mexican heritage is certainly noteworthy. But ultimately it’s her ability to go toe-to-toe with any other MC in Texas and give many of them a run for their money. (Or send them running to their mommies.) Mama Duke is definitely one of those artists who demand respect.
Find Mama Duke here.
Moody Bank$ wears her influences on her sleeves. Her vocal inflections and even her brazen lyricism coupled with sultry compositions. The way she breathes into her music. We get clear hints of Amy Winehouse and Sade, as well as the obvious influence of R&B and hip hop subgenres. She released her debut EP, Full Blunts and Full Moons, last October. It certainly hinted at a truly promising career for the R&B crooner.
Find Moody Bank$ here.
Riders Against the Storm
Austin owes Riders Against the Storm (a.k.a RAS) a debt of gratitude. The married hip-hop duo of Ghislaine “Qi Dada” Jean and Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone has given the genre a voice and a legacy. As three-time Band of the Year winners at the Austin Music Awards, they’ve broken the musical mold. Redefining the expectations of hip hop in Austin. In 2013 Austin officially declared Aug. 29 RAS Day. The group has used that day and their voices to uplift the BIPOC arts community in Austin and brought visibility to a genre that still struggles to get recognized.
In the spirit of laying roses at the feet of those who are still with us, they’ll release their next album, Flowers for the Living, on Feb. 22.
Find Riders against the Storm on their official website.
Who are some artists you’re looking forward to in 2021? Let us know in a comment!