Written by Krystal Beez //
Get familiar with these five female emerging artists.
Origin: East London, Britain
What she’s about: NAO is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she studied vocal jazz. After teaching singing for a few years, she decided that she wanted to make her own music. Since 2014, she has released two EPs on her own label Little Tokyo. NAO’s sleek and at times, dark production, combined with her rich and subtle vocals, create a smoky neo-soul sound that integrates quite a few different influences, such as funk, R&B and UK bass, seamlessly. Most recently, NAO contributed to Disclosure’s Caracal on the superb track “Superego”, as well as released her first single from her debut album, which is due out early next year. Listen to “Bad Blood” below.
File next to: FKA twigs. SBTRKT. Lion Babe. Billie Black.
2. ANDRA DAY
Who: Andra Day
Origin: San Diego, California
What she’s about: After releasing a few covers that went viral on YouTube back in 2012, Andra Day is now signed with Warner Bros. Records. After one listen, it’s easy to see why many compare her to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday. But it’s not just her vintage style and “retro-pop-soul” sound, as Day calls it. It’s that raw emotion that few singers have, and it makes for a very special live performance. Her debut album Cheers to the Fall was released earlier this year and is produced by Raphael Saadiq and Adrian Gurvitz. She recently performed in San Francisco to a sold-out crowd at Rickshaw Stop (hopefully you were there). If you weren’t, watch her live performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert below, and you’ll understand why she’s on this list.
File next to: Amy Winehouse. Billie Holiday. Adele.
3. ZARA LARSSON
Who: Zara Larsson
Origin: Stockholm, Sweden
What she’s about: If you’re looking for a new pop fix, look no further. At just 17 years old, this Swedish pop singer has already won Sweden’s equivalent of “America’s Got Talent”, signed a record deal and released her debut album 1. “Lush Life”, her debut single from her second album, is the stuff that summer jams are made of. And then there’s “Rooftop”, another pop anthem with light harmonies and a strong beat. But perhaps the most exciting track in her repertoire is the latest, a collaboration with MNEK (an amazing up-and-coming artist in his own right) titled “Never Forget You”. In September, the track was named by Annie Mac of BBC Radio 1 as the hottest record in the world, and rightfully so. Get ready to listen to your new favorite song below.
File next to: Robyn. Lorde. Rihanna.
Origin: Southwest London, Britain
What she’s about: “The idea of taking something and fusing it with its complete opposite excites me,” TALA says of her influences. This best describes what the multicultural producer is all about, and her music explains the rest. Start with “The Duchess“, released last year, and then listen to “Tell Me”, featuring up-and-coming UK producer Mssingo and Korean group Wa$$up. Both tracks combine electronic pop with a global, experimental sound that is all her own. And then check out TALA’s most recent release, which features Banks, and you’ll see why TALA is one of the most exciting producers to emerge this year. Listen to “Wolfpack” below.
File next to: Cashmere Cat. Lil Silva. M.I.A. FKA twigs.
What she’s about: Not a whole lot is known about Kiiara other than the fact that she is from Illinois, worked at a hardware store and Felix Snow produced her first single “Gold” (below). But we’re loving her whispery voice over the glitchy pop/R&B bass-heavy beat. Hippie Sabotage released their remix of “Gold” just a few weeks ago, and Kiiara’s debut EP Meet Me in the Cornfield is coming soon.
File next to: Made in Heights. Kate Boy. Alina Baraz. Marian Hill.
Which female emerging artists are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!