New School Artists

New School Artists
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 19, 2010

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Genre: Alternative Hip Hop

The NeXt Factor: The fearless Eric Sosa says, "I’m just a Spanish rapper from Queens that’s trying to escape reality, but trapped in a dream.” The rapper whose first mixtape — released in 2007 — “Let the Pete Rock,” became his ode to the classic era of hip hop. He has since released a second mixtape, “Rhyme & Noodles: No Artificial Flavoring Vol. 1.” The album shows Sosa’s versatility not just as a hip-hop artist, but as a writer with lyrical skills.

Reminiscent of: AZ

Download Now: “The Heart”

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Genre: Edgy R&B
The NeXt Factor: Pianist/singer/songwriter K. Michelle, 24, knows that being a successful artist is more than just dropping great vocals, it is having something to say. After touring Asia with the Memphis Orchestra Sound Fusion, the single mother got her big break with Jive records. A year later, the FAMU alumni is working on her debut album, “Pain Medicine,” to be released this fall with the help of R. Kelly.
Reminiscent of: Keyshia Cole’s energy, Sharrissa’s voice
Download Now: The uptempo track “Fallin”

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Genre: Island Beat
The NeXt Factor: A mix of R&B, hip-hop, and Caribbean embody Verse Simmonds’ musical philosophy. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in St. Thomas, Simmonds decided to take his talents seriously and impress Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, which eventually led to him landing a deal. His hit 2009 summer single, “Buy You A Round,” gained public attention. His debut album “Stories Of A Bachelor” is sure to deliver sensual grooves a charming sound.
Reminiscent of: A smoother Akon
Download Now: Marvin Gaye sampled tune, “Come To Me”

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Genre: Funk-jam fusion
The NeXt Factor: K of They, formerly known as Kevin Michae, is for those with a more eccentric taste in music. K blends the genres of soul, funk, r&b, techno, and pop. After debuting his first album in 2008 with Atlantic, Kevin is back with a new name and better sound brimming with fearless confidence. Sophomore album coming soon.
Reminiscent of: A Prince and Bilal collaboration
Download Now: The futuristic track “Areola”

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Genre: Electric-hip-pop
The NeXt Factor: The Grammy award winning songwriter who penned Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It On the Alcohol” is now stepping to the microphone as his own artist. The Memphis, TN, native will release his debut album “A Day Late” later this year. Walka’s unique style is both innovative and edgy, able to surprise and captivate a audience.
Reminiscent of: Flo-Rida energy with a Maino flow.
Download Now: The quirky track “Hair Down”

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Genre: Progressive Soul
The NeXt Factor: Remember the first time you heard Robin Thicke’s ‘Lost Without You,’ and said no way is that man not Black, well Mayer Hawthorne gets the same reaction. With vocals to make you swoon, he has an unbelievably soulful sound that comes from his gut and isn’t contrived. Raised in Michigan, Andrew Mayer Cohen, 31, grew up listening to soul music of Detroit. Currently on the last leg of his European tour, Mayer used his influences back in 2009 to create “Strange Arrangement.”
Reminiscent of: Any Motown male singer in the ’60s
Download Now: The mellow tune “I Wish It Would Rain”

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Genre: Retro-soul

The NeXt Factor: Singer/songwriter Vanessa Brown, 26, is the English bred singer/songwriter who is on everyone’s list for who’s got next. Early this year V.V. released her debut album “Traveling Like the Light,” which she describes as “musical mashed potatoes.” Brown is currently touring and performing everywhere from Kentucky to France.

Reminiscent of: An English Katy Perry mixed with the energy of Janelle Monae.

Download Now: Her hit single “Shark in the Water”


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Genre: Alternative Neo-Soul
The NeXt Factor: Afro-Mexican singer Miguel’s original claim to fame was songwriting and production for Usher and Musiq Soulchild. However, he decided to step into the spotlight and release a mixtape “Mischief” and is working on his debut album titled “All I Want Is You.” Miguel is edgy and emotional without being off-putting.
Reminiscent of: Maxwell and Stevie Wonder
Download Now: The smooth track, “Sure Thing”

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Genre: Pop & B

The NeXt Factor: Hailing from the island of Barbados, this Bajan beauty Shontelle carved a rep in the Caribbean music world by crafting songs for a number of top artists, while attending the University of the West Indies, and studying entertainment law. In 2007 she impressed Steve Rifkind with her voice, signed with SRC, put out her first album “Shontelligence” in 2008, and is preparing for the release of her sophomore album “No Gravity” in September.

Reminiscent of: A Rihanna / Britney Spears package
Download Now: The Caribbean riddim “Roll It”

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Genre: Pop & B

The NeXt Factor: Jack the Lad Swing, or JLS, is the newest British boy band consisting of members Aston Merrygold, Marvin Humes, Jonathan “JB” Gill, and Oritsé Williams. JLS got their start after appearing on a British reality talent competition.  After reaching huge success in the UK, US labels went to war over them, and the group released their first single “The Club is Alive.” Jay-Z plans on helping them launch their careers in the US and release their second album.

Reminiscent of: N’Sync with a Jodeci twist
Download Now: The more soulful track “Everybody In Love”

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Genre: Alternative Neo-Soul
The NeXt Factor: Afro-Mexican singer Miguel Jontel’s original claim to fame was songwriting and production for Usher and Musiq Soulchild. However, he decided to step into the spotlight and release a mixtape “Mischief” and is working on his debut album titled “Gravity.” Miguel Jontel is edgy and emotional without being off-putting.
Reminiscent of: Maxwell and Stevie Wonder
Download Now: The smooth track, “Sure Thing”

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Genre: Electric-hip-pop
The NeXt Factor: The Grammy award winning songwriter who penned Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It On the Alcohol” is now stepping to the microphone as his own artist. The Memphis, TN, native will release his debut album “A Day Late” later this year. Walka’s unique style is both innovative and edgy, able to surprise and captivate a audience.
Reminiscent of: Flo-Rida energy with a Maino flow.
Download Now: The quirky track “Hair Down”

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