5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion

These musicians explain what separates Philly’s music scene from everywhere else.

Philadelphia’s music scene has a very complex history. While the city of brotherly love has been known to produce some heavy hitters, there’s still not enough of an industry presence to allow musicians to thrive as well as they do in major cities like New York and L.A. The city has its hometown legends like Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, its hip hop veterans like Freeway and The Roots, its complicated heroes like Meek Mill, its first ladies like Eve, and its new age leaders like Lil Uzi Vert.

The FADER spoke to five up-and-coming artists from Philly about what each of them is trying to communicate with their music, what advice they've gotten along the way, and what separates Philly’s music scene from everywhere else.

Anyee Wright
5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion   Patrick Neree

Can you describe the time when you first realized that making music was something you absolutely had to do?

ANYEE WRIGHT: I realized music was my purpose when I didn't go to school right away. No matter what, it just didn't feel right. I knew it was something I needed to do in order to perfect my craft. I've been writing music since I was a young child and I've always had ideas in my head for beats. I would hop on my friend's equipment, get into the Logic program and start a project with just a drum loop one night, come back and add synths the next. Even before that, I would make beats in GarageBand in middle school with limited sounds. It wasn't until last year when I decided to invest in my own equipment. Once I purchased my first MK2 [beat machine], I made it my responsibility to learn as much as I could. I've never held a MK2 in my life, but I'm capable of all things. I told myself that I would learn beat making by the end of 2015 and I did exactly what I said.

What are you trying to communicate with your music?

The only communication I would want to make is making people move, making people dance. I keep a lot of ideas in my head, so when I project them into the world and I receive any reaction at all to it, I feel like I've achieved something special. That's positive communication to me. For every beat there's a majestic approach. I want the music to be as magical as I feel, and if it makes you feel magical then let’s be magical as one.

What's your favorite song you've ever created?

I don't have any favorites yet. They're all like my babies. I love them all. However, I will say that "10 Freaky Girls" was one of those tracks where I discovered how good I was at flipping tracks. I sampled Patricia Rushen's "Settle For My Love" and 2 Live Crew's "2 Live Party", just an acapella verse from Uncle Luke. I was like, ‘wow, this sounds cool.' I just kept it going.

What separates the Philadelphia music scene from every other city?

Philly's music scene is wild. I love it. Philly has that glow, you know? There's a strong force behind the talent in Philadelphia, it's just about showcasing it. Other people in different cities can relate to that if they're on the same page, which they are. It's beautiful. People leave Philly to spread love, people come to Philly to show it.

Andrea Valle
5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion   Thomas Baker

Can you describe the time when you first realized that making music was something you absolutely had to do?

ANDREA VALLE: I had a best friend in high school, his name was Jamar. We went tit for tat on literally everything. The one thing that really kept us close no matter what was our love for music and writing. I was always shy and afraid to express myself, but he was that push for me. My junior year in high school, he passed away from cancer and it was incredibly hard to deal with. Sometimes a loss of life makes you see things in a new light. That's when I knew not only music, but creating, was something I had to do.

What are you trying to communicate with your music?

I have so much that I want to put out into the world but what I really want to communicate through my music is love and positivity. From what I've expressed in my debut EP The Way It Goes, love can be a burden and a blessing in one. It's something that moves us, stimulates us, breaks us, and builds us up. Growth never stops, and that's something I want to exude as an artist and creative.

What's your favorite song you've ever created?
My favorite song that I've created so far would be "One Question". I was battling my expectations in this one relationship and I was hesitant to let go because of the heartbreaks and hardships that I've endured before. But I was right to be that way because it was one of the most wasteful, manipulative situations I've ever went through but it was also really impactful.

What separates the Philadelphia music scene from every other city?
From what I've experienced in the Philadelphia music scene, everyone is super dedicated and devoted to what they do, as they should be. Our drive is what carries us but what separates us from other cities first and foremost is our sound. There's so much that we're producing that's way advanced and innovative, I just feel there's no real platform for us here which is why I've seen a lot of artists leave the city and build somewhere else.

What’s the best advice you've ever gotten about how to create good music?
The best advice I've ever gotten on how to create good music is to simply make what you want, and don't be afraid to express yourself because you may be the voice that someone needs to hear.

Bri Steves
5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion   Aaron Ricketts

Can you describe the time when you first realized that making music was something you absolutely had to do?

