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Most Promising Artists of January

Our monthly overview

Every month at HumanHuman tons of discoveries are added, but only a handful, are labelled as promising. These artists are agreed upon by our users as ones to watch and are well on their way to becoming the next big thing in music. What you see below, are the top five promising artists, as decided by the HumanHuman community.

In almost direct antithesis to the well-documented January blues, last month seem heavily geared towards pop acts, whose music would sweep away any new year melancholy in no time. As you can see, this trend is reflected in our top Promising Discoveries, ranging from the out-and-out pop of Alexx Mack to the Scandinavian soulfulness of Bishat to the textural maturity of Meredith to the emotive ambience of Violet Skies. However, as the presence of indie-rock’s new hope Vagabon would suggest, January has plenty of surprises for us – some grungey, some lofi, some experimental, and so on. January also ties with July 2016 as our best month of discovery on record, with no less than 44 promising finds! Without further ado, let’s give it up for new music in 2017.

Bishat

24 agrees

Discovered one year ago by Dansende Beren’s Niels Bruwier with the description “Dark soulful pop from Sweden,” Bishat takes the clear lead as January’s Most Promising Artist. Another user worth quoting here is The Indie Curator, who chimed in to say “The new track will soon filter through the noise, it's absolutely brilliant pop, she's going to be huge.” The referred to track was sophomore release “Sober”, a simply delicious cut that balances a pop core with Scandi-noir in Bishat’s self-made confessional style. The epic drums, clever use of fuzzy synths and sweet vocals are full of raw honesty; there’s no bashfulness here. It’s hard to believe, but since making her appearance in December 2015, Bishat has only shared four songs, but each has been well worth waiting for. Just take “Mine” for example, it has a totally different feel to its predecessors. Bishat digs down and produces a wonderfully soulful tone in her voice, the perfect match to the bassy whomps and trap beats in “Mine”. Last stop on our sonic journey (and Bishat’s newest release) is “Told Me”. Playful lyrics skip over the co-produced dance-pop hooks with a key message of giving up on others’ expectations, judgements and any sense of insecurity. At this point, it would be fair to label Bishat’s work as liberating pop, and we want more of it. - HT

Told Me by Bishat

Violet Skies

22 agrees

Unbelievably, the recognition of Violet Skies as a Promising Artist has been three years in the making since Thomas Konings’ (of leading Belgian music magazine Indiestyle) discovery, but what a ride it has been. Listening to the very new single “Island”, with all its R&B nuances and glossy electronic production, you wouldn’t know that her original sound was much more subdued ambience as heard in debut “How The Mighty”. Despite the stylistic variations that this Welsh artist has explored over the years, there’s a thematic thread that runs throughout all her music – vulnerability. There’s an impressive strength to Violet Skies’ heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting, with outpourings like “One Day, Three Autumns”. Opening with a sample of the film Farewell To Arms over a delicate piano, Violet Skies introduces her velvety voice into this steadily unfolding track. Sounding like a combination between BANKS and James Blake; this track is a real testament to Violet Skies’ talent. It was a real turning point for this young musician, one that she has followed up with “Jealousy” and the aforementioned “Island”. As one of our official bloggers HighClouds stated in their review of her newest track, “She is now ready to launch this new year with more experience than ever, showing her maturity.” We absolutely agree. - HT

Island by Violet Skies

Meredith

21 agrees

In concurrence with the release of gauzy, textural indie-pop single “Levels”, Hillydilly predicted that Australian artist Meredith would become a Promising Discovery a year ago. On their widely-read blog, writer Chad Hillard singled Meredith out because her second release “demonstrates that it's not her [simple] name that matters, but the perfectness of the pop track itself.” Her music is defiantly youthful, further expressed through the Lauren Pennell-directed video for “Levels”, which features several juvenile signifiers, such as hand written notes, cute jewelry, glitter nail polish, vintage shopping, school uniforms and best friends. It might seem like a strange contrast compared to the mature vocals and elegant electronics, but that’s part of the Brisbane music-maker’s appeal. Sure, she’s young, but as with artists like Lorde and Billie Eilish, she doesn’t have to sound it. Meredith further reveals an old soul through the completion of her Nostalgia EP. It’s a rather consistent collection of tracks, put together over the past year, as they share easy-going, yet persuasive, rhythms, breathy harmonies and various synth-work that at no point overwhelms the gentle pop melodies. Seven months on from her debut EP and we’re desperately waiting to hear what else this Promising Artist has been working on. - HT

Meredith - Levels

Alexx Mack

20 agrees

L.A. artist Alexx Mack, who was discovered by Wonky Sensitive two years ago, has been dazzling us with her music for over three years now and they all have one thing in common: each and every one is a pop banger. Since emerging onto the scene with the explosive “SPARXX”, Mack has grown from strength to strength by smashing out brilliant gems like “Bad”, “Sunglasses”, “Retro Romance” and “Red Eyes”, all of which make up her delightful debut EP, Like We’re Famous, released towards the end of 2015. Having pretty much cracked the pop formula, Mack’s truest strength is in her songwriting as she seamlessly finds ways to keep things fresh. For example, “Red Eyes” is laced with funky grooves, whereas latest single “Whatever I Want” shows her lyrical prowess by masking her vulnerability through heart-breaking lyrics whilst maintaining an air of provocativeness with the slick production and vocals. With more arresting singles on the way, this is set to be an exciting year for Alexx Mack. - DS

Alexx Mack - Whatever I Want by Alexx Mack

Vagabon

20 agrees

Unearthed by Jonathan Chin two years ago, Cameroon-born Lætitia Tamko creates swirling, heartfelt indie-pop flecked with light rock undertones as Vagabon. Currently based in New York, the singer-songwriter is prepping the release of her debut album Infinite Worlds, which is due February 24th via Father/Daughter Records. Over the past few months, Vagabon has been teasing the record with singles like “Fear & Force”, where her feather soft voice reminiscent of Elena Tonra (the lead singer of Daughter) sneaks between soundscapes titillating from gentle guitar chords to bursts of light electronica and rock: a perfect contradiction. Latest single “Minneapolis”, however, is a whole different story – instead of that fragile whisper of a vocal, Vagabon channels a delivery with more bite to match those energetic drums and gritty guitars. Of course, we can’t forget “The Embers”, another magical combination of the singer’s quirky vocals, folk-rock verses and grungey interludes to cement her status as a bold new force to be reckoned with in the indie-rock world. - DS

Vagabon - The Embers (Official Video)

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