The Most Interesting Breakout Vocalists of The Year
2015 has been the year of the cross-genre artist: Rappers are singing, R&B artists are churning out pop hits, and musicians are moonlighting as visual artists. The one thing they all have in common? At their core, they are some of the most intriguing vocalists to come along in years, going against the grain at seemingly every turn. Here are The Most Interesting Breakout Vocalists of The Year.
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Considered more of an emcee than a singer, the young Atlanta upstart and XXL Freshman Class 2015 alum leans heavily on a smooth, wistful voice. It's Raury's tone that allows him to delve into country-tinged R&B, and somehow make both of those styles feel intuitively in place with the tribal production he seems to favor. Step into his world by playing a round of the space-inspired video game on his website. Earn 1500 points and you get a free download of his Indigo Child mixtape.
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Tinashe can switch between the pop music and R&B worlds with little to no effort, it's evidenced in detail on her successful debut full-length album Aquarius. Her voice is airy yet strong, reminiscent of early Aaliyah. Oh, and she’s only currently on tour with Nicki Minaj.
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Timbaland’s latest protégé easily switches between emceeing and vocalizing. While we love her skills as a young rapper in the Chicago scene, it's her R&B chops that make her sound like she’s been in the game for years. Her latest single "Million," greatly captures her voice’s youthful energy and versatility. Her notoriety has also grown as a member of the XXL Freshman class of 2015.
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Kehlani's smooth, relaxed West Coast vibe seeps from her wistful voice in every note. Her 2015 album, You Should Be Here, has also been declared by Billboard magazine the first great R&B album of the year.
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5. Bea Miller
Miller’s voice is youthful but emotional. Having a strong showing on Season 2 of The Voice, she’s managed to parlay that success into a steady stream of fan support, social media love and tons of accolades from the mainstream music media: all at the tender age of 16.
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6. James Bay
Already a BRIT Awards and Critics Choice Awards winner, the British singer/songwriter and guitarist’s voice has enraptured the UK with its soulfulness. James Bay's emotive delivery brings another James to mind, throughout his debut album Chaos and the Calm, he sounds like a young James Taylor.
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7. Shamir Bailey
With an androgynous voice and style that sounds completely fresh, Bailey backs up his original take on pop music with an assortment of against-the-grain visuals in his videos, making him not just a talented vocalist but also an exciting online sensation.
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Being connected to Top Dawg Entertainment can’t possibly be a detriment to her career, but this young R&B star has used her smoky, blazing and soulful voice to build a formidable catalog of love songs that are in heavy rotation.
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9. Tori Kelly
Kelly is a full-throttle singer/songwriter that is morphing into a pop star right in front of our eyes. On super-manager Scooter Braun’s roster, Kelly combines pop and R&B with her lightly soulful vocals to make music that appeals to one and all.
July 27, 2015 via Pepsi