|Black City TV||
written by Carla Bynum
It’s that time of year again when we present our annual list of artists to look out for in the New Year and beyond. As we prepare for 2015 to come to an end and the New Year to start, we have the opportunity to reflect on some great music moments over the past year. We were introduced to several new artists who are working hard to claim their spots in the music realm.
Alessia Caraccioli, better known as Alessia Cara, is the adorable songstress from Brampton, Ontario, Canada who entered our hearts via her debut single “Here” in April. Alessia got her start by singing acoustic covers on YouTube. She signed with EP Entertainment and Def Jam Recordings earlier this year at the age of 18. She released the EP Four Pink Walls on August 28th and soon after released her debut studio album Know-It-All on November 13th. With the surprise success of her first single, there is no doubt that Alessia will continue her rise to fame in the New Year.
Cassandra Monique “Andra” Batie, better known by the stage name Andra Day, is known for her sultry voice just as much as her modern day pin up girl style. Her style can be compared to that of the late Amy Winehouse. Her debut album Cheers to the Fall was released on August 28th and featured Questlove, James Poyser of The Roots, The Dap-Kings of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Spike Lee even directed the video for her first single “Forever Mine.” With two Grammy nominations under her belt already, there’s no doubt that we will hear more from this powerhouse singer.
Bryson Tiller started to garner major attention when he released his single “Don’t” on his SoundCloud page. He received co-signs from producer Timbaland and rapper Drake. It was announced on August 25th that Tiller had signed a creative partnership with RCA Records. On October 2nd, he released his debut album T R A P S O U L which spawned the singles “Don’t,” “Exchange,” and “Sorry Not Sorry.” The Louisville, Kentucky-natives quick rise on the Billboard charts is only a sign that he’s here to stay.
Emanny is a singer from New York best known for his Songs about HER mixtape series. He is the perfect blend of sensuality and sexy with a little vulgarity. On October 23rd, he released the EP Ms. 4:00am and it is an instant panty dropper. With his honeyed vocals and good looks, there’s no doubt that he will continue to drive the ladies crazy in 2016.
We would be crazy if we didn’t mention Fetty Wap on our list. He has seen breakout success since the release of his uber catchy double platinum single “Trap Queen” and has continued to dominate the airwaves ever since. He released his debut album Fetty Wap on September 25th which was supported by the Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles: “Trap Queen,” “679,” “My Way,” and “Again.” In a short amount of time, Fetty Wap has made history as the first artist in the history of the Hot Rap Song charts to have four entries in the top 10 simultaneously. He also has a string of nominations, including two Grammy’s for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for “Trap Queen.” I think it is safe to say that we will hear more from Fetty Wap in the New Year.
G-Eazy first gained recognition in the East Bay Area in San Francisco as a member of the local group The Bad Boyz. He started producing while he was a sophomore at the Loyola University at New Orleans. After he graduated from Loyola in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry Studies, he put his musical skills to use. He has opened tours for artists such as Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. In August 2011, he released the mixtape The Endless Summer. He released his major label debut album These Things Happen on June 23, 2014. His follow-up sophomore album When It’s Dark Out was released on December 4th.
Jidenna is the Nigerian-American recording artist signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records. The always well-dressed musician first appeared on the song “Yoga” alongside Janelle Monae this spring. Soon after, he released his single “Classic Man” featuring Roman GianArthur. Both singles were featured on the compilation EP Wondaland Presents: The Eephus. Jidenna received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2008 from Stanford University and decided to focus on his music full time. His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards. We look forward to hearing more from Jidenna in the future.
It is not out of the ordinary for people to use their social media presence to showcase their talents. For Justine Skye, also known as The Purple Unicorn, posting to her Tumblr page helped her become a household name. Now the 20-year-old Brooklyn-native has a handful of singles and two EPs under her belt. Her EP Emotionally Unavailable was released on June 23rd via Atlantic Records. Although she is now signed to a major record label, Justine Skye still makes sure to keep in contact with her loyal fans through her Tumblr page.
