A surfer and songwriter, Ben Howard's two loves intertwined when the England surfing community became the first audience for his quiet, meditative music. At the encouragement of friends, Howard released two EPs and was invited soon after to tour with Xavier Rudd. Like Rudd, Howard is a no-nonsense, no-frills singer-songwriter. He began to write his own music "as a kid" and decided at the age of 21 to become a full time musician.
Of Monsters and Men is a six-person collective hailing from Iceland and the makers of very catchy folk-pop. The group came together in 2009 when lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir began recruiting back-ups for her acoustic solo act. In 2010, Of Monsters and Men gained national fame when they won an annual Icelandic battle of the bands competition, and since then, the buzz has only grown.
Grimes is the one-woman project of Claire Boucher, a talented and artistic Canadian songstress. Born and raised in Vancouver, she moved to Montreal for college but left to pursue her craft when Grimes began to take off. Marrying lo-fi punk with a dream-pop aesthetic, Grimes quickly became a fixture in the DIY underground music movement in Montreal.
Gotye (whose real name is Wouter "Wally" De Backer) has become an international pop star with his 2011 release, "Making Mirrors". The pop-infused collection includes a little ditty, "Somebody I Used To Know", that subsequently took the world by storm after its early leak in July 2011.
Named after a French novella by poet Charles Baudelaire, Fanfarlo is a pop outfit hailing from London. With a wide range of instrumentation (mandolin, glockenspiel, musical saw, melodica, sax, clarinet, and the usual drums, bass, and guitar), Fanfarlo have been able to craft some uniquely beguiling and uplifting pop-folk.