3 Musical Artists for College Students' Radars

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 30, 2018

The importance of music can vary person to person, but it definitely plays a part in your life when it provides a soundtrack to your daily life. Blasting music while you clean your apartment, setting a playlist to sing along to in the shower, listening to music while you commute to the places you need to be. Music can be something as little as simply filling the silence or help motivate you as you deliberately pick certain songs and artists to get you through a workout or commute.

In the middle of awards season, it’s common to see unknown names on your timeline or hear them in passing conversations as people discuss who was snubbed or who actually deserved Grammy nominations. As to not fall behind in all of the Grammy talk, or even give your music library a needed update, here are musical artists that should be on your radar.

headphones, listening to music,

Photo by Alphacolor 13 on Unsplash


The 28-year-old R&B singer-songwriter isn’t new to creating music, but her debut studio album Ctrl has thrust her into the spotlight as it earned her 5 Grammy nominations: Best New Artist, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best Rap/Sung Performance.

The album has a little something for everyone – rap features with Travis Scott in “Love Galore” or Kendrick Lamar in “Doves in the Wind” or a more pop sound with “Prom.” The songs from Ctrl can help you get in the mood for a night out with friends (Recommended: “Drew Barrymore”) or aid you through a session of self-reflection (Recommended: “20 Something”).  Her lyrics are blunt and honest – easy to relate to as songs like “Supermodel” are as personal as her writing in her own journal.

You may have already heard SZA in one song or another, as she is no stranger to featuring in other songs. She’s featured on “What Lovers Do” on Maroon 5′s latest album and a remix of Lorde’s “Homemade Dynamite” with Khalid and Post Malone. She holds a spot on HBO series Insecure‘s original soundtrack with her song “Quicksand.”


At the age of 19, Khalid has 5 Grammy nominations under his belt after his debut studio album American Teen, much like his fellow Grammy nominee SZA. His nominations include Best New Artist, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Song, Song of the Year, and Best Music Video.

He debuted with single “Location” in 2016, which has since been certified platinum and been nominated for Song of the Year. If the original song hasn’t gotten you hooked, there’s always the option of its remix featuring musical artists Lil Wayne and Kehlani. Nearly a year after his debut single, Khalid released his debut album American Teen in March 2017 which has also been certified platinum.

The 15-track album offers something for various moods and has plenty to relate to for young adults. The lead single, “Location,” reflects young love (like many of the album’s other songs) and can have any listener relating and thinking back to the beginnings (and endings) of their past and current relationships. Songs like “Young Dumb & Broke” will help you celebrate your youth as you vibe out with your friends. While the album has its upbeat and uplifting tracks, it definitely has the songs that are more somber and relatable, like “Keep Me” or “Shot Down” to get you thinking back to a certain moment or special someone.


The 21-year-old New Zealand musical artist released her much-anticipated sophomore studio album Melodrama in June 2017, nearly four years after the release of debut studio album Pure Heroine. Her long hiatus out of the spotlight may have caused her latest release to slip past your radar, but it is definitely worth the listen as one of the Grammy nominations for Album of the Year.

While her first album Pure Heroine was the album to listen to if you wanted to celebrate being a teenager, Melodrama takes you into Lorde’s exploration into adulthood as she confronts solitude – the good and the bad. The album’s lead single, “Green Light,” was released in March 2017 and the electro-pop song provides the perfect soundtrack to dance anywhere at anytime with your friends (or alone) as Lorde sings of going after the green light allowing her to move forward to the future.

Melodrama gets more intimate, and is perfect for those wanting to have something to relate to in the music they are listening to. As a college student, it may be your first time away from home, or experiencing a fall out with someone close (a family member, a friend, a partner). Some of the lyrics can hit close to home as you deal with feelings of solitude or insecurity, regardless of the cause of the feelings.

Between these three musical artists, you have plenty of tracks to choose from for your own personal playlists. Whether it’s to make the perfect study playlist for your upcoming exams or contributing to your apartment’s party playlist, these three Grammy-nominated musical artists are the perfect starting point to update your music library.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a fourth year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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