Newly unveiled Fender Next Class of 2023 highlights 25 guitar-powered artists you need to hear this year

The Fender Next logo, with photos of (left to right, top to bottom) Momma, Samm Henshaw, Cecilia Castleman, Wallice
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has announced its fifth class of Fender Next artists, and in doing so has identified 25 up-and-coming musicians who have been tipped for greatness by the guitar giant.

It comes as no surprise that Fender – a key champion of young instrumentalists from a huge array of backgrounds and genres – has once again earmarked a strong cohort of diverse guitarists, having selected the likes of Sam Fender, Wet Leg, Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast, Madison Cunningham and more in previous Fender Next intakes.

For its 2023 class, Fender has selected emerging bedroom indie pop heavyweight Dayglow – aka Sloane Struble – as well as fellow US-based indie acts Momma, Wallice, Bartees Strange and Jean Dawson.

The US draft is completed by indie pop duo Cafuné, bass guitar player Adi Oasis, DannyLux, soulful singer-songwriter Devon Gilfillian and trio Yahritza y Su Esencia, as well as 49 Winchester and Cecilia Castleman.

In the UK-based section, the names of British alt-rock act The Mysterines, The Voice television talent show winner Ruti, pop duo Tommy Lefroy and “non-confined musician” Deyaz can be found, alongside popular soul songwriter Samm Henshaw.

Part of the Fender Next brief is to introduce wider audiences to artists from diverse geographies and genres, and so a handful of artists based in Japan, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Canada, and Australia have also been drafted in to complete the class.

These names include Luna Li, Bratty, Grentperez, Ruel, Breimen, Chilli Beans, Sunset Rollercoaster and Wen Zhaojie.

Each of the names listed above were hand-selected by Fender’s artist relations team following an open call that resulted in a record 800+ submissions to the program, with the team striving to select a class that is “representative of the future of guitar and the wider industry."

Just like the previous Fender Next intakes, these artists will receive a pack of curated items from across Fender’s brands – including Player Series electric guitars and PreSonus monitoring headphones – and marketing support across the company’s social platforms.

Of his call-up, Bartees Strange commented, “I am so excited and shocked to be selected as a Fender Next artist. I know so many phenomenal artists who've been picked in this program, so I'm pinching myself a little. 

“I've played Fender guitars for my entire guitar life. The first electric guitar I bought with my own little kid money was a Fender Stratocaster,” he added. “I played that guitar in my bedroom, in my mirror, for many years before buying Teles, Jazzmasters, Jaguars, and the list goes on. I'm honored and extremely excited to work with a brand that's stepped up for me many times over and I look forward to the collab.”

Fellow Fender Next name Grentperez offered, “I feel absolutely honored to be part of Fender Next 2023. It's an absolute thrill to be part of this next class of creatives, to be able to share my music more intently with the guitar community. Whilst my skills aren't entirely the most refined, I definitely add my personality into each progression and melody I play.”

To find out more about each member of the Fender Next Class of 2023, head over to Fender’s website.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.