Spanish musician, composer and singer Isabel Fernández Reviriego creates lush soundscapes that fill your soul to the brim with emotion under the moniker of Aries. That’s exactly the case with ‘Un Gran Puente’, a glistening track which is lifted from her forthcoming fourth studio album ‘Juramento Mantarraya’. Laden with warming guitar melodies and swirling electronics, ‘Un Gran Puente’ shines even brighter with Aries’ soft and comforting vocals which take the track new heights.
Bristol based band Cousin Kula’s latest single ‘Brain Abroad’ is a sun-soaked nugget of gold – one that transports you to a dream state of tropical, sandy beaches. Everything from the twinkling production – packed with groovy guitars and sensational synths – to those mesmerising vocals channel the band’s psych-pop sound. Lifted from their forthcoming second EP (which of out later this), ‘Brain Abroad’ is a brilliant taste of what’s to come from the six-piece band.
Acoustic singer-songwriter Ramya Pothuri made a departure from her signature folk and R&B blend to a long awaited foray into neo-soul with her latest single ‘Summer’. A self-taught Mumbai based musician, the finger style guitarist with an expansive repertoire released her first independent EP of original music titled ‘We Never Left’ and promoted it through a series of living room gigs around the city. With a fresh approach to her musical treatment she trades the acoustic guitar for a heavily treated telecaster, and despite the satisfying drum production, retains her hold over the listener by writing lyrics for the contemporary soul. The song deals with the feeling of longing; a bittersweet emotion that leaves us wanting for someone that may not be right, but even in heartache makes it always feel like summer.
Toronto based five-piece Jaunt share their shimmering new single ‘On Your Mind’, their first taste of new music since last year’s ‘Cue’ EP. An absolutely blissful and dreamy affair, the track’s sparkling instrumentation serves as the perfect complement for those soft vocals to traipse across with ease – offering a comforting hug. With ‘On Your Mind’, Jaunt have created one of those songs where you can’t help but lose yourself to the sound – forgetting everything and just letting yourself be taken away by the music.
Bergen based singer/songwriter Shikoswe first entered the foray with ‘The Hour of the Body’, the stunning debut EP which showcased her magical voice and ardent songwriting. With a firm fragility, Shikoswe’s voice is soft and comforting – and those golden tones are exactly what shine on latest single ‘Two Heads in a Room’, a post-Valentine’s Day cut soundtracked by heartwarming guitars and a spirited beat.With more new music on the way, there’s a lot to get excited about when it comes to Shikoswe.
Sometimes the simplest of songs are the ones that resonate with you the most, and that’s exactly the case with ‘Breathe’, the stunning new single from New York based duo CUTTS (Lillian Cutts and Peter Bonaventure). The emotive ballad presents a more subdued sound compared to the duo’s previous releases, yet once again, it’s vocalist Lillian Cutts’ soaring tones that steal the show here. Wonderfully intimate and enchanting, ‘Breathe’ blossoms into a swirling vortex of a distant love affair as the ardent lyrics and gentle composition come together to create something truly special.
Weste was born after the encounter of two great exponents of the Latin American music scene. On one hand, Clara Truco, Argentine member of Femina, and on the other, Igna Perez, from the neighbouring country of Uruguay, member of Mushi Mushi Orchestra. What began as a simple game involving folkloric instruments of the world with electronic experimentation, ended up consolidating in 2014, after the addition of three musicians from several of the best Latin-American music projects: Gonzalo Garcia from Budha Sound on the bass, Pedro Bulgakov from Diego Frekel and La Cosa Mostra on the drums, and Fermin Echeveste from Morbo and Mambo on the winds.
Weste rounded off 2018 with the release of their latest single titled ‘Razones’, a peak into their third and soon to be released LP. Exploring a more jazzy sound with remnants of hip hop, slow tempo and a light groove which generate a chill atmosphere, where the trumpet appears as the key player, the pair have delivered an absolute gem.
Every now and then a voice comes along that simply takes your breath away – that’s exactly the case with Brooklyn based singer-songwriter ZSELA and her sensational debut single ‘Noise’. Carried by its simple yet heavenly instrumentation courtesy of Daniel Aged from inc. no world, unsurprisingly, it’s ZSELA’s gorgeously smooth and haunting vocals that steal the show here. Utterly enchanting and comforting, ‘Noise’ is a stunner that soothes your soul from start to finish.
Consider yourself introduced to Irish singer-songwriter and producer Kean Kavanagh, whose sparkling new single ‘miracle’ is an extremely vibrant and atmospheric affair. A magical blend of R&B infused with gritty electronic punches, the track is driven by lush guitar lines and a stellar bass-heavy beat which bounces its way into your heart. Kavanagh’s distorted vocals inhibit a dreamy and hazy aesthetic to mirror the song’s free-flowing vibe.
Enchantée Julia has a voice that is delicate and graceful with a sensual touch. On ’45 tours’, she offers a melodious and retro yet refreshing soul track that is full of sweetness and memories. Assisted by Prince Waly, she transports the audience to the 90’s. With ’45 tours’, the intriguing singer from the South of France and the Big Budha Cheez member deliver a fervid languorous ballad about an impossible love affair between a drug dealer and his charming client.
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Montreal based artist Shay Lia is one of the most exciting R&B voices to come out of Canada. Her slew of enticing singles wonderfully accentuate the rising singer’s mesmerising and velveteen voice whilst production from the likes of Kaytranada and Sango offer a slick finesse. From the funk-filled bounce of “Funky Thang” to the spirited atmospherics of “The Cycle”, the singer showcases her incredible versatility as a singer/songwriter. Shay Lia’s latest offering ‘Feels’, produced by Stwo, is another gorgeous soul searching number which serves as her most intimate and personal release to date.
