10 Music Acts to Look Out For in 2014

best-bet-albums-maxwell-650-4302014 is already in full swing. And with the Beyoncé hoopla finally starting to die down, it’s time for us all to look to the future of the music industry. Here are the acts poised to make a splash this year.

1. Maxwell

Maxwell has reached a level of artist recognition not held by many. Like Prince and Sade, he can wait as long as he wants between projects, and the fans will be there to snap up his work whenever it comes out. His last album BLACKsummers’night came out way back in 2009. And at the time, he announced that it was the first in a trilogy of albums. Will 2014 might be the year where we get to hear the second installment? Keep your fingers crossed.

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2. Candice Glover

Winner of American Idol season 12, Candice Glover is already a recognized vocal powerhouse. And on February 18th, we’ll finally get her debut album, Music Speaks. Her debut single “Cried” is as poignant and heartfelt as songs get, and she sings her butt off throughout. Another highlight is the leaked “Damn” where Glover once again showcases those pristine as porcelain vocal chords.

3. Travis Garland

We’ve been following Travis Garland‘s career for a while, watching as his sound became more refined and his vocals became sharper. And at the end of last year, he released Motel Pool B-Sides (iTunesAmazon), a follow-up to his debut album Travis Garland and the Motel Pool EP. With this much talent, business savvy, and die-hard fans, he’s one to watch this year.


4. Jhene Aiko

If you haven’t heard her name yet, you must be living under a rock. Jhene Aiko has come a long way from her early days with Chris Stokes and B2K. From her high-profile features with Drake and Big Sean to her Sail Out EP featuring the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino, the eyes of the industry are upon her. And her long overdue album Souled Out is due May 2014.

5. Danity Kane

When news broke that Danity Kane was getting back together, the internet damn near lost its collective mind. Even though D. Woods opted not to re-up, the other girls decided that they didn’t need her and marched forward anyway. And that may well be the best decision they’ve ever made. Free from the tyranny of P. Diddy and Bad Boy Entertainment, the group seems to be more cohesive than ever. And judging by their recent live performances and the leaked track “Bye Baby”, the girls are most definitely coming back fierce.

6. JoJo

JoJo has been the textbook case of how the music industry is stifling music itself. Though an early success in her career, JoJo has been tied up with legal cases with her record label for what seems like forever. She wanted to record and release music; they said no. She wanted out of her contract; they sad no. And as a result, she has been largely absent from the game for years. But now that she has finally broken it off with her label, she is poised to make the comeback we’ve all been waiting for.

7. Mario

Mario is another artist that has been conspicuously absent for a while. Even with the release of his singles “The Walls” and “Somebody Else” featuring Nicki Minaj over the past 2 years, there has been little to no news about an album release. However, he has announced that a new album, Evolve, is on its way. He has also released a new single, “Fatal Distraction”. In any case, his sound is continually changing and growing. It’ll be interesting to see what this self-proclaimed “studio rat” cooks up.

8. Jennifer Hudson

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything musically from J-Hud, but at the end of the year, she finally released a new single. “Can’t Describe”, produced by none other that Pharrell, plays right into the producer’s new vintage style. And even though the song has been a slow gainer, Hudson sounds great on the track. And she’s killin’ them in the recently released video. Look to see her new album released early this year.

9. Luke James

Luke James is so underrated in the music industry. It’s criminal. After the smashing success of his debut single “I Want You”, he had a hard time getting his music to strike that same chord on radio stations. Despite the setbacks, the velvety voiced singer has continued to release material to hold fans’ attention. That debut album has to hit soon. Check out his newest “Strawberry Vapors” below.

10. Adrian Marcel

Another rising newcomer, Adrian Marcel hails from the Bay Area. And he’s already gotten the seal of approval from the one and only Raphael Saadiq. Last year he released his first mixtape Seven Days of Weak to much fanfare, and the buzz around his name seems to be growing by the day. He hits that sweet spot right between an urban and a modern R&B sound. Check out his single “Waiting” below and see if he can earn you as a fan.

Who are you excited about for 2014? Tell us in comments section below!

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.

1 Response

  1. Shawna says:

    I’m a huge J-Hud fan, so I’ll be getting that one…and, I appreciate the others you listed cause there were quite a few that are new to me or that I didn’t know had solo projects upcoming. Nice that Maxwell is doing his thing. He was the man back in the day. I have a lot of friends who’ll drag me to his next tour cause he’s still the man as far as they’re concerned. No complaints outta me, but I’m not his biggest fan. Lol!