HelloBeautiful.com’s “Base Level” column features the hottest new artists we’re buzzing about. Before they make it to the summit of superstardom, we spot them at base level–the beginning of their hopeful journey to the top.
There’s something dark, yet very eclectic about 23 year old Chris Batson. The Florida native brings his real life experiences to his R&B/Alternative music to craft a sound all his own. #TeamBeautiful caught up with the young musician to discuss his musical inspirations, how he racked up 400,000 views for his newest video and what he was doing snooping around a studio at 13-years-old.
Name: Chris Batson
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Who are some of your musical inspirations? I listened to so much growing up, whether it’s old school records from the 70s and 80s to new school people. But everyone from Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye to Usher, The Dream, Coldplay, Kings of Leon. I love those guys. Drake, Kanye West. I’m a fan of a lot of different kinds of music.
What has been your biggest break thus far? I feel like being recognized as an MTV Buzzworthy artist was huge. I even think You Tube getting up to 400,000 views on my video “Never Coming Back” that was a huge moment for me.
What’s your biggest fear as a new artist? The only fear I have is if I do switch up my sound along the way I want people to be receptive to it and not disrespect the art form. I do so many different types of music, whether its urban or alternative, I just want people to be receptive of what I put out. I know that’s a bit far fetched but I at least want the respect to do what I want to do and create how I want to create.
When did you realize music was your passion? When I was 13 or 14 years old it was my first time in the studio and seeing everything that was going on. I always wondered how music was actually made. For me, being in the studio for the first time it solidified this is what I have to do.
If you could be the love child of any two artists-dead or alive-who would it be and why? I feel like if I could be the love child of any two artists I would choose Aaliyah and Tupac. I feel like Aaliyah has that soulful light sound and I feel like Tupac is so deep and so real and I feel like that’s a great mixture of where I’m at right now musically.
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This California native teased us last year with her sensual hit "Ecstasy" but she' back to take 2014 by storm. With her DJ Mustard produced single "2 On" featuring TDE's ScHoolboy Q, this R&B songstress proves she's taking no prisoners.
2. Elijah Blake
Blake went from working at BlockBuster to writing Usher's No. 1 hit "Climax." Now the singer-songwriter is gearing up to expand his musical resume, which included penning Rihanna's "No Love Allowed" Under the mentorship of hit producer No.Id, it's only a matter of time before Blake's soothing voice floods your radio.
3. Mara Hruby
If you're in dire need of relaxation, just listen to Mara Hruby's EP "From Her Eyes" While the project is covers of everything from D'Angelo's "How Does It Feel" to Norah Jones "Take Off Your Cool" the West Cost native puts her enchanting voice on it, to craft a sound all her own.
Kelela brings a breath of fresh air to the musical landscape. With her urban-alternative sound, this Ethiopian beauty debuted her project Cut 4 Me to rave reviews. With singles such as "Guns & Synths" and "Enemy", Kelela's sound violently shakes up the musical landscape to offer a well-needed rejuvenating sound.
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6. Maryann Vasquez
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This Queens, New York native has such a robust voice, you wonder how she's able to carry it around in her petite 5'2 frame. But the Princeton graduate evokes a soulful sound, which echoes of her musical inspirations Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. But with her album "Ayahuasca" fans will wonder how they've made it this far in their life without having her on their iPod.
This L.A Based Trio has secured a fan base so loyal, one would think they've been on the scene forever, but King's soothing brand of soul and R&B has catapulted the group to super star status in what seems like a matter of months. With their newest single "In The Meantime" fans can't help but fall in love with their melodic sound.
10. Gary Clarke Jr.
Hailed as this generations Jimmi Hendrix, Gary Clarke Jr and his electric guitar burst onto the scene to take his place among the rock Gods. With his album "Blak And Blue" The Austin, TX native combines rock and blues to craft a sound so rebelious it became infectious. After earning himself a Grammy nod just by being himself, one can only hope he continues his musical reign for the new year.
11. Eric Bellinger
Can he sing? Yes. Can he perform? Absolutely! Is he a cutie? Umm, duh! Singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger is part of a new crop of R&B artists showcasing a vocal prowess unlike any other, Bellinger incorporates a new school sound with classic R&B fundamentals.
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