2015 saw the release of several hits by the usual lineup of artists: Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Meghan Trainor, to name a few. However, this year also saw the rise of new faces, whose albums have not only allowed these singers to reach a new level of popularity, but have also left VocaLady Magazine begging for more in 2016. Need some new musical obsessions for the new year? Here are some ladies you ought to know:
You may remember her as the girl from Lemonade Mouth whose hair you tried (and failed) to imitate. However, while her hair has become easier to mimic, her sound is unrepeatable. Kiyoko’s voice is airy, yet strong, with the ability to be powerful in some verses and transcend to an airy falsetto in others. Combined with electro-rock beats – an unlikely combination of synthesizer and guitar – Kiyoko’s voice is a stark but pleasurable contrast. Kiyoko reached modest fame with the release of her album A Belle to Remember in 2013. However, her latest album, This Side of Paradise, shows that Kiyoko has become in touch with her voice and how to utilize its uniqueness within her music. In one of the lead singles, “Cliff’s Edge”, Kiyoko’s delicate falsetto is the highlight of the chorus. Additionally, Kiyoko’s music videos do not disappoint. The single, “Girls Like Girls”, (also on This Side of Paradise) has racked up over twenty million views on YouTube, and to no surprise. Unlike most music videos, this video, which closely portrays the story of a budding romance between a girl and her friend (who has a boyfriend), makes bisexuality the new normal. Kiyoko’s latest album has brought her career to new heights both musically and socially. We definitely hope to hear more of her in 2016.
Let’s face it, no singer has described the feeling of being uncomfortable at a party as accurately as Alessia Cara does in her hit single, “Here.” The song, featured in her debut album, Know-It-All (released November 13, 2015), is both instrumentally and lyrically spot-on. The steady tempo of the piano and drums combined with Cara’s subtly powerful vocals create a tune that reeks of soul. Additionally, the lyrics are simple, yet poetic and relatable. Still, “Here” is not all Cara has to offer. All of her songs have a story to them. The more upbeat song, “Seventeen”, similar in style to Lorde’s “Team”, discusses the pains of growing up. Meanwhile, “I’m Yours”, whose video consists of Cara being stalked by a teenage guy as she walks around carrying a selfie-stick, centers on the fear of falling for someone, or getting hurt again. Cara’s beats, which are mostly electronic, complement her soulful voice. If you like Lorde (or simply like good music) Alessia Cara is definitely someone to check out.
Louisa Rose Allen, better known by her stage name Foxes, is not new to the music industry. She performed the vocals in Zedd’s track, “Clarity”, which won for “Best Dance Recording” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in January 2014. Nevertheless, Allen’s own work definitely deserves more credit due to a basic fact: This. Woman. Can. SING. No matter the pace of the song, whether upbeat or somber, Allen’s voice never compromises. Her powerful tone is one that is both unavoidable and easily recognizable. Her single, “Body Talk”, for example, is a fun hit, with an eighties vibe and an equally eighties music video. Yet Allen does not make any attempt to alter her strong voice. Rather, she utilizes it throughout the entire song. The same is true for her song “Amazing”, whose video was just released last week. Her latest album, All I Need, featuring “Body Talk” and “Amazing”, among other songs, is scheduled to be released in February 2016. Frankly, its singles deserve to be broadcast on the radio just as much as “Clarity” was. Did I mention that her style is just too friggin’ adorable?
We all should know who this queen is, and if you don’t, please take a moment to consider your life choices. Missy Elliot is in no way up-and-coming. She established herself years ago, with hits like “Lose Control”, “Work it”, and “Pass that Dutch”, as well as features on song’s such as Keyshia Cole’s “Let it Go.” However, her return to hip hop, which was spurred by the release of her single “WTF (Where They From)” (featuring Pharrell Williams), leads us to ask the most important question at hand: Will she stick around? In the world of hip hop, numerous hit singles don’t necessarily confirm permanent stature. Pharrell Williams confirmed on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he has been working with Elliott to produce her seventh studio album. Let’s just hope this album also makes it onto the radio and reaffirms Elliot’s spot on the throne.