Sounds like: Rihanna, Jessie J
Genre: Pop, Dub-pop
Prepare for the rise of Rita Ora.
After catching the eye and ear of an A&R in London, the 21-year-old Kosovo-born, U.K.-bred songstress was introduced to Jay-Z in New York and soon signed to Roc Nation (Rihanna style!) back in 2009.
Since then, she’s been working with just every heavy-hitter in the pop industry to craft her upcoming 2012 debut, including Ester Dean, The-Dream and Stargate.
Admittedly, I wasn’t too bowled over by Ora’s lead US single which premiered recently on Z100: “How We Do (Party)” (originally titled “Party & Bullshit), a carbon copy of the Katy Perry “Teenage Dream”/Jessie J “Domino” strumming power-pop formula. It’s a hit, for sure…but, well, it’s been done to death at this point.
Her debut UK single “R.I.P.,” however, tickles my fancy far more: Penned by Drake, produced by Chase & Status and Stargate and featuring Tinie Tempah (that enough talent in one track for you?), the dubstep-infused number sounds a lot like something off of RiRi’s Rated R, featuring gritty guitar licks and dark, searing synths. “R.I.P to the girl you used to see/Her days are over!” Ora declares.
With powerful pipes and a bevy of top song scribes at her disposal, Rita Ora’s got plenty of potential to take over in 2012 as one of the newest pop princesses. You ready?
Heard of Stooshe? They’re a rising UK pop trio, and the only girl group listed on BBC’s Sound of 2012 longlist. And as you can see above, they’d like to be taken seriously, thank you very much.
With effortlessly melodic, soulful voices a la En Vogue or The Sugababes and a perky power punch of personality (think a slightly more X-minded version of the Spice Girls or The Dolly Rockers), the girls have making strong waves in the UK already. After the release of their debut single “Betty Woz Gone” back in October, the cheeky trio is about to service their brand new second single on March 5: “Love Me,” featuring Travie McCoy. (Cheryl Cole, The Saturdays…is there a girl group he hasn’t worked with yet?)
With its swinging ’60′s surf-pop charm, “Love Me” is an immediately infectious, twinkling jam full of fun ‘n’ sassy lyricism and cutting hooks: “Oh, your chocolate got me melting/Baby, got me melting all my days/Let me give you double helpings/You’ll be screaming baby, baby, baby!” the girls yelp.
For those following the lewd ladies from the start just a few short months ago, you’d know that “Love Me” was originally released as “Fuck Me”–and those lyrics? Well, they were a whole lot ruder: “Free your mind…and the rest I’ll swallow!” Amazing, but hardly radio-friendly. Thus, “Love Me” was born.
I’m still not entirely sure what to make of these girls just yet–they’re either as infectiously rambunctious as the Almighty Spice in a sex shop, or as yell-y and obnoxious as Jessie J. in, well, everything–but it’s hard to deny the supreme hook-heavy pop quality of “Love Me.” So far, I’m in!
Looks like this is just the beginning for this trouble-making trio, so get yourselves acquainted now! Get ready to enter the loveeee hotel…
“Love Me (feat. Travie McCoy” will be released on March 5. (iTunes UK)
Genre: Alternative rock
Sounds like: Fiona Apple, Alanis Morrissette, Marina + The Diamonds
Meet Meg Myers, a rising musician based out of Los Angeles.
While details about the singer are still somewhat minimal, we’ve got one excellent tune to work with: “Monster.”
The song was co-scribed and produced by Doctor Rosen Dosen, the up-and-coming producer responsible for a couple of MuuMuse’s favorite remixes over the past years for acts like Britney and Lady Gaga, as well as his exciting collaborative project with a slew of rising female pop stars, including Kay and Jessie And The Toy Boys, called GIRLS.
Yet Myers’ sound is a complete departure for Rosen: There’s no pop beats to be found here–only jagged riffs and raw, vulnerable lyrics: “My love, too much/Your love, not enough,” Myers sadly croons above a slow-strumming guitar before launching into the song’s haunting chorus: “Oh, what it takes out of me to lay by your side!”
As Rosen explained to me, the song’s stripped production is a nod to ’90′s alt-rock–from Nirvana to Portishead. “What have I done? I’m a fucking monster!” Myers bitterly yelps at one point, her voice quivering with all the anguish of a classic Morrissette angst track.
Although Myers’ 6-track debut EP isn’t due for release until later in January, you can already hear two more cuts from the EP on her official website, including the piano-tinged, hook heavy “Adelaide” and “Poison,” which surges with a slightly more modern electro-rock flare (and was also featured on Rosen Rosen’s Girls Vol. 1.)
What I like most about Myers, as with fellow alt-rock chanteuses Skylar Grey and, to a somewhat more pop-oriented extent Marina And The Diamonds, Lana Del Rey and Sky Ferreira (when she’s in a more punk mood), is that she provides a breath of fresh air in a rapidly smothering climate of club-pop. Don’t get me wrong–I live for the stuff, but there’s more than enough room for some snarling, kick-ass rock chicks to come clawing their way to the top of the charts and adding some much-needed variety to radio.
Coupled with comeback LPs from industry veterans like Garbage and No Doubt a little later in 2012–along with the rumored, much-delayed return of Fiona Apple (dear God, let it be!)–this might just be the year that (good) rock finally makes a comeback.
“Monster” is available as a free download at Myers’ official website.
Sounds like: Wynter Gordon, Jessie + The Toy Boys, Britney Spears, Dev
Genre: Electro-pop, dance, hip-pop
I’ve watched Moxiie evolve for about two years now.
