Tag Archives: Anderson .Paak

SoundCloud Meet six Grammy nominees who were first on SoundCloud

H.E.R., one of this year’s Grammy nominees who got her start on SoundCloud.

When you upload a track on SoundCloud, there’s no telling where it can take you. And for Anderson .Paak, Ella Mai, GoldLink, H.E.R., Post Malone and Sofi Tukker, it might just be the Grammys stage on Sunday night. While their respective routes to the top (read more on those below) are unique, they do share two things in common: their musical journeys started on SoundCloud – and now they’re all contenders for the most coveted honor in music.

As the only place you can share your music with the world, connect with fans, collaborate with other artists and make money from your craft, it’s not surprising that many Grammy nominees over the years first launched on SoundCloud. And although we can’t give you a surefire recipe for taking home a gilded gramophone, our creator subscription SoundCloud Pro gives you everything you need to make a career in music. With more upload time, advanced stats, and access to our direct monetization program SoundCloud Premier – you’ll be even closer to creating that next breakout hit.

Want even more inspiration to turn your beats into award-winning streams? Listen to our “SoundCloud at the 2019 Grammys” playlist to get acquainted with these Grammy contenders, and hear for yourself: what’s next in music is first on SoundCloud.

Anderson .Paak tested the waters.

Before uploading under his own name, Anderson .Paak released several projects on the platform under the pseudonym Breezy Lovejoy.

First upload on SoundCloud: “Venice” in 2014

Ella Mai found her agent.

Ella’s current agent discovered her on SoundCloud and became hooked after hearing “She Don’t,” from the DJ Mustard-produced “Troubled” EP.

First upload on SoundCloud: Troubled,” her first solo EP in 2015

GoldLink did his research.

GoldLink listened to progressive producers like Kaytranada, LAKIM and Ta-ku, wrote to their beats, shared freestyles for free and networked with fellow creators – helping him get requests for live shows before even having music available to purchase.

First upload on SoundCloud: Electric Relaxation,” a Ta-ku beat he rapped over, in 2013

H.E.R. created a persona.

H.E.R., an acronym for Having Everything Revealed, counts Alicia Keys as a mentor and was signed to RCA at the tender age of 14. The mysterious singer kept her image hidden until fans connected her cover of Drake’s “Jungle,” to her original SoundCloud profile under her name, Gabi Wilson.

First upload on SoundCloud: A cover of Drake’s “Jungle” in 2015

Post Malone racked up the plays.

In under the first six months of sharing, “White Iverson” amassed over 6 million plays on the platform, getting the attention of record labels and propelling his career.

First upload on SoundCloud: “White Iverson” in 2015

Sofi Tukker scored an ad deal.

Shortly after sharing “Drinkee,” a music supervisor for a brand discovered their track on SoundCloud and ended up using it for an advertisement, placing the duo into the spotlight.

First Upload on SoundCloud: “Drinkee” in 2015

SoundCloud Comfy chair talk with Anderson .Paak


As the “dot” in his name reminds us, multidisciplinary musician Anderson .Paak is all about the details. So it should be no surprise really, that his fifth album Oxnard (out now) is a patchwork, panoramic offering that features a little bit of everything. From a first-class cast (Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Pusha T to name a few) guest-starring on his tracks, to a nod to multiple genres, mediums and sounds (“Trippy” starts off with an old-school radio show and laugh track), it’s clear that Paak’s focus group is the world.

In the spirit of pausing and paying homage to Paak’s aptly-placed punctuation mark, we were able to get the multi-instrumentalist and genre-blending rhythmic linguist to take a minute to chat with us on a moderately comfortable chair in our New York City office. While positioned snugly between two ferns, a Bonsai tree and a few disco balls, Paak took us through things as random as his surroundings – and some not – from his first experience with SoundCloud to the secret sauce that goes into keeping a band together.

Paak was first introduced to SoundCloud when working on his debut mixtape O.B.E. Vol. 1. He said, “I remember just staying up all night just trying to upload music and making sure it was right, and f-ing up and not doing it right like five different times – and all this pressure to get this mixtape out.” Paak’s willingness to be messy, to power through the hours, to experiment with concepts and to sing/rap/drum/produce himself, are key details that have led to his broader success. That, and an appreciation for the people he works with. What makes his band stay together? He notes that communication, loyalty and time spent with each other (outside of the music-making) are the driving factors.

As a multi-instrumentalist who smoothes the edges of hip-hop, R&B, funk and jazz into a collaged and cohesive whole, it’s no wonder that his latest album Oxnard does so much. The first track “The Chase (ft. Kadhja Bonet)” is a chest-pounding parade of an entrance that shows off his ability to melt concepts; a staticy car stereo blends into spell-casting vocals that are both intros for the main event: a highfalutin flute-fronted funk anthem. “Who R U” is a staccato banger that you can’t listen to just once, and “6 Summers” is a retro, politically-lite, reggae-laced rock ballad that could sit moderately comfortable on a stage from decades ago.  

If you’d already devoured Paak’s latest (we have) and want to dive into who he’s listening to, check out: Tierra Whack, Kadhja Bonet, Nick Hakim, Daniel Caesar and Smino. And if you’re looking to get in his good graces? Pick up an instrument and prove that you’ll do the work.

Because Paak is proof that just doing the work it is always enough – and oftentimes it’s more.