These 6 Artists Are The Future of (Good) Soulful Music

Sonna ReleThe future faces of music have arrived. With one foot in the past and one foot in the future, these up-and-coming acts are poised to change the way we groove.

The current state of music is very white. It’s just a fact. Adele is billed as God’s gift to music. Meghan Trainor is using 90’s flair. And Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande speak for themselves. All the while, Jazmine Sullivan can’t get no love. Hell, at this point people are more likely to give props to James Corden and his Carpool Karaoke than most Black artists.

But there is a new crop of performers with their own distinctive styles set to shake up the status quo.

1. Sonna Rele

One of Ne-yo’s protege’s, Sonna Rele is a UK bred singer that was discovered through Facebook posts. Now, signed to Motown Records, her “refreshing and undeniably authentic” musicianship is on full display on her debut EP Wildhearts. Her voice is simply hypnotic, full of pop sensibilities and soul, like a mashup of Keri Hilson and Leona Lewis.

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2. Chloe x Halle

When Beyonce backs you, the world sits up and takes notice. And that was exactly what happened to Chloe and Halle Bailey whom Beyonce swiped from Youtube. The first signees for Beyonce’s label Parkwood Entertainment, expectations are heavy for the content they are set to release, and their first single “Drop” delivers. It is somehow both gothic and ethereal, stunning in both their vocal presentation and the one-of-a-kind production. I see big things coming from this sister act.

3. Anderson .Paak

Sometimes a new artist pops on the scene and is completely undeniable from day one. Anderson .Paak is one of those artists. A recent signee to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records, his music is what I would deem “eclectic soul”, clearly rooted in classic soul elements but transformed by a range of musical influences. And on his most recent EP Malibu, Anderson masters everything from new age experiments to infectious dance tracks to the slow groove, even featuring R&B wunderkind BJ The Chicago Kid.

4. DMK

This trio gained attention from participating in a contest to be featured on Fox’s Empire, and their instant girl group chemisty harkens back to the glory days of groups like Destiny’s Child, TLC, and En Vogue. They’ve mastered their blend, as shown in their cover of Boyz II Men’s “Thank You”, and they seem be a potent combination of magic that makes them something special.

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5. Kehlani

This Oakland native has been in the press a lot lately due to her apparent suicide attempt that was the result of her love life becoming media fodder, but none of that should overshadow her potential as an artist. Her voice has an entrancing airy yet raspy quality, and as her star rises, all she needs is a proper smash to solidify her position.

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6. Elijah Blake

Under the surname Redd Stylez, Elijah Blake garnered internet fame in the early 2000’s. Since then, Blake has made a name for himself in the industry by writing for other artists, most notably co-writing Usher’s “Climax”. But now from his home at Def Jam, Elijah Blake is forging a path and a sound all his own. For proof you don’t have to look any further than his most recent EP Blueberry Vapors that was completed from start to finish within 10 days with support of industry heavyweights like Ryan Tedder and DJ Camper.

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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.

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