Back in 2013, I questioned if Tori Kelly was the one American Idol let slip through their fingers. The California native auditioned for the ninth season of the FOX singing competition, making it to Hollywood but failing to make the Top 24. Simon Cowell called her “almost annoying” during her audition. Fast forward years later and it’s the 22-year-old who’s now having the last laugh.
After Idol, Tori became a huge YouTube personality. Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, scooped her up and guided her to a record deal with Capitol Records.
The infectious lead single, “Nobody Love,” off her debut album is building buzz and destined to be her breakout hit. That shouldn’t be a surprise given that it’s produced by Max Martin. The Swedish hitmaker has crafted hits for Taylor Swift, Britney Spears and P!nk to name a few.
Commit Tori Kelly to memory because mark my words, she’ll be pop’s next big sensation. Check out her “Nobody Love” music video below.
I’m calling it now. “Elevate” is going to be a huge summer hit in 2014. That’s right. 2014. No typo here. Just like Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” Emeli Sande’s “Next To You” or countless other international tracks, it’ll take a year for North American radio to embrace this talented (and cute I might add) South African singer.
St. Lucia is actually a one-man band fronted by Jean-Philip Grobler. He’s opened for acts like Ellie Goulding in the past and released a successful EP last year. He’s back and with a hot new track to boot. “Elevate” reminds me something Phil Collins would’ve done back in the 80s but with a modern twist. It’s tropical synth-pop. Is that even a genre? Regardless of what category you’d put him under, there’s no confusion that his new single is fantastic. Check it out below.
While Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes are cautionary tales of what could happen to former child stars, there are some that prove being a complete hot mess isn’t the only option. Malcolm David Kelley proves you can transition into adulthood gracefully. If the name sounds familiar but can’t figure out exactly why, he’s Walt from Lost. Remember the kid who was kidnapped by “The Others” on the first season finale. The 21-year-old actor just dropped his latest music video and it’s surprisingly catchy.
MKTO is comprised of Tony Oller and Kelley. The two met while starring on the TeenNick series Gigantic. “Classic” is the follow up to their debut single “Thank You” which broke into the Top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. As the track title suggests, their latest is a fun timeless pop track. Oller smoothly delivers the verses while Kelley adds some urban swag during the rap interlude. Check it out below.
Since The Collective placed third on the Australian edition of The X Factor, naturally comparisons with One Direction will come up since the boy band also came in third during their competition. You might think a rivalry might exist given 1D’s feud with The Wanted. No hatin’ going on here. 1D gave their seal of approval when they popped up during the judges’ home portion of the Aussie reality show. There’s always room for another boy band, right? Especially when one of the members is Zach Russell. He’s the cute 23-year-old on the far left.
The Aussie group dropped their first single “Surrender” back in December which became a Top 10 hit down under. They’re back with a brand new track which I believe might garner them attention outside their native land. DNA, the genius behind Ricky Martin‘s “Come With Me”, has crafted a winner for the quintet. “Another Life” is a slick track with a catchy hook that could easily win over pop lovers around the world. Check out their latest below.
An artist that gave me one of my favourite down low tracks last fall has come back in full force with an amazing new song and video, and if you haven’t heard AlunaGeorge yet, then jump on the wagon because these guys are ones to watch.
I first got to know AG last October after they released a great track called “Your Drums, Your Love” accompanied by a great video, and the track quickly made it’s way onto my repeat list. Then the London duo, still yet to release an album, scored their first chart maker with “Attracting Flies” earlier this year. All these two talented artists, lead singer Aluna Francis and producer George Reid, are doing are gaining momentum and doing a damn good job of it. Well a track they had actually released late last year finally has a killer new video, and I’m thinking big things for it.
“You Know You Like It” has everything from edgy mellow electronic and a beat that you can still dance to with that 90’s R&B feel (and with amazing remix potential), to a great video with the beautiful Aluna, and dear George with those baby blues. This video and song is sex on a stick, and I’m fully looking forward to the team releasing their first studio album finally in July, hoping that they’ll keep living up to the expectation they’ve set.
If “You Know You Like It” is any indication of what they can do, then I’m thinking to keep your eye on AlunaGeorge.
If there was any way Jason Mraz, Mark Wahlberg and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath could have a lovechild together, singer-songwriter Dave Patten would be the result. The 22-year-old has qualities about him that remind me of each of the three guys. Patten hails from the Philadelphia area, where he grew up around music and played drums in local bands. After gathering a loyal YouTube following, he signed to Warner Bros. artist Meek Mill’s record label DreamChasers Records.
Dave recently released a music video for his brand new song, “Let Me Introduce My Band.” It’s his first single since signing with Meek Mills. It features him along with his band on a crime spree across Southern California. It all ends when an uncompromising FBI agent takes them down. Before he debuted the clip, he released a short intro featuring him in a boxing ring. Be sure to check out that sexy video before. Enjoy.
She’s not related to either diva, but Ariana Grande has the vocal range that made Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston legends. The 19-year-old is best known for her role on Nickelodeon’s Victorious, but with the launch of her recording career, she’s quickly attracted Carey comparisons and rightfully so. “The Way” featuring Mac Miller definitely reminds me of vintage Mariah with its bouncy pop beat and smooth vocal acrobatics. The track peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 while the music video has over 15 million views to date.
Ariana recently uploaded a cover of Houston’s “I Believe In You And Me” and girl slays it. The audio quality is a bit echo-y and it starts out slow, but then she lets loose and her powerful pipes shine. She definitely does the song justice.
Grande has also appeared on MIKA’s “Popular” which offers a fresh twist on the track featured in the hit Broadway musical Wicked. It was the first time composer Stephen Schwartz authorized the usage of his music. Check out all three tracks below.
Ladies and gentleman, Scottish electropop.
In the past couple years, Swedish pop has started a fantastic trend of smart pop, and not the cheesy snack we all love. No, you know what, I’m going to stick with that analogy, because most of it is a little cheesy! But with bands like Niki & The Dove or Little Dragon making music that seem to be an intelligent spin on a typically unintelligent genre, you can see the influence now on different countries coming into the limelight with their own twist on this little revolution.
CHVRCHES are brand spankin’ and although have had two previous singles, have just recently released their first EP comprised of three great songs and two remixes. Although their first video leaves a little something to be desired, Songza has been playing “Recover” all week for me and it catches my attention every time with it’s cute Swedishesque pop sound.
The band is currently working on their full length album, set for release late summer early fall of this year, and after opening for Passion Pit on tour in 2012, they are now set to support Depeche Mode on some of their upcoming tour dates. Not too shabby for a relatively new band. They’re obviously doing something right.
You can get the “Recover” EP from iTunes, and listen to the single below, which I’m going to have on repeat for a little bitty.