The disparity that exists between modern musical content and the real lives of its listeners is a very real problem. Lorde, for one, has been an outspoken critic of privilege in hip-hop lyrics, most notably documented in her smash hit “Royals.” The conundrum still stands, though; how is it possible to be invested in a genre with subject matter that’s just plain unrelatable?
Enter Nick de la Hoyde, a 21-year-old rapper/singer hailing from Australia (a hotbed for the up-and-coming hip-hop crew of the moment). After moving to Brazil to become a football (that’s in European terms, not American) player, de la Hoyde became disenchanted with his dream and found that putting his emotions to words was therapeutic. Thus, his hip-hop career was born.
Since then, his profile has exploded with thousands of new followers on Instagram and Twitter, amassing over just five months. What’s the attraction? Could it be that this largely DIY artist (until recently, anyway) struck a chord with the populous; that his subject matter details the roller coaster of broken dreams and hope for the future; or simply that listeners are hooked by his stark, personal revelations, some courtesy of actual journal entries set to beats?
Whatever has thrust de la Hoyde into the public eye is obviously well-warranted. Combining hip-hop and R&B rhythms over rock, pop, and spoken word elements, he creates a space for himself in a blazing hot sector of today’s music industry. The difference, however, is that de la Hoyde has the chops, experience, and know-how to back up his talent. His first single, “The Longest Way,” is already making noise on US pop charts; just this week, it jumped nearly 70 slots on the Mediabase Top 40 Pop charts, and is sitting pretty at #8 on the Mediabase Top 40 Pop Independent Artists chart rankings.
There’s no doubt about it: Nick de la Hoyde is an artist to watch for many reasons, but perhaps none moreso than the mere fact that he’s a voice of reality in a world of flashy gimmicks. And what he’s saying (and proving) is good news: go after your dreams… you can achieve them.
Allison Johnelle Boron
Allison lives in New York City where she is a freelance music journalist, jug band enthusiast, and parent to an ungrateful -- but charming -- betta fish. She is also the editor of REBEAT magazine. Find her on Twitter.