A marvellously finessed fusion of alt-RnB and pop from American talent Liliana Mae. This singer-songwriter and producer crafts songs that feature melodic instrumentals and vulnerable lyrics, forming sounds that are not only soulful and emotive but completely enchanting.
“Have you ever felt like love made you invincible? ‘You + The World’ reflects those moments where love was nothing but a sweet, reminiscent dream. I wrote this while looking back on some of my sweetest memories and wondering if things would ever go back to the way they were.”
Teen talent nicole han has written an anthem for the youth with her new single ‘aftertaste’. This is an introspective pop song that presents intelligent lyricism over an anthemic melody, growing in intensity as the sound concludes.
“As I am wrapping up the last year of being a teenager, I’ve recently reflected a lot upon the past decade. People always tell me, ‘your teens are the best years of your life!! Don’t forget to savour it while it lasts!’ But the truth is, these are the years where we are growing into ourselves, emotional, confused, and maybe a bit anxious. I wrote this song to express the bittersweet emotions surrounding my teenage years. There’s been times where I hate this stage of life and want to pack up and leave, but part of me knows these are the best years of my life.”
Having heard a few releases from Jack Blair over the recent weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that this artist may well be one of the next musical exports to emerge from Ohio.
This is indie-pop at it’s best; simple melodies, engaging lyricism and well-constructed productions mean that every song on new album ‘Broken 2 Beautiful’ is a joy to experience. On ‘One for Me’, Jack says:
“This song is an actual attempt for me to write a song that, no matter how low I’m feeling, could lift me out of it. It’s about being beaten by imposter syndrome, bruised in the ego, battered by the world, and turning it around, remembering that I am not defined by depression. Hopefully the chorus lifts you like it does me.”
‘Broken 2 Beautiful’ is out now, and if you’re in Cincinnati be sure to check Jack perform live on the 18th September 2021- tickets here.
While still only 19, it seems quite possible that Andi could become a household name over the coming year, having recently garnered nearly a million new Tik Tok followers and independently adding 100k Spotify followers over the last few months.
Her new single ‘Money’ gives the side eye to silver spooners who have no self awareness, and talks about how money affects us all – including artists.
“Having moved to LA at 16, I was exposed to a very toxic culture surrounding fake wealth, clout etc… As a young artist, it’s very easy to get caught up in the mix of it. Money was incredibly fun to make; it’s pretty much a diss track to the people who think they’re better than you due to their social status.”
A beautifully nostalgic and dreamy sound from Oregon-born talent Haley Johnsen. Raised listening to powerhouse singers like Brandi Carlile, Eva Cassidy, and Bonnie Raitt, these inspirations become apparent through Haley’s soaring vocals, introspective lyricism, and cross-pollinated style of indie-pop, and bluesy folk rock music.
New single ‘Goner’ was written in a bathtub in a vintage trailer, in the midst of having an existential crisis. She remarks that the song is about:
“The longing for what once was our youth and also the fear of death. It’s about my own internal struggle trying to stay present and at peace with who I am now, where I am now, and realise that my childlike self is still very much alive in me. It’s a reminder that I don’t need to be afraid or insecure with where I am in my life.”
Formed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, White Novels are an emerging outfit from Scotland who blend elements of pop, indie and alt-rock into a sound that, frankly, is impossible not to enjoy.
When you press play on new single ‘California’ you’ll realise that these chaps have mastered a sound that feels unique and experimental, all the while still being accessible for any listener to connect with.
“‘California’ is a love story about an experience Jack (band member) went through back in 2019. He was dating a girl from California while she studied at University of Edinburgh. Like most relationships nowadays, it started via online dating apps, and progressed to them meeting up regularly at ‘The Jazz Bar’ in Edinburgh. The song explores themes of heartbreak, teenage naivety, romance and cheating. It turned out the girl had a boyfriend all along, the lyric ‘When I held your hand, not knowing you’re the middle’ reflects the fact this girl was leading two lives without both guys knowing. Jack being 5000 miles away from the ‘real’ boyfriend.”
Emerging from Massachusetts is Nick Rannikko, a producer and engineer who crafts a sound that feels dreamy and emotive, yet still feels easy to listen to and make a connection with.
New single ‘More’ opens with a lo-fi ambience, before plunging the listener into a soaring chorus that shows off Nick’s captivating vocals.
“In a literal sense, ‘More’ is about being lied to and led on but you can’t help the fact that thinking about the other person only gets worse. You only want more of what they have to offer. ‘More’ to me means moving on. Finding new ground and releasing built-up tension. It means acceptance and growth.”
A stunningly meditative and melancholic piece of electronic soul from UK talent Ones. This is an artist who uses their work as a way of addressing human connection, whether that be with others or connection with our own selves.
‘Blessings’ is released on World Suicide Prevention Day alongside visuals that focus on the isolation caused by mental health issues, with an aim to encourage the breaking of the stigma that often leads people suffering to feel ashamed of seeking help. On the song, Ones says:
“I think the thing I noticed the most in the last year is how so many of us hadn’t taken time to process our past or ourselves until being forced into lockdown. Constantly moving forward in hope of everything working out with no real conversations. Some people made changes, some people started over but 4,902 people didn’t make it out of 2020 due to suicide in the UK.
