John Vettese is a music writer and photographer based in Philadelphia. He is the editor of WXPN's music blog The Key, producer of the audio/video live performance series The Key Studio Sessions, and a contributor to Magnet Magazine.
The best songwriters are often deep thinkers, and Philadelphia's current crop of voices is no exception. In poignant narratives and vivid vignettes, emotional soliloquies and incensed rants, Philadelphian artists offer perspectives that reflect on not only what it means to be a Philadelphian, or an American, but a real-life emotional human being in the late 2010s.
The artists might take center stage, but they wouldn't be able to do what they do without an equally robust community of directors and videographers to imaginatively translate their work into narrative visuals, or without studios and curators eager to document their process and performances with breathtaking clarity.
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods. And in the same way that the high-density grittiness of South Philly's Pennsport is distinct from the multicultural bohemia of West Philly's Cedar Park, the music from different creative spheres across the sprawling metropolis boasts a variety of unique identities. From punk to psychedelic rock to hip-hop, Philly is neither a sonic monolith, nor is it an all-encompassing melting-pot. Rather, it's a spacious scene that allows each group to stand alone and blossom on its own. Here are 10 artists to discover from the Philadelphia musical community.