South London based newcomer Arlo Parks introduced herself with the soulful and delicate debut single ‘Cola’ last November, a spellbinding effort which showcases the artist’s unquestionable promise. Oozing a sense of calm throughout the track, the eighteen year old artist lays down her soothing tones across a soundscape which boasts funk-filled guitar melodies and persistent drums which carry the track along its graceful path. Exploring the notions that come with the heartbreak of a cheating lover, ‘Cola’ serves as a wonderful introduction to Arlo Parks’ poignant songwriting and alluring voice.
Ethiopian-American musician and songwriter Mereba yields a voice that heals, warms and soothes on gorgeously textured songs that evoke the deepest of emotions. Her latest offering, the unequivocally beautiful and relaxing ‘Bet’ which dropped towards the end of last year, sees the L.A. based artist capture a love that’s worth fighting for against all odds. Mereba’s golden tones flutter across the gentle guitar-laden soundscape, before lifting off in an unexpected but poetic spoken word piece that adds another layer to the track. With her debut project set to be released later this year, allow the tranquillity of ‘Bet’ to soothe your soul.
There’s a slang word Kenyans use for what French/Kenyan artist Stephane Stalon and producer KiliHippie have achieved with their collab track “IMMM.” The word ‘tamu’ (directly translating to “sweet” in Swahili) is hummed and howled by Nairobi audiences when they hear a silky smooth, jazz-infused track, led by laid back melodies and spaced out drums with brave lyrics and vocal vulnerability delivering subtly powerful truths. Stephane Stalon is a member of young music collective called “Bahati Bookings” on a mission to transform the Kenyan scene with their heartfelt energy, fearless fusion music and skilled lyricism, bridging the space between rap and jazz culture.
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Don Ngatia’s voice exudes an angelic melancholy spirit that belies his youth. Graceful melodies weave around a soulful plucked guitar, echoed by delicately layered harmonies to build a eerily beautiful atmosphere. Born in Kenya, Ngatia relocated to Boston after attending Berklee College of Music. His songs speak of mortal pain and resilient spirituality, painted by poetic lyrics revealing his deep-rooted romanticism. His 2014 breakout hit “Solitude” seamlessly ebbs and flows from sadness to joy, channeling raw acoustic energy to create a truly poignant piece of music.
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Esther Kirabo is a Swedish singer-songwriter and producer whose musical journey began when she joined a church choir at the age of six, learning to play drums and honing her vocal skills. Fast-forward to 2017, and her debut single ’Kill U’ was released to the world; a song about insufficient love, it showcases the power of the 23-year-old’s graceful voice, and attracted significant attention leading to a performance at the Swedish Grammy Awards. The track’s B-side ‘Blunt’ is inspired by Shakespeare’s classic tale ‘Romeo & Juliet’, with production blending an early 00’s garage sound with more contemporary upbeat R&B. As fans eagerly await new music, the excitement builds around this distinctive talent.
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In the Aymara language, “Churupaca” is a giant adaptable, multi-talented insect that can swim, fly, jump and hunt, amongst other skills; thus, the Buenos Aires neo-orchestra found the perfect name for their project. Formed by a diverse group of musicians of various disciplines, Churupaca stand out for their acoustic sentimentality and the romanticism of their lyrics. Together, members Juana, Fefo, Ricardo, Darío, Joaquín and Pablo gave birth to their second record this year, entitled “Antes de Mañana” (“Before Tomorrow” in English). The fifteen-track masterpiece guides us on a journey through countless textures and styles from across Latin America and the world, with folk and soul influences alongside classic elements of the tango, burlesque and waltz. The album’s instrumental exuberance is defined by the dramatic qualities of the wind and string sections, the sumptuous accordion melodies and Juana’s emotive, longing vocals, creating a rich, multi-layered body of work to be savoured.
“Oh Wah” is a powerhouse collaboration between Kenyan artist Blinky Bill and Nigerian singer-songwriter Nneka. Featured on Bill’s new album “Everyone’s Just Winging It And Other Tales”, the song showcases his rich production skills, as a heart-wrenching blend of echoing guitars, tribal chanting and driving percussion interweave beneath lyrics crying out for peace. The chemistry between Blinky Bill’s thick, low voice and cryptic wordplay and Nneka’s husky voiced howls creates a distinct energy, making for an infectious anthem with an important message from an African perspective.
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Claire Mortifee’s debut album “Medicines” possesses several gems and her collaborative track “No Rollies” with David Morin is one of the smoothest. The combination of Mortifee’s songwriting and Morin’s sweet vocals make for a timeless cut, with all the softness of old school R&B melodies, as harmony stacks and the suspense of a standout bridge bump against a warm fat bassline and shamelessly sassy snare hits. Active in her hometown community of Toronto, Mortifee pops up often in California for her uniquely dynamic live shows, displaying her depth of lyrical delivery and showcasing the physicality of her music as she snakes across the stage in metallic spandex with an endless smile and powerfully natural magnetism.
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Mopiano takes the definition of DIY as a serious matter. The rising Swedish artist writes and produces all of his work; starting out creating his own music from his bedroom back in 2012, he found it hard to find artists who could adapt the sound that he created, so he started to sing by himself. He went on to work on projects such as DEXYxMO, best known for the hit song ‘Project X’ and is currently active with his debut EP ‘Late Night Outdoor’. Newly-released single ‘Undercover Paper Chaser’ is as smooth as the name of the title, with a beat to make even the stiffest dancer move and a melodic blend of sung and rapped vocals. What’s for certain is that this is only the beginning for Mopiano and his home-cooked smooth bangers.