1. Girl Power: 11 Female Artists To Listen To Who Aren’t Beyonce
Relax #BeyHive! We love Beyonce too! After all the fuss of R&B being dead and White artists taking over, we thought to ourselves, what other artists aren’t getting the shine they deserve? We know you’re listening to Tinashe & Jhene Aiko, but there’s so many more artists who can serenade your ear buds. Check out the 11 female artists and thank us later!
2. FKA Twigs
This Jamaican, English, Spanish butterfly creates music for an avant-garde crowd. Her voice is angelic but easily mighty and her beats are futuristic yet mellow. She sings of intimacy and seduction, and though rarely uncouth, she does get reckless on her breakout hit “Two Weeks”.
Songs To Check For: “Papi Pacify”, “Two Weeks”, “Video Girl”, “Pendulum”, “Numbers”
TDE affiliate SZA (named in homage to Wu-Tang member RZA) has a hipster style that’s complimented by satin-y vocals. Her latest EP “Z” is an wonderland of chill R&B. Amongst the handful of feel-good tracks, she shares some surprising thoughts on distrust and regret that will resonate with females listeners who know the turmoils of relationships.
Songs To Check For: “Babylon”, “HiiiiJack”, “Julia”, “Shattered Ring”
Performs “Hiiijack” at Afropunk 8.24.2014
With her princess cold stare, long dreads and half-shaven head, Kelela is surprisingly soft. Her music is actually ethereal with major tones of synth-pop. Her “Cut 4 Me” mixtape was experimental project of original content under the guise of a remix album, which would explain why those overlapping musical breeds gel so well.
Songs To Check For: “Bank Head”, “Floor Show”
performs “Bank Head” at the Pitchfork Music Festival 2014
7. Justine Skye
The Purple Unicorn first gained attention when she turned Drake’s “Headlines” into a sassy acoustic. The Brooklyn native then released her bubble-gummy pop-R&B EP “Everyday Living.” There’ll be more music to look forward to as she’s currently promoting her sultry “Collide” and many are enjoying her throwback to ’90s jams.
Songs To Check For: “Never Leave”, “Everyday Living”, “No Sleep”, “Hard Work”
8. Justine Skye
Her music video for “Collide”
9. Lianne La Havas
Like the baby sister to fellow Brit Corinne Bailey Rae, La Havas is pure soul and guitar, with true to life lyrics about self-identity and conflicts with relationships. She really trusts her voice with ballads and listening to her may feel like you’re having the best daydream ever. Yes, La Havas, yes.
Songs To Check For: “Lost & Found”, “Tease Me”, “Is Your Love Big Enough”, “Au Cinema”
10. Rebecca Ferguson
We still can’t get over her song “Diamond to Stone” which for that alone, she deserves a spot on this list. Ferguson has a fantastic, Motown voice, and her road to success is aspiring. As a single, destitute mother of two, she relentlessly pursued music. She was a 7th runner-up on The X-Factor and has since released two albums.
Songs To Check For: “Glitter & Gold”, “Nothing’s Real but Love” , “Mr. Bright Eyes”
11. Rebecca Ferguson
Performs “Glitter & Gold” at Studio 10
12. Alice Smith
Blues-y and with a voice of authentic grit, Smith is this list’s rock n’ roll bae. Lyrically, she tackles independence, the purpose and questioning of love and lust, and the occasional take on societal disappointment. Smith takes the tough subjects head on, but she’s fully capable of heavenly tunes, like her beautiful hit “Dream”.
Songs To Check For: “Another Love”, “Gary’s Song”, “Oceans”, “The One”
13. Alice Smith – Ocean (Barnes & Noble Performances, March 25th 2013)
Goapele’s first two albums are underrated, neo-soul classics. Her favorite subject to sing about is love and whether she’s singing about the agony of unrequited love or when you’re so head over heels you almost feel trapped, she never forgets that one little thing called hope.
Songs To Check Out: “Got It”, “Closer”, “Love Me Right”, “Different”, “Crushed Out”
performs “Crushed Out”
You’re forgiven if you’ve been sleeping on the innovative tunes of Santigold (fka Santogold). While she hasn’t released an album since 2012, both of her solo efforts are impressively layered with genres and her in your face lyrics to speak to the DIY culture of today’s youth and all-knowing pop culture consumerists.
Songs To Hear: “I’m A Lady”, “LES Artistes”, “This Isn’t Our Parade”, “Shove It”, “Disparate Youth”
the video for “Disparate Youth”
18. Laura Mvula
Ms. Mvula is just great! You’ll definitely love her sweeping, soulful ballad for the film “Little Girl Blue” for the film “12 Years A Slave” and her style harkens to the glamour of African goddesses. Her first album was 2013’s “Sing to the Moon”.
Songs To Hear: “Green Garden”, “She”, “Make Me Lovely”, “Father Father”
19. Laura Mvula
Performing “Green Garden” and “See Line Woman” by Nina Simone
20. Lion Babe
As the daughter of Vanessa Williams, we won’t use it against her that’s she just as gorgeous, but Lion Babe has an identity all her as an up and coming artist. Real name, Jillian Hervey, her music is soul food R&B with the occasional twinge of pop (like her single “Jump Hi”). Her first self-titled EP is released December 15!