New Artist Tips for 2016 | Jay Wrighter selects his Ones To Watch [Part 8]
Welcome to the latest edition of our #FutureTrending series. A monthly feature where I find/select 10 new artists and producers to put you onto and, as the hashtag suggests, #FutureTrending is all about the acts that are likely to be trending on social media in the near future. As always, each artist/producer will have two tracks to their name. The first being a new/exclusive track from the artist and the second being the song that put me onto them.
Rochelle Jordan [@Rochelle_Jordan]
England-born, Canada raised, LA-based Rochelle Jordan is one of Canada's hottest commodities. Also known as ROJO, she took a short hiatus from music last year, much to the dismay of myself and many other fans across the globe. It looked like Rochelle was done with the music game for some time, but has since shared two featured tracks to her followers on Soundcloud, which can only mean good things. Her soft, raspy voice draws you in as listeners can't help but simply fall in love with ROJO; her style of R&B serving as an ode to old school R&B. Often compared to Aaliyah, the singer has an onslaught of fans just waiting for her next release.
Lord Apex [@LordApex]
Based in West London, Lord Apex aka The Sensei aka Yardie Miyagi, is a 20-year-old rapper who initially started rapping with friends for fun 9 years ago before it finally spawned into a love for music. Influenced by Andre 3000, MF Doom, Max B, Madlib, Styles P and many others, the self-confessed weed smoker raps over abstract productions, which he calls "the type that makes you question what you're even listening to". His laid back flow allows listeners to appreciate the articulate and intelligent wordplay of the young rapper who possess a style that's becoming ever so popular with the new wave of rap fans and hipsters alike around the world.
Seasoned producer, DZL, is a Toronto native who has already shown signs of a great future ahead of himself. With an impressive list of cut's to his name already, it's no wonder Kid Ink, French Montana, Future, Kehlani, Roy Woods and previously featured Toronto Artist, 11:11, have tapped on his shoulder. DZL may be a vet in the game but, nevertheless, still continues to deliver with versatility; easily progressing with the times to create productions that stand alongside the new styles of trap and Alt R&B. "I think what has allowed me to evolve as a producer is the opportunities I've had to work with such a diverse and creative array of individuals. Nothing breaks you out of the mold like working with people that push you and draw the most out of you, both as a producer and as an individual." His production style can be best described as percussive, melodic and full of emotion. Often creating sample like textures accompanied by hard-hitting drums and smooth chords. With so many exciting things in the pipeline, this producer is definitely one to watch!
Piers James [@PiersJames]
I came across Piers James in a studio a couple years ago and, whilst he impressed with his unique style, Piers has since honed his craft and nurtured it into the standout rapper he is today. Spreading his expressions of thought and feeling to the masses, while portraying issues and topics that are deemed uncommon to the stereotypical lyricist, the Essex rapper hits listeners with his very honest and somewhat cleverly blunt lyricism. There's been a great progression in every element of Piers' music in the last three or so years, and 2016 looks set to be a great year for the rapper who's upcoming EP can be pre-ordered here.
South East London producer SELVSSE, (pronounced SE-LAH-SEE) is an early architect in the scene of Future Sounds. The producer/DJ focuses on forward thinking sounds whilst meshing electronic vibes with old school R&B flavours. Growing up in London and Ghana, SELVSSE also uses music as somewhat of a memory bank, using influences from the sounds he would hear to create memories. After learning to produce as a means of crafting music for himself and his friends, SELVSSE has become more than just a self-taught producer. He now creates vibes that range between eerie nostalgia, melodic trap type patterns, and floor fillers perfect for any rave.
As the popularity of Afrobeats increases and opens its doors to new audiences, so does the soundscape as new artists emerge. Odunsi is just one of the names incorporating his individual style and influences into what is now being coined as Afrofusion; a blend of traditional African beats and foreign genres such as RnB, Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Reggae and Soul music. Backed by the success of names such as Burna Boy, famous for his own unique take of Afrobeats mixed with Reggae and Bashment, Odunsi brings to the table a fresh sound and an exciting new name in Afrobeats (himself).
C Cane [@OfficialCCane]
A key name in the female resurgence of grime, north London's C Cane is a formidable musical talent by any means. Not only can she go bar for bar with the best of them, C Cane is also a singer/songwriter and self-taught guitar, bass, piano, violin and flute player, who consistently impresses me with her lightning fast flow and witty wordplay. If holding it down on DJ Cameo's #GimmeGrime isn't enough to impress you then maybe her multi-lingual flows will, with the means to switch it up in her native tongue of Lingala in an instant. I’ve been impressed with her raw energy and talent for years now, but it's her passion and aptness to balance 16's and 32's with full songs that have always set her for big things in my eyes.
They might still be relatively new, especially UK audiences, but the LA-based duo of Dante and Drew, better known as They, have already toured with Bryson Tiller and put on their own headline show at Hoxton Square, London. Falling between the category of Alt R&B and Trap, their music incorporates these familiar sounds with overtones of Indie Rock, making for a unique sound that puts them in their own lane. With Drew covering vocals and Dante on production, the two came together with similar influences such as Taking Back Sunday, Babyface, Kurt Cobain and New Edition. They're all about breaking boundaries with their music which they've successfully pulled it off so far.
There's nothing I love more than coming across UK talent that remain relatively unknown in the mainstream world but their talent is completely undeniable. That's how I feel about the brother and sister duo Devotion. Raised in a home where they're two out of eight siblings, the siblings realised at a young age they meshed musically and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. Merging soul and jazz into elements of hip hop, fans of Floetry, A Tribe Called Quest and the like will easily find a place in your collection for Devotion. Their raw UK sound prevails over any judgement, with blissful poetry in motion encapsulating messages of peace, love and harmony.
Chris Scholar [@ScholarUKnow]
Not much is known about Virginia-bred Chris Scholar and I can't say I'm surprised, after coming across the R&B singer by chance I soon discovered he only released 5 songs on his Soundcloud, all uploaded within the last 11 months. But having already caught the attention of Jermaine Dupri, surely we can expect a lot more in due time from Chris. After what seems to be a hiatus, followed by a move to LA, it looks like the mature vocals of Scholar are set to soon be a problem for R&B OG's such as they Trey's and Breezy's.
Catch up on July's list here and be sure to keep an eye out for future edition's later this year.