Black Artists You Should Be Listening To

Leon Bridges – His latest single “Sweeter” is a grand statement. Buttery smooth vocals guide this track as Bridges narrates the racial injustices Black people face today. The chorus details his heavy heart, “Hoping for a life more sweeter/ Instead I’m just a story repeating/ Why do I fear with skin dark as night?/ Can’t feel peace with those judging eyes.”

Bridges has always been one of my favorite new artists for the past couple of years. Listen to “River”, “Beyond”, and “Coming Home” and I guarantee you’ll feel his warmth in a matter of seconds.

 

Victoria Monét – You might know her as an elite member of Ariana Grande’s cute friend squad, but Monét is making a name for herself in the pop/r&b genre. Her voice is gentle, sweet, and sultry. Recent singles “Ass Like That”, “Dive”, and “Experience” are superb in their production style and sound. Check her out:

 

Amber Mark – Mark’s voice is one of my favorites in the industry today. She first caught my attention with her 2017 album 3:33am. “Monsoon” spoke volumes to me, and the way her voice sounded so natural and strong kept me yearning for more of her music. Since then, Mark has released other incredible singles like “Generous”, “My People”, and “Love Is Stronger Than Pride”.

 

John Legend – His latest album, Bigger Love is one of his best releases to date. It keeps Legends usual crooner-esque voice but shifts to a new-age sound that feels light and happy. “Ooh Laa” is fun and sexy, while “U Move, I Move” is a sweet duet with R&B princess Jhené Aiko. Lead single, “Conversations in the Dark” is a gorgeous piano-led love song that will tug right at the soul strings.

 

H.E.R. – I can’t say enough good things about H.E.R.. I’ve been captivated by her for so long I can’t imagine not having her songs when I need them. “Hard Place” is one of the greatest songs of all time, and I’ll stand by that forever. Her artistry is so evident in every single song she releases. Not only is she an incredibly gifted singer but musician as well. “Best Part”, “Changes”, “Hopes Up”, and “I’m Not OK” are all some of my favorites but honestly I can’t skip one song when I’m listening to H.E.R..

Her latest single, “I Can’t Breathe” details the Black Lives Matter movement and what our current world state is like:

 

Chloe x Halle – These two have captivated my heart and soul with their latest album, Ungodly Hour. The voices, the beats, the lyrics, everything about this album is a VIBE. Chloe and Halle are going to be in this industry for a lifetime with the amount of talent they have. Originally known for singing flawless covers of pop songs, these sisters sprouted into two mature singing angels. Listen to “Ungodly Hour”, “Don’t Make It Harder On Me”, and “Do It”.

 

Beyoncé – Need I say more? A legend with a discography that is nothing short of iconic. Stream her latest single “BLACK PARADE” released on Juneteenth. Yoncé sings about her heritage, hometown, and returning to her African roots. One word: POWER.

 

Lizzo – It’s no secret Lizzo has been dominating the music scene for the last year. With self love & acceptance at the core of who she is, I can’t help but feel so in love with the artist she’s become. Her 2019 album Cuz I Love You is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. Revel in her vocals on “Cuz I Love You” then shake your ass to “Soulmate” and “Tempo”. And don’t forget about 2016’s “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell”.

 

Kendrick Lamar – Kendrick Lamar doesn’t make music like other rappers do. His lyrics are poetic and intricate, some even feel like puzzles or brain games. Lamar’s 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly and 2017’s DAMN feel even more relevant today than they did back then; a sad yet true reality. Listen to “Alright”, “i”, “DNA.” and “m.A.A.d city”. No one does it like Kendrick and no one ever will.

 

SZA – Her flawless 2017 album titled, Ctrl melted my brain into a pile of feelings. From the lovely “Love Galore” to the self reflective “Supermodel”, SZA spills her feelings without any inhibitions. Spoiler alert: she sounds this good live too. I’ll be playing this album till I’m 80.

To support the Black Lives Matter movement, read through this article that details where you can donate: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html . Whether it be bail funds, victim memorial funds, or policy reform organizations, every signature or dollar counts towards making this world a better place. Please do your part.

 

 

 

LANY Returns With Sweet Single “Good Guys”

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Image via onestowatch.com

It’s been two years since the beachy boys of LANY lulled us to sleep with their epic alt-pop melodies. The band is back with a new single that surely lives up to their vibey brand. “Good Guys” is as romantic as it is comforting.

