The Russian music scene, which traditionally kept to itself, is now brewing with talent from a new generation of artists who are ready to take the spotlight on the global stage. Influenced by genres spanning folk, pop, hip-hop, and alternative rock, these musicians are creating unique, worldly sounds that are taking streaming platforms by storm and growing fan bases all over the globe.
We’re excited to introduce you to five Russian artists we think you should know:
White Punk, whose real name is Daniil Bumagin, is a Russian producer, composer and performer known for his versatility spanning from goth-indie-rock to cloud-rap. He developed a passion for music production early on, conducting his first experimental projects in high school with early influences including Bon Iver, MGMT, Deftones, SpaceGhostPurrp, A$AP Rocky and more. White Punk rapidly gained a reputation with local artists eventually becoming the main beatmaker for Dead Dynasty.
Since officially launching his career in 2018 as a solo artist with the release of his first single, “Вампиръ” (“Vampire”), White Punk has built up an impressive list of Russian and US-based collaborators and recently achieved gold status for his solo album Pauk. His art stands out because of its rich, dark, and sometimes sporadic style, but at the same time, he knows how to sequence an impressive beat that gets to you no matter what. Stay tuned for White Punk’s upcoming album Sirius dropping on this fall.
Follow White Punk on Instagram and listen to Pauk.
Manizha is flipping the script on what traditional Russian pop music sounds and looks like by creating art with strong, social messages. One of the first truly independent artists in Russia, Manizha not only writes her own music and lyrics but also films, directs, and edits her videos, creating unique visual content and unusual brand collaborations. Not bound to one genre, Manizha’s music is an amalgamation of blue-eyed soul, pop, rock, and hip-hop encompassed by themes of self-love, body positivity, national, cultural, sexual identity, and tolerance, women, and children rights.
Beginning her career in 2003 as a child singer, Manizha went on to perform within music groups such as Ru.Kola, Assai, and Krip De Shin, before later pursuing a solo career where she found initial success through one-minute music videos on Instagram. Manizha’s activism is just as inspiring as her art. The creator was, as early as the age of 3, by her family seeking refuge in Russia to escape the civil war in their native country of Tajikstan. Accompanying her 2020 single “Mama,” Manizha created SILSILA – an app with an emergency button and a list of refugee centers for victims. Berlin Music Video Awards recently awarded her a prize for her song “Nedoslavyanka” – a song about immigrant struggles. In 2021, Manizha represented Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Russian Woman” which mixes Russian, English and her mother-tongue Tajik in one song.
Manizha has been appointed as the first Russian UN Goodwill ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency and participates in many projects and activities for the program in Russia. Stay tuned for more from this emerging, global star.
Listen to “Nedoslavyanka” and follow Manizha on Instagram.
Dose, whose real name is Aidos Dzhumalinov, is a talented R&B artist, songwriter and producer originally from Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. With a sound distinguished by light and sensual pop music, Dose combines R&B motifs with urban soul of the aughts. Dose grew his early fandom under the pseudonym ‘Strong Symphony’ co-writing music for tracks by Scriptonite, Truwer, 104, ЛСП, ХЛЕБ, Thomas Mraz, Jillzay, and other artists.
At the beginning of 2020, Dose decided to develop as an independent artist and released a solo EP Лото (Lotto), garnering looks from Russia’s biggest music publications including a coveted spot on Afisha Daily’s key musical freshmen list, stating “If we do not see [Dose] next year at “Foucault’s Pendulum” or, what the hell, at the Afisha Picnic, it will be strange.”
Listen to “Golden Sun” and follow Dose on Instagram.
Seventeen-year-old Kostromin found himself an overnight star when a snippet of his song, “Моя голова винтом” (pronounced Moya Golova Vintom, which means “my head is spinning like a screw”) took off on TikTok with over 3.5 million videos made. Trending videos show two or more people who would generally be opposites, dancing in agreement of their differences. The viral trend translated to 91M streams worldwide and sat at #1 on Spotify’s Viral charts all over the world. This overnight success caught the attention of fast-rising Brooklyn drill rapper Fivio Foreign (who’s currently sitting at #1 on the UK charts for his collaboration with Tion Wayne & Russ Millions), who connected with Kostromin for the remix.
Kostromin is the first Russian artist to reach as high as number four on Shazam’s global charts, and he’s certainly one to watch. Check out the official video for “My Head is Spinning Like a Screw” and listen to the new single “Люли” (“Luli”) on all digital platforms!
Listen to “Luli” and follow Kostromin on Instagram
Polnalyubvi, also known as Marina Demeschenko, is a rising indie-folk / dark-pop act inspired by old Russian aesthetics, mixed with modern classics. Beginning her music career at 17 with the release of her first LP V, Polnalyubvi was guided by the art of famous soviet singers like Anna German and Vladimir Vysotsky, and contemporary music of major pop and rock idols like Zemfira, Maxim, and Spleen. Her last album was described as “elfin pop” by major Russian media outlet Colta.ru, noting its departure from minimalist sound in favor of “large-scale and epic compositions.”
Her biggest single “Comety” went viral on TikTok in the summer of 2020 and made her very popular within the region, resulting in over 4.5 million streams on Spotify to date. Currently, she’s gearing up for her new album set to be released in the fall and has goals to represent Russia in the Eurovision contest in 2023 or 2024.
Listen to Tales of a Forest Nymph and follow Polnalyubvi on Instagram.