2011 was a huge year for Bay Area music! We’ve brought you tons of local music in the past 12 months, including tracks with a little pop-rock edge, hip-hop head bobbers and electro club bangers. Now check out the best of the best as 997 NOW presents the Top Bay Area Artists of 2011!
11. Tess Dunn
[photogallerylink id=211228]Tess Dunn is a 17-year old singer-songwriter phenom who hails from Santa Cruz, California. She started playing the piano at age 5, began writing songs at age 11 and first took to the stage at age 12. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), an incurable life-threatening disease which causes progressive lung damage, as well as epilepsy and diabetes, Tess faces issues of mortality that infuse her music and lyrics with radiant richness and haunting depth. Tess’ first CD, “Darling Just Walk,” released in 2009. Tess’ second album, “Honesty Box,” recorded with Ari Shine and Noah Shain at White Buffalo Studios in Los Angeles, will be released in February 2012. Tess was also the winner of our Triple Ho Show 2.0 Local Video Battle!
10. Michelle Martinez
Since the age of 2, this classically trained vocalist has poised herself as the next big thing, and won’t stop until she is a household name. Her funky, feel-good vibe is inspired by contemporary artists like Alicia Keys, Keri Hilson and Rihanna. It wasn’t until she started recording herself on YouTube that she started gaining international recognition, with over 63,000 subscribers and over 3 million views and counting. With the release of her highly anticipated album “Adrenaline”, she is ready to establish herself after years of dreaming about superstardom.
Founded in 1997, this version of Legaci continues the name that speaks exactly of their goal: To make beautiful, classic music that will inspire people for years to come. Jaymill Atencion, Micah Tolentino, Chris Abad, and new member Del Lazaro form what Northern California knows as Legaci – A four part harmony musical group that is living up to their name. In late 2007, Legaci turned to YouTube as a method of promotion to gain more of a fan base and attention. Over the course of 2 years, their channel has accumulated over 1 million unique views and their videos have cumulatively reached over 12 million views. Legaci’s video was seen by music manager Scooter Braun. He contacted them the day after the video was posted and Legaci was flown out the very next week to start rehearsing for the promotion run of Justin Bieber’s My World 2.0 album. Since then, Legaci has been performing with Justin Bieber and have even been given a slot in the tour’s setlist where they are able to showcase their talent.
8. The League
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Allan I and Hype prepare to crash the airwaves and transcend as citizens of the world. As life-long friends and relentless studio-hounds, Allan I and Hype have a musical chemistry that reflects their feel good outlook on life and their shared love of music. While The League debut album undergoes the finishing touch, their singles are already blaring through subwoofers at nightclubs and airwaves around the country.
7. The Freshmen
If you took the Beach Boys and the Beastie Boys and smashed em’ together, you might come close to the sound and feel of The Freshmen. Brought together in 2009 by a mixture of randomness and what in hindsight seams like fate, the trio quickly realized their common interest in 60’s pop rock, hip hop and progressive music in general. Born and bred in California, The Freshmen draw heavy inspiration from their native surroundings. MC’s A Wolf and Kristo create the sort of lyrical balance and deftness that can be likened to Andre 3000 and Big Boi as much as it can be John and Paul. Producer THX combines a little bit of today, a little bit of yesterday and a taste for tomorrow to create a musical melting pot.
6. Starting Six
Starting Six’s single “Yogi” is created major buzz this year with its head-turning use of slang and its catchy mix of acoustic pop, R&B and hip-hop. Big Steve, Fess, Grey Goose, Riggz, Rybread and Nic Nac began making music together back in high school. They spent their free time gathered in a basement prducing beats and writing songs. The release of the track “Thirsty” proved that the group has the ability to catch music lovers attention. The video for the song quickly became a viral hit. “Yogi” and their followup track “This Ain’t Water” have gained them tons of devoted fans all over the Bay Area.
Royalty’s love for music began very early in his life; his mother bought him his first Walkman when he was only 9 years old. From that day forward, Royalty was always seen wearing his headphones, singing along word for word with every song you could possibly imagine. He started to release cassettes of his recordings to his friends in his neighborhood, and associates at school. After receiving great reviews from his peers on his music, Royalty wanted more. Royalty released his first official solo album “Royal Flush.”in the year of 2006. He loaded up his truck with nothing but CD’s, and went on what he call’s a “swap meet tour.” Go out & meet all the fans across the country in person that have been following his journey online. n June of 2010, Royalty came back strong with his follow up single “BROWN EYED GIRL” which was instantly labeled a “hit record” across the country.
3. Enzyme Dynamite
Enzyme Dynamite is part of The Bayliens, a new wave cutting edge hip hop group from California. The group consists of Enzyme Dynamite and Spaceman Cell and are backed by DJ True Justice. Known for innovation and electrifying performances that have landed them on the same stages with artists such as Lil Wayne, FloRida, Pitbull, Zion I, Living Legends, Too Short, E-40, NeYo, Sean Kingston, The Pack, Kevin Rudolf, Tech N9ne, Atmosphere, Murs, Slaughterhouse, Danity Kane, and many more. He started building a buzz by throwing his own shows and selling cd’s all over the streets until fate led him to meeting the members of his group and forming The Bayliens.
Mistah F.A.B. is 997 NOW’s Local Artist of the Year!
Mistah F.A.B., the Prince of the Bay, first got national attention when he was featured on MTV2’s program My Block: The Bay Area. In this episode he introduced the Thizz movement along with other cultural Bay Area aspects. F.A.B. is loved in the Bay Area not only for his music but his commitment to the community. He is well known for his Toy drives and food drives every Holiday season in addition to his backpack drives at the beginning of every year. Big shout out to Mistah F.A.B. for another great year!