Kehlani first gained recognition as a member of the girl group Poplyfe on America’s Got Talent. After the girls were eliminated and ultimately disbanded, Kehlani took a break from music. With the help of her mentor Nick Cannon, Kehlani started singing again and created a sound for herself. Her music comes from a personal place because she writes from her experiences growing up. She released her debut commercial mixtape You Should Be Here through iTunes on April 28th and went on a tour over the summer to promote the album. The album received a nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Kelela is the Ethiopian-American singer from Washington D.C. whose debut mixtape Cut 4 Me first put her on our radar. With early cosigns from Solange Knowles and Björk, there’s no surprise that this eclectic beauty’s fanbase continues to rise. On October 9th, she released the mixtape Hallucinogen which is available on iTunes.
The trio KING is made up of twin sisters Amber and Paris Strother and their friend Anita Bias. Paris produces their music while Amber and Anita are the main singers. KING released their debut EP The Story in 2011 and have since had fans wondering when they would drop their first album. Their debut album We Are King is scheduled for release in February 2016 and is currently available for pre-order. Their eclectic musical style and soulful melodies have captivated fans all over the world. Who was it that said women couldn’t be kings anyway?
Lion Babe is a neo-soul duo made up of musician Lucas Goodman and singer Jillian Hervey, who is the daughter of Roman Hervey II and actress Vanessa L. Williams. The pair met through a mutual friend and the duo was formed in New York City. Following the release of their single “Treat Me Like Fire” in 2012, they were signed to Interscope Records. In 2014, they released their self-titled EP. They are currently preparing on the release of their debut album Begin.
Rotimi is a recording artist and actor perhaps best known for his role as Dre on the breakout TV show “Power.” Although he loves acting, he also wants to put as much focus into his music. Rotimi released two mixtapes in 2011 titled The Resume and While You Wait. He first got his musical start by opening for artists such as T.I., Jennifer Hudson, NERD, and Estelle. In 2015, 50 Center signed Rotimi to his label G-Unit Records. Rotimi’s single “Lotto” featuring 50 Cent can currently be heard on urban radio. His untitled debut album is scheduled for release in 2016.
The Internet is a soul band that was formed in 2011 consisting of Odd Future members Syd the Kyd and Matt Martians, as well as Christopher A. Smith, Steve Lacey, Jameel Bruner, and Patrick Paige. They released their debut album Purple Naked Ladies in 2011 and their sophomore album Feel Good in 2013. Their third album Ego Death was released on June 30th to critical acclaim. The band is nominated for the Best Urban Contemporary Album for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. The band’s unique style, sound, and look is refreshing in an industry that has been so mundane. We are sure their star will continue to rise in the New Year.
For years, Tori Kelly has been showcasing her beautiful voice and musical talent on various platforms. In 2010, she appeared on the ninth season of American Idol and although she didn’t make it to the top 24, she didn’t let that slow her down. She has a huge social media following, has performed on a string of award shows, and even toured with Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. She released her first EP Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly in 2012 and the follow-up Foreword, which was her major label debut, in 2013. Over the years, Tori’s fan base has continued to grow and she is quickly becoming a household name. Her debut studio album Unbreakable Smile was released on June 23rd with rave reviews. Tori is nominated for Best New Artist at the 58th Grammy Awards. Her voice can also be heard in one of the more recent Pepsi commercials.
At first glance, Daystar Peterson, better known by his stage name Tory Lanez, doesn’t look like the typical R&B singer. He has a grittiness to him that translates into his music and continues to attract listeners to his style. Lanez has a heap of mixtapes under his belt, including his Chixtape series and the EP Cruel Intentions which was released on June 26th. On July 31st, he released “Say It,” the first single from his upcoming debut album which is scheduled for a 2016 release. Lanez is currently signed to producer Benny Blanco’s Mad Love Records and Interscope Records. Now that Lanez is finally getting his well-deserved recognition, I think it is safe to say that he is in it for the long run.