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Get to Know the Performers at Culture Shock ‘22

Updated: May 5, 2022

By Billy Arrowsmith

Culture Shock is back, and students across campus are pumped for anything that will distract us from our dreary pathetic lives. This year has a fun lineup of great artists across a wide variety of genres. If you want to familiarize yourself with the performers before seeing them live, we’ve got you covered with a primer breaking it all down. This guide should give you an idea of what to expect from each artist and where to start if you want to check out their music.



Photo by Adrian Lozer

Description: Penthouse Boys is a synthpop/sophisti-pop duo based in Brooklyn, NY. They formed in 2016 as a “half-serious, half-joke of a side project” that graduated into a first EP and sold-out shows around the country. They’ve said their favorite things to write music about are “funny and weirdly sad, like being rich in your penthouse but feeling all alone at the same time.”

Songs to Check Out: Don’t Say Goodbye, New in Town EP

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Eli Barnes

Description: Lip Critic is a local Westchester alt band founded at Purchase that has been described as electro-punk. Featuring The Beat’s resident heart throb Danny Eberle (hi Danny!), their sound is built on heavy drums, samplers and vocals with an intense energy that matches everything else they do.

Songs to Check Out: Been Born, The Loan, Shame

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Alex Kawasaki

Description: Malaya Watson is an R&B/soul singer from Southfield, Michigan. She rose to prominence on season 13 of American Idol. Her work was recently featured on Snoop Dogg’s 2021 compilation album “Algorithm.” Right now her goal is to “hit a back flip off the eiffel tower.”

Songs to Check Out: Anxiety, Inspiration, Me, Right?

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Andre L Perry

Description: KeiyaA is an independent singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Chicago. Her early influences were soul music and jazz, but she has also described taking heavy inspiration from goth and post-punk/alternative rock. These days her sound focuses on R&B, electronic music, and a heavy emphasis on poetry.

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Olivia Anzalone

Description: Annie DiRusso is an indie-rock singer/guitarist and a Westchester native. Her music has been described as “combining the grit of New York City with the unique sound of Nashville.” You can expect a high-energy pop-infused vibe with heartfelt lyrics and often punk-influenced vocals. Currently she is about to embark on her “Crying Everywhere” tour with Caroline Culver.

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Alberto Vargas

Description: Princess Nokia is a New York City hip hop artist and this year’s first day headliner. Their career began performing in the city’s gay club scene, and they are gender non-conforming using both they/them and she/her pronouns. Nokia’s sound has explored a wide variety of genres like afropunk, emo rap, trip hop, rap metal, soulful R&B, and just plain experimental. This musical diversity is embodied in their recent twin studio albums Everything is Beautiful and Everything Sucks representing different aspects of their personality. Their work touches on themes celebrating their afro-indigenous roots, queer identity, spirituality, and intersectional/urban feminism. These are also discussed on their podcast, Smart Girl Club. They are a self-described “hippie, a cyber-goth, a raver, and a punk.”

Not a song but the video of them throwing hot soup at a racist on the train is also pretty great.

Where to Look Them Up:



Photo by Father Koi

Description: Kara Lu ‘22 is a rising pop artist from Queens, NY. Her early songs were described as soft indie music, but her latest work has been more focused on hyperpop with an electro-punk/EDM influence. From a very young age she studied classical piano. The sound is constantly evolving as she experiments with new genres and themes ranging from nostalgia to queer romance, but she never deviates from her “honest and stripped-down lyrics.”

Songs to Check Out: Dreamgirl, emo girls!, Feel for You

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Liberty Music PR

Description: Vibe World Order or VWO is a hip hop collective with seven members coming out of Union, NJ. They describe their sound as influenced by a wide range of sources from N.E.R.D. to Death Grips. In their words, their biggest interest is “making art that others may deem uncomfortable and in due time, making the uncomfortable, the most sought after.”

Songs to Check Out: Lift, Teriyaki, FOSHO

Where to Look Them Up:


Description: Laura Elliott is an indie singer/songwriter from upstate New York who released her debut album “People Pleaser” earlier this year. Her work has been praised for its soothing melancholy explorations of heartbreak and other struggles. She describes Phoebe Bridgers as one of her greatest influences, and characterizes herself as an “adrenaline junkie.”

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Omari Spears

Description: Soul Glo is a hardcore punk band that grew out of Philadelphia. Their sound is intense, energetic, loud in the best way, and often infused with rap lyricism. They are known for their political commentary, militant leftist rhetoric, and deeply emotional work exploring mental health issues. Their vocalist Pierce Jordan says “I like super upbeat, crazy shit, or very emotionally heavy shit, and "heavy" just can mean so many different things.”

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Alex Krauss

Description: Imperial Triumphant is an experimental metal band based in New York City. Their sound has been described as avant-garde, black metal, and even jazz fusion. Metal Wanderlust says they “work together so well as a unit it’s difficult at times to tell if we’re being treated to frenetic moments of serpentine improvisation, or if the band painstakingly crafted and performed each note to the point of flawlessness.”

Songs to Check Out: Alphaville, Atomic Age, Rotted Futures, Transmission to Mercury

Where to Look Them Up:


Photo by Sway’s Universe

Description: Rae Khalil, also known as ill Tha Don, is a Los Angeles-based hip hop / R&B artist with a great flow and typically chill funky production. She recently gained widespread attention for her breakout performance on Netflix’s rap competition series Rhythm + Flow. In her work she talks about feeling like an outcast growing up until rap helped her find her voice. Recently she has opened for Queen Latifah and Common.

Where to Look Them Up:

J.I the Prince of N.Y

Photo by George Mercado

Description: Justin Irvin Rivera, also known as J.I. or J.I the Prince of N.Y, is a Brooklyn-based hip hop artist and this year’s second day headliner. His career got a jumpstart at the age of 15 when he was discovered by Jermaine Dupri and featured on Dupri’s competitive reality show The Rap Game. In his Billboard they describe his style as a “penchant for syrupy melodies” with influences from R&B, trap, Brooklyn drill, and even reggaeton. He talks about wanting to honor his Puerto Rican heritage and continue the legacy of Big Pun in bringing New York’s Hispanic community together. Rivera is particularly known for songs that have been described as “emo-leaning” reflections on young love and heartbreak, always with a graceful flow and tight punchlines.

Where to Look Them Up:



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