Some of the most well-known bands today started out as small college projects. It's every current college band's dream to be up in the rankings with the likeness of Coldplay, Queen and Vampire Weekend. With some help from Billboard's "Musicians Still In College" article from last year, here is a list of current bands taking their campuses by storm. 

1. Diet Cig

Formed in New Paltz, New York, indie pop duo Diet Cig consists of twenty-one year old SUNY New Paltz student Alex Luciano and bandmate Noah Bowman. The two met when Alex approached Noah at one of his own shows and they never imagined that one casual music-making session together could turn into a full-on band. What started as playing a show together at a friend's house in New Paltz escalated into recording a 5-song EP two months later. Diet Cig has become a young band worthy of more recognition. Even now, they've expressed extreme interest in leaving their local scene to play some less familiar venues. Since New Paltz is such a close-knit college town, a lot of the students there have already seen their set multiple times. Now, Diet Cig are looking to bring their upbeat and self-proclaimed "slop pop" sound across the U.S. 

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2. Oshun

NYU students Niambi Sala Scott-Murray and Thandiwe Young have been described as a "powerful Neo-Soul, rapping and singing duo" that create a unique blend of hip-hop and R&B together. Their music and videos contain important social commentary as they emphasize the importance of staying aware of the self in relation to society. The muse of their band, Oshun, is a Yoruba deity governs over love, diplomacy, wealth, intimacy and beauty. According to, they also fully embody traditional African spirituality and religion by "wearing all white to express purity and cover their faces in traditional Yoruba body art." 

According to Oshun's Facebook page, their main goal is to "share Oshun’s peaceful omnipresence for the bigger purpose of empowering women, and all people, instilling confidence, cultural pride and self-respect. This bigger purpose is within a re-emerging movement of cultural realignment, awareness and creativity." 

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3. Tomato Dodgers

University of Maryland alum Asher Meerovich plays for grunge rock band Tomato Dodgers, and hopes to turn his band’s success around his college into a full-time gig outside of classes. What sets him apart from others in the music business is that he has pursued a degree in philosophy in religion instead of music, as he says the classes make him a better songwriter. Juggling these classes while still actively playing in and promoting a band shows how Asher and the other collegiate members of Tomato Dodgers are truly dedicated to what they do. They have released a ton of original content including a recent demo, two albums, and a handful of other songs.  

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  • 4. The Emily Youth Project

The Emily Youth Project is a four-piece indie rock group from West Long Branch, NJ, made up of students from Monmouth University. They got their first claim to fame when Guster, a Massachusetts alternative rock group (that also got their start in college), asked The Emily Youth Project to open for their New Jersey tour date. Although they've been quiet lately, we can only hope that they're spending this time focusing on school and creating new music.


5. Lawrence

Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, siblings and members of the band Lawrence, create edgy pop music that sounds like "what [they] wish pop music would sound like." Clyde is a recent graduate of Brown University, and Gracie is a recent high school grad who is taking a gap year before her enrollment in Brown to travel with her family's band. 

According to Clyde in an interview with The Michigan Daily“For me, college was ... well, I looked at it as a musical opportunity in a lot of ways. I don’t mean to belittle the educational opportunities that I received at school. Brown’s a really great academic school, but I went to school with the intention of trying to put together a band.” 

So Clyde and Gracie Lawrence and their band of college musicians started off attracting a fanbase in and around the Brown University community. The band used their soul-based pop sound and crowd-pleasing cover songs to attract a loyal college crowd that continues to support them as they gain recognition in the music industry.

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Whether you like indie pop, alternative or rock, this list of up-and-coming college bands has you set to discover some fresh new music made by people going through the same things you are. All of these bands are continually creating in a college setting and making content to share with the world. Make sure to support these artists and your local college artists, because you never know who will end up being the next big thing! 

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