I am an avid music listener who looks for great talent everywhere. Always excited to find new addition for my playlist!
A great voice and vocals elevates music to new heights, it whisks you away on angelic wings. Okay, that may have been a bit much but nonetheless, great voices certainly move us. Voices such as Usher are known for exactly that, but are there others that you do not know about?
The answer, yes, there are many great artists with amazing vocals, who are not in the mainstream and are very much underappreciated. Their talent is clear as day, so take a listen, you might find the perfect addition to your playlist!
First up, KWAYE, full name Kwayedza Kureya. This Zimbabwean singer and songwriter is based in Los Angeles, California and truly delivers when it comes to vocals. I first stumbled among his voice in 2018 and since then could not get enough of him. He falls into the R&B genre but he has a unique twist on it, pulling from his Zimbabwean roots as well as neo-soul.
His songs have been featured in Netflix's "Top Boy" and "On My Block" (one of my favourite shows, actually). However, I want to draw your attention to how his career started. His career had a rather interesting beginning, he played a demo for his Uber driver, who happened to have connections in the music industry. A few weeks later, he was signed to Mind of a Genius! His debut single entitled "Cool Kids" was then released in 2017. The take away from this, impress your Uber driver, you never know!
KWAYE has an amazing voice and produces truly great sounds, give him a listen!
Yuna, full name Yunalis binti Mat Zara'ai, does not get half the recognization in North America that she deserves. This Malaysian singer/songwriter made her recorded debut in Malaysia with a self-titled EP in 2008, which won her four awards at Anugerah Industri Muzik, which is the Grammy equivalent in Malaysia. Since then, she has continued to make incredible music, which seems to be a nice blend of R&B, pop, with some jazz influence.
Some of you may may know of her or have heard one of her tracks before, since Usher featured on her 2016 "Crush". "Crush" is a truly amazing song, where Usher's and Yuna's voices pair in a way that few duets have ever done before. I highly recommend that everyone give it a listen!
Jared Lee, known as DUCKWRTH, is an American rapper and songwriter from South Los Angeles, California. DUCKWRTH released his first entirely solo collection in 2016, titled "I'M UUGLY". Since then, he has seen some success, even collaborating on "Start A Riot" with Shaboozey for the Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack.
He has a more laid-back hip/hop vibe. Lack-back, though it might be, that does not mean it should be slept on. His music will give you some good vibes, an uptick in mood and have you wanting to hear his next track. I find that his music is great to listen to on a car ride, relaxing by yourself or listening with your significant other.
Christopher Joseph Gallant III, Gallant, is an American singer and songwriter from Columbia, Maryland, signed to Mind of a Genius Records (same as KWAYE) and Warner Bros. Records. He self-released his debut EP, "Zebra" in 2014, going on to make his full-length debut in 2016 with "Ology" which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Gallant blends R&B with Soul for some truly amazing (I dare say, gallant) sounds, continuously wowing me with his heavenly vocals.
Cleopatra Zvezdana Nikolic, known as Cleo Sol, was born to two musicians, who met in a Jazz band. Her mother is a half Serbian, half Spanish and plays the guitar and flute, while her Jamaican father plays both bass and piano. To no surprise, ss the saying goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree, which is clearly the case with Cleo.
Cleo began her career in the late 2000s with a few pop-soul singles and some features. However, in 2017, Cleo returned to the industry with an artful mastery of contemporary R&B and Soul, producing singles such as "Why Don't You" and "Try and You Try". In March 2020, Cleo released her first solo album "Rose in the Dark" which featured some of her older work such as "Why Don't You" and newer titles like "Butterfly".
Cleo has clearly honed her skills and voice in order to produce music that touches the soul.
This last entry is actually an artist that I only discovered last year, during lockdown and I am grateful that I did! Sody, real name Sophie Dyson, is a British singer/songwriter, born and raised in London. Sody released her debut EP "Youth" in 2016 at just 15 years old. While the youngest artist on this list, she is by no means any less talented.
Sody offers an alternative style of music which will leave you wanting more. I am excited to see how she develops and refines her craft as an artist. She is definitely one to look out for in the next couple years.
© 2021 Daveed Gittens