Jade’s Faves: WOC in Music to Look Out for in 2016

Music is one of my first loves. I come from a musically-inclined family of singers, drummers, and more. I have chosen every. single. romantic partner based on their musical choices… (amongst other things but best believe that is a top priority).

Though music isn’t something I blog about often here, I’ve covered a few projects / artists at length a few different places and often contribute to the Music Makes Me Happy platform. I’ve got my ear tuned in to a few singers, songwriters, musicians, and women of color that are killin’ the game and set to do great things in 2016.

Laura Mvula:
Laura Mvula is a singer / songwriter from Birmingham, UK and her tone is unlike anything I’ve heard. Her songs are heartfelt, warm, and beautifully executed with layers of vocal harmonies and live instrumentation. (And when I say live I mean… she cut a record with the Metropole Orkest… #friggindope). If you’ve never heard her music, please do yourself a favor and listen. Here’s a quick sampler of her last project:

Today, Laura Mvula released a quick teaser snippet for her latest single, Overcome, and it’s the #BlackGirlMagic that is needed for 2016.

Alex Isley:

If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because this artist is the daughter of Ernie Isley and as her bio states, “her uncles are collectively the Isley Brothers”. Her sound is absolutely original… almost ethereal. She is a singer / songwriter with a truly otherworldly quality about her music and her clear, clean tone. This past December, she released her newest project called Luxury, which seems to be already making a statement on the Independent Music scene.

The first song I’d ever heard from her was F.D.A. and if you’ve never heard her work before, it’s truly a great introduction:

Jaime Woods:
A few months ago, I attended an Emily King concert (and was absolutely swept away). In Emily’s live interpretation of the song ‘Out of the Clouds’, she made space for her musicians and background vocalists to use a few bars and go. AWF! As soon as Jaime Woods started singing, I was enraptured by her tone and how her voice seemed to almost glide over the music. So, I did what I always do when that happens… hit up google! I came across her Soundcloud page and let me tell you, it gets me through a work day like none other! Upon finding her website, I learned that she’s worked with so many acclaimed vocalists (and it’s no surprise because she killllllls vocally)! Her project, TROY, is available on Bandcamp now and I’ve shared one of my favorite songs from it below, entitled “If You Were Mine”:

KING

KING is comprised of three women (which, pause, because I love that concept), “Twins, Paris and Amber Strother and musical sister Anita Bias”. They sing. They play. And their blend is out of this world! Their music is equal parts fun and thoughtful. It’s experimental in many respects, but carries with it a whole lot of soul! They’ve been on the Independent Music scene for quite a while, upon their initial release of their first EP. After that point, I could easily pick out their vocal & musical stylings on Robert Glasper’s project Black Radio and more. This February, they will be launching their first full length project, and trust… it’s already gotten a lot of buzz. They are currently touring in the States (I’m going in February and I am HYPE) and have recently released a new single called “The Greatest”. One of my favorite tracks from them is their sultry-sounding song, “Hey”, a track that feels like and sounds like falling in love. Here’s the acoustic version:

Brandy

Brandy has solidified her spot in R&B for life! From her early “I Wanna Be Down” until now, she has consistently given us unique vocals and the RIFFS. OF. LIFE! However, I want to focus a bit more on what she’s doing now. Even after her time as Roxie Hart on the Broadway show, Chicago, Brandy hasn’t stopped creating for a moment. She’s now slated in the new BET series Zoe Ever After and has released her supppperr-siicccckkkk song, ‘Beggin and Pleadin’.

So, let me pause here to tell you that from the moment I heard the blues sample and her ‘Good God, Almighty’ opening riff… I had one response…

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SANG THE SONG, BRANDY!!  If this is how she’s STARTING the year off, I’m surely excited for what’s to come.

Chantae Cann

Singer, songwriter, Chantae Cann has a tone that’s as clear as a bell. She sings background vocals for India.Arie (I mean… I really can stop right there because ya’ll know India.Arie has some AMAZE-ing background singers). She’s been featured with bands such as the Jaspects and collaborated with jazz band, Snarky Puppy. Suffice it say… the woman’s got vocal chops and she’s making music with some heavy hitters. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m usually attracted to vocalists who have a very unique tone and Ms. Cann’s lilting soprano is one of a kind. This March, she will be releasing her first full length project entitled Journey to Golden.

I’m excited for all that these women will do in this new year and beyond! Stay on the lookout for their projects! Since I’m always looking for new music, let me know who you’d add to this list. Who’s capturing your ears these days?