Kid Loki Born in NYC, but raised in the Bay area since she was 2 years old, Laura Alisse Proenza is the child of a Cuban dad and percussionist Puerto Rican mom. The 24-year-old runs the Red Light Café performers series at The Bunker in Ybor City, hopes to own her own venue or musicians' hostel one day and was the lone female on the Four Horsemen Tour made up of mostly hip-hop and rock acts from the Bay area. Her tiny stature is juxtaposed with the big voice and smile she flashes on stage whether performing spoken work or ukulele, and her favorite moments are when the audience is paying her no mind “until I open my mouth and close my eyes — it’s like as soon as my eyes close, so does everyone else’s mouth.” kidloki.bandcamp.com
Achilles the Conqueror In September, CL had a little fun with Tampa songwriter and composer Andrew DiMestico by giving him a Best of the Bay award for his bold, if not braggadocious all-caps Facebook posts. He fired right back at us, and as he readies a brand new album (Valor, set for release on January 20 at Crowbar), DiMestico says there isn’t much of a difference between the boisterous Achilles and Andrew himself. He’s wholly committed to self-producing his albums without the use of samples (Achilles has been known to shred a Dean Flying V from time to time), and Valor ditches some of the hate and darkness on earlier albums in favor of a fun, club-ready and posi-pagan vibe that finds the Tampa creative ready to get money and also meet some beautiful black women. facebook.com/achillestheconqueror
Mark Castle Mark Castle is a self-described “underground pop star and unconventional drag artist,” who started creating music in 2007. “It was terrible,” Castle told CL. “Nothing from my first half of my time in music is available anywhere.” What is available these days, however, is industrial electro-pop like “Did You Hear Me” and an eye-catching approach to drag that is the aesthetic hallmark of Castle’s output. The performer has a lot of visual work and live performance planned for 2018 and has been getting flown to other states to perform. Keep a lookout for local shows, and lurk @themarkcastle on Instagram in the meantime.
Philip Booth He’s a freelancer at Relix, Downbeat and JazzTimes, but Philip Booth is also a full-time supporter of and participator in Tampa Bay’s jazz scene. You’ll mostly find the 56-year-old playing with Acme Jazz Garage (which gigs at places like Timpano in South Tampa, Indie Tampa, Ella’s and Dunedin Brewery), but he — along with bandmates Bryan Lewis (Serotonic), Matt Swenson and Pat Close — have also been known to show up in the lineup alongside blues band Juke Joint Kings and even the Lakeland-based Swan City Jazz Project ensemble (which features pianist Jody Marsh). Sets with two other bands — Zensemble and Trio Vibe — are more rare, but 2018 might see Booth finally record a few original tunes he had to postpone putting to tape last year. acmejazzgarage.com
Cat Lim Designer, illustrator, podcaster and music lover Catherine Lim pushes the pen at St. Pete ad agency Pyper Young, Inc. by day, but the non-work hours find the University of South Florida product getting punny and jumping around different text styles as she creates show posters (including some bangers for shows by Big Freedia and Sweater Beats at Crowbar), logos and even grilled cheese homages for a wide swath of bands, producers and festivals from Tampa Bay and beyond. Follow @catlimdesign on Instagram.