The unsigned NYC artist first caught my attention back in February of 2010 (then performing under the name Kyla Dreams) with her track, “Machine Gun Love.” I was immediately sold: Between the instantly catchy chorus and glittering synth beats, that one song alone kept me keeping close tabs on the up-and-coming songwriter.
Over time, I’ve come to learn that Moxiie’s one thoroughly cool chick with excellent taste–her influences include Madonna, Vanity 6, Debbie Harry and Janet Jackson–and her songs reflect her keen awareness for supreme pop.
After spending years writing for other artists however, the singer suddenly decided to go the solo route:
I did the whole writer thing, hitting tons of studios in L.A. and New York working with so many producers. I got bored with all the cliques and politics. Being one of hundreds of writers vying for a slot on someone else’s project, it felt wrong. It just hit me one day: I have a lot to say–I can write, sing and dance! What the hell am I doing?!
Now known professionally as Moxiie, the songstress has finally unleashed her debut effort today known as the Jungle Pop EP, a raw, crunchy 8-track collection filled with sharp hooks and fresh pop influences and inspired by world beats, popular dance and club sounds, and the gritty textures of New York City.
The EP boasts production from several rising producers, including Fredro (Wonder Girls, Jessica Mauboy), REO (Lil’ Wayne), Jay Deasel (Miranda Lambert), and The SupaSonics.
There’s sizzling cuts like “Buzz” (above) which bangs with a fierce Euro-friendly beat recalling Enur‘s “Calabria,” as well as “Bottle Service,” which plays like a harder-hitting sequel to Far East Movement‘s 2010 summer smash, “Like A G6.”
“Animal” finds Moxiie exploring some slightly left-of-center electronica territory above a marching drum beat, bringing to mind Wynter Gordon‘s brand of smart dance-pop ingenuity: “I want to love you like an animal/I wanna touch you like an animal/I wanna hear the sound of you losing all control,” she purrs.
She even dabbles in some rap-pop at one point on “Platinum P,” meshing old school hip-hop samples with a fresh flow above wild marching drum beats a la Cher Lloyd.
My immediate favorite of the bunch, however, is “Dancing in Dirt” (top), an absolutely relentless uptempo banger with light dubstep flourishes that simply demands to be blared from the speakers of every club across the country: “Don’t you feel sorry for me, ’cause I’ll be dancing in the dirt!” Moxiie declares before diving into the most delicious beat drop. Mmmph!
After hearing what Moxiie’s served up all on her own, there’s no question that she’s got that somethin’ special to propel her into stardom in no time. Record labels and fans alike–take note now.
Moxiie’s currently offering up the entire Jungle Pop EP for just the price of a tweet (not too shabby!), and the EP is also available on iTunes.
Jungle Pop EP was released on December 20. (iTunes)
Though only 19 years old, Charli XCX has making a name for herself in the British pop circle for years now.
After rising to underground fame as a Londontown club kid and unleashing a smattering of songs to the Internetz, the young electro-pop singer has opened for several high-profile acts, including Robyn and Peaches.
As a result, she’s made several small-but-significant splashes in the mainstream press already, including an introduction in The Guardian back in 2008 (cleverly dubbing her “The Fisher Price Fischerspooner“), a profile in Dazed Digital, and a feature within an Interview Magazine article in 2009 spotlighting the rising “Brit Pop Girls” of the time, including Little Boots and La Roux. And while her own launch has been delayed far longer than the other girls highlighted within the group, hers may be the most promising and intriguing yet.
Earlier this year, Charli unleashed the unbelievably killer “Stay Away”–a jagged warning shot fired against grinding, gritty synthesizers that easily ranks amongst my favorite singles of 2011. “Do you remember what I said the first time that we met? Stay away,” she desperately pleads above the demented beat, crafted by American producer Ariel Rechtshaid. It’s gorgeous and haunting; the kind of song that simply can’t be played enough, and a dark, sexy slice of what both reviewers and she herself have lovingly dubbed “Goth-pop.”
Now the teenage chanteuse returns with a new song for the end of November: “Nuclear Seasons.” The song, which is available for free on her official website, plays like a darker take on the slick ’80′s revivalist pop sheen of Gwen Stefani‘s solo career (though I’m hearing a bit of No Doubt‘s “It’s My Life” in the verses as well), added to Marina + The Diamonds‘ damning, dramatic vibrato. “You taste the blast and it shook your bones,” she cooly croons as she ruminates on an explosive relationship on the rocks. Don’t drop bombs, baby!
Along with some of the aforementioned artists, she’s also giving me some serious Sky Ferreira vibes: She’s young, free-spirited, mysterious and fiercely rebellious (never too afraid to toe the line between outspoken and all-out bitchy, as her thoughts on Gaga and La Roux may attest). And like Ferreira, she’s responsible for more than a few pop ditties that utterly slay everything else playing on the radio today.
In short, I’m a big fan of Charli XCX.
Though there’s still not too many tunes floating around by the young London-bred singer just yet, she’s quickly become one of my latest obsessions–and certainly one of my most anticipated acts for 2012. Watch for her debut to hit in 2012, which features more production by Rechtshaid, as well as “Dancing On My Own” producer Patrik Berger, and Teddybears member (and older brother to fellow Robyn hit maker, Klas Åhlund), Joakim Åhlund.
(Oh, yeah–and the XCX stands for “Kiss Charli Kiss,” which the singer herself calls “unbelievably crap.”)
“Stay Away” was released on May 15. (iTunes UK)