My Top 5 New Favorite Artists

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

– George Eliot

Hey y’all, it’s definitely been a minute. Obviously we’re all going through a lot with the current pandemic going on, and I can say personally that it’s been affecting me mentally (and financially, but besides the point).

I’ve officially graduated from college. I’m supposed to be walking the stage tomorrow, but obviously that isn’t happening. While I’m obviously happy I’m done, it just doesn’t feel right with the current situation. Oh well I guess.

After being in a creative rut for like two months (partially mental health related, partially because I was still finishing out my degree) I’ve finally started to get back into the swing of things. I’ve been writing more poetry, more music, and I may or may not be working on an EP (shhh…)

But anyway, here is a result of one of my favorite outlets: My Top 5 New Favorite Artists!

This is a list of artists that I have discovered recently (within the last few months or so) that I keep finding myself going back to. I’ll also list my recommendation for songs and what got me into them.

I purposely refrained from leaving UMI off of this list, as I’ve written about her a few times already (see “Who is UMI?” And “An In-Depth Look at the Love Language EP by UMI”).

This is gonna go in order from Least Favorite to Most Favorite.

5. Megan Thee Stallion

I’m sure we’re all familiar with Miss Megan since the birth of her single ‘Hot Girl Summer” on August 9, 2019. Since its release, Thee Stallion has been on nothing short of an uphill climb in terms of popularity. Other well-known songs include “Captain Hook”, and “B.I.T.C.H.”, the latter being a personal favorite of mine. It’s probably the one song that got me hooked on Megan at first, and then it only accelerated with the released of “Savage”. I will also admit to I do secretly love the #SavageChallenge.

Her music just has this feel good vibe to it. Like the bad girl music I like to blast when my self-esteem is low (I should make that into a playlist…) I admire her confidence and how she’s so free about expressing her sexuality. In a less serious sense, her music is just fun to listen to.

Recommended Songs: “B.I.T.C.H.”, “Captain Hook” (Suga, 2020)

4. Diamond White

Diamond White has an extensive career not only as a singer, but as an actress as well (she had recurring roles in “Phones and Ferb”, “Black-ish”, “Dear White People” and “Empire”). The first song I ever came across by her was “Love Songs 4” (2019) while listening to one of those Apple-curated R&B playlists. The song itself has a nostalgic and dreamy quality; it gives me early 2010’s R&B vibes. I often find myself adding her music to my “v i b e s” playlist on Apple Music.

Recommended Songs: “Love Songs 4” (2019), “Pretty Brown Skin” (2020)

3. H.E.R.

H.E.R. I find very interesting as an R&B artist. To me, her sound is somewhat unconventional, especially her more recent music. I get old-school R&B vibes as well as fresh, newer sounds that you find with other artists of today. I think that’s probably why I like her so much.

My introduction to H.E.R. was brought on by her duet “Best Part” (2017) with Daniel Caesar. It was played a lot throughout my college years, covered by student musicians at numerous on-campus events. I didn’t give her music much thought after that until, once again, I listened to an R&B playlist created in the “For You” section of Apple Music. The first song I heard on this playlist that struck my attention (and ultimately is my favorite song) was the love balled “Every Kind of Way” (2017). It’s catchy and it definitely relates to how I feel about my current relationship (shout to bae 😘).

Another song I’ve grown to love is “Lord is Coming” (2019) featuring YBN Cordes. It’s a song that speaks on racial injustice within our current society. It starts with spoken introduction and eventually evolves into a song with a lot of gospel and classical spiritual influence. As a music major who LOVES me a good spiritual (Moses Hogan, anyone?) I loved and appreciated that. It’s a pretty heavy song all around.

I have a few more of her songs scattered around my Apple Music Library, but no full albums (yet).

Recommended Songs: “Every Kind of Way”, “Best Part”, (H.E.R., 2017); “Against Me”, “Lord is Coming (feat. YBN Cordes)”, (I Used to Know Her, 2019); “Comfortable” (2020)

2. Melanie Martinez

So, the Melanie Martinez story is actually a really funny one. It started back in what I believe was my junior year of high school, around 2015. She was introduced to me by my ex, let’s call her Wendy. Wendy was all into that creepy cute shit, which at the time weirded me out to no end. I very much dislike her at the time, her demeanor just did things to my spirit that I didn’t like. I hardly heard many songs aside from “Crybaby” because I absolutely refused to give her a chance.

Fast forward to a couple years later, I think this was the summer before my senior year of college. I was hanging out with a friend of mine who LOVED Melanie, let’s call him Kai. Kai was obsessed with Melanie Martinez and being a “Crybaby” all throughout high-school. I was home for the summer and we were hanging out at his place for a while. When he was driving me home, the song “Mrs. Potato Head” came on the radio where his phone was connected. I instantly vibed with it and I didn’t recognize the voice initially, until I decided to Shazam it. I was surprised to see her name come across my screen.

After that, I decided to check out more of her music and really get to know her as an artist. Long story short, I was actually very impressed. I’m not sure what turned me off to her style before (could have had something to do with the awful relationship I was in at the time) but I actually really liked her style. The best part was by the time I really got comfortable with her, she released K-12. I watched the full movie the day it was released and let me tell you, I could’t wait to download the album. Such a beautiful piece of art.

Recommended Songs (this might be a long one): “Mrs. Potato Head”, “Teddy Bear”, “Pity Party”, “Soap” (Crybaby, 2015); “Bittersweet Tragedy”, (Dollhouse EP, 2014); “Drama Club”, “High School Sweethearts”, “Strawberry Shortcake”, “Lunchbox Friends” (K-12, 2019)

Last, but not least, we have #1.

1. Ella Mai

I’m pretty sure everyone knows Ella Mai from her 2017 hit “Boo’d Up” (from the “Ready” EP; later added to her self-titled album). Beyond that, I’ve found that she’s put out some other great songs as well.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I found her on the same playlist that I found “Every Kind of Way” on. The song on this playlist was “Trip” (2018). I got the same experience listening to it as I did with “Every Kind of Way”; it’s catchy and definitely gives me early 2000’s times (can you tell I miss those days?)

With me, I think the biggest thing is that I love her voice. Something about it just gives me chills regardless of whether she’s singing a slow ballad or a more upbeat and feel-good song. Her timbre, her voice, her range (“Easy” sits at an F3 during the chorus, and her upper range is just as strong).

Her music can suit any mood, which is why I think she’s an amazing artist. She only has one album out right now (and two EPs), but I’m hoping for more.

Recommended Songs: “10,000 Hours”, (Change EP, 2016); “She Don’t (feat. Ty Dolla Sign)”, (Time EP, 2016); “Boo’d Up”, (Ready, 2017); “Trip”, “Easy”, “Gut Feeling (feat. H.E.R.)”, (Ella Mai, 2018).

If you decide you want to discover some new music today, I highly recommend these artists!

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