2016 was surprisingly a year filled with non-stop feel good music. Artists last year, particularly within the R&B and Hip/Hop arena, all brought their A-Game. Over the course of last year the world was blessed with releases from the likes of John Legend, J Cole, Solange, Kid Cudi and more. As the new-year begins, it’s time to turn to the underdogs of the scene who have been making the steps to ensure that 2017 is theirs.
L Ø S T C U L T U R E presents 7 acts to keep tabs on throughout the new year:
1. Ro Ransom
Independent act Ro Ransom is lighting up NYC with his alternative approach to R&B/Hip-hop music. Being able to ride the wave of various sub-genres such as trap and new age R&B help his diversity as an artist also. Virtually every song he releases nowadays becomes a viral success across platforms such as Soundcloud and Twitter. His latest release Doppelgänger, is a classic case of ‘the one that got away’, as if it was released a few months prior in Summer it would’ve been a sure fire hit. In 2017, Ro Ransom might finally reach his peak, he has the melodic edge all he needs is the right release to usher him into the mainstream arena.
Jahkoy is sonically consistent. Every track dropped fits in his alternative R&B landscape, while still having its own distinctive feel. The Toronto act has also had international interest, regularly performing at premium events across the world such as Wireless in London and SXSW in the States. In 2017 he continues his run on tour with Kehlani, all the puzzle pieces are coming together for Jahkoy and after his Foreign Water album release no one can deny his talent. Jahkoy is one step away from claiming the ‘Prince of R&B’ title in Toronto, he just needs that Billboard hit.
The R&B scene was rejuvenated this fall with the introduction (re-introduction) of H.E.R. and her debut release Volume 1. Her mysterious appearance paired with her vibed out edge was an instant win, with the project receiving critical appeal across the board. H.E.R. has a poetic element to her music which captivates the listener, this paired with her consistent and matter of fact approach to R&B is refreshing and definitely leaves you wanting more. Across social media since Volume 1, there have been calls from peers in R&B such as Tyrese and fans for more, which is exactly why 2017 for H.E.R. is looking to be explosive.
18 year old Khalid has made huge moves this year with his soulful sounds. His rugged Southern vocal adds a vintage lacing to his R&B numbers. This has proven to be his winning component as his breakout hit Location, managed to gain well over 9 million Spotify streams since its release 8 months ago. Since then, every release following has gained at least a million streams also. Khalid on the back of Location, has also planned a US solo tour for the new-year and is building a rapidly growing fan-base. 2017 is definitely looking bright for this Texas born act.
5. Eli Sostre
Mellow New-yorker Eli Sostre has transformed from a producer for Amir Obe into a stand-alone talent in his own right. Following the singer’s viral hit Vibe With, he’s been churning out instant winners throughout 2016. Finally, Still Up All Night his debut project dropped at the end of Summer and was met with unanimous praise. All of this success has not gone unnoticed as Vinlyz a producer in Jay–Z’s camp recently congratulated Eli and stated that he’s an act he’s looking out for next year. Eli is currently prepping his official debut album for mid-2017, and given his impressive track record it is sure to be an instant standout of the new year.
6. Sevyn Streeter
Sevyn has been a behind the scenes talent in the R&B arena for years. After several shifts from group act, to songwriter, to Chris Brown protege, Sevyn finally found her moment back in 2013 with her urban anthem It Wont Stop which went on to become a top 30 Billboard hit. Sevyn found the accompanying project Call Me Crazy But… receiving a similar success as a top 5 project. This year, the singer returned with several tracks from her upcoming debut album Girl Disrupted. The tracks released thus far, prove that Sevyn is a staple for the future of R&B. Sevyn has a contemporary Aaliyah feel, but still keeps her distinctiveness with her all the way calm and collected demeanour. It’ll be interesting to see how the album does in the first quarter of the new year.
7. Justine Skye
Roc Nation signee Justine Skye has been setting the foundations throughout the year for a huge 2017. Increasing her visibility, Justine ensured she was at vital events that were in arms reach, such as Jay-Z’s Made In America and TIDAL events, also she grabbed major features this year with the likes of SchoolBoy Q and Wizkid. Finally she ended the year with a cleverly timed re-introduction project entitled 8 Ounces, which was crafted by R&B heavyweights Tricky Stewart and The Dream. Already proving to have killer connects, she recently teased what is to be expected in 2017 and its huge. Collaborations with YG and Ty Dolla $ign and production creds from Vic Mensa, it seems that Jay–Z’s latest project is pulling out all the stops to ensure all eyes are on her over the next 12 months.
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