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London based singer, songwriter and producer Dan Bartlett aka Dan D’Lion stepped into the spotlight in style with his Tame Impala and N.E.R.D-influenced debut single “Give What You Take” towards the end of last year. The track’s vibrant atmospherics are present in follow up single ‘~treading water~’ which boasts again brings together his colourful vocals with a dazzling array of electronic pulses infused with sizzling synths. ‘~treading water~’ is a magnificent example of alternative pop packed with refreshing ideas, cementing Bartlett as one to watch.
Sam Rui has established a name for herself in Singapore over the short span of two years through her incredible covers and spellbinding original material. The singer/songwriter has performed in numerous local music festivals, collaborated with international acts such as Alextbh, and has created a distinctive, sultry sound. In ‘Solid Gold’, Rui teams up with LXX & High4 20 and encapsulates the essence of R&B whilst igniting a perfect, late night mood. The track wonderfully sets the scene perfectly for her forthcoming sophomore album which is set to be released later this year.
Based in Minneapolis, Lizzo is a playfully fierce wordsmith and dynamically diverse artist. Practising powerful versatility, she bangs out unconventional bars and in the next breath, breaks to belt out a classic bridge. Lizzo is responsible for lyrical revolutions in the modern rap world that most might first recognise from groups like Grrrl Party, but she’s since set a steadily burning fire under her own “Big Grrrl Small World” solo career. She spans genres, styles and aesthetic personas from funk infused battle raps to pop inspired ballads and soulful glam slams like her latest single, ‘Juice’.
From the thriving area of Copenhagen called Nørrebro, you find a young woman named Selma Judith. Having worked with the likes of MØ, Vera and Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, the singer/songwriter has already drawn plenty of attention at home and abroad with her previously released singles “Kind of Lonely” and “I’m A Mess”. Her latest single “Inner Thigh” – which is aptly tattooed on the singer’s inner thigh – follows the same sonic path with its minimal, lo-fi R&B sounds carrying Judith’s enticing vocal lead.
Parisian based artist Ehla brings her soulful,silky voice to a stirring upbeat instrumentation on ‘L’Antidote’, which is co-produced by Enzo Serra. The French pop vocalist channels the 90’s wave back through a groovy track that is full of hope. Combining nostalgic vibes with a modern electronic touch, the singer creates her very own DIY sound which is brimming with an infectious energy. Serving as the first single of her forthcoming new album, ‘L’Antidote’ is a brilliant taste of what’s to come from the singer.
In a short space of time, Aden x Asme have introduced themselves into the Swedish rap community with a bang and have quickly shown why they’re one of the most exciting artists to come out of Sweden. Even though they rap in Swedish, their digital success with millions of streams on Youtube and Spotify has led them to an audience that spans the world with songs like ‘Kasse’, ‘jet ft Mo’ and ‘skiner’. They’ve worked with Afro B and Dun D (UK) along with producers like Ceefigz who’s produced for rising British artists like Fredo, Sneakbo, Yxng Bane and D Block Europe. The duo’s latest single ‘Favela’ is produced by the iconic Swedish producer Masse Salazar and encompasses the pair’s smooth flow as they work their magic across the spirited beat.
South London based newcomer Arlo Parks introduced herself with the soulful and delicate debut single ‘Cola’ last November, a spellbinding effort which showcases the artist’s unquestionable promise. Oozing a sense of calm throughout the track, the eighteen year old artist lays down her soothing tones across a soundscape which boasts funk-filled guitar melodies and persistent drums which carry the track along its graceful path. Exploring the notions that come with the heartbreak of a cheating lover, ‘Cola’ serves as a wonderful introduction to Arlo Parks’ poignant songwriting and alluring voice.
Jinka’s music is explosive in all the best ways possible. Originally from Transylvania, the West Berlin based singer, songwriter, producer and musician unleashed her powerful debut single ‘Trash From The Past’ in 2017 and has since been dropping her vibrant and atmospheric slices of electro-pop cuts into the universe. Her latest offering is the unique and playful ‘Ghost 2 U’, a track which continues Jinka’s trend of adding a dollop of the unexpected – something that’s also present in the track’s accompanying intriguing music video. Whether it’s through the oddball sound samples or her energetic vocal delivery, Jinka has the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat at all times.
