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  • Fatima Sheekhuna

8 Artists You Should Be Adding To Your Playlists

We all know how tumultuous 2020 was, there's no need to get into it. The world of live music was brought to a halt, which meant the immersive experience was snatched from us all. Instead, we were trapped in our bedrooms, getting lost in the act of searching for new artists and curating playlists, scrambling for new sonics in the desparate plea of creating fresh experiences. It looks as though we will have to continue this, into the throws of a new year, so here are some up and coming artists you should definitely be adding to those playlists.


BERWYN


Trinidad-born BERWYN moved to the UK at the tender age of 9. With a DJ as his father, he seemed to have inherited the musical gene having self taught himself how to produce and play instruments - he has conquered the piano, violin, drums and guitar. Following an intense burst of creativity while at rock bottom 2 years ago, after a tempestuous few years, BERWYN crafted what would be his debut EP DEMOTAPE/VEGA, released last year. He manages, in the record, to weave together the limited words of the english language, to tell the gut wrenching tale of his life experiences, in a hauntingly cathartic manner that could pull on even the coldest humans heart. For the gloomy days, when you want to heighten the dysphoric feeling in the pit of your belly, a BERWYN track is the perfect addition to the playlist made for those days.


For fans of - melancholic rap, introspective lyricism, sad stories.


Song - TRAP PHONE


Playlist - The one you make at the height of a breakup.




Enny


Some time in the midst of 2020, I was sent the video for Peng Black Girl by a friends, with the statement, "this is so wholesome." And there is no other way to describe Enny and what she does. Even in the freestyles where she brutally sets pace, there is something incredibly endearing about her that makes you want to protect her at all costs. A stellar lyricist, who manages to blend South-London grit, a neo-soul and 90's hip-hop ambiance, to create a sonic uniquely her own. In every track of hers, there is always an underlying tone of encouragement to listeners, she'll speak her story and simultaneously converse with you, and nobody could do it better. If you dont start paying attention to the artist now, you're guaranteed to miss out on watching the growth of someone spectacular. Despite only bursting onto the scene last year, there is an array of feel good music thats must be added to your playlist today.


For fans of - melodic rap, poetic lyricism, soothing vibrations.


Song - For South


Playlist - The one you put on when chilling with your close friends.





Mustafa

Mustafa's use of folk to grapple the amalgamation of grief, loss, hood violence and the narrative of his story seems the perfect place for a poet shifting to music to immortalise the tales of his life. It hasn't even been a year since he launched his music career, and its hard to ignore the impact of his art. Initially, Mustafa gained recognition for his poetry, making waves amongst the scene in his city Toronto from the tender age of 12. Mustafa would then go on to try his hand at song-writing, placing songs with the likes of The Weeknd and Camila Cabello. It would be from that point he would shake the industry with his provocatively tender debut single, Stay Alive, a potent reckoning, tribute and plea to his community, to avoid succumbing to the atrocities of their environment. His following releases continue on that guise, succinctly exploring the complexities of growing up within the tropes of an inner city. There is a refreshing vulnerability to his art that feels almost too precious in such a virulent hyper-masculine world. The music he makes, definitely sit in the playlists where every track deserves undivided attention.


For fans of - folk, storytelling, compelling lyricism, simple production and heavy words.


Song - Airforces


Playlist - The one you're bound to shed a tear too.



anaiis


Soulful, solemn and soft are three words that come to mind when searching for the ways to describe the ethereal music that belongs to anaiis. It's obvious she draws from somewhere that allows her music to seamlessly blend in and out of various scopes, shapeless in a way you didn't realise music hadn't already been. anaiis has lived in cities across the globe from Dakar to Dublin, and is now finding her feet in London. The French-Senegalese star also uses language as a way to shift the experience of her art, switching between English, French and breath taking harmonies. The soothing nature of her work makes it possible to sit on any playlist, whether its the mellow vibe of a slow Saturday morning, the warm furrow of a summer sunset, or one for the bath, wherever it resides, it will definitely calm you.


For fans of - the slow and mellow, cosmic jazz, psychedelic soul.


Song - oh, man


Playlist - The one for the bath and candles.




Jelani Blackman


The rapper has many distinctive qualities about him, his lyrical vigour, the rough deep tone of his voice and the sturdy nonchalance in the deliverance of his flow. Hailing from West-London, Jelani Blackman is one to keep an eye on this year, particularly following on from the success of his COLORS performance of Hello. The track isn't merely an introduction lyrically to the star, but a great example of the mercurial element to his sound, which makes the experience of sifting through his discography so exciting - you just never know what you'll get, but it is bound to be brilliant. For this reason, he will be perfect addition to the playlists, because he can scratch any type of itch - the storytelling, the hype or even the mellow.


For fans of - alternative rap, enigmatic artists, a collision of R&B and grime.


Song - Average Joe


Playlist - The one you've made for the mornings you need a hype.




Priya Ragu


After moving to America to pursue music, Swiss-Tamil singer, Priya Ragu, has just released her debut single Good Love 2.0. The track is by no means a linear one, with the production switching from a upbeat and heavy tempo, to a more mellow electronic R&B reminiscent sonic merged with sounds that originate from her South Asian heritage. Ragu's tone, soft and slightly higher in key is one perfect for the funk type beat present throughout. The tempo switches makes this a track versatile enough it can sit on more than one playlist - whether its a feel good one, or the one ready for a Sunday clean, it's bound to find a home somewhere, especially since there is also a few remix versions.


For fans of - electronic funk, Kaytranada, and fusions with different cultural sounds.


Song - GOOD LOVE 2.0


Playlist - The one where every song has you shuffling your feet.




Odeal


Following a conversation with his dad, who let him know that the music he was making at the time wouldn't work, in Nigeria, (hip-hop and R&B) Odeal took it upon himself to study the craft and experiment with more African sounds, fusing this with what he was already doing. And following his pops advice could not have served him any better. Building up a support base for the idiosyncratic style of his sound that blends between a variety of genres, Odeal's soulful voice is one making waves across the city. He is setting precedent for Londoners, illustrating that one can be more experimental with their voice and how they draw influence from their cultural heritage.


For fans of - alte, R&B, smooth despondent sonics


Song - 24/48


Playlist - The one you play when feeling nostalgic.




Dua Saleh

Before music, Dua Saleh was known for their spoken word poetry and activist work against the prison to school pipeline. The shift into music came after they felt poetry was no longer providing them with the sustenance they needed, and the melodies starting to flow a sign to them, a sign that their' body (was) reacting and wanting to heal me, in some ways." Their music touches base on vast spectrum of topics, and amidst the tactile movement between the sultry woozy singing and punctual rapping, there is something for anyone. The star is also due to star in the popular Netflix show Sex Education, so it's about time to get accustomed.


For fans of - genre-less music, conceptual sonics and lyricism, dark tonalities

Song - Sugar Mama


Playlist - The one you play in the dead of the night.







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