Missouri singer SZA has been a firm favourite of mine since discovering her in the early half of 2014. She makes wavy, psychedelic R&B and neo-soul, similar to Kelela and Jhené Aiko, and she has a voice that will say with you for days.
California singer Gavin Turek may as well have stepped out of 1970s. She’s making new dance music with an obvious admiration for old-school disco and the electro of 70s and 80s.
As well as singing and songwriting, Turek has contributed to music by TokiMonsta and soul man Mayer Hawthorne’s group, Tuxedo. She’s also release tributes to Donna Summer and electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder.
Kicking off 2017 in operatic style is the return of London Grammar.
Guitarist Dan Rothman, multi-instrumentalist Dominic ‘Dot’ Major and vocalist Hannah Reid rocked the hearts of all who heard their melancholy music when they debuted four years ago. The trio’s album, If You Wait, contained deep pools of emotion capable of bringing tears to the eyes.
Closing out the bitter slog that was 2016 are a band who are bringing the sunshine grooves of the Caribbean to the urban metropolis. The Hempolics are a little-known ska band from London, who have steadily been crafting their sound for over a decade now. They have received attention from radio, not to mention the fellow musicians, such as La Roux, Eliza Doolittle and Paolo Nutini.
British folk singer Marika Hackman released her haunting debut album, We Slept at Last in 2015. That album was all original material, none of which appeared on her trio of EPs which preceded it.
Continuing her zeal for new music, Hackman has come up with spins on some Christmas favourites and a couple original songs for her first ever holiday EP.
Soul goddess Nicole Wray is back. The singer – now known as Lady Wray – was last on the scene as part of Lady, a heaven-sent coupling with UK R&B singer-songwriter Terri Walker. Together these harmonic sisters released a phenomenal self-titled LP of old-school soul on Truth and Soul Records, which included standouts such as ‘Money’ and ‘Sweet Lady’.
When it comes to self-defence, Oakland-born R&B rebel Kehlani sounds like she could give an army of assailants a butt-whoopin’ they won’t soon forget. She’s a tough-talking-rough-riding-Michelle-Rodriguez kind of woman, or at least that’s the impression you get from her music and colourful body tatts.