In the span of approximately six months in 2009, Kristinia DeBarge bubbled up, exploded and fizzled out.
She didn’t burst out of thin air, though: Kristinia initially made her debut over a decade ago on FOX’s iconic 2003 experimentation in Idol for tweens, American Juniors (which also spawned Pretty Little Liars starlet and future country-pop Hollywood Records superstar, Lucy Hale). Plus, her dad’s James DeBarge…you know, of DeBarge.
Several years after her brief Juniors stint, Kristinia inked a deal with Island Def Jam, releasing her first (and, as of now, only) Top 20 hit, “Goodbye,” in April of 2009. The stomping pop kiss-off anthem, which borrows from Steam‘s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” (otherwise known as that obnoxious chant at every sport ever), managed to climb to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, blasting the singer to teenybopper stardom instantly—even earning her a slot as the opening act on Britney‘s Circus Tour.
And then, just as quickly as “Goodbye” charted, nothing happened: Her second single “Sabotage” went completely MIA on the charts, her debut LP—the all-too-ironically titled Exposed—flopped at #23, and her third single “Future Love,” even with a Pitbull verse, tapped out at #125. She was done.
Four years have now passed, and Kristinia’s not ready to call it quits: After recording for over two years, a departure from Island Def Jam and a distribution deal with Manhattan Records, she’s finally releasing a follow-up to her 2009 debut—exclusively to Japan—called Young & Restless.
Charli XCX is one of the few Internet-born, blog-approved acts worthy of the hype.
The buzz began long ago, way back—back to the glory days when MySpace was still (mostly) a thing, and artists like Lily Allen were leading the charge of the self-made, DIY pop star.
At the time, she was billed as a precocious London-bred club kid putting out glitchy, lo-fi electro tunes like “Emelline,” “I Wanna Be Darth Vader” and “Art Bitch” at no more than 16 years old. The tracks were hugely promising—especially for such a young artist—and made their way into the ears of tastemakers and artsy scenesters by the end of 2008. (In fact, while I was interning at Interview in the summer of ’09, I remember the editors curating an an upcoming feature on London’s up-and-coming ladies of Brit-pop, including La Roux, Little Boots and…Charli XCX.)
But the pieces only truly started to come together in 2010, when Charli entered the studio with one of the most exciting producers happening right now, Ariel Rechtshaid. (See also: Sky Ferreira‘s “Everything is Embarrassing” and Usher‘s “Climax.”) Together, the two began refining what we know today as the Charli XCX sound across a series of singles and mixtapes, including Heartbreaks and Earthquakes and Super Ultra: Dooming beats, dreamy New Wave pop melodies, warbling vocoders and blood-soaked lyricism.
The last time we heard a full set from Cassie, officially speaking, was her self-titled debut in 2006, which included the icy electro-R&B masterpiece that’s singlehandedly kept her name relevant in music for over 7 years: “Me & U.”
She returned in February last year with the transcendent, Ibiza-lite “King Of Hearts,” and again later that year with a feature on Nicki Minaj‘s robotic “The Boys.” And now, after endless delays and setbacks, somehow—perhaps by divine intervention—it has finally arrived: RockaByeBaby, a conceptual mixtape that sees the R&B princess transforming into something much darker and rough around the edges than ever before—namely, a bad bitch.
Guess what? The new Sally Shapiro record, Somewhere Else, is very good!
In case you’re under the impression that Sally Shapiro is content three albums deep into her career, she’s not.
“The title describes the recurrent theme in the music and my life, to somehow never be satisfied with what you have, or where you are — to always wish you were somewhere else,” Shapiro explained of the title of her new record in the official blurb about the release.
It’s not all that surprising to hear from the shy singer, who notoriously doesn’t like to perform live – or even appear on stage at all. In fact, “Sally Shapiro” is just a pseudonym for the mystery chanteuse’s work with producer Johan Agebjörn. Together, they’ve been quietly crafting transportive soundtracks made for sun-soaked daydreaming and contemplative late night drives since the latter half of the 00′s, beginning with 2007′s acclaimed Disco Romance.
With their latest outing, Somewhere Else (out yesterday, February 26), the dream-pop duo have crafted yet another set of entrancing disco-tinged tunes — a follow-up to their 2009 record, My Guilty Pleasure.
Check out my full review on Idolator.
After serving as one-fifth of one of the greatest American girl groups of the past decade (Danity Kane–RIP), followed by a turn as one-third of the short-lived, yet briefly brilliant Diddy – Dirty Money, singer-songwriter Dawn Richard is finally, at long last, getting her rightful shine as a solo star.