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11 Artists Who Played Sofar Before They Were Famous

11 Artists Who Played Sofar Before They Were Famous
ArtistsJuly 14, 2021

One of the most rewarding things about what we do is being there for the start of a beloved artist’s music journey. Ever wondered what it was like to see Billie Eilish, Moses Sumney, or Soccer Mommy before their rise to fame? A few lucky Sofar audience members can tell you about it. 

Check out the list below to see which of today's biggest artists started their music journey at small, intimate Sofar shows.

Jack Harlow | Sofar Austin

This rap artist boasts impressive lyricism and charismatic performances. We fell in love with his Sofar show back in 2017, and we’ve been streaming his music ever since.

Nai Palm | Sofar NYC

Australian songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Nai Palm first played a Sofar in 2012. Since then she co-founded the soulful, futuristic and beloved indie quartet, Hiatus Kaiyote.

Andra Day | Sofar San Diego & Los Angeles

In 2014, San Diego local Andra Day played some Sofar shows in sunny Southern California. Her album was released in 2015 and was nominated for a Grammy for best R&B album. Even more impressive? Andra went on to take the stage for a performance at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Wolf Alice | Sofar London

British alternative rock group Wolf Alice has become a force in the indie world. Anyone who’s seen them live knows they can rock, but they pared it down for a performance of the unreleased song “White Leather” with Sofar London in 2012. Their debut single was released the next year, and in 2016 they were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance.

Noah Cyrus | Sofar Los Angeles

Known for the vulnerability in her performances and songwriting, this young artist has been working non-stop since releasing her debut single, “Make Me (Cry)", in 2016, and it shows.

X Ambassadors | Sofar Austin, Chicago & NYC

X Ambassadors now play amphitheaters on the regular, but we saw them in a living room in Austin for an acoustic set of their stadium rock songs. We hosted them across the U.S. in 2012 and 2013, before they released their debut album in 2015. They’ve only been on the rise since!

Anderson East | Sofar Nashville & London

Back in 2012, three years before Anderson East released his single, we heard his raspy vocals at his local Nashville Sofar. Now, he has millions of streams on Spotify, has been featured on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack (Fun fact: we count Jamie Dornan as one of our original hosts), and dates country superstar Miranda Lambert. There’s a good lesson here: support your local musicians!

YEBBA | Sofar NYC

YEBBA is an American Grammy-award-winning singer, songwriter, and Sofar alum from Arkansas. She’s a crowd favorite and a stunning artist, known for her first single, “Evergreen,” and her viral Sofar performance of “My Mind.”

Leon Bridges | Sofar Dallas-Fort Worth

Leon Bridges was playing open mics around Dallas when he brought his signature brand of retro-cool to a Dallas home in 2014, just a few months before major buzz hit around his single “Coming Home.” Here he plays “Lisa Sawyer” to an intimate crowd.

Tank and the Bangas | Sofar New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco & NYC

Tank and the Bangas’ unique animated mix of funk, soul, and spoken word helped them win NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert in 2017, and catapulted them into the spotlight. In that short time, they’ve gone from playing Sofar in their hometown NOLA to playing festivals around the world!

Billie Eilish | Sofar Los Angeles

Billie Eilish has blown up since the release of her debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? in early 2019, building a huge following on social media and collecting billions of streams on Spotify alone. Not bad for a 17-year-old! Billie played Sofar LA in 2016, giving a stunning performance of her song “Six Feet Under.”

Moses Sumney | Sofar NYC & London

Moses Sumney has had a steady presence in the music scene since his first performance with Sofar in NYC in 2014. Over the past few years, Moses has worked with acts such as Solange, Karen O and Erykah Badu. He even joined Sufjan Stevens on stage at the Oscars in March, with his long-awaited debut album Aromanticism dropping last year.

Want more? Check out more artists like Sylvan Esso, James Bay and Overcoats at shows near you.