16 of the most exciting women in music - carving out their kingdoms and making their cases for a crown one track at a time.
Mahalia is one of those talents in possession of a voice so powerful, moving, and unique that her music is instantly recognizable. Making a massive splash in 2017 with trio of wavy singles, Sober, Hold On, and No Pressure, the U.K. star in the making has returned in 2018 with warm, uplifting good vibes anthem, Proud of Me - her most dynamic release to date, featuring the unmistakable Little Simz (also featured in this list). As she moves further towards a full-length project that will propel her into the next level of her career, Mahalia exists today as one of the most intriguing voices on the young, hyper-talented generation of British vocalists.
Long underrated rapper, Bbymutha, is one of the most authentic artists in all of hip-hop. Releasing music at prolific rates, her unapologetically Southern grime and her unendingly entertaining persona have graced her with quite the cult following. As a core member of a unit of artists at the heart of the Chattanooga hip-hop scene, she has brought more than her fair share of attention to the music goldmine that the city has become. Her style is like no one you've ever heard and is nothing that anyone could ever repeat. Honest, bold lyricism cuts its way through her thick Tennessee accent and often finds its way dancing overtop the production of her fans. Her sound compliments anyone that she collaborates with and helps to make her frequent solo work a living anthem for fans of southern hip-hop everywhere.
Elli Ingram is a 24-year-old songstress from Brighton, England with one hell of a voice and one hell of a knack for performance. Her music videos and her spot appearance on YouTube goldmine, COLORS, are not just lovely for the ears, they're excellent for a source of full entertainment. Listing Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Angie Stone and Erykah Badu as her biggest influences, it's no wonder why Elli's music sounds like a confident and capable blend of styles in a way you've never heard before. If you're looking for new music, check out her 2017 debut album, Love You Really. Trust us, it will not disappoint.
Yet another shockingly young, supremely talented Brit, Little Simz is a 24-year-old Londoner. But don’t let her age fool you. She’s been in the music industry since 2010 and following the release of four mixtapes and five Eps, she released her debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons in 2015. Now a staple on the international music scene and a pioneer of the current British hip-hop spectrum, Little Simz has spent the better part of the last several years since her album release touring. Coming up now on two years since her last full-length project, and with the current British scene as explosive as ever, it would seem high time for Simz to bless us with more music to make her place in music that much more noted and impressive.
Paris-born, Brooklyn-based hip-hop-inspired vocalist, Lolo Zouai, falls nothing shot of her long-winded introduction. She is interesting to say the least, and to say the most, she is one of the more intriguing, unique, difficult-to-define artists that the music scene is likely to come across anytime in the near future. Her ghostly, often echoey vocals haunt the forefront of her hip-hop production and rap verses, and grace her presence in a way that is anything but forced. Her music seems to be that natural manifestation of her inner self - a fierce, artistically-driven, creatively adept individual making music and videos about herself somehow relatable on a large scale. Big things to come.
Ravyn Lenae, a core member of the Chicago scene, a founding partner of the Zero Fatigue Crew with fellow Midwest artists Smino and Monte Booker, and an absolute star at the age of 19, is one of the most exciting, and one of the busiest artists in music. Her stunning pipes have recently blessed the graces of Noname and Mick Jenkins projects, SZA’s cntrl tour, and her own third career EP, crush, released last month. Her crisp, clean R&B vocals are some of the best out there, and at a time when the R&B game seems to be exploding into never before seen territory, Ravyn Lenae seems to be taking on a clear and defined leadership role as a key player for the next generation of vocalists.
Yaeji is one of the more unique artists in the current music scene. Existing somewhere between electropop, pure house, and low-fi hip-hop, she can really only be described as her own entity. She doesn't sound like anyone else out there, and that's what has been her biggest appeal. First carving out a strong following of cult fans, Yaeji quickly became a fixture of the mainstream scene, promoting self-expression, creativity, and art. Her music video for Drink I'm Sipping On was one of the best of 2017, as was her debut EP. The future is bright for the young Yaeji, and only she knows what directions she might possibly choose to pursue.
Sabrina Claudio has gone from humble SoundCloud songstress to internationally acclaimed R&B icon in little over a year. Her 2017 was arguably the most explosive in all of music - on par with the likes of fellow R&B young gun, Daniel Caesar - a year where she released her debut and sophomore projects, earned a record deal and a spot on 6lack's North American tour, and celebrated her 21st birthday. Her voice is softer than silk and separates her from the pack by itself. When her production ability and knack of instrumentation are taken into account, she's even more impressive than at first glance - or rather, at first listen - which is good because we plan to be hearing a lot more from her in the future.