Mental health is something we all have and will struggle with at some point in our lives. The state of it is something we should care for. Sometimes it’s harder to talk about because the people around us – even family members don’t recognise it as an issue, let alone know how best to support us. A massive part of it is how the older generations were “treated” or how they were made to look at those who struggled. Sometimes it’s because there’s a guilt around the reasons for your upset but It should be just as important to support and understand as it is to love and have fun with those around us. Sometimes you can’t explain it.
I’m not telling you tell to the world what it is you’re struggling with right now or how something has affected you. I’m just asking you to be honest with yourself and those you trust if ever in serious doubt.
Writing this record broke me because it never felt good enough, but we got there in the end and it has allowed me to share this with you and write / understand so much more about myself. For that I’m grateful and I hope you enjoy it.”
Emerging from Melbourne comes artist SANNIA, who’s new single ‘Sad Rich Girls’ is likely to be one of the biggest pop bops you’ll experience this week.
The song serves as a statement on that one girl – who instead of lifting other women up will drag them down to get to the top; all the while forgetting that strength comes in togetherness. On the song, she says:
“I started by pulling some samples from early 2000s Paparazzi and fan-filmed celebrity interactions and stitched together the intro and ending of my homemade demo. I really wanted to capture that Paris Hilton-era of reality TV.”
Already garnering support from prominent tastemakers like Wonderland and Earmilk, it’s clear that RnB talent ANISE is destined for big things.
Ahead of her debut EP ‘Black Eve‘ coming out this October, she releases the title song of the project today. The song pays homage to Divine Feminine Power as the ideal response to brutality and violence; serving as a force-for-good.
“It isn’t simply a protest song, but a prophetic song of transformation and resurrection. I wrote it as a way of coping with my grief and overwhelm amidst the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Elijah McClain. The song is a call to channel the Divine Feminine qualities of healing, compassion, nurture and light in response to brutality, as opposed to responding with imbalanced Divine Masculine energy (like unbridled aggression), which many of us are conditioned to believe demonstrates strength”.
One of the most exciting indie-pop outfits to emerge from LA of late, Paper Jackets seamlessly craft sounds that feel both nostalgic and relatable, all the while carrying a modern edge. With bold vocals and infectious melodies, this band could well be ones to watch out for.
New single ‘1969’ is a love song that transports the listener back to the Summer of Love, and is taken from their new album ‘Souvenirs, Vol. 2’ which is out now.
Miami-based talent riela credits genres like disco, pop, RnB, and Panamanian reggaeton for the development of not only her musical soundscape but also her artistry as a whole.
And listening to ‘lyu2‘ really gives you a sense that she could well be the next Latinx RnB starlet to emerge from the US.
“‘lyu2′ brings up an experience that a lot of people have gone through when it comes to relationships. Where you’re not entirely sure if you’ve fucked something up with the person or if it’s just in your head. Either way, they’ve kind of ghosted you/switched up their energy towards you and you’re just tryna’ figure out what you did to get little to no reciprocation. We stay emo out here.” – riela
A hugely exciting blend of soul and pop from Maryland born singer-songwriter Lil Seyi.
This is a sound that feels controlled and structured, yet brims with a playful sense of energy that is both captivating and charming to any listener.
“I remember first hearing the word denouement in my 9th grade english class and thinking it was such a cool word. Fast-forward about 6 years when I was writing this song, the word came to mind because Adam (producer) said the beat reminded him of August. In his words, ‘every August it just seems like something ends and I almost dread it it’s weird.’ I wrote ‘denouement’ to capture that feeling; the dread of a good thing coming to an end.”
Hailing from Brixton in London comes teenage outfit kid apollo. With a visceral and hushed hybrid of RnB and pop, this trio are crafting songs that are sonically interesting and lyrically engaging.
“We’re expressing our experiences within the way we live through our music. We aim to never restrict ourselves to one genre as this wouldn’t reflect the type of artists we are. Whether the songs are talking about relationships or our last function, all we really want when someone first listens to our music is for them to be in their own space and get lost in the songs.”
Track of the week. Leicester-raised artist SOFY has to be the most exciting British talent that I have come across so far this month.
An understated and hazy indie-pop sound with a dose of cheekiness, it’s no wonder she’s already picking up support from prominent tastemakers likes Clara Amfo, Jess Iszatt, Gemma Bradley, and artists Tom Grennan, Sam Fender, and YUNGBLUD.
An outstanding debut from social media starlet Jharna Bhagwani. ‘Tell Me’ is a perfected alt-pop sound with dark undertones, carrying the message that no one deserves to be in a toxic relationship.
Thanks to an already huge following on social media (10 million followers on Tik Tok and over 3 million on Instagram alone), it seems only a short space of time before this talent takes over the pop world.
“Art has become my channel for exploration and experiment. I enjoy playing different characters. I create concepts, messages and how I want them to be perceived. People have seen my work in makeup videos. This time, I have the opportunity to express my alter-ego in a different form, a song and music video.”