So, my last three tips for the new year are: Nikki Williams, AlunaGeorge and Mikky Ekko. Before I write about them, I should say that there were five extra artists that I could have written about (namely Rudimental, Disclosure, Foxes, Laura Mvula and Queen of Hearts). So yeah, if you don’t like any of the thirteen I’ve written about, check them out too.
South African-born singer Nikki Williams has had quite the life thus far, without even releasing an album. She was married to Nicholas Cage’s son Weston Cage, and in that time, both were arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. They then went to rehab together, before she filed for divorce in 2011. Regardless of this, she is signed to Island Def Jam, and released her debut single late last year. The track, which is written by Sia and produced by Stargate, is called Kill, Fuck, Marry (that really is the title and not a more violent version of Snog, Marry, Avoid), and is another triumph to add any ‘amazing songs written by Sia’ playlist. A smooth, emotional ballad, it follows in the same vein as Diamonds by Rihanna, albeit a dirtier version. It sounds like a big hit, as does the follow-up Glowing, which is a sad dance song (which are always great). It seems that she has the budget to become a star, as well as the talent and most importantly, the voice. There is no date set for a UK launch, although I’d hope it’s soon as after Diamonds and Beyonce’s rumoured comeback single 12 Roses (another Sia/Stargate collaboration), it may be ‘over-kill’ on that sound. However, until then, she seems like the perfect new naughty pop princess (in the vein of Christina Aguilera), and Kill, Fuck, Marry is still incredible.
For Fans Of: Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera
I feel like I should probably reiterate that these aren’t in any order. But if they were, AlunaGeorge would be up there at the top end. Aluna Francis and George Reid first met in 2009, and since then formed AlunaGeorge. If you’ve never heard their music, think Aaliyah covering Kylie’s Slow and you won’t be a million miles away. In other words, they make effortlessly cool pop without trying to make effortlessly cool pop. Singles You Know You Like It and Your Drums, Your Love both showcase this sound perfectly: effortlessly cool yet very catchy. The music also sounds really intimate, but it still sounds like it would work well live. Equally, it is clear from interviews that the two of them really get along and really like each other, which adds to the ‘magic’. The album itself, entitled Body Music, is out in June, and new track The Diver, premiered earlier this week. Although it’s not a single, it’s another solid track from the band and only whets our appetites further for the album.
For Fans Of: Delilah, Disclosure, Katy B
Last, but not least is American singer-songwriter Mikky Ekko. You probably know him as the man from Rihanna’s Stay, but not only did he feature on that song, he wrote it too. Anyway, the man himself was born in Louisiana and is the son of a preacher (man). After releasing to EP’s, he caught the attention of hip-hop producers Clams Casino, and since have collaborated on tracks including Pull Me Down, which is a beautiful, well written ballad, and sonically is sounds like a minimal version of Love The Way You Lie. The video is also interesting to say the least. In fact, I can’t really tell you what it is, but it’s pretty to look at. Anyway, his album is in the works, and features collaborations with Clams Casino, Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence + The Machine), Dave Sitek (Santigold, Scarlett Johansson), John Hill (Rihanna, P!nk) and Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey). From such an esteemed list of collaborators, it’s difficult to see Mikky Ekko not being huge in 2013.
For Fans Of: The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey, Santigold