To celebrate International Women's Day, we wanted to spotlight some women who are currently on our radar in no particular order...
1. Jaz Karis
To kick off the list we’re starting with none other than South London songstress, Jaz Karis. In the last few years, Jaz has truly made a name for herself within the UK R&B scene. With her smooth and luscious voice, Jaz’ tracks have the perfect blend of Soul, Jazz and R&B influences. However, when talking about inspirations, the lyrical storyteller says that for her, it goes beyond music with books and culture being sources of inspiration for her as well.
Known for her relatable, heartfelt tracks, Jaz aims to create music that truly resonates with her listeners. With personal EP ‘Dear Jaz’ being a clear example of this, she describes how she ‘likes to make music that feeds the soul, while soothing and calming the ears of the listeners’. Although she typically makes slower sounding music, the R&B artist of St Lucian and Maltese descent has made some upbeat hits too. Working with superstar producer Juls, their song ‘Soweto Blues’ has amassed over 3 million listens on Spotify.
2. Amie Blu
Next up, we have emerging Alt-R&B singer-songwriter, Amie Blu. Also hailing from South London, Blu is definitely one to watch this year with her delicate lyricism and smooth delivery.
Her songs, depict her own personal experiences or the experiences of those around her. Her recent release ‘Powder’ is a deeply personal project she wrote about ‘losing a friend to drugs and watching them change as time goes on’. Her raw and honest lyrics, covering difficult topics of co-dependency, drug abuse and mental illness, are somehow made easier to listen to with her soft and soothing voice.
Alternative Indie-pop artist Rachel Chinouriri’s recent release ‘Maybe I’m Lonely’ offers a very stripped back approach, with whisper like vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar. This vulnerable track is about the struggles of navigating the dating scene especially after coming out of a long term relationship. She wrote this song hoping many people shared her perspective, and with the Tik Tok teased demo alone receiving over 1 million views on Tik Tok, it's safe to say, they do.
Rachel has been able to build a very loyal fan base; selling out multiple headline shows at London’s Hoxton hall due to high demand. She also was the supporting act for Lewis Capaldi on his European tour. Rachel’s touring history has allowed her to expand her fanbase, sharing the stage with the likes of Tems, Kojey Radical, Sam Fender and Remi Wolf.
4. Arlo Parks
We couldn't write this list without including Mercury Prize and Brits award winner, Arlo Parks. Making a name for herself both nationally and globally, Parks has had the opportunity to tour with Clairo, Harry Styles and Billie Eilish. The poet and musician is renowned for her sweet, ruminative Indie-pop songs and novelistic song writing. You can’t listen to an Arlo Parks song without being able to create a whole music video in your head!
Earlier this month, Parks released a new single ‘Impurities’ which we can expect to see in her forthcoming full-length album. She says the single is about ‘being around people who make you feel like your inner ugliness and failures and mistakes don’t matter’.
5. Olivia Dean
Another one to watch, is East London born singer, Olivia Dean. To date, Olivia has released three EPs which have all been met with critical acclaim. Earlier, this year she released single ‘UFO’ which is the first song from her long awaited debut album, which is due to be released later on this year.
The song has been described as rather laid back in comparison to her other typical catchy pop singles with ‘synthesized vocals’ and soft sounding instruments. 2023, is looking like Olivia’s year with an album on the way and the fact that she is currently touring Europe with her biggest headline show to date. We can’t wait to see what this year has in store for her!
6. Yaya Bey
Crossing the globe for this one, we had to feature Brooklyn based singer/songwriter, Yaya Bey. Having lived many lives, she experienced marriage, divorce, and even selling drugs. Her lyrics, being very thoughtful speak to all that she has been through. When discussing her upcoming EP, Exodus the North – she describes the six-song set as her most vulnerable body of work to date.
Song writing since the age of nine, Yaya says she believes Black people should be able to reimagine their own experiences through storytelling and song writing. Her lyrics not only describe what she has been through, but also what she aspires to be and feel.
If you have been on Tik Tok at all over the past year, then you will have heard the voice of Natanya Popoola. Like many independent artists, Natanya is using Tik Tok to share her sound with the world. The sensual sound that is ‘Foolish’ is a fan favourite, and the teaser of new song 'Angel' is destined to be a hit too.
Natanya’s relatable lyrics cover themes of heartache, friendship, and the overall struggles of navigating adult life. She makes the perfect music for those solo sessions in your bedroom. Having only released five tracks so far, we are very optimistic about where Natanya’s career will go.
Debbie introduced herself to the UK R&B scene in 2021 with debut single, ‘Is This Real Love?’ and in just a short of amount of time, she has managed to reach some major milestones.
Most recently she was able to widen her global reach with Lucky Daye as the feature on her debut single; offering a male perspective. 22-year-old south Londoner also had the opportunity to feature on rapper Stormzy’s critically acclaimed album. Her raw and honest lyrics and undeniably beautiful voice, manage to evoke feelings within anyone who listens. As she continues, to drop these deep and meaningful tracks, her fans wait in anticipation of her first debut project.
9. Lianne La Havas
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Lianne La Havas came onto the scene in the early 2010s. Being influenced by names like Lauryn Hill and Nina Simone, Lianne has developed an acoustic sound with a tinge of Alternative Folk.
She found success with the release of her debut album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ which reached number five in the UK. As she continues to refine her distinctive sound, she has given us grammy nominated Blood (2015) and 3 LPs. She continues to share her music globally, and last month she headlined a few shows in Brazil!