Make it or break it. Debut tracks are often the most important tracks of an artist’s career. They serve as a catalyst between musicians and their potential audience and set the tone for how future tracks are received. Let's not forget the power of debut tracks. Here's a playlist of many that have made a difference for the artists.
In a classic case of sexy electronic vibes, Opia’s debut song “Falling” released just one month ago, will hook you in the same way unexpected love does. Recently, the duo revealed that the voice sample at the 2:05 marker of the track was from a vintage clip called “How Do You Know You’re in Love?”. This debut incorporates jazzy tones, smooth vocals and beats that land hard blows right into your ears.
Suddenly appearing on the Internet back in 2014, this track was only a small teaser to Raury’s superior songwriting skills. Stripped back, raw and full of power, “God’s Whisper” combines unique vocal elements and beats that work together like a group of friends on a summer trip.
Hook, line and sinker is the easiest way to describe how Tsar B’s “Escalate” captured every ear. Like a snake charmer, this Belgian artist skilfully uses her hypnotic vocals and R&B beats to put listeners in a trance, leaving them to wonder what they just heard… and then move to press play again.
Imagine if someone dropped a pebble into a still pond. The ripple reaction is immediate, much like the music community’s response to Kiiara’s debut track “Gold”, a glitchy, minimalist wonder produced by none other than Felix Snow. Still hailed as one of Kiiara’s best tracks, “Gold” is like listening to rainwater dance.
The success of debut song “OctaHate” is perhaps one of the finest examples of social media marketing via influencers. Ryn Weaver’s track caught alight after tweets from Benny Blanco, Paramore, Jessie Ware and Cashmere Cat hit our screens. Whatever your verdict is on this song’s rise to popular, there’s no doubt that “OctaHate” is a hit.
Blues and soul have always been heavy influences for today’s musicians, but it’s rare to hear an artist emulate the genres so perfectly, so purely. Leon Bridge’s debut song “Coming Home” is essentially time travel machine back to the 50s, joining generations together with his classic vocals and steady, quintessentially blues rhythm.
Back in 2013, Lorde arrived with her first single “Royals”. That unique-yet-familiar vocal and minimalistic production was a much welcomed breath of fresh air amongst heavily produced chart toppers like “Wake Me Up” (Avicii), “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk), “Best Song Ever” (One Direction) that dominated radio waves at the time. Even more impressive was how this debut track was an international hit from day one, instantaneously propelling Lorde right to the top of the music scene.
Not only does “Station” encapsulate the feeling of waiting for the last train home, but it’s mature and well-rounded production led many people to ask many questions, such as “Who’s the male vocalist?”, “Is there more than one person involved?” and “Where can we get more of this sound from?” The fact that the mysterious ‘he’ was Holly Fletcher’s own voice pitched down caused a frenzy for music bloggers everywhere. Ears were tuned for her next track even before it was out.
With a debut play on Zane Lowe’s show and The 1975 endorsement, The Japanese House and her atmospheric premiere “Still” immediately grabbed everyone’s attention. Ethereal and mystic, “Still” is a track that draws the listener into a pensive and emotional state with straight-forward lyrics, reverberating vocals and layered electronics.
Glass Animals shot to fame with their cover of Kanye West’s “Heartbreaker,” but their debut track “Black Mambo” was already a firm favourite for early listeners. Their groovy style is like a finger signalling “come hither” and the laidback vibe cruises listeners right under the high point to make them want more.
We’re often used to hearing explosive ballads from chart toppers, but once in awhile, a song so pure and bare comes along and blows everyone away. “This is Love” is such one exquisite debut track that translate emotions with the maturity beyond the years of Irish songwriter Lilla Vargen.
“Fast Line” strikes a chord from the moment that Rationale starts singing. This remarkable voice, accompanied by glistening guitar riffs, feels like an old soul reaching out for a connection. The single is a seamless blend of modern production and 80s pop, and so is the perfect track for nostalgic hungry listeners who ironically want something new.
Pop often gets a bad rap just for being itself, but New York crooner Lauv’s debut track “The Other” is unashamedly great pop that ushers in hints to 90s boy bands and chart-topping vocalists. A magical concoction of earnest and effortless emotions, this track is made extra special thanks to Lauv’s vocal delivery.
Timeless is often an overused word for new acts, but with Grace Lightman, her honeyed voice carries the listener right into the realm of classical and effortless balladry. Debut “Vapour Trails” soars on Lightman’s vocals, which are given room to shine thanks to the restrained orchestration. With every listen, you’ll find something else to marvel over.