Room 25, NoName
This month, Noname is an incredibly important woman in music to highlight, as the drop of her second album Room 25 has gotten rave reviews and positive attention across the nation. Rolling Stone has even named her one of the best rappers alive, as her expression and message are increasingly necessary for us to pay attention to. From her hometown of Chicago, to the coasts, the country is tuning into her voice as an important one in the current political climate. Starting out participating in slam poetry and open mic nights in Chicago, Noname gained the attention of like-minded artists like Chance the Rapper, and shortly after started working on her own music. Much of her music is politically charged, and focuses on black identity in modern America. With lyrical content about race, gender, gentrification, poverty, and education, Noname definitely sets herself apart from other rappers. Her background in poetry can definitely be heard in the smoothness and flow of her lyrics, as she brings a graceful, yet powerful feminine energy that is sure to give you chills. The album is brilliant from start to finish, revealing a deeper, darker side of Noname, as she grows into her potential as an artist. With features like Smino, Saba, and Ravyn Lenae, Room 25 is really a collective work beyond Noname herself that represents the younger generation’s influence on rap/R&B as a genre.
NAO is an alternative R&B artist from London who began putting her songs on Soundcloud in 2014, when she quickly began gaining the attention of labels. However, she decided to create her own label, Little Toyko Records, and released 2 EPs and a full length album by 2016. With this massive and rapid success, NAO gained fans worldwide with her airy vocals and sleek sound. Compared to similar vocalists like Kelela and FKA Twigs, there is definitely a demand for contemporary artists like her who ascend genre and create their own unique work. Refusing to follow the rules or color inside the lines, NAO is not only paving her own way effortlessly by staying true to her creativity, but she’s also paving the way for other young alternative artists like herself. “Curiosity” is a single from her newest album, Saturn, to be released by the end of October. An exciting sneak peak to the album, the 2 singles “Curiosity” and “Drive and Disconnect” give us a taste of the stronger and more mature-sound NAO is going for on this new project. Be sure to keep an eye out for her new album, and check out her site for tour dates and pre-ordering.
“Let You Love Me,” Rita Ora
Rita Ora, one of today’s biggest women in music, just released her new single “Let You Love Me” as a preview to her upcoming album Phoenix. The English singer and actress blew up back in 2015 when she gained the attention of big DJs and was featured on many tracks, leading her to create her own music. Since then, she has had several songs hitting the top 40 charts in the UK, as well as here in the U.S. Her strong voice and catchy tunes, along with her roles in TV and film (From Fifty Shades of Grey, to being a guest judge on the UK X Factor), have put her in the global spotlight. Although she grew up in West London, Ora was born in Kosovo, and her family relocated to the UK to flee political persecution of Albanians in the region. With this interesting background, Ora’s identity becomes a political one in the current climate of the UK. “Let You Love Me” was co-written by Ora herself, as she’s taking a more direct role in the sound and content of her upcoming album. Now that she has the platform to create her own unique identity and music, there’s no doubt Phoenix will be a defining album in her career. Set to release next month, be sure to check out her site for details and follow her Spotify page for more music.
“Daddy,” Tommy Genesis
Tommy Genesis defines herself as part of the unique genre of “Fetish Rap,” with lyrical content that questions societal notions of sex and sexuality. With this strong, provocative lyrical content, and darker, heavy rap beats, her music gained the attention of the hip-hop and alternative underground. Originally from Canada, Genesis made her way to U.S. audiences as her sound and style gained the attention of rapper Father, and she joined his label, Awful Records, in 2015. She has one album out, World Vision, which perfectly captures her dark, sexual, and rebellious style. Holding off her fans with an EP and a few singles since then, she finally announced that her new album, self-titled Tommy Genesis, will be released next month. In 2016, Dazed magazine described her as “the internet’s most rebellious underground rap queen.” She’s definitely one of the most unique and provocative underground artists, and her upcoming album is likely to turn a lot of heads. The new single, “Daddy,” teases us with perfectly with heavy bass and her classic “Tommy” style.
Forever Wonderland, MØ
MØ is a Danish-born singer, songwriter, and producer whose music has been gaining listeners across genres from synth-pop, to indie-rock, to EDM. She has a unique and diverse sound that crosses genre boundaries, yet still maintains integrity and unified style across her discography. She has been compared to artists like Grimes and Twin Shadow, yet she brings a brighter, bolder energy that that sets her apart. Also a long-time collaborator with world-famous producer and DJ Diplo, they recently released their newest collaboration called “Sun in Our Eyes.” Both artists agree it’s the best track they’ve produced together. Her collab with Diplo, as well as a beautiful tracklist of other songs, are now officially released on her second full-length album, Forever Wonderland. The album also features Charli XCX, Empress Of, and What So Not, adding an electric mix to the album. Summer may be over, but Forever Wonderland makes me feel like I could be laying out in the sun and cruising on a summer night.
Thank you for reading this month’s Fresh Finds by Female Artists, elevating female voices and highlighting the importance of diversity in music. Click here to follow the Spotify Fresh Finds by Female Artists playlist, updated with new tracks every month!
Parnia is a graduate student studying Political Science. Her hobbies include going to concerts and festivals, practicing yoga, and binge-watching Netflix shows. Stay in touch on Instagram @parniarazi