The Kids Are (More Than) Alright
by Carly Tagen-Dye
The Teen Takeover of the Music Industry
Something I have noticed in the music I’ve discovered recently, and in the industry as a whole, is the rise of younger bands - particularly those that still can’t drink at the venues they play at. As I’ve been shifting through my playlists, more and more of the names that pop up are of high school age. These young artists are gaining fast attention. While it’s great to have music written for teenagers by teenagers, it is also deeply depressing. These kids are so much cooler than I could have ever hoped to be at their age.
The first group that caught my attention was Calpurnia. Their online hype was brewing, and for good reason. Just a little over a year after their first show together, the band has been signed to Royal Mountain Records, released their first EP, and played alongside names like Mac Demarco and Future Islands - all before graduating high school. Hailing from Vancouver,, the indie rock quartet is fronted by fifteen-year-old Finn Wolfhard, most notably known for his role in Stranger Things. He is supported by fellow actor Malcolm Craig (15) on drums, Jack Anderson (17) on bass, and Ayla Tesler-Mabe (16) on lead guitar. Their recent television debut on Jimmy Kimmel has only made them more visible to the public.
The Regrettes, a rock band out of L.A., are another group taking the scene by storm. If you ever find yourself at one of their shows, it is near impossible not to be drawn in by the energy of lead singer Lydia Night (17). She has been a musician since her pre-teens, playing guitar and singing lead in the band Pretty Little Demons. By twelve, she had landed a gig at the legendary Amoeba Records and gained support from musicians like The Donnas’ Brett Anderson. The amount of musical milestones already under Night’s belt is beyond impressive, and could put some seasoned pros to shame.
It doesn’t just end with rock groups. Billie Eilish, one of the biggest pop stars today, is only sixteen, yet is selling out her own headlining tour. Grace Vanderwaal, 2016 winner of America’s Got Talent, just released her debut album at fourteen, and been honored as a Billboard Rising Star. While both have a prominent teen following, the amount of adults buying albums and hitting the venues are rising as well. Their names are getting across to a wide variety of people.
So what’s the deal with all of these kids climbing to the top of the charts? My verdict: talent, and the sheer feeling of invincibility that comes with being young. As hard as the teenage years are, it is a time for experimentation and finding yourself. Music is just one possibility to pursue, and it seems that more and more are taking advantage of it. It takes guts to perform and create - to be doing it so young, however, is something even more admirable. So, to all of the kids getting up on stage every night, sharing their passions with the world, my hat goes off to you. It is time for some fresh faces in the scene. We’ve got a lot to expect from our generation - I am looking forward to all of the music to come.
Hey there! I'm Carly, an aspiring writer/photographer, and avid concert enthusiast! If creativity is my soul, then music is the glue holding me together. Whether I'm writing about it or capturing it, there is no better feeling to me than being at a show. I'm currently chilling in Brooklyn and studying at Pratt Institute, but am from the D.C. area. If I'm not kicking it at a concert, you can most likely catch me trying to finish art school assignments or hunting down the best coffee in the city.