Five emerging artists you need to hear

Sophia Somajo, Maggie Rogers, Terror Jr, Jorja Smith, Era IstrefiWritten by Krystal Beez //

Get familiar with these five emerging artists.


Sophia Somajo

Who: Sophia Somajo

Origin: Stockholm, Sweden

What she’s about: They must be putting something in the water in Sweden. The amount of exemplary pop music that has come from the Scandinavian country is insane, and its latest export, Sophia Somajo, is no different. Somajo first arrived on the scene back in 2007 with a complete DIY project, The Laptop Diaries, and now, she’s back. “Sapphire” is the stuff that delicious pop dreams are made of. It’s got a hook made of gold. Just add in some dark fringes, and you’ll be hooked. This track has been stuck on repeat since my first listen. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

File next to: Sia. Charli XCX. MO.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Maggie Rogers

Who: Maggie Rogers

Origin: Maryland

What she’s about: Maggie Rogers is a student at the NYU Clive Davis Institute. You may have seen this video on Facebook during which she plays a song of hers for Pharrell Williams, and his reaction is amazing. That video has gone viral, and the track, “Alaska”, is now available on iTunes. Rogers combines folk, dance and a self-proclaimed genre of movement/feelings in her music. “I wanted to make dance music, or pop music, feel as human as possible,” Rogers recently told Pigeons & Planes. Do yourself a favor and have a listen. That chorus has all the feelings and makes me move. Keep an eye on the name.

File next to: Sylvan Esso. Oh Land. Niki & The Dove.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Terror Jr

Who: I just know there are three of them.

Origin: New York? LA? Canada? Greenland?

What they’re about: This enigmatic trio has been keeping its identity on the down low for now (remember when no one knew who ZHU was?), and its first track “3 Strikes” was featured in a Kylie Jenner commercial a few months ago. While some people are convinced that it is, in fact, Jenner singing, The FADER tells a different story. What I do know is that “3 Strikes” is on point, riding a similar wave as Kiiara, with light, airy vocals over a hypnotizing beat. And now “Sugar” has been released, and I am officially hooked. Terror Jr can seemingly do no wrong.

File next to: Kiiara. Felix Snow. The Chainsmokers.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Jorja Smith

Who: Jorja Smith

Origin: Walsall, England

What she’s about: Jorja Smith first came on the scene back in January with the poignant “Blue Lights”, which ignited more than 100,000 plays on Soundcloud in a week. The song was written as part of a school project that asked Smith and her classmates to dissect the legacy of post-colonialism in grime. It quickly put the 18-year-old on the map as she drew comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill. Since then, Smith has dropped a track entitled “A Prince” featuring English-Irish singer/rapper Maverick Sabre and her latest cut “Where Did I Go”, cementing her place as an emerging R&B artist that you need to know.

File next to: NAO. Zak Abel. Lauryn Hill.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Era Istrefi

Who: Era Istrefi

Origin: Pristina, Kosovo

What she’s about: Era Istrefi is an Albanian Kosovar singer-songwriter that comes from a family of singers. She has been on the scene in Europe since 2013 and won three Albanian Music Awards. Istrefi recently gained international attention after the release of her latest single “Bonbon”. From there, she signed to Sony Music Entertainment and Ultra Records. According to Spotify, she has the most plays in Hamburg, Germany. Check out “Bonbon”, which is my pick for song of the summer.

File next to: Rihanna. Dua Lipa. Major Lazer.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.

Who is your favorite emerging artist? Let us know in the comments section below!

Five emerging artists you need to hear

Five emerging artists you should hear this AugustWritten by Krystal Beez //

Get familiar with these five emerging artists.



Who: Ellinor Olovsdotter

Origin: Stockholm, Sweden

What she’s about: Inspired by Scandinavian pop and the Jamaican-influenced dance scene in Sweden and Denmark as well as London’s dubstep scene, Elliphant’s music is a global potpourri of electrifying rhythms and powerful, yet raw, chants. “Down On Life” is her most “traditional” song, while her more recent singles, “Only Getting Younger” and “Revolusion”, resemble the efforts of her Mad Decent associates M.I.A and Maluca much more. Elliphant is currently on tour supporting the fabulous Charli XCX. Catch them both at Slim’s in San Francisco on Saturday, October 25th. Get your tix here.

File next to: M.I.A., Mapei, Maluca.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Seinabo Sey

Who: Seinabo Sey

Origin: Stockholm, Sweden

What she’s about: Seinabo Sey is of both Swedish and Gambian descent — a fact that is reflected in her music, which is an accessible blend of Swedish pop, R&B and African rhythms. At just 23, Sey made a big splash across the blogosphere with her debut single “Younger” and is currently recording her debut album in Stockholm. With crisp production coming from fellow Swede Magnus Lidehall (Mapei, Veronica Maggio), Sey’s powerhouse vocals are always the focus of each track. Hopefully we get more tracks from this emerging pop/soul artist in the very near future.

