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Egypt via Dubai artist Adham Bayoumi asks Bayou brings some smooth vibes on ‘Moonlight’, a brilliant single which dropped towards the end of 2019. The twinkling, bass-heavy production coupled with Bayou’s slick vocals creates a super chilled out atmosphere, one that find yourself vibing too from the get go. With ‘Moonlight’, as well as previously released singles like ‘fine’ and ‘city style’ (which can only be found on his SoundCloud), Bayou shows why he’s one to watch.
Lebanese newcomer Laeticia Acra aka Japan, Man shares her beguiling and utterly enchanting second single in the form of ‘The Law’. At just fifteen years of age, the rising singer/songwriter has already impressed this year with debut offering ‘Stop Staring’, a song that brings to mind the pop sensibilities of Clairo with a bit of funk thrown in for good measure. On ‘The Law’, Acra continues the groove fest as solid drums are joined by fabulous guitar lines that allow Japan, Man’s honeyed tones to sound that much sweeter.
‘Floated By’ is the latest release by New Delhi based band Peter Cat Recording Co. from their forthcoming album ‘Bismillah’. Coupled with a brilliant music video capturing the lead vocalist’s wedding, there is a realness and lack of pretence as opposed to the grandeur observed in Indian matrimony. Doing what they do best, greeting the listeners with a groovy horn aided piece accompanied by uplifting guitar riffs and basslines, the intent of the album is taking the audience through a culmination of their journey over the past 8 years. One can’t help the light hearted fuzzy feeling on hearing the spirited vocal performance filled with exuberance yet holding a strong emotion of melancholy.
Born and raised in Shillong, Meba Ofilia finds her roots as an artist in Hip-Hop and RnB. Her second feature ‘Done Talking’ with rapper BigRi bagged her the Best Indian Act Award at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards. Her love for Hip-Hop and RnB grew through the discovery of American-African gospel music eventually leading her to discover artists such as Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and Tori Kelly who continue to be her main influences. ‘Lady Bizz’ talks about self-love laying importance on women issues that not many men understand and how one woman empowering another is a powerful feeling. The track is featured as a part of the first music release for She Said So (India) in collaboration with Azadi Records released as a Women’s Day Special on March 8th 2019.
Pardafash (Sandhya Visvanathan) is a graphic designer and illustrator who moonlights as a vocalist-producer and songwriter. Previously part of a band called Machli, meshing together electronic beats and samples from Indian films, her current solo live project is an interpretation of protest music through a combination of songs that are stories and spoken word monologues.‘Dark Chocolate’ is a love song that tells a story about the nuances of friendship between two people. The narrator of the song is besotted with and trying to be there for a friend through an abortion thereby marking a progression of their relationship and intimacy.
Sam Rui has established a name for herself in Singapore over the short span of two years through her incredible covers and spellbinding original material. The singer/songwriter has performed in numerous local music festivals, collaborated with international acts such as Alextbh, and has created a distinctive, sultry sound. In ‘Solid Gold’, Rui teams up with LXX & High4 20 and encapsulates the essence of R&B whilst igniting a perfect, late night mood. The track wonderfully sets the scene perfectly for her forthcoming sophomore album which is set to be released later this year.
India-born, California-raised singer-songwriter, Zoya is carving a home for herself in the Indie pop world. Graduating from the world renowned Berklee College of Music with a music business degree, one can notice the sincerity and truthfulness in her work as she unmasks her conscience in her confessional songwriting and orchestral arrangements. Her music encompasses a diverse variation inspired by her country of birth, connecting North Indian traditional music through her captivating vocal style merged with deep stirring harmonies, emphasising her wanderlust nature. With three albums to her name, she’s gained recognition from heavyweights such as A.R. Rahman, as well as touring worldwide alongside various international acts. ‘Closer to Closure’ hails from her Afterglow Single Series where she released a new track every ten days – the song encapsulates the idea of finding a sense of closure in life with the unspoken issues and unfinished relationships she formed whilst living a dual life between India and America.
Amongst a wave of Malaysian artists on their way to international prominence, Alex Bong is one to watch. Under the moniker Alextbh, the 22-year-old’s sound infuses R&B with a slick pop energy, especially evident in his latest single, ‘walls’; the track is a continuation of his previous single, ‘still mine’, reminiscing on love, loss, and longing. Using his platform to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community, the self-taught artist continues to capture the attention of many.
Amidst the growing popularity of the dark, late-night sound in the Philippines’ emergent scene, Alisson Shore’s blissful falsetto and sweet harmonies stand out amongst the crowd. A producer/singer songwriter in Manila, he identifies his style to be a mix of lo-fi R&B and futuristic pop, reflective of a blend of influences into which latest single ‘Watercolor’ fits perfectly. Shore uses his vivid songwriting ability to tell a tale of failed relationships and bad chemistry, using a painting motif to explore the “symbolism of two non-identical colors that when blended in, no matter how hard we mix or add/lessen, it just doesn’t seem to look or blend well.”
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Kumail is a musician from Mumbai, India with an experimental electronic sound. His music stems from a myriad of influences, particularly jazz and hip-hop, while exploring more ethereal regions through heavily manipulated live recordings with atmospheric synths, meticulously panned rhythm sections and vocals forming the fundamental characteristics of his live performances. His album ‘From You To Blue’ was released in March 2017 on Knowmad Records. The project is about the end of relationships; addressing these experiences was something Kumail had never done before, giving birth to a new sound through his inner exploration.
Sidharth Ezhilan writes genre-defying electronic music as Ezzyland. Starting off as a committed fan of hip-hop before discovering electronic music through Soundcloud, his music reflects his broad range of influences; though fluid in form, the core precise note selection drives the narrative with an emphasis on melody and a full sound run through experimental downtempo motifs. With his latest release ‘Kryptonite’, the Chennai-based musician creates a compact but satisfying piece, with hedonistic, melancholic lyricism marking his first attempt on vocals. His experimental approach, fusing hip-hop and electronic music with an organic groove, leads to the creation of an evolutionary sound and makes Ezzyland a definite artist to watch.
Performing under the stage name LONER, Lean Ordinario is an independent Filipino artist with an intriguing sound and a promising future. His recent single ‘autopilot’ evokes a darker mood fit for cold nights of solitude, with dreamlike tinkling pianos and sparse percussion taking a different path from his usual indie/neo-punk rock sound. The track builds the excitement for his LP entitled ‘no fidelity’, coming in the near future.
Born in Oman and now based in the Philippines, model and singer Jason Dhakal is a serious talent. With a penchant for smooth, contemporary R&B, he’s collaborated with Iloilo-based producer dot.jaime on ‘Night In’, a debut EP built for its own name: lonely, late-night feelings. Though he originally began his music career “accidentally” during a sleepover at his friend’s house, Jason Dhakal, at only 17-years-old, now offers an impressive sound full of sultry passion.
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Jess Connelly is a household name in Filipino music and a rising star in the international scene. Commonly referred to as JCon, the singer specialises in delivering smooth and soulful R&B tunes, and has opened for foreign acts like Kehlani and Macklemore at their tour dates in her home country. Connelly often collaborates with some of Manila’s finest producers such as crwn, similarobjects, LUSTBASS and eyedress; despite her growing popularity, she continues to release her music as an independent artist and is passionate about promoting promising local acts to her fanbase. Building on the success of her track ‘Mine’ earlier this year, her latest single ‘On My Way Up’ is an ethereal banger, as she charts her ascendant status over distorted trap-infused production.