French artist Zed Yun Pavorotti’s ‘Septembre’ tells the story of a child-adult or an adult-child. It’s a succession of images related to childhood, a confused speech that, by its confusion, tends to show the violence that falls free on a child when he must kill himself to renounce his innocence. Zed Yun Pavorotti delivers a number tinged with melancholy and depressive emotions with the abstract nature of his music adding to its mysticism. While trying to dive into the mind of the rapper from Saint-Etienne, the audience discovers the world of a big child, somewhere between reality and fiction, between concrete and stars.
Chennai-born, Bay Area-based singer, songwriter and producer Sid Sriram’s music oscillates between progressive R&B and soul with classical Indian (Carnatic) influences. His long-awaited debut album ‘Entropy’, which features previously released single ‘It Isn’t True’ and ‘6 weeks’, is packed with gems that exhibit Sriram’s poetic songwriting, heartwarming voice and magnificent production.
Peppered with moments of spoken word magic, ‘Entropy’ depicts stories of love, family, identity, loss and heartbreak in a way that’s both refreshing and powerful. From having his ‘Eyes Open’ in the first track to seeing ‘Limitless’ in the closer, Sriram brings ‘Entropy’ full circle, leaving the listener content and enlightened.
Minneapolis based multidisciplinary performing artist Dua Saleh showcases her unique and eclectic sound on debut EP ‘Nūr’ which is executive produced by Psymun. The five track project boasts the newcomer’s poetic wordplay, intriguing flow and subtly smooth voice over bold and captivating soundscapes. From the haunting, self-produced opener ‘Sugar Mama’ to the equally arresting ‘Warm Pants’ and ‘Kickflip’, Dua Saleh effortlessly tackles everything from politics and gender identity to self expression, proving why she’s one of the most exciting creative voices around.
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.
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.
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’.
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 pop 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.
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.
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.
Amongst a wave of Malaysian artists on their way to international prominence, Alex Bong is one to watch. Under the moniker Alextbh, the 22-year-old’s sound infuses R&B with a slick pop energy, especially evident in his latest single, ‘walls’; the track is a continuation of his previous single, ‘still mine’, reminiscing on love, loss, and longing. Using his platform to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community, the self-taught artist continues to capture the attention of many.
Danish trio CHINAH’s experimental R&B sound is delivered with artistic minimalism on their debut LP. Fine Glindvad, Simon Kjær and Simon Andersson originally formed in 2014 as a folk outfit before branching out and making waves with a number of dark synth-pop hits, drawing inspiration from off-kilter duo Smerz. Throughout the creative process behind “ANYONE”, lead singer Glindvad took the unorthodox approach of both writing and recording her vocals whilst fully horizontal on a sofa, capturing the natural fluidity and reflective intimacy that provides the essence of the album.
French duo Terrenoire take their name from the Saint-Etienne district in which they grew up. On their debut EP, the duo bewitchingly tells the story of their odyssey to the capital, “the City” as they call it, alongside the irrepressible attraction that brings them back to their hometown. The two brothers Raphaël and Théo chase their utopian “Black Paradiso”, as they elegantly explore their childhood through surreal poesy and moving productions between electronic hip-hop and French chanson.
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Amidst the growing popularity of the dark, late-night sound in the Philippines’ emergent scene, Alisson Shore’s blissful falsetto and sweet harmonies stand out amongst the crowd. A producer/singer songwriter in Manila, he identifies his style to be a mix of lo-fi R&B and futuristic pop, reflective of a blend of influences into which latest single ‘Watercolor’ fits perfectly. Shore uses his vivid songwriting ability to tell a tale of failed relationships and bad chemistry, using a painting motif to explore the “symbolism of two non-identical colors that when blended in, no matter how hard we mix or add/lessen, it just doesn’t seem to look or blend well.”
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Kumail is a musician from Mumbai, India with an experimental electronic sound. His music stems from a myriad of influences, particularly jazz and hip-hop, while exploring more ethereal regions through heavily manipulated live recordings with atmospheric synths, meticulously panned rhythm sections and vocals forming the fundamental characteristics of his live performances. His album ‘From You To Blue’ was released in March 2017 on Knowmad Records. The project is about the end of relationships; addressing these experiences was something Kumail had never done before, giving birth to a new sound through his inner exploration.
In a scene where hype can build and fall dangerously quickly, A2 is an artist who has been slowly burning away, honing his sound and building a dedicated following over the last six years. After the success of his 2017 debut full length album ‘Blue’, the south London artist returns with a brand new 5-track EP that takes on a warmer shade; the rapper sets the tone from opener “Flex Luthor”, as his distinctive croaky flows ride soaring RnB-infused trap production with celestial synths and pads creating an uplifting atmosphere. Standout track “Flair” sees him link up with Octavian, Suspect and Yxng Bane for an irresistible banger, underlining his status amongst the UK’s upper echelon of elite artists who are pushing the culture forward.