Berlin Music Artists to Watch Out For

“What’s going on musically in Berlin?” – you ask? Don’t worry, iHeartberlin comes to the rescue. We put together a list of artists who are pushing the capital’s music scene right now. These artists are far from interchangeable, or even remotely comparable. They stress what Berlin is today: An international, inclusive and diverse metropolis. Their music is the product of a city where you can do what you wanna do. Berlin’s creative freedom is what brought them or kept them here, and still is what makes our city different from other places. The results are loud, emotional, strikingly weird at times, sometimes obscure and sometimes catchy as f***. Let’s take a look and a listen…


ANDRRA alias Fatime Kosumi is a German-born artist of Kosovo-Albanian heritage. Despite living in Berlin, her music pays tribute to where her family comes from. In 2014 she travelled to different regions of Kosovo to find stories of women living in rural areas and the melodies they sing. A collection of these stories that might never be told otherwise and little pieces of herself are the connecting thread of her first EP PALINÉ, folk melodies, dressed in a modern electronic Berlin gown. Her first single Kalle Llamen already made it to the top of the charts in Kosovo and Albania, accompanied with a fantastic video shot during her travels. Just a matter of time until ANDRRA makes the same waves in Berlin.




Somewhere in between classical jazz piano, shredded beats, contemporary pop harmonies and creaking synths, lies ANNA VR. Her voice calmly binds the different pieces together like it’s not a big deal. It’s electronic, while it’s pop, while it’s trip-hop and R’n’B, or rather experimental? Who cares, who needs genres anyways? It’s ANNA VR, it works and she is currently working on her debut album.

photo: Alex de Brabant



When putting on Berlin radio stations in summer 2016 it almost seemed impossible to me to get around “Schwarz Don’t Crack’s” “Get Away”, making it my 2016 Summer tune, despite there not being any Berlin summer, of course. The melancholic, yet driving electronic R’n’B track proved singer Ahmad Larnes’ vocal capabilities mixed with his sense for catchy, fresh melodies. Of course, artists in Berlin never stand still, so, a new year, a new project: In 2017 Ahmad is back with AS//IS; the brainchild of his collaboration with producer Steffen Sennert. The duo creates eclectic electronic soundscapes around Ahmad’s soulful voice, from melancholic mid-tempo, to beats that stomp further and further into the middle of the dance floor.

photo: Soren Drastrup



Boiband, that’s performer and author Tucké Royal, musician Hans Unstern and producer Black Cracker, and yes, that’s Boi with an I, not an Y. That’s a band name with an attitude, problematizing masculinity as nothing more but a “penis talent”. They sing of “Herosexuals” and “Hermmaids”, and want to establish a charity that hands out welcome money to trans people. All of this heavy content bound together in a spoken word meets rap, meets genre-bending production concept. That’s pretty cuckoo, but also pretty great.

photo: Henrike Hannemann



The sound of the French-Berlin based electronic duo FREE FREE DOM DOM is made up of front singer Laetitia’s characteristic high-pitched vocals, heavy eighties-inspired synths and a dark punk attitude. I can hear some Die Antwoord on the vocal side, some Grimes in the melodies, and the darkness of Sleigh Bells and Crystal Castles – Not the worst cocktail to have.

Free Free Dom Dom



Who said Berlin can’t serve more than Techno? Here comes Berlin-Riot-Girl-Rock: GURR. Take two best friends, a dash garage rock basics, a few pieces of psychedelic wave, some pop melodies here and some edgy Berlin coolness there, and you got “First Wave Gurricore”. At least that’s how these two ladies describe their genre. Their Berlin version of West Coast surf pop and charismatic personalities already got them international gigs at the SXSW, Eurosonic Norderslaag or Great Escape Festival.




“Lonely-ass gipsy making music in her bedroom” – That description pretty much sums up the edgy artistic persona going on here; dreamy electronic sounds, meet oriental influences and echoing vocals. If you’re familiar with Berlin’s weird, queer underground, you have probably stumbled across one of her unique performances at venues like Das Gift or The YO!Sissy Festival. Islamiq Grrrls does not even try to make you understand what’s going on here, obscurity is key: “I just like to make music man, I don’t care about all the rest!” Spot on.

Islamiq Grrrls



Lyra does things a lil differently. The Pennsylvania-born Berliner makes music that does not try to comply to norms, nor does she. Some might see a sound as ‘ugly’, Lyra clearly wants to challenge that perception. There’s beauty in every sound! While performing, you can truly experience her art. It doesn’t come as surprise that she names Björk as one of her main inspirations – Pop, folk, electronic music, and experimental performance art fuse into one. How would you imagine the sound of Berlin 2017? – Edgy, weird and non-conformist? Pretty much Lyra then.

photo: Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert



MADANII, that’s German-Iranian Berliner Dena Zarrin. Her music walks the thin line between blending musical genres, having political awareness, while keeping a pop sensibility. In times, of refugees and xenophobia she doesn’t shy away from direct messages: “DO I LOOK DANGEROUS 2 U”, her EP title, is critical, just like her lyrics. Her music is damn catchy, but not a feel-good package, and it shouldn’t be.




Berlin in the 2010’s has become a hub for young, rising musicians from all over the world who choose Berlin over cities such as the walking-talking CV that is Los Angeles, or the Big buzzin’ Apple. One of these NYC expats, who is standing out of the crowd, is Marshall Vincent. He calls Berlin home since 2016, making it the inspiring backdrop to his beautifully dark and complex electronic R’n’B. Not necessarily a sound that people associate with Berlin, but Marshall is about to change that perception.

Marshall Vincent



“Living icon”. That’s what a friend of mine always says, not that MIKEY. seems to particularly love that description. A term, so heavy, understandably the Australian-born Berliner replies with a loving: “Shut up!”. Still, the word iconic is far from far-fetched when you experience MIKEY. entering the scene. Geisha-inspired makeup, surreal, colorful outfits, Berlin’s highest heels on the dance floor. Is it drag? Male? Female? Does it matter? Gender description: Neutrum. It’s MIKEY.! You’d expect distant, inaccessible sounds from an artist who has established such a strong persona – Far from it, the singer-songwriter creates touching, emotional songs with vulnerable, yet confident vocals. A unique mix, destined for bigger stages! Right now, MIKEY. produces his first solo EP.




Born in LA, creating in Berlin – Simonne Jones is a signifier for the new generation of talented expats that choose to live and create in Berlin. Her music does not shy away from big pop moments, where other artists fall into a trap of kitsch, she hits the right note. Electronic pop meets an avant-garde attitude and poetic lyrics sung by a powerful voice. The multi-talented artist creates a sound that’s catchy, driving, and very international – we’re used to thinking only artists from across a big ocean can pull that off – no more. It’s created right here in Berlin.

photo: Antje Jandrig



The French musician has been a key figure of Berlin’s club culture and electronic music scene for some years now, as DJ and producer. But, especially her productions prove everyone wrong who labels electronic music as boring and repetitive. Her tracks are full of squeaky sounds, weird, rhythmic structures, and funky bass lines. Ultimately, since her 2016 track “Organ Smith” did not only hit every Berlin dance floor hard, but found its way into sets around the globe, rRoxymore is a female force to be reckoned with on the dance floor.




RUI HO is a Chinese-born non-binary music producer and DJ. His soundscapes are spacy and ambient, taking the listener to far away places, but most likely not on a common dance floor. Echoing chinese melodies hit heavy break beats, squeaking synths, creating vast sound fields – not necessarily easy listening. His first single Ru Meng Li got picked up and praised by magazines like GROOVE or Crack, and his first EP tales was released in April.

Rui Ho

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