There is no way to define an artist like Biig Piig. Her name, her style, and her quick rise to fame have all come in ways that can only be waved with one notion - her music is incredible. Existing in the grey area between hip-hop, spoken word, soul, and electropop, the young Irishwoman makes music from the heart, but more importantly, deep from some intrinsically artsy and off-kilter part of her frontal lobe. Creativity was in no short sense when she created her limited collection of music to date, and when she adds to it in the near future, it’s sure to be of the same quality and intrigue.
If there is a queen of the British trap movement, it's IAMDDB. There are few in all of music who come with the same energy and focus as the London hip-hop artist, and her vast jump up the music ranks last year speaks to it. Her music lives as the soundtrack for rowdy nights and it certainly doesn't aid ignoring the devil on your right shoulder, but it doesn't mean that she's short-changed when it comes to range. A listening session to her 2017 album, Hoodrich Vol. 3, takes its audience on a spiritual and emotional journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. She may come across as a proponent of hype and there's no doubt that she is, but there's a lot more than meets the eye.
Calling home to just about every artist to watch list of the past couple years is the incomparable, Poppy Ajudha, and with good reason. One of the most poetically unique, embracingly independent, and brazenly outspoken artists in all of music today, the South London dynamo has a bold approach to her music and her life that leave little room for misunderstanding. Her creativity drives her life, and her life drives her creativity. She is the passionate embodiment of her one-of-a-kind, jazz and soul inspired approach to music, where the only thing predictable is the utmost of quality. Her 2018 debut EP, Femme, speaks to the quality, taking the listener on a short albeit concrete and winding road exhibiting her vast range and vocal ability, and teeming with messages of positivity and feminine strength. It's just the beginning for Poppy, but what a start it's been.
It's an interesting fact about Kali Uchis that her key feature on Daniel Caesar's groundbreaking single Get You was actually unprovoked. He never asked for it, but she heard the song's original cut, added her touch to it, and sent it back to him. Obviously, the rest is history. Caesar embraced the changes and Get You became the first Domino to fall in the Freudian Tidal Wave. That bold confidence and creative genius acts as a pretty solid microcosm of Kali Uchis' greater whole. She's come into her own as a prominent solo artist that is sure to become an even bigger player on the R&B scene for years to come.
If there's a jack of all trades on this list, that title belongs to LA multidimensionalist, Syd. Her talent range encompasses every stop along the music production pathway. Under her umbrella, she boasts the the names songwriter, singer, DJ, and producer, and her undertakings are just as vast, working as a solo artist and producer, a member of Odd Future, and the lead vocalist of R&B, soul, funk band, The Internet. Though her career isn't necessarily young, and has been host to a long and impressive list of collaborative work that includes Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Mac Miller, Isaiah Rashad, Kali Uchis, Snakeships, the Cool Kids, Little Simz, Daniel Caesar, Vic Mensa, and more, she released her debut solo album, Fin, last year. Not that her name isn't already everywhere, but expect to be hearing even more from this young hyper-talent from now on.
Raveena is one of those artists who makes music that can truly improve the health of her audience. Her voice is as soft, smooth, and comforting as a down duvet, and her lyrics are simplistically poetic. She has a small canon of music that is yet to include the work of a full-length project, but what she has will suffice for now. Sprouting from New York City, her fan base has grown steadily over the past year and will continue to do so as she continues her consistent releases of singles. An exciting artist to watch for her future as a solo artist, it would also be interesting to see her start to collaborate with more artists on the current scenes. Her voice is a gem.
It's hard to point out any hip-hop artist more lyrical, honest, and positive than Chicago wordsmith, Noname. Her fellow Chicagoan, friend, and collaborator, Chance the Rapper is owed many thanks for Noname's discovery from the time she first featured on the track Lost in Chance's famed Acid Rap mixtape, but once the world was exposed to her beautiful, poetic approach to hip-hop, there was little doubt that she was headed for much-deserved stardom. It's always a refreshing change of pace when an artist seems to value values so wholesome and heartfelt, and in each track, Noname uses her talented mind to send uplifting messages of positivity and overcoming struggle. The world needs more artists like Noname, or at least, more music from her.
Anna Majidson is certainly better known as her role in Parisian electropop duo Haute with producer Blasé, but her one-of-a-kind vocal ability and exciting stage presence could make her an independent force to be reckoned with. Unlike many of the women on this list, Anna acts as the frontwoman for a group, and there’s always been something extra powerful about such a display. Her strong voice, catchy lyricism, and knack for working within the bounds of uptempo European production only amplify the already strong exhibition that she puts on in a live setting. Haute had a quality showing in 2017, releasing a handful of singles, one of which Shut Me Down, has provided them with tremendous growth and an international audience. Be on the lookout for big things to come from Haute, and in particular, frontwoman, Anna Majidson.