Best R&B Act
Photo by Slim O'Neil

For the past six years, singer-songwriter Dyna Edyne has endeared herself to fans with forward-sounding R&B tracks. "I try to create what uniquely comes from my palette," she tells New Times, attempting to explaining the popular appeal of songs like "Talk to Me Nicely" and "Lilly Frilly." The videos that accompany those tracks bring out another level of her artistry. "Working with the resources I have in South Florida and the creatives down here has brought those ideas to life and allowed the song to shine through the visuals," she says. "It lets more emotions flow to the audience. The beauty of being in South Florida is staying touch with my culture, which is Haiti, and the creativity from the Caribbean diaspora here. I'm grounded in where I come from as well as in the music and art I represent." Fans can expect an EP and single from her soon.

Best Electronica Act
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Crank Hallucination Sister, the new EP from Phaxas, and you'll find yourself nostalgic for the days when it was safe to dance the night away in a crowded roomful of sweaty strangers. At the same time, you'll find yourself curing said nostalgia by dancing right where you stand. Influenced by intelligent dance music from the likes of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, the Miami-born and -based Phaxas aimed to create a quartet of songs that would bang when she played them live or when someone clicked play on the streaming service of their choice. And on rave-happy tracks like "If You're Nasty" and "We Are Pure Ecstasy," that mission was accomplished.

Best Rock Band
Photo by Maria Marquez

Founded on the outskirts of the Everglades back in 2016, over the past twelve months Folktale San Pedro have put out a catalog to prove they were more than an urban legend. Pre-COVID, they rocked 100-plus shows a year up and down South Florida, but one always had to wonder if what one was seeing was actually happening. Members of the art-rock quartet covered their faces with latex alligator masks and never released any recorded music as evidence that what you heard the night before truly existed. They've now remedied that, revealing their faces to the world and releasing two synth-rock EPs, 2020's Four Short Expressions to Make a Good Impression and 2021's Pseudolife. The chorus of their latest single, "Face Again" — "You know I'd love to see your face again" — hints they have no interest in retreating back into anonymity.

Best Solo Musician
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Miami is most definitely not Nashville. Country music isn't exactly well-received around these parts. Even the big acts — think of your Lady A's and Jason Aldeans — don't perform south of the Broward-Dade line. It's as if nobody bothered telling Pennsylvania native Nick County any of that. County has been championing the sound (and fellow local folk and Americana acts) ever since he moved here ten years ago. This year saw the singer-songwriter release his third album, A Colorful Corner of Northeastern Pennsylvania, an ode to his home state. The album took shape after County invited a few local musicians to his hometown to record, funding the effort with his online poker winnings. The deeply personal album covers topics like loss and forgiveness with pop, indie, and folk touches anchored to a decidedly alt-country foundation.

Best Songwriter
Photo by Yasser Marte

Since Rachel Angel returned to her hometown last year after a sojourn in Brooklyn and a tour of the U.S. and U.K., the alt-country songwriter has released an EP and played shows around town. Now she's hitting the road again. "I just got back from recording a nine-track album at Miner Street Recordings," she tells New Times. With support of fellow Miami musician Rick Moon, the album was recorded at the well-known Philadelphia recording studio, which has hosted the likes of Kurt Vile, Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Van Etten, the War on Drugs, and more. Release details are still being firmed up for Angel's first full-length album, but she's already off to New York and thence to Valencia, Spain (to explore higher education, she explains). Her roots, though, remain in Miami.

For the past several years, Bianca Brewton has infused some of the most iconic pop cultural moments with her fiery moves. And if you're unfamiliar with her work, allow us to school you. She's the girl who soloed during Beyoncé's 2018 Coachella opener clad in a one-legged, tiger-striped bodysuit. She's danced beside artists both new and legendary, including Missy Elliott, Shakira, Normani, Cardi B, Janet Jackson, Miley Cyrus. And most recently, she was that girl who twerked away the satirical misogyny while wearing a risqué police uniform in Megan thee Stallion's "Thot Shit" video. And it's not just a music video thing. She was featured on HBO's Lovecraft Country as "Bopsy," a ghoulish caricature whose deformed and haunting movement exaggerated the racist depictions of black children. Even as Brewton makes a name for herself in hip-hop and film, she never strays too far from home. She wrote a book called The Walking Miracle to inspire young performers. During the Covid lockdown last year, she started the fitness dance class Let's Ride 305, where she teaches Miami dance moves and choreography to dancers all over the world. Whether her talent takes her to LA, NY or anywhere else in the world, we can count on Bianca to continue embodying the city's unique dance culture.

