SXSW Success Stories: Is Your Band Next?

Written by Rory Burbeck | Thursday, Jul 11, 2013

Mikal Cronin at SXSW 2013Mikal Cronin at SXSW 2013
(Photo by Mallory Turner)

Written by Stefanie Goodman

Is your band on the fence about applying to be a SXSW 2014 Showcasing Artist? You should know that SXSW isn’t just for the bigwigs of the music industry. It’s for any artist or band that has an overwhelming passion for the music they’re making and the drive and determination to keep fighting until they reach the top. SXSW is a launchpad - and if all else fails, you get bragging rights. Below are some bands that quickly climbed to the top after SXSW. Scroll down to read their stories.



You may have heard of Haim before the 2013 festival, but what you might not have known is that the California band of three sisters didn’t sign a record deal until after their debut at SXSW 2012. After returning to Austin a second time for SXSW 2013, they walked away winners of the Grulke Prize for Developing US Act, which is given to an artist who is breaking new ground and showing creativity and promise in their up-and-coming career. They are now touring with heavy-hitters Mumford & Sons and Florence & The Machine.

Mikal Cronin

If you’re a fan of Ty Segall, you might recognize the one and only Mikal Cronin, who previously played bass in Ty Segall’s band. In 2011, Cronin went out on his own and released his own self-titled album while still attending college. The album was an instant hit and featured the popular song “Apathy,” which “mixes harmonies, song structuring and piles of instruments, but mostly, an anxious feeling...a song with a lot to grab onto and a killer introduction to Cronin as a solo artist.” A year later, he was at SXSW 2012 and he signed a deal with Merge Records following that. Before you knew it, he was back again at SXSW 2013, which led to an increased fan base and the title of the 3rd Best Thing Seen at SXSW 2013 by SPIN.


International band CHVRCHES from Glasgow, Scotland, are also thriving in the spotlight after SXSW 2013, winning the Grulke Prize for Developing Non-US Act. The trio, which formed only two years ago, made their debut this year in the US and at SXSW. Their success skyrocketed after their appearance this year in SXSW, so much so that not a single inch of space was left in the Mohawk during their performance in Austin again this past June. CHVRCHES is currently on tour and will be releasing their full-length debut album in September.


Click here for more information about applying to be a SXSW 2014 Showcasing Artist and click here to apply now. Stay tuned to SXSWfm to hear music from Haim, Mikal Cronin, CHVRCHES, and more artists that got their start at SXSW. And don’t forget, band applications for SXSW 2014 are now open!