Sydney based artist BLESSED first burst onto the scene with the spirited ‘One And Only’ back in 2016 which served as the perfect introduction to his eclectic alternative sound. Since then, the artist has released a slew of equally impressive tracks along with a stellar EP in the form ‘Love Letters’ which features stand out cuts like “Insanity” and “Sorrows”. Fast forward to 2019 and BLESSED has set the goal of releasing a brand new song every Sunday (#BLESSEDSUNDAYS), the first of which is the energetic ‘BEAMIN’’, a gritty guitar heavy cut which perfectly blends the worlds of Hip Hop with an alternative rock edge.
The word “Mou”, means “nonchalant” in French. Nonchalant but not lazy, Mou redefines the codes of rap and French chanson. Putting his oar in, with the existing French wave, he navigates between genres with a touch of humour. With a wheedling and often hypnotic sound, Mou soothes and relaxes but never forgets to entertain using the clichés of rap to distort them and offers a well-needed dose of love, softness and altruism. This is ever present throughout his latest offering ‘Royal Calin’ which dropped last November; a six track project which features stand out singles such as ‘Cha-Cha’ and the groove-inflected ‘Croissants’.
Swedish artist, songwriter, producer and visual pioneer ionnalee is known for being one half of the electronic music duo iamamiwhoami. Since 2010, ionnalee has released a staggering five audiovisual albums and installations on her own label To whom it may concern. In early 2018, she debuted as a solo artist with the release of her album and musical film ‘EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN’ which was followed up by a sold out world tour. In October 2018, ionnalee became the second person ever to perform at the renowned night club Berghain in Berlin. ‘EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN’ is an electronic, beat driven, dance floor banger that commands the listener’s attention with its haunting production and the singer’s mesmerising vocals. The visuals too, offer an invitation into ionnalee’s world of mystery, emotional vulnerability, creativity and mind blowing imagination.
South London trio 2U4U comprise of rappers Cal and My Rugema along with producer Ranbir, who together, create jazz-inflected Hip-Hop tracks that boast clever storytelling with sophisticated instrumentation. Last summer saw the release of their incredible debut full length project ‘Butter’, an eight track exploration of past romances, experiences, family, religion, identity and everything else in between. From the bombastic production on debut single ‘Kings of Africa (Tell Me)’ to the sparkling atmospherics of openers ‘Gurl’ and ‘Home’, ‘Butter’ marries an amalgam of influences that intertwine classic Hip Hop beats with jazz and neo-soul inflections to soundtrack their insightful narratives.
Sri Lankan-born, Toronto-based rapper Shan Vincent de Paul teams up with fellow native Navz-47 on his smooth and mellow new single ‘Heaven’. Having released two spectacular albums in the form of ‘Saviors’ and ‘Trigger Happy Heartbreak’ in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the sideways member’s music touches on a range of topics from politics and family to identity and love through his powerful lyricism and thought provoking music videos. With the LA+CH produced ‘Heaven’, Navz-47 takes centre stage as she sings/raps in Tamil over the lush soundscape whilst Shan Vincent de Paul offers up his own smooth vocals for the chorus.
India-born, California-raised singer-songwriter, Zoya is carving a home for herself in the Indie folk music world. Graduating from the world renowned Berklee College of Music with a music business degree, one can notice the sincerity and truthfulness in her work as she unmasks her conscience in her confessional songwriting and orchestral arrangements. Her music encompasses a diverse variation inspired by her country of birth, connecting North Indian traditional music through her captivating vocal style merged with deep stirring harmonies, emphasising her wanderlust nature. With three albums to her name, she’s gained recognition from heavyweights such as A.R. Rahman, as well as touring worldwide alongside various international acts. ‘Closer to Closure’ hails from her Afterglow Single Series where she released a new track every ten days – the song encapsulates the idea of finding a sense of closure in life with the unspoken issues and unfinished relationships she formed whilst living a dual life between India and America.
