By Leigh Nordstrom
with contributions from Emily Taylor
 on March 9, 2018
SXSW Music Preview

If you’re looking for proof that SXSW’s music lineup can draw some of the biggest breakout artists, look no further than Cardi B, who performed at the festival just last year. This year’s lineup draws names familiar and unknown as the music portion of the festival kicks off properly on March 14. Things get under way with the SXSW Music Opening Party on March 13 at The Main & The Main II, with performances from Pussy Riot, Bad Gyal, Superchunk, Lali Puna, Starcrawler and Boy Harsher.

Below, some of the acts at this year’s festival we have our eyes on.


Khalid60th Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, New York, USA - 28 Jan 2018WEARING SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

The Texas native returns to SXSW after making his festival debut there last year — and now with a Grammy nomination under his belt. He’s set to perform at midnight on March 15 at Trinity Warehouse.


KelelaNike 'The 1 Reimagined' launch party, New York, USA - 06 Feb 2018

Kelela has performed with the likes of Solange, The xx and The Gorillaz, and now, on the heels of her debut album release in October, is embarking on her own headlining tour. She’s loved by the fashion world, having made the rounds this past NYFW at the Calvin Klein show, Chloé’s dinner and a Nike party, where she performed.

Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean - Julia Cumming, Nick KivlenSunflower Bean in concert at Alexandra Palace in London, UK - 24 Nov 2017

The rock band trio of model Julia Cumming, Nick Kivlen and Jacob Faber will play the festival again — they first showed up in 2015 — ahead of the release of their second album, “Twentytwo in Blue,” on March 23. The album is named for the age they will all be by its release.

August Greene

CommonToast to the Arts Presented by Remy Martin, Los Angeles, USA - 02 Mar 2018

August Greene is a new music project led by Common, along with jazz pianist Robert Glasper and hip-hop DJ and producer Karriem Riggins. The trio were behind the Emmy-winning song ““Letter to the Free,” from Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary “13th,” and the first listen to their album was released on NPR just earlier this week, which features a track with Brandy. They will headline NPR’s SXSW showcase at the festival.

Billie Eilish

In the US: Exclusive - Premium Rates Apply. In the UK and Germany: Exclusive - No Minimums Mandatory Credit: Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA/REX/Shutterstock (9219602r) Billie Eilish Glamour Women of the Year, New York, USA - 12 Nov 2017

The 16-year-old was named Apple Music’s Up Next artist in October, shortly before she performed at Chanel’s Coco Club Boyfriend watch event in New York. Her debut single, “Ocean Eyes” became certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America; her debut album, “Don’t Smile at Me,” is out now.

Princess Nokia

Princess NokiaDia De Las Divas El Museo del Barrio Fundraiser, New York, USA - 26 Oct 2017

The New York rapper, nee Destiny Frasqueri, is an outspoken feminist and queer activist, which is reflected heavily in her work.


Alejandro Chal performing.A.CHAL in concert at Eventim Apollo in London, UK - 25 Oct 2017

Newly signed to Epic Records, the 18-year-old was born in Peru and raised in Queens, N.Y., and sings in both Spanish and English.

Keith Ape

Keith Ape in the front rowAlexander Wang show, Fall Winter 2017, New York Fashion Week, USA - 11 Feb 2017

The Seoul native, nee Dongheon Lee, is best known for his 2015 breakout single “It G Ma.” He took to SXSW in 2016 and has been relatively quiet on the scene since. Will this be his year?


Leikeli47Milk Makeup X Leikeli47 Wash & Set Album Launch, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2017

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., the rapper wears a mask in interviews and performances; her identity remains mostly a mystery. Jay Z made her hit single “F–k the Summer Up” the number-one song on his Tidal playlist in 2015.


Kweku Collins

Kweku CollinsLollapalooza Music Festival, Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA - 03 Aug 2017

The rising 20-year-old R&B musician, a Chicago native, is often compared to Kid Cudi.

Kodie Shane

Kodie ShaneMade in America Festival, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - 02 Sep 2017

Part of the rising Atlanta music scene, the 19-year-old hip-hop artist has toured with Jhene Aiko and worked with the likes of Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert.


Alaina Moore, left, and Patrick Riley, of Tennis, attend the David Lynch Foundation Music Celebration at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, in Los AngelesDavid Lynch Foundation Music Celebration, Los Angeles, USA

The indie darling folk-pop husband-and-wife duo are back at the festival in promotion of their fourth album “Yours Conditionally.”

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