This week on The Ensemble we’re shining a light on upcoming black musicians who’ve got us excited for what the future of music industry holds. Music wouldn’t be what it is today without black artists and this blog wouldn’t exist without black people. We are undergoing changes across our site to do all we can to help black people in the ongoing fight against injustice and will stand with you every step of the way.
BERWYN – GLORY
Poignantly posed lyrics with an emotionally evocative delivery and a powerful sense of storytelling are what set BERWYN apart from other artists in East London. GLORY artfully tells us his dreams, aspirations as well as his fears throughout life, including his family’s battle with immigration in UK. The solitary feel from the somber piano melody makes an emotional statement making each word BERWYN utters hit you, but it’s all this that drives him further, it makes him want it more to become, as he says, the next Dr. Dre. Powerful stuff.
Jenn – Sober Up
If you’ve followed this blog for a while now then the chances are you’ve seen Jenn’s name pop up multiple times and that’s because we genuinely love this dark pop artist. Sober Up came out of nowhere for us but became one of our highlights of 2019. She has a lyrical maturity that is way beyond her years, an intoxicatingly good vocal that shines throughout her discography and a pristine production that makes the hooks of the track wriggle their way into your brain so deep that you’ll require an excavation team to get it out. One of Ireland’s best music exports.
BLACKSTARKIDS – LOVE, STARGIRL
I only recently stumbled across the Kansas City based trio BLACKSTARKIDS recently but they’ve already become of my favourite artists to come out of 2020. Their sound doesn’t really have a genre with them taking influences from indie rock, hip hop and pop, to name a few, that all come together to create a sonically enticing experience that you’ll want to go back to over and over again. Highly recommend listening to their albums Surf and Let’s Play Sports, they’re both filled with nothing but bangers.
Sherwyn – My Mind
This is one of those artists who’s just unlike anyone else out there with Sherwyn’s vocal alone being something you’ll either love or hate, I personally cannot get enough of it. Infectious melodies, insatiable grooves and buoyancy to the production that will get your body dancing along to this uniquely captivating track in mere seconds. He only has one sound out right now but Sherwyn has already set himself up to be one of the most weirdly wonderful musicians out there right now.
Shamiya Battles – Be Myself
I’ll say it right now, Shamiya Battles has one of the best R&B vocals out there right now with her luscious tone being able to captivate me from start to finish and get me fully invested into her music. Her sole single right now Be Myself combines elements from R&B during it’s glory days in the 90’s with some modern singer songwriter influence to create a tender soundscape to allow her tenderly poised vocals to soar above it all and shine like the sun itself. Every note comes cascading down in a beautiful waterfall of emotion that leaves you begging for more.
Bartees Strange – Lemonworld
Bartees Strange’s debut project Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy is a collection of reimagined The National covers with the idea coming from when he went to a live show by them an realised how few black people were in the audience. The way he’s crafted these covers is something to be truly admired, he manages to add his own personal spin to the production and lyrics to create something entirely his own whilst also honouring the original body of work they came from. Lemonworld is a prime example of this going from these quiet subdued vocal before exploding into life through a cacophony of guitars. At this point I’ve listened to his covers more than The National songs themselves.
Jeshua – Sleepless
There’s a distinct sound to Jeshua’s twisted and experimental brand of R&B with it taking the expressive nature of FKA Twigs sound and fusing it with some of the classic soul sounds that came from Marvin Gaye. Sleepless is a gorgeous introduction to his music with it’s mournful melodies, haunting vocal delivery and poetic lyrics all being intricately crafted to make a sonic experience that has a timeless quality to it. His debut Decay was quite spectacular too might I add so his discography is well worth diving into.
Hannah Jadagu – Pollen
This track was our first introduction to Hannah Jadagu and it made us fall head over heels in love with her instantly. The breezy sound mixed with the laidback guitar melodies makes you feel all your worries melt away from your body with her delicately poised vocals floating effortlessly over the production with the reverb effect adding another layer to the gorgeous sonic texturing the tracking already possessed. Her music invites you into her world where you’re able to view her innermost thoughts and explore the world through her own eyes.
Bymaddz – Just Be Friends
If you’re looking for some fantastic music that can help you easily wind down whilst simultaneously having a uniquely exhilarating excitement to it then look no further than the New Jersey based musician Bymaddz. With a Jazz Hop styled production she effortlessly produces laidback melodies that make the stress leave your body instantly with her soft vocal only adding to this further. Combine all that with her whimsical storytelling and expressive performative nature and you’ll find it hard to resist her music.