When the year started, I had this plan to spotlight 52 soul singers and/or R&B artists that deserved to be household names. Originally I was going to do one artist a week, in order to get to 52, but I quickly realized that would be a huge undertaking if I really wanted to do justice to the stories of all the artists I chose to spotlight. R&B isn’t dead and real fans know that. But we have to do our part and no other way to do that than share R&B and soul singers you should be paying attention to.
I was first introduced to Jordan Hush about a year ago when he was inserted into playlist a of R&B created for me by Tidal. Initially, I am always hesitant when an artist i have never heard is inserted into one of my mixes. I mean, I have a vibe I’m trying to maintain. However, Jordan Hush fit right in. His voice packs a soulful punch, but at the same time his content is mature and respectfully unedited.
Elhae (pronounced L.A.) was introduced to me as a singer, but I have come to realize that he does have the talent to rap and spit a few bars with the best of them from time to time.
Born Jamaal Jones, the 29 year old chose the acronym, Elhae to be his stage name, standing for: Every Life Has An Ending. His career as a professional artist dates back to 2012, when he released his debut project, The Letters. Elhae is a perfect example of an artist that has grinded for years in hopes of getting the mainstream recognition he deserves.
Vedo emerged on the national scene as a contestant on NBC’s talent competition, The Voice in season four in 2013. He made it to the top 12, before being sent home, but he gained a fan base and showed off his talent on a huge platform in the process.
It would be a few years before I discovered the talented singer myself, finding him after the release of his second album, From Now On. Perfect timing for me because by then he had a large body of music to peruse through and he had even perfected his sound, songwriting skills and swag.
I was first introduced to Tink at an industry event back in 2014 when she was being introduced as a member of Mosley Mosley Group/Epic Records. She was introduced as a protégé of Timbaland.
Prior to me being introduced to Tink, the Chicago native, born Trinity Laure’Ale Home, had already released five different mixtapes, so fans already knew about talent for singing and the unique versatility she possessed. Her first project, Winter’s Diary was released in 2012. The follow-up projects, Alter Ego, Blunts & Ballads, and Boss Up made a lot of people take notice, including Timbaland. After Winter’s Diary 2: Forever Yours was released in early 2014 the hype surrounding the Timbaland event made sense to most fans and there was talk that she would be able to surpass the success of all his previous artists.
If you’ve ever heard of the R&B group Sonder, or if you’re familiar with the single, “Crew” with rappers Goldlink and Shy Glizzy, then you may already know of Brent Faiyaz. I, myself was first introduced to the Maryland native rapper through rnbaecollective’s IG page, and ever since then, I’ve lowkey been a fan!
Born and raised in Columbia, Maryland as Christopher Brent Wood, 24, Brent Faiyaz is not your typical music artist. The Maryland rapper turned singer and record producer is not one who you would box into one particular genre of music – his voice, sound, and tone are all very unique.
I was first introduced to dvsn on Drake’s Views album. They are featured on the single “Faithful”. I soon found out that they were featured on background tracks for a couple of other Drake songs and were signed to OVO sound. Still, I didn’t actually gravitate to the group until the song, “P.O.V.” slid into one of my R&B mixes, on it’s own. I love a good R&B ballad, but this one, with it’s play on the classic Maxwell song, instantly had me hooked.
From there I went and discovered the group’s first album, Sept 5th. The album is named after the date their lives were changed. On September 5, 2015, Drake played some of the group’s music on his OVO Sound Apple Beats 1 Show, and nothing would be the same.
In all honestly, I first discovered Damar Jackson when I found out that he would be the opening act for Sammie’s Everlasting Tour in early 2019. As I thought about attending to support Sammie, I figured I should check out Damar. It was then that I discovered his Unfaithful project.
The DeRidder, Louisiana native is equal parts Southern comfort and melodic thug passion. He packs a rawness of a young Jaheim with a newness of a Ty Dolla $ign but his vocal ability and his songwriting style set him apart in his own lane.
The first time I heard of Sinéad Harnett was a couple of weeks ago while searching for new soul artists to listen to. Harnett is an English singer and songwriter born in London, England who is blessed with the voice of an angel.
Harnett first made an appearance on the music scene in 2011. She’s been a powerful voice ever since.
Sometimes you hear just a couple seconds from an artist and you instantly know you have run into an incredible talent. That’s how I felt the first time I heard J.Howell, discovering him completely by accident when one of his songs randomly came on during an R&B mix. The Memphis native has been in rotation for me ever since.
In this refuge Lonr learned to write, record and produce records in his bedroom. His loneliness fueled songwriting genius that would be recognized by H.E.R. I first heard the song “Make the Most” by Lonr during the (worst) summer in Millennial-history. Separated from friends and loved ones and alone with my thoughts, the song transported me to a place where I was reminded to make the most out of the connections I have. The song inspired me to listen to his entire debut EP.
Bronx native, Capella Grey, born Curtis Jackson II, 25, is way more than a one-hit wonder, who came out of no where. In fact, his biggest hit is actually just a teaser buzz single he released at the top of the year, just for the fun of it. He remains quite a bit of a mystery, with popularity growing and his social media following developing; he’s keeping the focus on his music.
Already a successful songwriter and producer with credits dating back to 2017. I first discovered Capella Grey sitting in a lounge in Queens. When the beat to “Gyallis” dropped and his melodic voice jumped on the track, I knew the song, and the artist, were something special
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