In the early days of SPIN, founder Bob Guccione, Jr. would forage through the editors' wastebaskets to listen to the promo cassettes they had thrown away. Well into one particular late-eighties all-nighter, he rescued a tape from the bin entitled The Lion and The Cobra by an unknown artist named Sinéad O'Connor. He listened to it on repeat until 5am and called her publicist later that day. Bob's call was the first and only the publicist had received in the three silent weeks since sending out the tapes. That year, SPIN named Sinéad as one of the ten artists to watch. She'd later grace SPIN's November, 1991 cover. And the rest is history. SPIN's artist discovery ethos is as vibrant today as it was nearly four decades ago, as two of SPIN's three covers this year feature artists who had never been on a major cover (Royal and the Serpent and UPSAHL). Enter Spotify Fresh Finds, a global collection of over 30 playlists which helped discover over 10,000 independent artists in 2022 alone. On a mission "to create a fully supportive program that guides these artists' careers beyond streaming" and ultimately connect them to live audiences, Spotify brought it all to the stage with its debut Fresh Finds Live showcase presented by Spotify Stages at downtown LA's Resident. The four featured artists then took part in a 5-day Spotify Studios residency program in LA's Arts District, where they had access to state-of-the-art writing and recording facilities to foster new music creation. Nashville's BAERD opened the showcase with a bold, yet vulnerable "babbling brook core, indie folk" set. Next up was Toronto native, Abby Sage, who pulled the audience in with her deep, visceral vocals. Fellow Torontonian Katherine Li kicked up the energy with with her signature pop angst and hints of Swift, while Winston-Salem's TiaCorine took it all next level with a genre-bending hip-hop alt-rock pop blitz that had the whole room popping, iPhones up. 1. Who is BAERD and what made you want to become an artist? I'm BAERD, a Nashville based producer songwriter, and I got sent to a wilderness rehab when I was 16 for high school in Montana and we weren't allowed to listen to music, but we were allowed to play it, and so I began writing songs to perform for the 50 or so classmates of mine, and it kinda snowballed from there as an outlet for my addictive habits. 2. Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest influences? What genre(s), if any, do you identify with? My sound is a prog-rock kid turned acoustic guitar player who has some sad indie-boi in him. My biggest influences are probably Bach, my mom/sister would play Bach since I was a little child, and the Beatles, who's sense of freedom present in the writing and being is infectious. I would say I identify somewhere between indie folk, and singer songwriter. 3. What ideas, processes, etc., have you been exploring lately to generate inspiration or new musical concepts? I have been trying to create everyday recently, and to not judge what I create at all. Truly collect and complete as many ideas as possible, and stave off as much judgment or refinement as possible for as long as possible, it's been a challenge, trying to be more free in creation and less like guided or rigid. 4. How do you define and perceive success? In my most ideal state I perceive success as feeling connected as deeply as possible in whatever I am doing at any given moment, and to be curious and without fear or expectations around the future. Most days I am not successful, some moments I am and they are wonderful. 5. What has been your biggest challenge so far as an artist? Balance, and patience. 6. What's next for BAERD? Releasing my EP this Fall. I have a few more singles coming out until the full EP is released. I honestly just want to play to anyone that wants to hear me. I love producing for other people but producing for others has shown me how much I truly love the feeling of performing for others. 7. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? In 5 years, I would love to be playing 100 shows a year, I would love to be recording with lots of inspiring people, and maybe get some camping and hiking in too. 1. Who is Abby Sage and what made you want to become an artist? I think it’s just always been a part of me. My dad taught me how to play guitar when I was quite young and I was always writing. 2. Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest influences? What genre(s), if any, do you identify with? Everything was very lyrically focused at the beginning. I’ve always been drawn to a bigger sound (production wise) from a listening perspective. Grew up listening to a lot of Portishead, would say they’re a big influence. 3. What ideas, processes, etc., have you been exploring lately to generate inspiration or new musical concepts? Lately I’ve been trying to lean into silence. I bought these hilarious headphones that people use on airways and construction sites to protect their ears. I wear them everywhere now! On the tube, in my car, on the plane I always have them on. Been an interesting exercise & feel like it’s helped a lot with inspiration. All comes from my own noggin. 4. How do you define and perceive success? I feel successful solely because I’ve been able to support myself doing this, something I didn’t know was a possibility for a while. As long as I feel mentally sound and fulfilled I would consider that success. 5. What has been your biggest challenge so far as an artist? I think honing in on identity is a difficult thing. I feel strong in myself and my direction but there are always days of doubt. I always want to one up myself with everything (the music, the visuals, the performance). I tend to freeze in those moments of overthinking & over challenging. 6. What’s next for Abby Sage? I’m working on lots of new music! Starting over is such a beautiful thing to explore. What do I want to say now, how am I moving throughout the day, what’s changed etc., etc. It’s been really lovely, it’s like reacquainting with myself. 7. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? Just continuing to create, however that looks. I trust myself to follow hope & joy; creating in any form gives me just that. I’ve always envisioned building such a little world around my music, I’m excited to see how that grows. 1. Who is Katherine Li and what made you want to become an artist? Katherine Li is normal girl who, like everyone else, has her fair share of boy problems. I’ve always loved singing and found it super cool how other artists could express their feelings and stories through songs. The whole concept of storytelling through songs is something I’ve always wanted to try myself. The best part of it is seeing my songs resonate with people who feel and experience the same things that I do. 2. Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest influences? What genre(s), if any, do you identify with? Growing up, I loved listening to sad pop songs, songs like “You Belong With Me” and “Grenade”. My biggest influences are artists like Taylor Swift and Julia Michaels, I really look up to their styles of songwriting. I like to think my music lives in the world of singer-songwriter with a hint of pop! 3. What ideas, processes, etc., have you been exploring lately to generate inspiration or new musical concepts? Lately I’ve been trying to listen to more and more music of different genres, artists, sounds, etc. to expand my music horizon! It’s always very interesting to see the styles of other artists and finding inspiration through them. In terms of songwriting, I’ve been reading more (I love rom-com books). When I read, it puts me in a different world and it helps me find new concepts and perspectives that I might not have thought of before. 4. How do you define and perceive success? Success is different for everyone, and there are so many different layers to it. In my eyes, success is truly loving what you are doing, and what the effect of what you’re doing has on other people. I see success as leaving a positive impact on people. 5. What has been your biggest challenge so far as an artist? My biggest challenge so far as an artist is breaking down my walls and sharing my experiences with the world. It’s a very vulnerable thing to do but I’ve learned that there are so many other people who have gone through the same things. I’m slowly but surely overcoming this obstacle, and what has helped the most is the comfort and relief of learning it’s not just me who feels these things that I talk about in my songs. 6. What’s next for Katherine Li? Writing more and more songs! I want to dig even deeper into “Katherine’s feelings” and start writing more songs that push me out of my comfort zone. These next batch of songs I’ll be releasing will show a whole different side of Katherine! 7. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? In the next 5 years, I hope to be going on my first headline tour! I absolutely love playing live shows. I’m also hoping to have my first album out by then, with a collection of songs that mean a lot me. I’m super excited to see where the next 5 years takes me, and everyone who has been listening to my music since the very beginning. 1. Who is TiaCorine and what made you want to become an artist? TiaCorine is basically the superhero version of myself, like Superman and Clark Kent. She's the part of me that has no filter, just full freedom and creativity to say whatever—the kind of stuff I think but can’t say out loud. I wanted to become an artist because of how much I loved music as a kid—the beats, the videos, the dancing, the clothing and style, everything! It inspired me so much that I decided to get into singing and I joined all the talent shows at my school. As soon as I got on that stage for the first time, it was over, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. 2. Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest influences? What genre(s), if any, do you identify with? A lot of my sound comes from the musical influences of my parents and older brother. My mom was always playing music around the house, especially when she was cleaning, usually Rock and Pop music from the 60’s all the way up to the 90’s. My dad would sing to me when it was bedtime and also played a lot of music around the house, usually Hip Hop, like Sugar Hill Gang, A Tribe Called Quest, and Biggie. My brother played stuff like Dipset, Project Pat, Lil Wayne, and Ginuwine. It was really just a big mix of all of those sounds. I also started playing the flute at a young age which really taught me the behind the scenes structures of music like Chords and Melodies. 3. What ideas, processes, etc., have you been exploring lately to generate inspiration or new musical concepts? I don’t really have a process—and that’s my process. I just keep everything very natural and fun. I don’t force myself to record and, if a studio session feels too “corporate" or like a job, then I won't do it. I’m passionate about the music I create and do my best work when I’m having fun rather than feeling like it's a job. 4. How do you define and perceive success? A lot of the times I define success as those full circle moments where you're working on something you know is fire, but no one's heard it yet, then later on it comes out and everyone loves it. It's those moments of affirmation that show you you're doing the right thing and on the right path. 5. What has been your biggest challenge so far as an artist? My biggest challenge is trying not to read and respond to the negative comments on social media lol. That stuff gets to me sometimes cause I put a lot of hard work into my songs! 6. What’s next for TiaCorine? What’s next is probably my own tour, bigger festivals, "Freaky T" remix/video and more music. 7. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? I would like to see myself in Japan or somewhere overseas. I really hope to be more into fashion, walking for designers, selling my own novelty items, getting into voice acting, having my own anime show, and being a main character in a movie.