It’s a little grand and verbose to call the music explosion in Oakland a renaissance, but let’s just say that with all the artistic talent in Oakland, both homegrown and with influx from other parts of the Bay Area and country, there is an excited pulse beating through the city.

I keep telling my friends that everything exciting is happening in Oakland. I joke because many live in San Francisco and it gets a rise. But I’m not exactly joking and they know it. It’s not that everything exciting is happening here, but it’s a lot of what’s exciting. It’s Oakland Drops Beats and Hiero Day. It’s potentially three new venues opening next year, Mission Creek Oakland, and OMF. It’s Art and Soul, the Mayhem music competition, and multiple stages on Telegraph during First Fridays. It’s Birdland Jazz as a 5 year pop-up jazz venue cultivating community in Longfellow. It’s all this and so much more.

With this in mind, I set out to make a list highlighting a few Oakland musicians to watch in 2015, but then I couldn’t narrow it down. I love too many of these musicians and limiting lists to ten or 15 feels arbitrary. So, I decided, why not share the love and make a longer list of amazing artists who are based in Oakland. A little celebration for the new year, something to keep us stoked until new music drops.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I left off big names, so don’t expect Too $hort, Kreayshawn, or Tune-Yards. Then Soundcloud, while the best for making a playlist with smaller artists, has its limitiations too, in that not everyone chooses to stream their music on that platform. All this is to say that there are many more artists making waves and cutting their teeth in local venues, but this list aims to highlight the diversity of great music in our city and hopefully it’ll introduce you to someone you will love who you can see live throughout the year.

So take a listen. Hear María José Montijo’s use of the harp, the groovyness of The California Honeydrops, the smooth, soulful hip hop of 1-O.A.K, the catchy rock of Big Tits, the occasionally bluegrass tinged Whiskerman, the electronic seduction of Astronauts, etc, and the sultry post-punk of Ruby Pins. Oakland music is as vibrant as it has ever been, and there’s too much to be excited about to narrow it down.


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