2019 was an absolutely fantastic year for Virgin Islands music. With Virgin Islands music and creativity at an all-time high, this year, artists in the Virgin Islands are evolving their visuals, sound and creating new sub-genres in the process. Breakout stars like R. City and Pressure BussPipe have paved the way for local artists trying to find their voice in the music — R. City also received the key to the city in Charlotte Amalie for the second time in less than 5 years. In no particular order, take a look at 2020’s musical line-up:
The “New Kid on The Block” is leading a new and much-needed wave. This bilingual, multi-talented artist is bridging the gap by separating the unique sounds of the Hispanic community and Caribbean sounds. Kruziano, born on St. Croix was on fire in 2019, dropping hits like “Negacion” and “Want You” featuring reggae star Pressure Busspipe.
With performances at the St. Croix Village, his 2020 is already off to a crazy start. With his deep vocal range-and multi-cultural approach, there is nothing in Kruziano’s way as he rises to mega music status.
What a year, what a year! By now, everyone who loves Caribbean music must know the name Monae and her mega-hit “Inna DI World (Sniper)” featuring Dexta Daps. That song and corresponding videos have gathered millions of views on YouTube. Internationally and critically acclaimed there is, no stopping or slowing down this absolute music powerhouse.
Monae also has a loyal fanbase on Twitter who have started referring to themselves as “heartbeats,” especially when seeing the songstress perform live. Monae also shares excerpts of new songs in some of her tweets as well as musings about her everyday life as a Caribbean entertainer.
What list would it be without mentioning rising reggae queen Tia Mason? With the release of her 2019 EP, “Black Cocoon,” Tia continues to waves throughout the Carribean. With multiple music videos, a new album, and Carribean-wide concerts, 2019 was nothing but spectacular for the dancehall, and reggae artist. With her soothing voice, amazing reggae beats, and undeniable charm, 2020 is likely to be another fantastic year for this multi-talented Crucian Queen.
In November, just 24 hours after Tia’s ‘Black Cocoon’ debuted, it rose to #5 on the iTunes U.S. Reggae 𑁋 Pressure Busspipe’s ‘Rebel With A Cause’ sat at #4 at the time.
4. Adam O
If you didn’t mention the showman himself, no list of VI artists is accurate without mentioning this entertainer’s two-year meteoric rise to prominence. Since 2019 began and ended, Adam O has been on an absolute tear.
With an Island-hopping tour and the releases of “Sexy Dance”, “Wine and Dip”, the 2019 release Nzuri Riddim “Dey-Ly-La”, and up to his latest single “Look at Becky”, this Virgin Islander cannot be slowed down. With his high energy performances and stage charisma, you can expect to see Adam O performing at major cultural events throughout 2020.
5. BugzBugz “BZB”
What do you get when you combine one of the most talented bands in the Virgin Islands with one of the most hype artists of this era? A damn crazy good night! Horace ‘BugZbugs‘ Matthew Jr. has proved himself as a multitalented recording artist over the past few years with hits like “Treadmill”, “Handcuffa,” “Forklift,” “Rolex,” “Down in the Saddle,” and now 2019 hit “Wuk Together.”
Born in MonBijou, on the island of St. Croix and known for his high octane performances, the now 2020 Soca Monarch BZB is paving a way for himself to headline every card at every single jam throughout 2020.
6. Big Band VI
Big Band VI is one of the best bands in the Virgin Islands. That statement isn’t so controversial after breaking down the year they had in 2019. Representing the Virgin Islands on the soca cruise, as Virgin Islands ambassadors, it seems like you could not mention Virgin Islands nightlife without mentioning Big Band.
With renowned producer Marvelous, Swanks, Mango Man, and Pollo of Apollo Legion, there is no reason to believe that their music supremacy won’t continue throughout 2020 as the next soca cruise queues up.
Up-and-coming 22-year-old singer-songwriter Nadia, from St. Croix was on the rise in 2019. With a video for her new single Lovers ft. UNCLE MUNDO making waves, 2020 is just another bright chapter for this young songstress.
With her own unique sound, one that she dubs “Ethereal R&B” she is truly paving her own path and inevitably creating a new sound unique to the Virgin Islands.
8. Baby Musik
Dorian Euzebe (Baby Musik) is an American recording artist raised in the Virgin Islands. He is a singer, songwriter, and musical engineer who has been in the music industry for a few years. During his relatively young age in the music industry, he has graced the stage alongside soca mega star Machel Mantano.
With his catchy vocals and his singles “In the Mood,” “Naughty or Nice,” and 2019s “D’ybez,” 2020 is looking up for this future Mega Star.
12 Hours+ is a collection of instrumentals produced by Tariq Lionel, “in what I consider to be one of the most fascinating mashups I’ve ever witnessed,” the Mint Team’s editor, Biko McMillan said in a 2019 review. According to a social media post about the project, Lionel says “I consider [12 Hours+] to be a melting pot of my creativity,” and it certainly is a melting pot of creativity, from beggining to end.
Beginning with “Falling,” the first song on the album, listeners are met with a piano intro, followed shortly after by the Virgin Islands anthem, played on the steel pan. What happens next blows my mind every time. From the anthem, Tariq transitions to a trap beat. From the jump, we are told through music, exactly what we should expect from here on out: a combination of rhythms influenced by both Caribbean and American cultures of music. Read the review of 12 Hours+ by Biko here.
If we missed a new or upcoming artist on this list, submit musical projects from Virgin Islanders to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in future stories. Adam O’s manager began sharing updates about musical releases and details about future performances with the Mint Team in 2019.