House music is a type of electronic dance music that dates back to the 1980s when DJs and music producers in Chicago’s underground club culture began to dabble with a new type of energetic and rhythmic 4/4 beat music. In the years that followed, it spread overseas and to other large American cities. Over time, it became a worldwide phenomenon and influenced sub genres of house music to emerge. In recent years, it has become increasingly associated with Electronic Dance Music and more mainstream acts of electronic music like David Guetta or Avicii. The democratization of electronic music has allowed many aspiring teens to follow in the footsteps of their models. In fact, all beginners need to do is pick up a laptop for music production to start creating their own original house tracks.
Top 10 | Best House Music Artists
1. Frankie Knuckles
Frankie Knuckles is thought of as the ‘Godfather of House Music’, as he was one of the artists in Chicago that helped establish the genre. Knuckles performed marathon DJ sets at Chicago clubs for decades. Though he passed away in 2014, his legacy lives on, and many of his songs are still enjoyed today. Songs to listen to include “The Whistle Song” (1991) and “Your Love” (1984). “Your Love” is considered one of the very first house music tracks, making it a classic in the genre.
2. Daft Punk
Daft Punk have truly revolutionized electronic music by emphasizing aesthetics and the ability to reinvent themselves throughout the years. Its two members, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter has recorded over 90 songs, including “One More Time”, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, “Around The World” or “Da Funk”. “Da Funk” is considered a house music classic and is featured on Daft Punk’s debut album, Homework (1997). Homework is the album that brought the French house music scene and Daft Punk worldwide attention. Since then, Daft Punk has released other albums and songs which have been influenced by other genres, including disco and funk. The group is often listed as an inspiration for more recent house artists.
3. Carl Cox
Carl Cox was only 15 when he began his DJ career, which is right around the time that Chicago house music was starting to develop. He helped introduce the genre to the British club scene and is considered one of the founders of the genre. He has played at nightclubs around the world, served as a radio DJ, and has a rich discography. Some of his mixes worth listening to include “Italy” (1996) and “Dance Valley” (2001). Cox remains active in the DJ scene.
More than two years after his passing, Avicii’s legacy remains more than solid. The Swede became a pioneer of EDM in the 2010s after the release of his hit “Levels”. Though Avicii experimented with music from a variety of genres, when he first started in the late 2000s, he was essentially focusing on progressive house music.
While he resorted to sampling specifically on instrumental music that incorporated elements from the house music genre and the electro genre. Later on in his career, he started experimenting by combining the styles of other genres. In his album True (2013), elements of progressive house music are paired with elements from other genres, including country, rock, and pop.
Marshmello, an artist that kept his identity a secret for several years before being identified as DJ Christopher Comstock, is an electronic house music artist that has experimented with different genres, including progressive house music. He gained recognition by posting original tracks and remixes to his SoundCloud page in 2015. He has collaborated with other modern artists. Among his most well-known songs are “Happier” (2018), which was produced in collaboration with Bastille, or his hit “Alone”.
6. Swedish House Mafia
Swedish House Mafia is a house music group composed of several Swedish artists, Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso. They were active between the years of 2008-2013, though they have also done a reunion in 2018 and a show 2019. Before coming together as a group, all three performed as solo DJs, though begin playing together after becoming friends. They produced two compilation albums together; Until One (2010) and Until Now (2012).
7. Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris is a Scottish producer and DJ who has been one of the leading EDM artists since the 2010s. He became interested in electronic music as a teenager and began producing songs, but he didn’t gain popularity until after beginning to share his songs on his Myspace page in the early 2000s. His first album, I Created Disco, was released in 2007 and features electroclash music inspired by music from the 80s. While some of his songs have features of house music, they’re also combined with other genres. Harris has often reinvented his style while remaining true to his signature sound.
Diplo is an American producer that has recently been on top of US music charts. Diplo began DJing in college, and once he had a fanbase, he released two mixtapes. It is only after Diplo had garnered recognition as a DJ that he turned himself to producing. He gained additional notoriety after he worked with the British female rapper, M.I.A and his collaboration with Tiesto on “C’Mon” in 2010. From there, he went on to work with other pop artists to produce remixes, of artists such as Madonna, Shakira, and Chris Brown. In 2019, he released two further house tracks that are worth checking out, “Hold You Tight” and “Bubble Up”. Diplo has plans to continue exploring the genre and remaining a corner piece of EDM.
9. David Guetta
David Guetta discovered house music in 1987 when he was a DJ in Paris. In the early years, he helped introduce house music to France’s gay club scene. Though he released several songs and albums over the years, he didn’t start receiving international popularity until 2009, which is when his fourth album, One Love, was released. While his songs have elements of house music, and Guetta considers himself as having a close relationship with the genre, his songs also incorporate elements from the pop and hip-hop genres. David Guetta is another example of a particularly successful mainstream artist that has redefined Electronic Dance Music over the years.
10. Danny Tenaglia
Danny Tenaglia’s interest in the electronic music scene at the age of 12, when he was introduced to mixtapes and became interested in the techniques behind them. As he grew as an artist, he started producing numerous remixed and original tracks. Starting in the 90s he also began holding residencies at popular New York clubs, allowing him to become a leader in the introduction of house music to NYC clubs. One song to check out is “Surrender Yourself” (1994). In a similar vein to Carl Cox, Tenaglia’s style of house is probably the one that remains truest to the original house sound that was played in the Chicago nightclubs.
The Best Places To Listen To House Music
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to some recommended house music artists to listen to! Keep in mind there are many more influential house music artists out there to listen to; it is a diverse genre, with a wide range of artists from around the world as well as many subgenres (Classic House, Chicago House, Future House, Tech House, Progressive House). Songs and remixes from artists can be found on popular streaming services, including YouTube and Spotify. If you’ve listened to house music and have decided it is not for you, try checking out our guide to Future Bass music instead.