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Top 10 Most Influential Sythwave Artists

[Note from JFrater: It is not all too often that we publish lists on music for their own sake. But with my recent return to the site and my own personal love of all things ’80s retro, it was impossible to pass up this awesome list covering one of the most fascinating and fast growing musical genres of today. This is Listverse’s step into the future with a new generation of readers and writers joining us as we embark together on a journey into a brave new world.]

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Thanks to the pop culture that the almighty nostalgia of the 80s has recorded in recent years with shows like Stranger Things or films like Guardians Of The Galaxy the unique genre of electronic music, synthwave (or retro wave for nerds), has become very popular. Some of the most famous artists in the world, like The Weeknd or Taylor Swift, have taken over their influences and slowly made them accessible to the mainstream audience.

But there are artists who have kept Synthwave alive since its inception. Artists that most people may not know about. Brilliant minds who researched the genre and shaped it into what is today and what will be tomorrow. Here are the 1

0 most influential synthwave artists of all time:


Meet the German mother of the Synthians. NINA made a name for herself after her single “We Are The Wild Ones” was included on the Syfy TV show Being Human in 2013. She built an impressive track record that led to her 2018 debut album. Sleepwalking ”and consolidated as a powerful singer and undeniably talented writer.

NINA is without a doubt one of the leading women in Synthwave. She is an important figure in the genre, has achieved a high level of awareness among fans and also thrives on stage. With her band she makes live shows all over the world. [1]

9 FM-84

Originally a band with only one regular member, the creator Col Bennett, FM-84, has had an impressive run over the years. After working with singer and songwriter Ollie Wride on their 2016 hit “Running In The Night,” everything changed. The song (and their next collaborations) formed a long-standing relationship that eventually led Wride to become an official member of the band.

FM-84 represents everything you can love about classic 80s bands. Their 2016 debut album "Atlas" is a dynamic ride that perfectly captures the nostalgic nature of Synthwave, which gets you into your car and driving on a street full of palm trees at sunset. [2]

8 Tokyo Rose

[WARNING: The video above may cause epileptic fits in those with photosensitive epilepsy.] Tokyo Rose is an enigmatic producer from Jersey who has been present in the synthwave world for almost a decade since the release of his first EP “Chases” in 2014 established his style early on, an imaginative mix of cyberpunk and dark electro, and since then he's been one of the genre's most respected artists.

He is also known for his work with his best friend ALEX, with whom he is released two albums. The first, "Akuma", was released in 2017 and the sequel "Akuma II" was released in 2019. We both released it with great success, which eventually led to it ending up on billboard, making her two of the few artists in synth – made. Verse about this. [3]

7 Timecop1983

One of the best-known artists of the genre is none other than Timecop1983. The American producer is a kind of embodiment of what could be called "traditional" synthwave. From his first work, which was created in the form of his EP “Daydreaming”, released in 2014, his music became a true model of the genre. The smooth and melodic vibes of his songs bring you back to the 1980s and let you dance the night away.

Timecop has stated over the years that his inspiration comes from the cinema, especially from the film “Drive” from 2011. It all started for him. Since its inception, he has worked with most of the best artists in the genre and shows no signs of stopping. His 9th album is scheduled for release in 2020. [4]

6 Jessie Frye

Some of the greatest artists in Synthwave were not from the synth world. Jessie Frye is one of these artists. Originally a well-known rock girl in Texas, Jessie made a strong entry into the genre in the summer of 2018. She teamed up with Timecop1983 for the song "Faded Memory", an instant hit that made her a sensation with fans overnight. [19659002] She followed this success with two singles, "Fantasy" and "Angel", as well as two collaborations, "We Are The Night" with DJ Ten and "Fractions" with Wayfloe. The success of these projects quickly earned Jessie the status of a superstar in the genre. Her singing style is rooted in many different genres and makes her songs incredibly unique and impossible to copy. She recently teased the release of her highly anticipated album "Kiss Me In The Rain", which will serve as a continuation of the new artistic direction that has made her such a powerful figure. [5]

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Starcadian is a producer and film director that has existed since 2011. He has had a significant impact on the synthwave world, especially with the success of his 2012 song “HE ^ RT”, but unlike most artists. His music has since been featured in films, TV shows, and even commercials for video games like League Of Legends.

Starcadian's albums (which he calls "original soundtracks" or "ear films") have a cinematic feel that distinguishes him from most synthwave artists. His music is so expertly produced that he eventually worked hand in hand with companies like Izotope and Arturia to develop new sounds and synthesizers for other producers. He is a true genius with an impressive legacy around him. [6]

4 The midnight

Anyone who has dipped a toe in the world of Synthwave has heard this name before. To make it easy, The Midnight are essentially Synthwave 101 for anyone entering this era. They became icons of the genre as soon as their first EP "Days Of Thunder" came out in 2014 and since then they have been in line with their success.

Their 2016 debut album "Endless Summer" is a staple of the genre and their 2017 successor "Nocturnal" became one of the first synthwave albums to be recorded on Billboards Dance / Electronic-Chart and reached number 17 when released.

Your music sounds the way dreams feel. It will take you back to the 80s and make you so nostalgic that you wish you could be in the next season of Stranger Things . With several albums and several sold-out tours, The Midnight are undoubtedly the current front men in the Synthwave universe, more than any other artist currently active in this genre. [7]

3 Wayfloe

Few artists can be attributed to having promoted the synthwave genre more creatively than this mysterious Canadian duo. Wayfloe is one of the newer acts on this list, but it is also by far the most unique.

Your work is like no other. Her 2019 album “Neon West” was praised for its originality and unique sound, which manages to blend genres seamlessly, creating a subgenre that is very unique. In other words, when you hear a Wayfloe song, you know it is you.

And although they only have one album on their résumé, it didn't take long for them to dominate the synthwave world in 2019, especially with their song “Fractions”, a collaboration with Jessie Frye, the Iron Skullets “Top 40” topped Synthwave Songs of 2019 list that defeats well-known artists like The Midnight, FM-84 and even The Weeknd. [8]

2 Danger

On the darker side we have Franck Rivoire, AKA Danger. An older artist in the world of Synthwave, whom some would even consider one of the genre's pioneers. It's been around for over a decade and is known for its sinister style – a strange mix of electronic and a retro horror film soundtrack.

Danger is also known for the titles of his songs and EPs, which generally consist of series of songs, numbers that represent important dates and times from his life, such as his hits "88:88" and "9:20" or his first EP "14.09.2007".

His influence on the synthwave world is still very present today, and he continues to publish some of the most original and unconventional works the genre has ever known. [9]

1 Kavinsky

If there was an artist who had the right to shape the Synthwave genre as it is today, most people would tell you that Kavinsky is that type. He performed in 2006 and quickly built an audience with his dark production style compared to other French artists like Daft Punk and Justice.

Kavinsky became a night star when his song “Nightcall” appeared in the Ryan Gosling film “Drive” in 2011. He was the first artist of the genre to break the mainstream doors. The song became a big hit, followed by the release of his first album, OutRun, a classic that today serves as one of the greatest inspirations for most producers of the genre.

But while he now has a true status of The Legend in the Synthwave World, Kavinsky has not released any music since 2013, and fans are impatiently waiting for a return that will likely never come. [10]

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