Spotlight: 5 Rising Artists of R&B/Soul

Spotlight: 5 Rising Artists of R&B/Soul

Talking the past, present, and future of R&B/Soul music with 5 up-and-coming musicians.

Talking the past, present, and future of R&B/Soul music with 5 up-and-coming musicians.

Photography: Joshua Woods

Styling: AMIRA RASOOL

Just how important is the power of R&B/Soul music? According to James Brown, the reigning godfather of Soul, "You need some soul come on and get some and then you'll know where I'm coming from." In our latest music portfolio, V spotlights 5 fresh faces of the genres and asks them to speak on the transcending movement. These dedicated artists of the Soundcloud era have been searching for a way to find and express themselves in a world of competing voices. In doing so, they’ve harbored small communities of like-minded fans who relish in their commitment to elevate and expand the art form. Aside from their shared interests in legends like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Sade, and Etta James, these women also share a common interest in making music that’s uplifting, spiritual, and of course, good for the soul.

CLOTHING PHLEMUNS JEWELRY MOONWANNIE MANIFESTATION

Name: Thandiwe and Niambi Sala, aka OSHUN

Age: 20 (Niambi) + 21 (Thandi)

Hometown/Current City: DMV/Brooklyn

How would you describe your sound?

Iya Sol - Vibrational stimulation for the Spirit

Are there certain sounds or elements indigenous of your hometown that you utilize in your music?

We are forever inspired by Gogo, Soul, and Jazz, all sounds of the DMV. We integrate our interpretations of those sounds into the music we develop, but we definitely want to do a pure Gogo track.

How do you feel about the current state of R&B/Soul?

It’s cool to see the modern marriage between R&B/Soul and trap production, and also hear the reincarnation of many of our late '90s & early 2000s influences. Also, in many ways, the most quality R&B artists today are keeping the soul alive for the longevity of all Black music.

How do you want your music to make people feel?

We want people to feel empowered and reminded of their inherent godliness. We want people to feel peaceful, and hype, balanced and motivated. And most importantly, we want people to feel high.

DRESS DION LEE

Name: Courtnie

Age: 23

Hometown/Current City: St. Louis/New York

How would you describe your sound? Lyrical and soulful

Are there certain music sounds or elements indigenous of your hometown that you utilize in your music? Yes and no. I've actually moved around quite a bit. I was born in Oakland, grew up just outside the city of Chicago, moved to St. Louis, went to school in Los Angeles, and now I'm in Brooklyn. So I like to think I pull my influences from a wide range of cities and experiences. Chicago is so soulful and innovative. Grew up listening to a lot of Kanye, a lot of R. Kelly, and a lot of my parents' music. Smooth jazz, house, and gospel. St. Louis keeps me humble, I dance like I'm from LA whenever I'm on stage, and Brooklyn keeps me uninhibited. I appreciate all of the places I've lived in and am constantly inspired by them.

What do you love most about making music? I love the way creating music consistently has my outlook on life evolving. I love the way it can affect the masses. Inform them, inspire them, make them more empathetic, bring people together. I used to want to be a film/television producer. Still do, actually, that's just on pause right now. But when I discovered the joy of creating music a couple of years ago one thing I really freaked out over was that while a film takes two hours, and a television show takes half of one, a song can transform a person in minutes. And I just think that's so powerful. I have goosebumps right now just thinking about how much I love music as an art form.

BRAS (LAYERED) AGENT PROVOCATEUR PANTS ECKHAUS LATTA BOOTS DKNY JEWELRY HER OWN

Name: MARZ LÈON.

Age: 8,031.

Hometown/Current City: The Valley, California.

How would you describe your sound? Very sexual, dark, inspirational. A blend of so many emotions.

Who are your favorite R&B/Soul musicians of the past and present?

Musiq Soulchild, Sade, Etta James, Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean, & so many more, etc. I mainly listen to old school more than anything else.

What do you love most about making music?

The feeling that my soul gets after I’ve created the art. How my emotions start to erupt and how past emotions can become present again. If I cry from Musiq I created, I know that I’ve created a masterpiece.

How do you want your music to make people feel?

Just exactly what they take from it. Whatever it truly makes them feel by the emotion I’ve expressed from creating it.

TOP DKNY DRESS RHIE JEWELRY HER OWN

Name: Nakaya

Age: 21

Hometown/Current City: Los Angeles/New York.

How would you describe your sound? I would describe my sound as new electronic R&B with folk musings.

How do you feel about the current state of R&B/Soul?

I love how it's rapidly changing in terms of melding with other genres. I think the inclusion of other influences and a more experimental approach to R&B is reviving the sound while staying true to its roots.

What R&B/Soul song resonates with you most at the moment?

Come Down - Anderson Paak. I just watched his NPR Tiny Desk Concert and damn he's so good. I showed it to everyone I know, I'm sure they're all annoyed with it at this point.

What do you love most about making music?

Sometimes, when you make something you truly believe in, it feels like magic. To me, it sometimes feels like more like a gift I've been given rather than something I grew myself.

DRESS RHIE BRACELET ALEXANDER WANG

Name: Beya Likhari

Age: 25

Hometown/Current City: Baltimore, Maryland

How would you describe your sound? I would describe it as a mesh between soul and hip-hop with jazz and electronic elements as well.

Are there certain music sounds or elements indigenous of your hometown that you utilize in your music?

I’m a sucker for a good loop and I feel like Baltimore club music really values that too. Outside of that, though, I grew up listening to old school Bollywood music and Ghazals; the intricate basslines and sultry yet catchy melodies that you can sing and dance to really influenced me as a kid. I’ve always been a listener, so when I started writing my own music, production became my focus because I felt like in order for me to write, I needed to hear something that triggered a train of thought so that I could tell my story.

Who are your favorite R&B/Soul musicians of the past and present?

Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, and Amy Winehouse are my top 3 favorite R&B artists and are often found in my current rotation. I remember when my cousin bought me the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album when I was in middle school. At that time, I had it on repeat but I don’t think I fully appreciated the album the way I should have until I got older and really broke down what Lauryn was talking about. I would say that Lauryn, Alicia Keys, and Amy Winehouse really taught me a lot about how powerful words can be.

Credits:

Producer: Hannah Huffman 

Stylist: Amira Rasool  

Stylist Assistant: Guada Giordano  

Hair Stylist: Tiffany Daughert at Epiphany Agency and Tamara Laureus  

Make-Up Artist: Jessica Smalls at Epiphany Agency

Photo Assistant: Indie McFarlane

Special thanks to Dean Street Studios!

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