Top 8 Philly Artists Making Gains in the National Scene

Featured Image of CRUISR by Andrew Wick

Philly artists thrive in the music industry. Over the years, Philadelphia has produced noteworthy names in nearly every genre, such as hip hop icons The Roots, R&B stars Boyz II Men, Grammy winner John Legend, and pop punk powerhouses The Wonder Years. Philly still has its music edge, being the launchpad for some of the most unique sounds and individuals into the national scene and beyond. Below is just a sampling of the talent the city and its surrounding regions has nurtured.

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs plowed through the indie scene into the mainstream. Boasting a soft groove and dreamy vocals, the group conquered this year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival. Spin Magazine recognized the group’s most recent release Lost in the Dream as its top album of 2014. The War on Drugs have even made waves across the pond, earning a nomination for Best International Group at the 2015 Brit Awards.  

The Menzingers

Touring with icons such as Taking Back Sunday, Rise Against, and the Offspring, The Menzingers are showing the rest of the world that Philly’s punk rock scene is alive and well. The group left crowds in awe at Chicago’s 2014 Riot Fest and took part in this summer’s Reading and Leeds festivals with their melodic, bass-heavy instrumentals that complement yet contrast the coarse, edgy vocals.

Hoodie Allen

While not a Philly native, Hoodie Allen is a Wharton graduate. His leap of faith leaving behind a position at Google to pursue his passion for hip hop proved worthwhile, with both his debut EP All American and full-length album People Keep Talking reaching top 10 spots on the Billboard 200 chart. His tracks stand out for their pop-electronic loops, rap-singing hybrid vocals, and quirky lyrical puns. Hoodie Allen spent the summer with Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa on the Boys of Zummer Tour.

Chiddy Bang

The hip hop duo turned solo act is most noted for their impressive remix of MGMT’s “Kids.” Their raps are unique in their instrumentals, strategically switching between minimalist and synth-heavy loops over the duration of their tracks. However, remaining member Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege’s true talent lies in his rapping, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 for creating the “longest freestyle,” totaling nine hours, eighteen minutes, and twenty-two seconds.


Hailing from Pennsylvania outside of the city, Halestorm have charged through the national rock scene with unbelievable force. This year alone, the group has taken part in 93.3 WMMR’s MMRBQ, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, and Loudwire Music Festival. Their most recent album Into the Wildlife hit #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Album chart (read our review here), making Halestorm the fourth female fronted band to have more than one #1 track on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Frontwoman Lzzy Hale’s vocals are unmatched in power and versatility, howling through tracks such as the group’s fast-paced “Love Bites (So Do I)” while producing breathtaking emotional ballads like “The Familiar Taste of Poison.”


CRUISR’s distinct groove, layered with upbeat synths and an indie vie, landed the Philly natives a spot on Made in America’s 2014 and South by Southwest (SXSW)’s 2015 lineup as well as gained attention from Red Bull Sound Select. Cruisr recently wrapped up a national tour with MisterWives.

Rivers Monroe

Emerging amidst the pop punk wave of 2008, Rivers Monroe have managed to gain national attention in just a few years. Their catchy, pop hooks laced with a rock edge have appealed across audiences. The track “Meteor” earned a spot on the NASCAR 2011 video game soundtrack, with similar recognition from MLB, NFL, NCAA, and Speed TV to follow. Rivers Monroe have played with top names within their genre and beyond, including Paramore, All Time Low, Fun., and Silversun Pickups. After spending the month of July on Vans Warped Tour, Rivers Monroe are preparing to take the east coast by storm this winter.


Vacationer’s music is unique and contains a wide range of influences, from the indie scene to world music. Their use of unconventional instruments such as claps and shakers create a complex layering of instrumentals, making their music distinct and exceptionally rhythmic. Their sound has unsurprisingly gained widespread attention, with the group captivating Napa Valley at the 2015 Bottlerock Music Festival and at the 2015 Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE. Their most recent album Relief, released in June 2014, reached #10 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.

Philadelphia’s artists are highly successful on the national scale and stand out amongst their fellow musicians. The above, being just a few examples of Philly’s representation on the national scale, showcase the quality and abundance of talent our local  scene has to offer as well as demonstrate our city’s genuine passion for music of all genres.

Who else should be recognized on a national scale? Did we miss anyone? Tell us your favorite Philly bands in the comments below!


  1. Bryana Natale

    November 8, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    This is a great article! So important to recognize Philly talent!

  2. Lauren S

    November 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I love Halestorm and I’m so glad that they are included in this list!

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