Artist Spotlight: Up Next

In a time when so much is divisive, so much is uncertain, and words complicate life around us, music thrives. Music is a singular tool capable of boosting a mood, guiding more positive thoughts, and simply distracting listeners from their personal issues.

The below collection of EPs is a showcase of some of the strongest, most overlooked recent projects from artists that deserve attention.


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3:33am, Virgin EMI Records

3:33am – Amber Mark (2017)

One of the biggest shames of Coachella 2020’s delay was the missed opportunity for music lovers to see Amber Mark. No one does it like her today. Mark has consistently released incredible tracks and projects. 3:33am, like others in her repertoire, is a poignant, unique ode to the tragic loss of Mark’s mother and her emotional journey through which she processes her new reality. It’s soulful, it’s profound, and it’s unforgettable. The production often surprises with its blend of R&B soul with modern electronica and tropical influences. It often aligns with the storytelling – an equally awe inspiring asset of the project.

For fans of: Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis, SZA, Snoh Aalegra


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Lovestained, Globe Town Records

Sensitive Soul – Hope Tala (2019)

From West London, scholar turned musician Hope Tala shines with her beautiful EP Sensitive Soul. Writing and recording it in her final year at the University of Bristol, Tala ultimately turned down an offer to a Masters program in pursuit of music, and she definitely made the right decision. This concise collection of tracks informs the listener just how incredible a songwriter Tala is. Her soft, quiet voice is so welcoming that it brings the listener into the world of the lyricism. Influenced by pop and hip hop, the lyrics are delivered accessibly. It lacks the diverse sound of similar projects in the genre, but marks a promising starting point for an artist newly committed to the craft. Tala will be one to look out for.

For fans of: Jamila Woods, Elley Duhé, Jorja Smith


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Introspection, RCA Records

Introspection – UMI (2020)

UMI’s strengths lay in her medicinal vocals, her music’s soothing sound, and her introspective writing. Over the last few years, UMI’s evolution has gradually progressed. It’s no more palpable than on this latest project. More mature in sound and perspective, “Introspection” has UMI continuing to find herself and manifest her talents through the retelling of these formative years and the experiences that shape them. Incorporating 90s R&B and more contemporary electronic influenced indie, the collection is another impressive piece.

For fans of: Omar Apollo, Sabrina Claudio, Cautious Clay


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Dragon Mentality, RCA Records

DRAGON MENTALITY – Elley Duhé (2018)

Existing somewhere in between alternative, indie pop and trap, Elley Duhé’s Dragon Mentality is an impressive debut EP. Born in Alabama, now 28 year-old Duhé has been developing her craft since her teen years. What results is a sonically experimental collection of unique songs. When amalgamated with Duhé’s unique, piercing and emotional vocals, the EP borrows popular sounds of today and turns them on their head. Subversive and sultry, Dragon Mentality is a passionate and self-assured debut.

For fans of: Halsey, Lorde, Lana Del Rey

 

Author: Kieran Sweeney

Writing about entertainment for the better part of a decade and consuming it twice as much, Kieran Sweeney is "the" pop culture aficionado. A connoisseur of the intersection of art and commercialism, the USC Annenberg graduate has earned his reputation as an empathetic and thoughtful writer. His resume includes USC's The Daily Trojan, USC Viterbi News, and personal assistance for publicity and marketing companies from Drill Down Media to This Fiction. His intersectional experience in the industry points to his wit and unfiltered thoughts on the latest project in entertainment

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