2016 Was Rife With New Talent; Here Are The Top 5 "Newly Established/Developing DJs/Producers" Who Really Stunned Us This Year

            So baby, pull us “closer,” 2016 is nearly over. American DJ duo, and now household name, “The Chainsmokers” dominated music award competitions and radio station ques alike this year, a year that may be appropriately, if only informally, be called the “year of The Chainsmokers,” with Halsey toned 2016 release, “Closer” surfacing as the year’s perhaps most vocally recognizable track.

            2016 was a major year of career development for Chainsmokers constituents, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, but it was likewise a significant moment for electronic growth among various other DJs and producers who made major musical statements in 2016. Here are our top 5 “up and coming” DJs/producers who either strongly established themselves within the scene of EDM this year, or proved why they're a part of the scene with powerful new releases....

1.     Elephante, “I Am The Elephante”: Known by his stage name, “Elephante,” Ann Arbor, Michigan native Tim Wu unveiled the depths of his captivating Progressive House sound in the release of his debut studio album, “I Am The Elephante.” Released September 13, 2016, the 9 track EP gained notoriety with the single, “Closer,” featuring the vocals of Bishop. Still too “new” for a Wikipedia to exist on the DJ, Elephante shows major creative promise with “I Am The Elephante,” earning him a spot on our top 5 new electronic talent of 2016. Listen to our favorite “I Am The Elephante” track, “Dynasty,” a remix of the MIIA original.

2.     Malaa, “Illicit EP”: 2015 introduced a plaguing question: “who is Malaa?” The supposed side project of DJs, Tchami and DJ Snake, the masked mystery man or duo was not necessarily new to the scene, but capitalized on 2016 as the year to further establish himself, most notably through the 2016 release of his “Illicit” EP. Aggressively devoted to house music and the advancement of the genre, Malaa headlined his “Lunatic Tour,” an iniatitive that spanned ten cities and invited the talent of female stunner, REZZ. Malaa’s dark sound entranced us this year; listen to our favorite song off the “Illicit” EP, “Diamonds.”

3.     Illenium, “Ashes”: Illenium emerged as an especially strong remixer, putting out wildly popular takes on Flume’s “Say It,” The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” and Niykee Heaton’s “Infinity.” Progressive house producer, “Nick Miller,” made his official debit back in 2013, with the release of his eponymous EP, “Illenium,” but it was 2016 that marked the offering of Illenium’s first studio album, “Ashes.” Peaking at #6 on Billboard’s “Dance/Electronic Albums” chart, the album lends listeners a deeper sense of Illenium’s production abilities. You’ll find our favorite remixed track, Just a Gent’s imagination of the “Ashes” song “Fortress” below.

4.     Rüfüs du Sol, “Bloom”: The Sydney, Australia originative alternative dance group gained momentum back in 2013 for the release of their debut album, “Atlas.” The winner of the 2014 ARIA Music Award for “Best Dance Release,” Rüfüs may not exactly be new talent, but we have profiled the group as such based on the release of their second album this 2016, “Bloom.” We’re predicting big things for Rüfüs as the group continues to expand their unique sound, one unlike anything we’ve heard before. Our favorite “Bloom” track, “Innerbloom” appears below for your listening pleasure.

5.     Ookay, “Cocoon”: Like a “thief in the night,” he came for all of our hearts this year, and made away with ours. Dubstep/trap/progressive house DJ, Ookay exploded in popularity this year with the March 25, 2016 drop of hit single, “Thief.” As if we weren’t crazy enough about the killer saxophone solo that defines the track, Ookay went on to leave us the 5 track “Cocoon,” a sampling of his talent, and what is to come in 2017 for the DJ. Ookay was one of our favorite gems of 2016, listen to “Thief” below.