File next to: Ella Eyre, Marlene, Mapei.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.


Zella Day

Who: Zella Day

Origin: Arizona

What she’s about: Zella Day first appeared on the scene a few years ago with her sparse and organic cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army“. Since then, Day released the single “Sweet Ophelia” and began drawing comparisons to Lana Del Rey. The Arizona native picked up a guitar at a young age, capturing inspiration from the Arizona scenery, Western films and personal experiences to create a raw sound that doesn’t really fit into one specific genre. Currently, Day is in the studio working on her debut EP, and if her single and B-side “1965” are any indication, then we can expect some charming indie pop to hook us. Until then, check out her newest release “East of Eden” below.

File next to: Lana Del Rey, Broods, Betty Who.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.



Who: Oliver Lee and James Carter

Origin: London, England

What they’re about: If you need a more laid-back soundtrack for the summer, then look no further than Snakehips. The London duo make music at that sweet spot where the 90’s R&B of yesterday meets the technology of today. They’ve topped The Hype Machine charts with remixes of Banks, Wild Belle and The Weeknd, and they are getting ready to take over. Think Disclosure, but at reduced speeds. Check out their newest single below, featuring the always lovely vocals of Sinead Harnett, who has previously been featured on tracks by Rudimental and Disclosure and is another artist to watch out for in 2014.

File next to: Disclosure, Cyril Hahn, Kidnap Kid.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.

5. ZHU


Who: Steven Zhu?

Origin: Current location is California (LA/SF)

What he’s about: Zhu is the mysterious producer behind the Outkast mashup “Moves Like Miss Jackson“. You won’t find any pictures of him on his website or on Facebook. His EP Nightday is out now on iTunes, and you can listen to it on Soundcloud. Zhu issued the following statement about keeping his identity hidden: “Many are wondering why I chose to release my music anonymously. I am my own ghostwriter. As a society, we become more attached to the creator than to the creation. Music is faceless. My music is for a new generation—one in which people appreciate art for its intrinsic value—Generation WHY.” His chill, deep house and “letting the music speak for itself” vibes have got people intrigued, and he is set to be one of the biggest breakout acts in 2014. And now you know everything there is to know about Zhu — for now.

File next to: Moon Boots, Disclosure, Duke Dumont.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.

Which emerging artists are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Five female-fronted, emerging UK acts you need to hear

5-in-JulyWritten by Krystal Beez //

With the Fourth of July in the rearview mirror and the taste of independence fresh in my mouth, I thought it would only be fitting for us to get familiar with five emerging artists from the United Kingdom. While listening to the artists below might make you a quasi-traitor, at least you’ll be a renegade with some good music.



Who: Ella McMahon

Origin: West London, Britain

What she’s about: You may recognize her name if you listened to Rudimental’s amazing album Home. She was the sexy and husky voice belting out proudly on their No. 1 single “Waiting All Night“. She also collaborated with Wiz Khalifa and Naughty Boy on the track “Think About It“. But now, Ella Eyre is out on her own with a debut EP entitled Deeper. Ella attended the famous BRIT school for performing arts and was runner-up for the Brit Critics’ Choice Award, losing to Sam Smith. At 21 years old, Ella is just getting started. Her debut single, “Deeper“, really emphasizes her sultry voice and her R&B/soul influences. Sadly, there’s no release date for her debut album yet, but no need to panic. You can catch Ella’s San Francisco debut at Popscene on Friday, July 25th. Samsaya and local artist Anya & the Get Down support. You do not want to miss this! Tickets available here.

File next to: Zella Day, Sam Smith, Kiesza

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.



Who: Camden Cox

Origin: London, Britain

What she’s about: Camden Cox is signed to Little Boots’ label On Repeat, and her debut single, “Kinda Like”, is future pop coming to fruition. She recently released an EP with only one drawback — it needs more new songs by Camden Cox.

File next to: AlunaGeorge, Sky Ferreira, Tove Lo

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.



Who: Elli Ingram

Origin: Brighton, Britain

What she’s about: Elli Ingram is a name that’s been buzzing around the UK music scene after she released the beautiful track “When It Was Dark“. Since then, Ingram has collaborated and toured with electronic duo Chase and Status, and she released two EPs. The UK songstress’ soulful vocals and R&B/hip-hop style have her drawing comparisons to the likes of Adele and, more accurately, Amy Winehouse. Both of Ingram’s EPs — Sober and the more recent release The Doghouse — demonstrate her powerful, soulful vocals as well as highlight the skill of her production team, Felix Joseph and Aston Rudi. Start with “High Love” and “All Caught Up“, and soon you’ll be addicted to the music of this talented young lady. And if you enjoy a good cover song, watch Elli’s jazzy cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice“.

File next to: Sampha, Laura Welsh, Amy Winehouse

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter.



