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The Best of SXSW 2016: Anderson .Paak, Låpsley, Gallant, Frances + More

Photo of Anderson .Paak performing at NPR's SXSW showcase, by Adam Kissick


SXSW marked this 30th year with some of its best talent in years, anchored by marquee names such as Drake and Erykah Badu, but truly defined by a slew of emerging acts.

ANDERSON .PAAK
Leading the charge was one of the year's biggest rising stars, Anderson .Paak, who commanded every one of the stages he performed on throughout the Austin fest, from the YouTube showcase to Rachael Ray's Feedback House.

GALLANT
Nipping at his heels, however, was Los Angeles crooner Gallant, another Variance who captivated audiences with his magnetic stage presence and soaring vocals.

LÅPSLEY
Having just released her debut album Long Way Home just days before, the British singer-songwriter was easily one of the must-see (and hear) artists, as she continues her swift climb.

FRANCES
After sitting down to talk with Variance earlier in the week, she performed at the storied St. David's Episcopal Church, where Hozier and Sam Smith have played in years prior before seeing their careers skyrocket. This time, it was Frances' turn.

Photo of Oscar and the Wolf's Max Colombie performing at SXSW, by Derrick Weber

OSCAR AND THE WOLF
The Belgian outfit was no doubt one of the week's standouts, as singer Max Colombie stole hearts with his gripping performance, including a velvety cover of Jennifer Lopez's "Jenny from the Block."

JAHKOY
The Los Angeles-based music maker proved why he's one to watch right now with a voice warm enough for the most intimate SXSW show, yet massive enough for the Fader Fort.

Photo of Little Simz performing at SXSW, by Robin Marchant

LITTLE SIMZ
The young rapper delivered a hefty argument for London hip-hop with a bright and brassy performance and hardly a moment of silence in between songs. A cameo from fellow rising star Bibi Bourelly on their collaboration "Interlude" only solidified her appearance on this year's roster.

BIBI BOURELLY
Speaking of the German songstress, she absolutely dominated SXSW, with major performances at showcases such as Fader Fort and Pandora's Discovery Den. With literally thousands of singers performing in a matter of days, Bourelly stood out.

Photo of Drake performing at SXSW, by Daulton Venglar

DRAKE
Aubrey Graham turned out to be this year's surprise headliner on hand to close out SXSW, like only he could. Sure, he turned downtown Austin into a mess of confusion and excitement, but as finales go, it doesn't get much better than Drake.

JACK GARRATT
The FutureSounds alum returned this year after breaking out in 2015. And it was certainly a wise decision, as the British musician cemented his emerging status with a handful of brilliant performances on the heels of his debut album Phase.

DAY WAVE
The Oakland singer born Jackson Phillips continued his rise from the past year with a busy schedule throughout SXSW. And it paid off, because his raw and no-frills performance proved he has the talent to back up his early buzz.

Photo of Dua Lipa performing at SXSW, by Derrick Weber

DUA LIPA
The London-based singer took the stage like a pro, despite having limited experience performing. And it didn't take long to confirm why her steamy brand of sultry pop is quickly resonating.

KACY HILL
From the moment we saw her perform at The Forum in Los Angeles, it was clear this will be a big year for one of Def Jam's newest members. After performing at the Spotify House and Music Is Universal shows during SXSW, it's game on.

VINCE STAPLES
From the Spin Party to FLOODfest, the Long Beach MC had some of the best placements of the week. And he drew the crowds in with his impassioned banter and even more impressive rap skills.

Photo of Erykah Badu performing at SXSW, by Mikel Galicia

ERYKAH BADU
The Texas native and neo-soul queen didn't let sound problems deter her from giving the House of Vans at Mohawk a face-melting experience. Later in the week, she took the stage to DJ at Austin Music Hall, proving she still plays by her own rules.

XYLØ
Sibling duo and Variance faves Paige and Chase Duddy made clear in Austin they're not just an Internet sensation or buzz band, but rather they have the goods to go all the way.

Photo of Kacey Musgraves performing at SXSW, by ZJesus Acosta

KACEY MUSGRAVES
The country songstress came home to Texas, now a Grammy-winning star. But as she performed the Spotify House and Fader Fort, it was evident with her Southern charm and colorful performance, she's exactly where she's meant to be right now.

BJ THE CHICAGO KID
Following last month's release of his new album In My Mind, the Windy City native and Kendrick Lamar collaborator brought the soul to SXSW, with a string of captivating performances setting himself up for a big 2016.

Photo of First Lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott at SXSW, by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty

MICHELLE OBAMA
Joined by the likes of Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott, the First Lady's keynote panel was one of the biggest moments not just of SXSW 2016, but in the history of the festival. And going through an hour of security checks was definitely worth it.

BAIO
Christopher Baio continued the break from his day job (aka being the bassist for Vampire Weekend), supporting his recent debut solo album The Names, attesting that not only can he hold his own, but he can put on a damn good show.

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