Name: Jon Bellion
Country of Origin: United States
Albums: The Seperation (2013), Translations Through Speakers (2013)
Must Listen Tracks: ‘Jim Morrison’, ‘Superman, The Gift And The Curse’, ‘Kingdom Come’
Labels: Visionary Music Group
Meet Jon Bellion, the New York native who’s schoolin’ your favorite artists.
I’m telling you right now that this is the kind of guy that you’re going to want to keep your eye on, because when he blows up in the next year or two you can brag that you listened to him before he did.
First off he wrote the chorus to a little song called ‘The Monster’ recorded by Eminem and Rihanna. So he can clearly write a hook. The song has not only brought massive amounts of attention to Bellion, but it’s helped launch the start of his second free album The Separation.
‘The Monster’ is literally just the tip if the iceberg when it comes to his songwriting ability. The Separation dives right into Jon’s artistry, with a risk taking look at his life. For someone who’s only on their second album Bellion already feels like a seasoned artist.
The albums first single, ‘Ungrateful Eyes’ is a statement of humanity. The songs starts with Bellion’s salary last year, which is not done for bragging rights, but self-reflection. ‘Eyes’ is the perfect example of the risks he takes. His melodies are a little odd, mixed with an obscure beat, but it all works.
‘Jim Morrison’ is his shining moment though. The song is a glimpse to the powerhouse artist he’s going become. By far the best track on the album, ‘Morrison’ is a perfectly cocky anthem with a killer hook and slick beat. It’s very Kanye, which is a compliment to Bellion. He masters both the production and delivery of the song. And can we talk about that hook one more time?!?!?
Compared to the plethora of new artists Bellion is one of the few making exciting music. His whole album is a giant ear worm, and is honestly the best listen I’ve had in a while. Considering that ‘The Seperation’ is free on his website you should jump on board now.
Country of Origin: England
Albums: Days And Nights (2014)
Must Listen Tracks: ‘Broken’, ‘Alone Together’, ‘Look Up’
Labels: Universal Records, Polydor Records
Apparently all of my artists of the month are going to be from the UK, but I think I’m ok with that.
Daley joins the list of UK acts who are currently “killing it”.
Daley first gained notoriety when he was featured on the 2010 Gorillaz song ‘Doncamatic’. Like Sam Smith, he is a great songwriter and vocalist. But there’s something really different about his voice.
His duet with Marsha Ambrosius is the perfect example. ‘Alone Together’ is a slow-burning, drum lead soul fest that sounds more like two women singing than a man and woman. Daley’s voice is so high and sweet sounding that it’s a trippy experience to watch him sing live. You doubt what you’re hearing.
Naturally his high voice means he has an amazing falsetto. And by amazing I mean that he should be singing like this every second of every day.
‘Broken’ is the first official single off his new album Day and Night. The song is very much in line with the UK R&B we’ve been hearing, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The “oh oh” part of the chorus is hypnotizing. The use of his low register at the end of the chorus perfectly compliments the melody. To be honest, it’s better than everything we’ve heard from American R&B in 2014. Step it up, guys.
This may be the American/Pharrell Stan in me, but I’m curious to see Daley work with more American producers in the future. ‘Look Up’, his collaboration with Pharrell, is everything. Easily the best song off the album, and possibly my favorite Pharrell collaboration in a while. I love how Daley mimics his voice in the song.
It’s hard to predict how Daley is going to do in the States. He doesn’t have mass appeal in his voice, but this could work in his advantage. Either way, Day and Night was the first interesting listen in 2014 and you need to tune in.
Also, shout out to David Roth for the Daley introduction.
Name: Sam Smith
Country of Origin: England
Albums: Nirvana (EP) , In The Lonely Hour (Release Date 5/26/2014)
Must Listen Tracks: ‘Latches’, ‘Safe With Me’, ‘Nirvana’
Labels: Capitol, PMR Records
My first artist of the month is Sam Smith. I wrote about him a few weeks back, but after diving into his EP this past week I realized he’s even more ridiculously talented than I had thought.
His EP, Nirvana, is a 7 song soul-trip, with flawless vocals and passion. The US version includes a bonus 3 tracks, which includes current UK single ‘Money On My Mind’. Also includes a ‘Nirvana’ remix, which might actually be better than the original.
Nirvana easily makes him the most interesting artist of this month. So go to itunes and listen.
His 2013 collaboration with Naughty Boy is picking up spins on US radio, and he’s hitting the road here in the US next month. ‘La La’ is the perfect way to introduce Sam to the states. It’s catchy, and I could see a lot of Top 40 DJ’s remixing the song during their rush hour mixes.
Whether ‘La La’ is a US hit or not, it’s helping him break the states. That within itself is an accomplishment.
For those of you who don’t like ‘Money on My Mind’ or ‘La La’ I leave you with ‘Latch’. This is the song that should turn you into a Sam Stan. Or a Smither? SMITH KR3W? We’ll keep working on that.
‘Latch’ is not only the highlight track of the EP, but one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard in a while. The song is the solo version of his collaboration with the band Disclosure, who just released their version in the states.
His vocal control on those last few notes is vocal perfection.