The Hidden Gems of North Carolina: Rising Artists Edition

By: JoAnn Snavely

North Carolina has birthed many stars since its establishment in 1587. Nina Simone- a singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist, was born in Tryon, North Carolina. Oscar-winner Julianne Moore was born in Fayetteville. TV star and producer Andy Griffith is also among the many stars born in North Carolina. It’s no secret that North Carolina is home to many of the stars that we look up to. Although there are already plenty of established stars, there are many talented artists working hard every day to establish a name for themselves. What is it like being a small musician? What inspires musicians to start making music, and who influences these musicians? Making it big is hard, but it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of North Carolina’s hidden gems in the music industry.


Feelings Club (@feelingsclubnc) is an NC-based indie band. Chris Clay, Blaire Fullager, Lucia Sargent, Mitchell Guariello, Marshall Zeegers, and Lu Sargent Velasco have been working and making music since 2018. Their debut album “know all your enemies” was released in September of 2018; since then, some of their most popular songs have been “When I Go Home”, “Gray Overhead”, and “Leave the Window Open”. Blaire and Chris met at a concert a couple of years ago and hung out for a bit before losing contact. They reconnected 5 months later in 2018 when Blaire asked Chris if he wanted to start a band with her, and Chris said “sure”. Feelings Club is actually the name of Blaire’s old pin company. The band’s music style is influenced by bands like Animal Collective, Bedbug, Weezer, and many more.  What is the writing process like for a growing band? For Feelings Club they usually just write and record in their bedrooms, Chris Clay, the songwriter, guitar, and vocals of the band said: “We rarely get to write together, but we generally send recordings back and forth till we consider them done.” This process is how they put together music that they release.


As of right now, Feelings Club has 460 monthly listeners on Spotify, but they enjoy being a small band because they enjoy being able to have closer relationships with their fans instead of a bunch of strangers. Although it makes things more difficult for the band, they are still able to thrive. Feelings Club might be a small band as of right now, but they have the talent to grow into something much bigger than themselves. But, just because they are small, doesn’t mean they want to always be small. The band sees themselves in the future being successful, going on tours, and being able to make their passion a career.


Feelings Club has 2 released albums as of right now: “know your enemies”, and “A Day in the Sun”. Their music is the perfect combination of exciting and calming. , providing a variety of bedroom pop and indie rock to the table. They are an indie rock band that’s preparing to flourish with a bright future ahead of it. Below I’ve linked their Bandcamp links!

Authors recommendation: I’ve actually been listening to Feelings Club for a while now and some of my song recommendations are “stupid pigs smh”, “daddy’s money”, and “Bikebikebike!”. 


Leila Rose ( is a singer, songwriter, and producer of her own music, and has been making music since she was a kid. Leila’s first single, “Into Snow,” was released on New Year’s Eve of last year. Leila is a sophomore from the greater Wake Forest area. Leila Rose’s is actually a stage name, the artist’s real name is Brooklyn Taylor. So why Leila Rose? Leila is of Arabic descent; Brooklyn wanted her stage name to channel her Moroccan ancestry. Not only does the name Leila represent her ancestry, but she also wanted to channel into her alter ego which for her is what comes to play when making music. Leila means “night” or “born in the night”, which gives her a sense of duality because she was born in the morning and tries to spread positivity. Rose is her middle name; she chose to merge the two to demonstrate her darker “alter ego” rising. Leila has always been surrounded by music from a young age as her dad was a rapper and producer in his 20’s. Leila realized she wanted to go into the music industry when one day she figured ,“Woah. I can kinda sing. I can definitely write. Let’s make some music”. Leila’s biggest influences are Amy Winehouse’s smooth jazzy vocals, Beyoncé’s iconic performances, and Frank Ocean and SZA’s storytelling in music. Leila feels very inspired by artists like Rhianna and Beyonce because of the talent they bring to the table; for her, “it’s very impressive and inspiring especially as a black, female artist.” Leila channels these musicians into her own music production.


Leila feels humbled as a small musician; she’s had to learn a lesson or two in patience, hard work, and commitment. She’s learned many important skills as a small musician–skills like teamwork and networking have been crucial in her time as a small artist. For Leila, the biggest perk is that it “allows for creativity to be maintained, which a lot of big artists don’t have the luxury of.” As an unsigned artist, she has complete creative freedom towards releasing her own music. It’s hard being a small artist with such big dreams but she knows, with the passion and drive she possesses, she will make all of her dreams come true. Leila hopes to one day be financially stable and be able to have the time and energy to pursue other projects along with maintaining relationships. Leila plans to meet and work with many different creatives spanning over many fields to eventually create a team of people with a similar vision to surround herself with. 


Leila only has her single “Into Snow” released as of now but plans to drop her debut EP in October. Leila’s music is a mix of multiple different moods and feelings. She works in the R&B, jazz, and funk genres. Her music style is unique in the sense that she writes whatever stimulates her creative side. Leila’s writing process is ever changing with her mood. The only constant in her creative process is she always starts with a song half-created and then pieces it together. Leila’s number one rule is “if it doesn’t feel like it’s telling a story, I’ll sit on the concept until it does.” Leila creates art through telling stories, and her music truly reflects that. Leila Rose is a talented musician who is on her path to success. Leila Rose can be found on Spotify, and her links will also be at the end of the article.


Both Feelings Club and Leila Rose are two talented artists who have bright futures ahead of them. They are doing the thing they love and are both extremely skilled and creative musicians. Stars are born in North Carolina and these stars are just waiting to be discovered. They are the hidden gems of North Carolina.

Feelings Club:




Leila Rose:




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