Best Record Label
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Since its formation in 2019, Public Works Records has worked to assemble a catalog that prizes quality over quantity. Now the quantity is slowly coming, too: seven releases to date, and more promised by year's end. Label bosses Nick County, Oly, and Julian Martin staked out a niche focusing on singer-songwriters who don't fit the stereotype of the Miami sound. They've been able to create their own mini-scene in which labelmate artists perform on each other's songs and support each other at live shows. From the psych-rock of Rick Moon to Rachel Angel's alt-country liltings to Juan Ledesma's bedroom pop, they demonstrate that Miami's indie-music soul is alive and well.

Psychic Mirrors don't drop albums, they drop cinematic, musical bombshells that leave fans spluttering with questions and observations like, "How did you pull this off?" and "Please don't leave us alone for another six years!" and "My nose is bleeding. I think my brain is melting." Formed in 2010, the six-piece funk, boogie, and soft-rock band, led by Mickey De Grand IV and featuring Myra Stone, Al Battle, Alex Nuñez, Antoine Rocky-Horror, and Oscar Guardado, debuted its enigmatic stylings with Nature of Evil, a fully conceptualized and executed soundtrack to a thriller penned by the band and filmed by director and cinematographer Mike Ruiz. The release cemented them as Miami legends. Six years on, Psychic Mirrors outdid themselves with their sophomore effort, Ophilia, a mind-blowing, 19-track, 81-minute cacophony of flawless funk odes that conjure an exciting, imaginary version of Miami while also reminiscing about its heyday. Yet again, the album acts as a soundtrack, this time to a romance drama following a washed-up Hollywood composer who gets a second chance at stardom when he's employed at a sinking television network, directed by Mike Ruiz and Mickey De Grand IV. It's a feat of creativity that comes around once in a blue moon, a true gem.

Best Musical Act
Photo by Julieta Romina

Riding full-speed toward the stage in golf carts at the Okeechobee Music Festival in March of 2020, Jaialai, members of psychedelic rock band Jaialai — Jose "Jovi" Adames, Richard Boullon, Mario Lemus, and Oscar Sardiñas — appeared to be on the cusp of something special. The band, which had been splitting time between studio sessions and relentless gigs across Miami, had gained the kind of momentum that had local music fans giddy with excitement for what was to come. Then COVID descended, threatening to kill the forward momentum. But with the same good-vibes-only attitude and creative tenacity that made them a beloved fixture on the local indie scene, the outfit chugged on from lockdown, first delivering the hypnotic, laid-back summer dream that is the EP Culebra, then following that up — and blowing everyone away — with As Sweet as I Was, a five-track EP laid down at the Bull Recording Studios that perfectly captures the band's melodic essence. Summer saw Jaialai returning to the Arsht Center and Space Park, not to mention a date at III Points in October. Anyone else getting that giddy feeling again?

Best Hip-Hop Act
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Hailing from Lauderhill's Shallow Side neighborhood, FCG Heem has carved out a lane for himself among South Florida's rising stars. Raised by Jamaican parents, he grew up absorbing his father's collection of reggae music along with the diverse influences from his city. He began rapping at age 11 but didn't take his music seriously until three years ago, after the birth of his son. Since then, he's garnered attention for his tracks, which are equal parts raw and melodic. His most recent album, Neighborhood Poetry, gives listeners a candid peek into his trauma and struggles. "I pretty much rap about everything I've seen or gone through," he tells New Times. Regardless of his budding fame, FCG Heem remains driven by the impact he has on his community and his family. "I'm really like the first one from my hood, so that's major to me, and I know they're proud of me," he says. "Where I'm from, people don't really make it. I'm happy I'm letting them see it's possible. I got the whole city on my back."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®