BANKS hypnotizes Paradiso with strong beats and vocals
Ever since the first months of 2013, American singer and songwriter BANKS was all over the blogs and music websites, being praised as the next big thing. Her seductive and vulnerable mix of R&B, electronic sounds and a bit of pop captured the attention. It took her until September of this year to release her debut album called Goddess. This strong collection of songs contains a lot of tracks she put out over the last one and a half years, but also features completely new ones. To promote the record she went on tour and performed her first gig in Paradiso in Amsterdam and that was quite an intense experience.
As 2014 already started, it is time to take a look at new artists that stand a good chance of having their big breakthrough this year. Of course some artists already started to gain some successes, but these new(ish) artists have in common that 2014 will have to be their year. Check out the 10 most promising new artists that will make 2014 an exciting year in pop!
Mapei is what you call an international artist. Her father is American, her mother is Liberian and when she was ten she moved to Sweden where she grew up. She has lived in Portugal, Brazil and Tunesia for a while and these different cultural backgrounds are apparent in her music as well. Mapei was mostly active as a rapper in the Swedish underground scene, but with the single ‘Don’t Wait’, released in October, her style changed. The song is soulful, driven by great beats and a guitar riff, and features some baile funk drums. The lyrics about trying not to ruin a friendship or love affair are from the heart. Mapei’s voice sounds warm and a little raspy at times. She is working on an album in a similar style to ‘Don’t Wait’ and I for one cannot wait to hear it!
ALECS, a young new London based artist, will release his debut EP The Fulham Tapes later this month. In December, he already posted the tracks on his Soundcloud page and this sounds surprisingly good. Inspired by artists like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd, ALECS created his own sound, which could be described as electronic, synth heavy, dark R&B mixed with pop. He mixes this sound with great hooks in his choruses which make the tracks somewhat more accessible. He has a great and distinctive sound of voice to top it all off and here’s hoping that we will hear more from him in 2014.
08. Saint Raymond
Saint Raymond had a great year in 2013. Young singer-songwriter Callum Burrows and his band mates released the EP Escapade and toured through Europe with Gabrielle Aplin and Haim. 2014 is off to a good start as well as the single ‘Young Blood’ is released. It is the best Saint Raymond song so far in all its uplifting catchiness. The song has got more than one great hook and it takes the catchy pop/rock they produced on the first EP to another level. The Young Blood EP will be out the 21st of January and it could well be that an album follows later this year.
There is a lot of hype around American electro pop artist BANKS lately. She finished third in the BBC Sound Of 2014 Poll. The Los Angeles born and London based singer gained attention by releasing two EP’s in 2013. In March, she released Fall Over and in September her London EP came out. The singer went on tour with The Weeknd and there are some stylistic similarities in both artists’ music. BANKS’ music can be described as a mix of dark R&B and pop with a heavily electronic twist. Her distinctive vocal style might not be suited for mainstream radio, but it works perfectly on refreshing tracks like ‘Fall Over’ and ‘Waiting Game’. Her style is cohesive, but does not bore at the same time, so a full album could be potentially great!
Foxes has been working her way up in music for a few years now and in 2013 she had her first international hit with ‘Clarity’, a song by producer and DJ Zedd on which she features. The big dance anthem showcases her beautiful vocals and the singer went on to have another hit in the UK with ‘Youth’, a slightly more alternative and electronic sort of pop song. Foxes will release her debut album Glorious in March and although half of the tracks have already been released (great pop song ‘Echo’ was used as a single, ‘Holding Onto Heaven’ and ‘Shaking Heads’ are already released on iTunes), there is still more to come. She released the video for single ‘Let Go For Tonight’ earlier this week and this huge, catchy, carefree straightforward pop song might bring her the big success she deserves.
Hozier managed to catch a lot of attention in October last year when he released his single ‘Take Me To Church’ and an accompanying video with a strong message against homophobic violence. The 23-year-old Irish musician released a free EP on his website including the single and three other songs. ‘Take Me To Church’ is a dark song with an ominous atmosphere, but with a big and bright in-your-face chorus at the same time. Hozier impresses with his deep tone of voice that works perfectly with the style of his songs. An album this year would be very much appreciated, thank you very much.
04. Chlöe Howl
The 18-year-old British singer Chlöe Howl is set to release her debut album in 2014. The BBC included her in their long list for The Sound of 2014. Based on the three singles she has released so far she could become one of the most exciting new artists this year. ‘No Strings’, ‘Paper Heart’ and ‘Rumour’ are all catchy up tempo pop tracks with killer choruses. Chlöe’s voice sounds very strong and mature, considering her age and her ability to write songs with sharp and smart lyrics is impressive. In the first months of 2014, Howl will be touring with Ellie Goulding and in June it is time for her to launch her first album!
03. Lea Michele
Although Lea Michele is not really a new face in the entertainment industry, I included her in this list because she is just starting a solo career as a pop artist. Many of you may know her as Rachel in the series Glee, but Michele decided to focus on a music career as well. The singer released the Sia-penned single ‘Cannonball’ in December and that was quite a brilliant power ballad. Along with the pre-orders of her debut album Louder, that will be released on the 4th of March, she premiered the track ‘Battlefield’, also written by Sia. Once again a beautiful ballad. The album features a co-write by Christina Perri as well and I have faith this record will be very, very good.
02. Say Lou Lou
The Swedish/Australian twin sisters of Say Lou Lou (formerly known as Saint Lou Lou) are expected to have a big breakthrough this year. They already made the long list of BBC’s The Sound of 2014. 2013 has been a great year musically for the girls as they released the singles ‘Julian’, ‘Better In The Dark’ and ‘Beloved’. Although ‘Beloved’ is my favourite, it has to be said that all three songs are exceptionally well-written and beautiful. An album full of their dreamy and melodic pop would be great, now wouldn’t it?
01. Tove Lo
Frequent readers of my blog might already realize I am a fan of this Swedish girl and I predict big things for her in the near future. 2014 has to be the year of Tove Lo. She gave us the singles ‘Habits’ and ‘Out Of Mind’ in 2013, which are both no less than brilliant pop songs. With these tracks, she shows she knows how to write great pop choruses and her lyrics are powerful and heartbreaking at the same time. Recently, she announced on Twitter that her new EP is in final stages, so that should see the light of day soon enough. Fun fact: she also co-wrote the track ‘Thousand Needles’ for Lea Michele’s debut album. I am desperate for new Tove Lo songs in my life and so should you!