Intentionally acclaimed duo The Reminders offer an eclectic blend of beats born from hip-hop’s classic era with soulful vocals and funk filled bass lines, founded upon a lyrical focus toward fiercely positive, empowering poetry. Their high energy shows weave wild dance breaks with anthemic choruses and reggae drops in a unique collage of shamelessly openhearted, self expression and a diverse style that is entirely their own. Married in life as well as partners in music, The Reminders, who’re comprised of Brussels-born Big Samir and Queens-born Aja Black, purposefully share their personal stories to inspire people to transcend any separation that might exist between the artists and their audiences, reminding their listeners that we are one family. This is wonderfully embodied in their brilliant track ‘I Remember’ which is lifted from their ‘Born Champions’ album.
LOSTINSAVANNA (aka Bow James) is a rapper, producer, graphic designer and self proclaimed “art enthusiast and creative extraordinaire” from Nairobi, Kenya. A member of the O.D.D. Society, the rapper is highly involved in the East African creative sector through his audio/visual collaborations with the new wave of indie artists on a mission to shape the future of contemporary African culture. Experimenting with a fusion of psychedelic trap, LOSTINSAVANNA just dropped his debut project ‘Frequency ’95’ which he describes as “an exploration into the sonic world of chaos and euphoria” and features the fiery ‘Red Coupe’. The track’s pounding instrumentation, courtesy of Bow James and Adam Dire, serves as the perfect backdrop for the rapper’s spirited delivery and fiery flow.
Ethiopian-American musician and songwriter Mereba yields a voice that heals, warms and soothes on gorgeously textured songs that evoke the deepest of emotions. Her latest offering, the unequivocally beautiful and relaxing ‘Bet’ which dropped towards the end of last year, sees the L.A. based artist capture a love that’s worth fighting for against all odds. Mereba’s golden tones flutter across the gentle guitar-laden soundscape, before lifting off in an unexpected but poetic spoken word piece that adds another layer to the track. With her debut project set to be released later this year, allow the tranquillity of ‘Bet’ to soothe your soul.
Ros (‘rose’ in Swedish) is a rising singer from the south of Sweden who’s voice and new wave music has brought her on tour across the country the past months. She started 2018 with the release of her debut EP ‘Woke Up’ which was followed up by her exceptional 10 track album ‘Peaches n Cream’. The album is a collection of super smooth and laid back tracks, brimming with deep and downbeat trap instrumentation with Ros’ smooth voice at the core. Ros has worked with three of Sweden’s hottest producers around: Von Haartman, (who’s produced the most talked about tracks this year with rapper Fricky) By Any Means, and Academics. Ros’ career has rapidly gone from online buzz to a critical acclaim in no time at all – it’s safe to say that you definitely need to remember the name.
Paraphoniks was formed when Shatrunjai Dewan and Sid Shirodkar began to explore their shared love for modular synthesizers. In 2016, the duo promoted their second release, ‘Yarns’, with a string of audacious surround-sound shows that featured their music in an 8.1-channel incarnation. Since then they’ve continued to evolve into an increasingly genre-agnostic project, embracing various forms of electronic music with a unique sense of sonic experimentation.
Their latest offering, ‘Silhouettes’, was conceived during a two-week writing stint in the Himalayan hills. It retains the synth-heavy sound the duo are known for, while elevating the production levels, treading more expansive musical territory and conceptual ground. Featuring collaborations with singer-songwriter Azamaan Hoyvoy and drummer Sahil Shah, the album’s non-linear narrative takes inspiration from various modern-day cults and quasi-religious movements.
South London artist Yxng Jynn steps up to the plate with his debut solo single. After attracting attention this year for production credits and features with NOTAROLEMODEL and Reservoir & 237 affiliates Kish! & Virgil Hawkins, the gifted rapper & producer takes the limelight for himself on “Ghostride”. A tripped-out, g-funk infused trap effort with irresistible energy, the track will no doubt soon live up to its self-proclaimed billing as a ‘certified hood classic’.