2 standout gen-z artists who debuted in 2023

Written by on January 24, 2024

There’s something really special about witnessing beginner artists in your own generation learning how to work on their craft, find their footing in the music industry and learning how to be a successful artist. I’ve picked out two such artists, both of whom I’ve been following long enough on the internet to understand how their careers grew.

Leith Ross and Dev Lemons released their debut works in May of 2023, which personally, I feel like is a perfect month to release an album. You have all of summer to digest and incorporate the songs into your playlists, and by the time fall rolls around, you’re ready to go. Each of these artists has different strengths that make their debuts stand out, especially as young people who were able to establish names for themselves. 

Image courtesy of The Luna Collective.

Leith Ross —To Learn 

Leith Ross began their career as a songwriter in college, where they recorded their first projects. Their song “We’ll Never Have Sex” went viral on Tiktok in 2021, gaining the artist millions of streams on Spotify. Although Ross has been active as a touring performer, supporting artists like Lord Huron and Andy Shauf since 2021, their debut album was only released in May 2023.

The album, titled To Learn, features simple acoustic guitar melodies accompanied with barebones production that highlights the honesty and depth of Ross’ lyrics. For example, a song like “To Me,” which comes up as the third track on the album, takes listeners on a journey with lines like — “If I’d do anything for you, that means / You know you could do anything to me.” The line even ends with a beautiful bell sound, which really drives the point home.

With their debut album, Leith Ross was able to flex the years of songwriting and craftwork that they already have under their belt. 

Dev Lemons — Delusional 

Dev Lemons has been working in the music industry for a few years, as she started out working for Spotify, building a musical educational Youtube channel, and learning how to produce her own music in her early twenties.

She has spoken a lot online about how she built her career, and in fact, gained many supporters through sharing her learning journey. People are not only interested in what she has to say, but also in how she got the platform to say it in the first place. She continues to create online content related to music, but also has been able to go on tour multiple times in the last year.

She first supported Half Alive at their tour with Tessa Violet, and then announced her own tour with Jordana. Dev dropped her EP, Delusional, with opening track “Cyberpunk Fairy,” which features haunting vocals and super elevated arrangements. The end of the song leads directly into the next, “Nightstand,” which was released earlier in January 2023 as a single.

Something unique about Dev’s songs is their structure and verse organization, with no one song leading you in an obvious direction. Though she has a few prior songs and projects in her discography, this debut EP speaks a lot to her genre-blending creativity. 

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