When it comes to local music, discovering a starting point where you can expand upon your national interests can be an overwhelming, strenuous task when going at it alone. For a city like Columbus there are so many different avenues you can go down when exploring local music that you may feel left out when the next big thing misses your radar. It’s a first-rate market for both organic outset and developing growth, and as this city’s citizens know, a Grammy can come out of our own backyard.
So if you’re new to the Columbus music scene you may be asking yourself, 'Well, where do I start?' Experience Columbus is here to lend some assistance in the local music discovery department in the form of a Spotify playlist dubbed the Columbus Mixtape, a collaboration with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. With over 50 songs and artists and three hours of listening pleasure, the Columbus Mixtape is terrific for those looking to grasp the diversity of the accrescent local scene.
Check out the playlist and some highlights of tracks and artists below!
Gettin’ Right to the Funk
The Columbus Mixtape gets off to a funky start with one of our city’s most luminous gems, MojoFlo, and their roaring anthem “M.M.I.A.” MojoFlo is always a dance party waiting to happen, and their live shows almost always make you feel like you’re celebrating something special. If their tune doesn’t lift your spirits right from the jump, then dig deeper into the playlist, where one of Columbus’ smoothest crews, Mistar Anderson, and the on-point delivery of “Alley Talk” is set off.
Honorary #ExpCols Bands
In 2018 Experience Columbus debuted a list of 10 Columbus Bands to Know with some classic choices along with a sprinkling of up-and-comers already making a name for themselves. Almost every band or artist from the article made the Columbus Mixtape playlist, including duo Doc Robinson with the hit “Ohio Light” from their soulful debut album, and The Turbos with one of the many singles they released this year. Ministers of energy and local music activists Zoo Trippin’ and the swingin’ blues-rock of their song “The Color Purple” appear on this playlist as well.
Sometimes keeping up on your local music sonar can be an impossible task, much like trying to read every tweet that comes across your timeline in a given day. Local musicians that match your taste may sneak out of your sight while your eyes are still busy fanning over the band that tore down The Shrunken Head a week earlier. A couple artists on this playlist that deserve a wider line of sight are Mary Lynn, known for her brand of raw, pop-sprinkled rock, and the passionately lyrical Honey and Blue.
Columbus and Beyond
At this point we’ve all heard of Twenty One Pilots, so it’s no surprise that “My Blood”—the highest-charting hit off of the Grammy winners' recent chart-topping LP “Trench”—appears near the end of the playlist. Saintseneca, another group of local heroes who released an album in 2018, show up with a beautiful folk tune and poignant lyrics on “Ladder to the Sun.” Rounding out this list of local heroes is RJD2, whose prolific producing talent on hits like “Peace of What” is a prime example of how truly talented DJs can piece together wondrous puzzles with seemingly impossible parts.
For as many talented groups that Columbus boasts, some are grinding with even less support. Someone who has been doing said grinding for years now is rapper Blueprint, who dropped some old school knowledge on “Two-Headed Monster” in 2018. Another standout on this playlist is “No Me,” which features the silky and rich voice of Jared Mahone, who’s seen regularly performing with the Hoodoo Soul Band every Sunday at Rumba Cafe. Coming in to cool things off at the end of this playlist is R&B sparkplug Sarob, who conveys smooth verse after smooth verse on the jazzy “Beverly.”