We're not here to harp on someone's age, but it can be sobering when a musician younger than 21 is kicking ass while we sit in our cubicles wondering where we went wrong in life. Here are some of the best.
Caleb Lewis is the 20-year-old wunderkind guitar virtuoso and sentimental lyricist heading Dallas’ favorite pop punk trio, Teenage Sexx. Since 2014, Lewis and company have steadily been releasing handfuls of demos, several singles, a split-EP with Barf Wave label-mates Loafers and two EPs of their own. After completing a West Coast tour last fall, the band returned to the recording studio to put together an album expected to be released this summer. There was also a video for Teenage Sexx’s single, “Going Home Again,” in which Lewis played the lead character in a cast of house partygoers he just could not fit in with. Teenage Sexx plays shows regularly in Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth — often in 21-plus clubs where Lewis can be seen sporting a black X on his hand next to his “talent” wristband. On top of all that, Lewis has a part in a short horror film directed by Erin Shea Devany of All Hallows Productions coming soon. Musician and actor — that is some real rock star cred. David Fletcher
What more can be said about Leah Lane, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist of Rosegarden Funeral Party? Already recognized as one of our “8 Female DFW Artists Who've Taken a Sledge Hammer to the Glass Ceiling,” Lane has accomplished so much at just 20 years old. Not only does Lane front Rosegarden Funeral Party, one of the most sought-after post punk bands in the Dallas music scene, but she also fronted Moon Waves, the defunct psychedelic band that spawned both Rosegarden Funeral Party and Acid Carousel after the members parted ways. Lane can be seen tearing up the stage in Rosegarden Funeral Party’s video for “Blitzkrieg in Holland” and walking lakeside in its video for the ballad “Seeing You Here and Now.” Lane is not the only member of Rosegarden Funeral Party younger than 21. Three of its four members are also unable to drink at many of the shows they play in — drummer Tate Christopher is also 20, and bassist Will Farrier is 19. Can catch Lane and company when they make their triumphant return from their West Coast tour at Double Wide on April 12. David Fletcher
Gus Baldwin, frontman for Acid Carousel, is 19. Baldwin has been gigging in Deep Ellum since he was only 13, so he’s no newcomer to the scene despite his age. After being in Moon Waves with co-frontman and lead guitarist for Acid Carousel, John Kuzmick (now 22), the guys branched off several years ago to form AC, and most of the members in the raucous psyche rock outfit are newly legal or not quite there yet — Lucas Martins (guitar, 19), Ian Salazar (bass, 20), Drew Wozniak (keyboard, 21) and Ian Brothers (drums, 21). The band’s youth and buoyant energy could be credited with bolstering its prolific output. Acid Carousel often releases multiple EPs or albums per year, and 2018 is no different. It's launching three full-length LPs, including a rock opera expected by the end of the year, and a collaborative LP with Johndavid Bartlett, a long-timer in the Texas psych scene since the 1960s. All of that work has gotten noticed; the outfit was nominated for best group act for 2017’s Dallas Observer Music Awards, as well as best EP for Higher than the Beatles. Alaena Hostetter
Moses Turgeman, a 15-year-old blues-rock musician, has been performing since he was in second grade. His swinging rhythm and crisp voice have been featured in bars, parks and coffee shops all over town. Born in Dallas in 2003, Turgeman moved to Israel, where he found his interest in music at age 4. Three years later, Turgeman began taking private guitar lessons and performing with an after-school choir in Herzliya, Israel. In 2015, Turgeman moved back to Dallas and set his sights on the DFW music scene. Since then, he has been all over the area. Influenced by performers such as Queen, The Beatles and Elton John, Turgeman likes his songs to tell stories. In “Hey Hey Dude,” which was recently featured in Amy Miller’s The Local Show on KXT, Turgeman sings about a young man who asks an old performer to play him the blues. According to his website, Turgeman has performed with the likes of Avi Singolda, Pablo Rosenberg and Marty Freedman. There are many great things ahead for Turgeman. He hopes to release his new album, We Rise, by the end of October and will perform April 21 at Central Park in Garland. Jacob Vaughn
It’ll be another two years before Cuban Doll can legally buy some alcohol, but that may be the last thing on the 19-year-old’s mind as her rap career continues to flourish. The Dallas native is on a West Coast tour with buzzing California outfit SOB x RBE, which is featured on Cuban Doll’s Aaliyah Keef mixtape. The release of that project last fall exponentially boosted the rapper’s profile on the national scene, and since then, she’s been a mainstay with influential music publications like Noisey, Billboard, The Fader, Papermag and XXL, with all of them touting Cuban Doll as one of hip-hop’s next big stars. It’s easy to see why she garners so much attention. Cuban Doll raps with the confidence and swagger of a Chief Keef (one of her favorite rappers) and the legendary Trina. With a modeling background, the rapper also flaunts her unique, colorful style and camera-ready looks while not shying away from her rougher side or alter-ego, known as Cuban Savage or Aaliyah Keef. The dynamic artist is certainly someone to keep an eye on as her stardom swells, and did we mention she’s only been rapping a little over a year? Mikel Galicia
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Carol Gonzalez, 18, is a member of the all-girl punk group Manifest Destiny’s Child. They play frenetic and forceful music that is wise beyond their years. The band has spent the better part of four years without being able to step foot in a bar. “Up until recently, we’ve always been the youngest people at the shows," Gonzalez says. "Drinking is something we’ve obviously been exposed to but never really had any sort of problem with whatsoever. It’s not something we’ve avidly thought about how to manage risk over. As long as everyone is having fun and respecting each other, I see no problem.” Better still, the older musicians welcomed them. “For the most part, people are usually pretty respectful. They get that we are just people trying to make music at the end of the day, and age really has no effect on that.” However, their age has forced them to take risks to make it to a gig. “The coolest experience we’ve had so far was playing at the pre-Broketopia show at Midway [Craft House in Denton]. It was an anti-Oaktopia show with Sexual Jeremy and the Noids. It was on a school night back when we were in high school. I had to sneak out because my parents wouldn’t have let me played, but I’m so glad I did because it was a lot of fun.” Taylor Frantum
Remy Reilly is only 14, but when you hear her sing, you wouldn't know it. This middle-schooler writes all her own tunes, and judging by the sounds of her first and self-titled EP, she has a long career ahead of her. Whether she's singing about a relationships she says she's never been in or just an everyday crush, Reilly seems to have songwriting figured out. When you see her perform, she's either sitting behind the mic backed by a band or she's playing the piano, letting her lyrics stand on their own. "I'm not a thrown-off girl, you know I rule this world," Reilly sings in "Rattlesnake," and you know what, we've come to believe it. Paige Skinner