BRI STEVES: The first time I realized music was something I had to do was the summer of 2015. I was preparing for an internship in N.Y. when I met my musical mentors. Two weeks before I was supposed to leave for N.Y., I let them know I wouldn't be coming. My eyes were opened in that there was a way to actually be something in the industry if you worked on your skills. I took off running with my music, spent my entire car fund on equipment, and I never looked back.

What are you trying to communicate with your music?

With my music, I'm trying to create a voice for the type of woman I represent: a bold and unafraid woman, who demands respect, but still has a softer side. The independent woman. The woman that just got out of a bad breakup. The woman that's young and still figuring herself out. That woman is me and I know there are tons of others like me. I want to be a representation of how strong and cool that woman is.

What's your favorite song you've ever created?

The best song (in my opinion) that I've ever created was “Summer's Mine.” For me, the song just represents an accomplishment. This was my first original song that I ever put out, and it was co-written with Dyshon Penn. I felt extremely proud to have begun sharing my original content with such a positive song for women. This was also the first track that I co-produced (with Robot Scott, Twiz Matic, Jay The Great and scratches by DJLeanWitIt of UGLYBASS). And to have The FADER premiere it along with Jazzy Jeff loving the video, it was that much more rewarding.

What separates the Philadelphia music scene from every other city?

It's raw here. The culture is unique here. You won't find the same in another city. Ours is also a growing one. The N.Y., L.A., ATL music scenes may have more clout at the moment, but we're on the come up! Just look at Lil Uzi, he's killing it, and he's something fresh.

What’s the best advice you've ever gotten about how to create good music?

The best advice I've gotten was from a songwriter and friend of mine who said to stop thinking too much when it came to the music. She said it comes down to what just feels good and you don't need a formula to tell you that.

Brianna Cash
5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion   Baziah Young

Can you describe the time when you first realized that making music was something you absolutely had to do?

BRIANNA CASH: I realized that music was something I had to do when I realized it was the one thing that truly made me happy. It helps me focus in on what’s going on or completely forget if I want. It's so powerful.

What are you trying to communicate with your music?

When people hear my music I want them to feel like i'm a real person going through real shit and figuring it out by making art to get me by along the way. That's what it is honestly.

What's your favorite song you've ever created?

It’s a song I didn't release yet. A song called "Young H Coming Home," I wrote in memory of my boyfriend, Hulitho. I performed it about a month ago and it was my first time ever crying during a performance. I guess because people felt the sincerity from my heart and that's most important to me in anything I do.

What separates the Philadelphia music scene from every other city?

I think that every artist in Philadelphia is unique. There are no two alike. There are so many layers of talented people from all over the city. It's so diverse. None of us really sound the same.

What’s the best advice you've ever gotten about how to create good music?

"Just do that shit."

Joie Kathos
5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion


Can you describe the time when you first realized that making music was something you absolutely had to do?

JOIE KATHOS: I was 16 years old sitting in a hospital bed. My mom was with me and I had just received x-rays on my right hip. The sports and dance specialist told me to slow down on my dreams of becoming a professional modern dancer because the joints in my right hip were damaged from the extensive training I was doing. After spending my whole life training in dance, and treating music more like a hobby, I knew music was the only other option for me. I knew, without a doubt, music was my calling because the universe made it that way, and I've been grinding for it ever since.

What are you trying to communicate with your music?

I'm trying to communicate a very clear message of optimism, hope, self love, compassion, fear, confidence, and any other raw emotion that comes from the everyday struggles people face in life. No matter where you come from, everybody experiences every single emotion and can relate to that.

What's your favorite song you've ever created?

My favorite song I've ever created is called “Dreaming.” I released it as a bonus track on my Floaters EP last summer. It's super groovy and thought-provoking. Plus, I had a lot of fun shooting the video for it with my friends.

What separates the Philadelphia music scene from every other city?

Above anything, Philly is a diversely populated city that's driven by art. Over 2,800 murals paint some of the roughest neighborhoods, and although it may not seem like that can affect music, the environment creates a dope space for artists to be free. What separates the Philly music scene from any other city is that raw sound. Philly has a lot of soul and grit behind it's music that allows you hear the struggles that go on in this city.

What’s the best advice you've ever gotten about how to create good music?

My best advice on how to create good music is to be authentic. The best way to make real music is to be real with the intention and approach. Technicality and engineering can be fixed and altered, but if your foundation isn't coming from a real place, in my opinion, it's not good.

5 Artists Ready To Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion