Who I’m Most Excited to see at SXSW 2023

todayMarch 9, 2023 65 1

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By Kenlie Golleher

Rap Music Director


Getting accepted to cover SXSW as a music journalist has been the highlight of my year so far. With numerous artists from all around the world coming from industries ranging from music, film, tech, and beyond, SXSW is the home base for creatives and professionals alike to showcase their talents. This will be my first time attending the annual SXSW festival, and I couldn’t be more excited to finally get the chance to experience it. Music will have my full attention, and with so many incredible artists coming to Austin for the festival, I’ve compiled a list of the top five artists who I’m most excited to see and/or cover while I’m here.




This woman right here has been my constant earworm ever since she first began sharing snippets of her tunes on the popular app TikTok back in 2020. She quickly garnered a lot of attention, with many of her songs going viral on the platform. Every song by her is cute, catchy, and addictive. With such short run times on her tracks, it makes listening on loop an easy feat. Sampling various genres of music from the early 2000s while simultaneously blending techniques of modern-day auditory elements along with lyricism that relates well to those who identify as Gen Z, PinkPantheress’ fresh yet nostalgic sound caters to almost all who tune in. Collaborations with artists such as Kaytranada, Ice Spice, Skrillex, Willow Smith, and Sam Gellaitry have given the bedroom popstar an ability to showcase her versatility as well as reach even wider audiences. With over 34 million monthly listeners on Spotify and numerous more on other platforms, and only a couple of years in the game, she has quickly proven herself to be the next rising star in music. She is going to be performing with the So Satisfying House, which will be at SXSW from March 13–15. The showcase, presented by IMGN and its parent company, Warner Music Group, will be held at Mala Vida. During the daytime, the house will feature multiple activations, including a sensory room, an ASMR spa, and an installation dubbed “Smell-O-Vision.” Musical performances will be held at the house once the sun sets.


Lil Yachty


2023 has been a very exciting year for Lil Yachty, not only with the release of his psych-rock project “Let’s Start Here,” (check out my review of it here!) but also with what seems to be a new era for the artist as a whole. With his latest endeavors in the fashion world as an investor in Futuremood sunglasses, the artist also has his own collaboration with the brand. I’ve been really excited about the growth of Yachty over the past few years, and being able to see him at a peak time in his career is going to be something I’ll be able to cherish forever. Yachty will be the headliner for day 1 of Billboard presents the Stage at SXSW at the Moody Amphitheatre at Waterloo Park on March 16. Alongside Lil Yachty in the lineup of performers will also be Lola Brooke and Armani White, showcasing hip-hop as the highlighted genre of that day.




Chiiild is a Montréal-based experimental soul artist that draws influences that range from Marvin Gaye to Tame Impala. These influences provide Chiiild’s sound with a lot of sonic parallels that I find myself drawn to, leaving me impressed every time I listen. He refers to his sound as “synthetic soul,” which is also fittingly the title of his 2020 debut album. It’s rare that I find myself enjoying every single song from an artist, but with multiple singles and three full-length projects under his belt, I have been enamored by them all so far. His latest project, Better Luck in the Next Life, just came out on March 3. This record creates spacey dreamscapes while exploring introspective narratives. Chiiild himself considers this project to be an “autobiographical record.” With every release, he continuously proves to be a breath of fresh air in today’s music era. He will be performing at the RANGE Magazine showcase on March 17 at The Drafting Room alongside 80purppp, Sylo, Charmaine, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Lex Leosis; this lineup is comprised of six of today’s most notable hip-hop and R&B acts from Canada.


Killer Mike


Michael Render, known professionally as Killer Mike, is at SXSW this year not only as a performer but also as a keynote speaker. With the formation of his own rap duo, Run the Jewels, and having worked alongside credited artists such as Outkast, Black Thought, and Jay-Z, just to name a few, Mike has seen huge success in the music industry. Mike has also seen success in various other avenues as an actor, host, advocate, and activist. Mike will be the headliner at this year’s annual SPIN showcase at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q on March 16, alongside other acts such as Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s new project Painted Shield, Sunny War, McKinley Dixon, and more. He will also be speaking at a featured session titled “Introducing Michael: The Man Known as Killer Mike” on March 15 at the Austin Convention Center in Ballroom D, where he will be delving into his history as the man behind the music.


Talib Kweli


Having hosted numerous nights of “Last Tuesday with Talib Kweli & Friends” at Austin’s Native Hostel and Bar & Cafe, Brooklyn-based MC Talib Kweli is no stranger to Texas’ capital city. Proceeds from these events go towards Jonathan ‘Chaka’ Mahone’s Diversity and Wellness in Action Fund, which pledges to honor, celebrate, and empower the essential work of community frontliners and creatives of color through direct financial support and culturally relevant health-centered programming. I was introduced to Kweli through his joint collaboration, Black Star, with fellow artist Yasiin Bey, also known as Mos Def. Black Star’s 1998 record, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star,” tackles various African-American beauties and struggles. The lyricism and musicality within this record display a kind of artistry that deserves all the praise it can get. Kweli has grown so much more since the release of that record, cementing himself as one of the most lyrically gifted rappers in the game. His lyrics are thought-provoking, insightful, political, and creative, and I’m beyond excited to see the legend himself during my time at SXSW. He will be at The Belmont on March 14 for the Music Unites Us! showcase presented by Give A Note Foundation + Artist for Artist alongside Robby Krieger of the Doors, Tribe Friday, Bartees Strange and more.


Check out the Spotify playlist I made with some of my favorite tracks from these five talents. Also, don’t forget to stay tuned to the KTSW blog to follow my friends and my SXSW journey!


Featured Image by Kenlie Golleher.

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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