I think it’s fair to say that recently there have been quite a few ladies absolutely killing it; FKA twigs, Little Simz, Kehlani and Jhene Aiko to name a few. However, with a constant stream of new music, it’s become easy for incredibly talented artists to get overlooked, receiving little-to-none of the recognition that they truly deserve. So, it only made sense to compile a list of a few females you probably haven’t heard of yet, but will be loving soon enough.
This Chicago born musician, raised between New York and Ethiopia, has beautifully honest lyrics that leave you wanting more. On her track ‘7 Billion’ off the EP Dark Blue she ends with the lyrics ‘if we win move along / if we lose god save us all’. Dark but also relatable, I was drawn to the honesty in her music. In past interviews, Mizan has said that she doesn’t make music to entertain people and this self-satisfying attitude is clear in her sound. Her tracks feel like captured thoughts that intrigue the listener further. With delicately produced tracks filling her EP, Mizan is an interesting artist to pay close attention to.
The first time I heard Jessy Lanza was back in 2013, through her track ‘Kathy Lee’ and I was a fan from the moment I heard the understated synthy R&B track. From her brilliant debut album Pull My Hair Back, to more recent collaborations such as ‘You Never Showed Your Love’, featuring Teklife’s DJ Spinn and Taso, Lanza’s music is instantly recognisable. Her voice is distinctive and her tracks are memorable and catchy. A fast-tempo glitchyness coupled with Lanza’s dreamy vocals creates a sublime fusion.
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Australian Vanessa Elisha is doing something original with R&B, but maintains that sexy feel-good thing the genre has always elicited. Sometimes hearing a good track can instantly flip your mood, ‘Midnight Swim’ definitely does this for me every time. Elisha’s sultry voice allows you to listen to her tracks over and over again. Collaborating with producers such as J-Louis and Salute has certainly helped Elisha garner attention and release some fantastic tracks. Not to mention her work with XXYYXX on her most recent release ‘Out of Time’. At such a young age, Vanessa Elisha is certainly one to watch.
For more Australian R&B, have a listen to CVIRO, Wafia, GXNXVS or aywy.
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Szjerdene’s solo material is beautiful; with an incredible yet distinct vocal range she is an artist worth watching. Her earthly voice is unexpected on a track like ‘Glass Age’ from her latest EP Paragon, which contrasts with more hard-hitting tracks on the EP like ‘Abode’. In terms of production, the two tracks are very different, yet they work because of Szjerdene’s unique voice which adapts seamlessly around the track. With numerous releases under her belt, including ‘Lapalux’ with ‘Closure’, Szjerdene is at the top of her game and I have a feeling she’s not going anywhere.
I first heard of Wrice on her cover track ‘Devante Swing’. Wrice started out posting covers online, and her ability to make these tracks her own is what makes her so special. Joyce Wrice has a nostalgic R&B sound and has previously said that growing up listening to the likes of Brandy, Ashanti and Aaliyah has influenced her sound. With 90’s R&B as her inspiration, she’s certainly taking things forward and putting her own contemporary twist on the sound, currently working with producers such as MNDSGN off Stones Throw Records. Even so, her video for ‘Ain’t No Need’, shot with an 80s style VHS camera, conjures some serious R&B nostalgia. Wrice is currently finishing up her EP Stay Around, so keep an eye out!
This list of upcoming female artists is just a taster of the talent around at the moment. There are many more who promise an exciting 2016, but for now have a listen to this selection, and let this be your guide to further discoveries.