Who: Josh Christopher and Melis Soyaslanová

Origin: Brighton, Britain

What they’re about: IYES (pronounced “eyes”) are another girl/boy duo breaking out this year. The duo met at a party while in school and started making music together. They put a track on Soundcloud called “Lighthouse” and took over the blogosphere within a week. Since then, they’ve done a number of remixes as well as released their debut single “Til Infinity“, a lovely track of minimal electropop. More recently is the song “Toys“, which is labeled as a demo but actually feels like a polished and full track, and sees Christopher taking on more of a vocal role as the duo sing back and forth in almost an XX type of way. Again, if you enjoy a good cover song, check this one out.

File next to: MS MR, ASTR, Sohn

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.



Who: Jack Patterson, Luke Patterson, Grace Chatto and Milan Neil Amin-Smith

Origin: Cambridge, Britain

What they’re about: Now let’s combine elements of classical music along with dance music, house and UK funky, and you get the brilliance that is Clean Bandit. Their debut album, New Eyes, was released last month, and it features their No. 1 single “Rather Be“, starring the exquisite guest vocals of Jess Glynne, another emerging UK artist to keep your eye on. Clean Bandit are signed to the Black Butter Records label, home to the likes of Rudimental, Gorgon City and Kidnap Kid. Clean Bandit are going to be doing big things, so remember the name. Be sure to see them perform live at The Fillmore for their SF debut on Saturday, September 27th! More info on tickets here.

File next to: Gorgon City, Route 94, Le Youth

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter. Spotify.

Which female-fronted emerging artists from the UK are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Five emerging artists you need to hear

5-to-Hear-in-June_postWritten by Krystal Beez //

Get familiar with these five emerging artists.



Who: Mike Del Rio and Crista Ru

Origin: New York/Los Angeles

What they’re about: There’s not a whole lot of information about this secretive duo. Both Del Rio and Ru have written songs for Selena Gomez, Icona Pop and Kylie Minogue, just to name a few. But don’t let those names fool you. The music that POWERS delivers is a wide range of genres (think future pop-rock-indie-soul), held together by their strong songwriting skills. Their second release, “Money”, is more of an electro-soul track, while “Touch The World” is indie-pop-rock gold. Both songs are anthems. The official lyric video for “Touch The World” was just released last week, watch it below.

File next to: NONONO, IYES.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter.



Who: Stevie Scott, Carman Kubanda, Trevor Kelley, Jake Randle and Harrison Allen

Origin: Los Angeles, California

What they’re about: machineheart makes new indie pop at its finest, and Stevie Scott’s engaging vocals are the perfect complement. Their debut singles “Circles” and “Another Me” will both have you pressing repeat. Also make sure you check out their latest release “Snow”, which is not as upbeat as their other songs, but it is just as good and just as infectious. machineheart are definitely a band to keep on your radar.

File next to: Rilo Kiley, Kyla LaGrange, Foster the People.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter.


Laura Welsh

Who: Laura Welsh

Origin: Staffordshire, Britain

What she’s about: Laura Welsh describes her songs as ‘hypnotic and kind of like electric soul-pop’. She has collaborated with producer Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion) and on “Cold Front” with Robin Hannibal (of Rhye). She moved from Staffordshire to London to pursue a career in music as lead singer of a band. The band collapsed, and Welsh used that time to write new material and meet people with the same musical ideas as her. Her most recent collaboration sees her featured on the Gorgon City track, “Here For You”. While the original is an amazing dance-electro jam perfect for summer, Welsh recorded an acoustic version that really highlights the strength and beauty of her voice (watch below). Hopefully she releases her debut album soon, followed by an international tour that stops in San Francisco.

File next to: Jessie Ware, Banks, Broods.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter.



Who: Kwabena Adjepong

Origin: London, Britain

What he’s about: The 23-year-old Ghanaian-born singer grew up in the UK and studied jazz at the Royal Academy of Music. Kwabs creates soul music that fully embraces the futuristic sound of 2015, similar to fellow UK acts Sampha and AlunaGeorge. His voice is simply amazing, evoking so much soulfulness, especially when performing live. And with production coming from Sohn (“Wrong or Right”) and Plan B (“Pray For Love”), you’re going to be hearing a lot more from Kwabs. Watch a live performance of “Pray For Love” on BBC Radio 1Xtra below.

File next to: James Blake, Sampha, AlunaGeorge.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter.



Who: Marlene Strand

Origin: Stockholm, Sweden

What she’s about:  Marlene is one of those artists that you hear sing one song, and then you play that song over and over until they release a new song. And then you play that song over and over and so on. From “Bon Voyage” to “Stay Awake” to “Indian Summer” the jams just keep on coming! The Swedish songstress has just the right amounts of the catchy chorus, infectious rhythms and powerful voice to be the next big Swedish import. Her music is so simple, yet so rich and full. She recently released a five track EP titled Indian Summer that you should listen to while driving to the beach. No tour dates are announced as of yet, so be sure to check out a live performance in the video below.

File next to: Foxes, Tove Lo, Say Lou Lou.

Follow: Facebook. Soundcloud. Twitter.

What emerging artists are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!