Lead singer, Paul Klein announced the new single on his Instagram saying “pls don’t spend ur whole life trying to do the right things for the wrong ones.” “Good Guys” defines romantic gestures in a world that often feels romantic-less; “I just wanna be the one you call, anything you need, anything at all, all I wanna do is let you in.” Klein revisits his southern upbringing mentioning he’s a “southern gentlemen”; a theme I’m sure we’ll hear more of on the upcoming album titled mama’s boy. “Guys” features the usual subdued guitar riffs that we love from LANY. The song fits right in on a sunset drive or a night on the couch with a glass of wine. Near the end of the track, Klein’s soft layered vocals sing, “so I’m gonna play it cool, til I know you want me too” in a sweet innocent tone.

Listen below:

 

YouTube Picks!

Hayley Williams taps into her spunky nature in this captivating new music video.

 

Can you catch every celebrity appearance?

 

I love seeing behind the scenes footage tour footage and how this new Halsey tour came together.

 

I love the animation of this! It’s so different and fits the futuristic sound of the album.

 

Lennon Stella‘s voice is gorgeous in this new acoustic performance.

 

Kim Petras is accompanied by fans and friends in this virtual vacation beach party. Look out for stars like Paris Hilton, Demi Lovato, and more.

 

Billie Eilish discusses canceling tour and her new radio show alongside her dad.

Lennon Stella’s Perfect Debut

Although Lennon is no stranger to the music industry (both of her parents are singers and her and sister Maisy were cast members on the hit TV show Nashville as a singing duo). Lennon has successfully showed off her artistry since starting her solo music journey with a gorgeous EP titled Love, Me back in 2018. In a recent interview, Lennon said, “Putting out an album has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I wanted it to be something that embodied who I am. I wasn’t listening to any other opinions to morph it into anything.” Her debut album, Three. Two. One. is certainly a debut to be proud of.

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Image via americansongwriter.com

This album is flooded with every type of relationship; family, friends, and lovers. Every emotion is explored through enchanting lyrics and melodies brushed with subtle strings and piano chords. Lennon’s voice is so pretty it hurts. She makes singing look easy. Opening track, “Much Too Much” shines light on a deep relationship and the uncertainty that lies beneath the surface. Stella explains it saying, “So this is that fear-based concept: of being scared of letting go of something because you think ‘What if later on I’m like, it was perfect, and now it’s not?'” Pretty mature for a 20-year-old, huh?

Every song is just as beautiful as the next. “Games”, “Fear of Being Alone”, and “Jealous” have radio-ready potential featuring beautifully crafted choruses and gentle pop vocals. “Bend Over Backwards” has a heavier beat straying from Lennon’s usual subdued production. She sings about standing your ground and not succumbing to outside pressures; another mature topic beyond her years. “Since I Was A Kid”, “Older Than I Am” and “Weakness” are some of the most personal tracks off the album revolving around Lennon’s upbringing and keeping her family close. Her sister Maisy is featured on “Weakness” as they sing about the close bond they have with eachother and how its developed over the years. Closing the album is “Goodnight”; a song I’ve been listening to on YouTube for a year waiting for her to release it on an album. She quietly sings with purpose, “when I close my eyes, please don’t say goodbye, just say goodnight.” The lyrics and melody make this lullaby feel hopeful and open-ended.

Some artists would take 10 years to compose an album this unblemished. Lennon Stella has proven her artistry is hers and no one else’s through an album that is 100% her.  

Listen for yourself below:

 

Hayley Williams Releases Emotional Single “Why We Ever”

As Williams’ solo debut album inches closer and closer, the talented singer/songwriter has continued to release more songs for fans to digest. Her latest, titled “Why We Ever” might be my favorite so far.

Image via nytimes.com

This melancholy track is a diary entry that feels all too relatable. Although the underlying bass groove of the track is a bit retro and cute, the lyrics prove another all-bearing emotional story. Hayley describes a relationship at its end, but why? Sometimes we don’t really know; “And now I, can’t seem to remember why we ever felt we had to say goodbye.” Apologies crawl into the closing piano-led outro as Hayley anxiously sings, “I just wanna talk about it, sorry for freaking out,” over and over. These words feel significant in so many ways, like they could somehow solve everything but instead, just saying them out loud is a step towards inner freedom. I keep going back to the closing piano melody and find it so beautiful. It flows just slow enough to compliment the lyrics with upper and lower notes to mimic the heartfelt feelings described in the track. It’s pure magic.

As we’ve heard in previously released singles, self-identity is a huge theme in this new chapter of Hayley’s life. Is she happy, mad, sad, hurt, peaceful? It doesn’t matter. Her main goal is honest expression – nothing is off limits on this album.