Today I’m bringing you a few artists who I think have the next big hit in their back pocket. Some of these are just bound to be earworms while others are solid songs tailored for radio-play. We’ve provided a playlist, so just sit back and imagine how well these would fit between your favorite DJs on local radio. Well, I guess you don’t need to imagine those DJs, I know that I don’t want to. I mean, they barely do their jobs anymore, it’s more like pushing a bunch of buttons and shout — ON WITH THE NEXT BIG HITS!
To begin, I want to re-introduce you to your childhood. While some of you may be a bit too young to remember this, or some of you too old to find it nostalgic, the Bop-it was a great time-killer and reflex-builder. Jamez Anthony has morphed the trademark jingle into a hip-hop dance song. I heard this song on his ReverbNation page, and initially, I imagined a pretty rowdy club getting into this, dancing to “work it like you’re in a video with Beyonce.” I was surprised to find that this video, while full of legit dance, also seemed to be cast with friends and family. In addition, an older white woman was easily swayed to join in on a dance with Anthony himself. Needless to say, I’ll be bopping it all Summer, especially if it means dancing with little old ladies waiting for the bus. He’s a bit of an entrepreneur; he has a company called KONTROL which seems to involve things from energy drinks to clothing. On top of that, he’s got a pretty swank haircut. The cards seem stacked in his favor. You can find all of his current singles on iTunes.
Next up we have Celeste Buckingham, who is certainly a departure from Anthony, but could easily be played alongside any pop artist today. She was born in Zurich, raised in Bratislavia and now rocks it from Nashville via B.E.G. recording. Her power-house vocals really bring out the expert phrasing used throughout her verses. Much like her peers, she’s down to Earth and brings out the #realtalk through her lyrics. Maybe she parties too much, she sure has problems like the rest of us. I look forward to learning about her issues, because every good musician seems to have them. Her album Where I Belong and singles released since that are available on Amazon. In paying splendid homage to Louis Armstrong and Russ Garcia’s “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen” (1962), Buckingham brings together cultures and universal woes for a video you need to see:
Emma Bilyou is young, which is something I need to point out due to beyond-her-years vocals. Her lyrical content is focused on the teenage issues we’ve all faced (and still experience to some degree) of heartbreak, betrayal and the journey through society. Her ability to express the emotion built into these songs without them sounding like they were dog-eared pages in her diary is something I must commend. I know that when I tried to write songs when I was younger, I came to the conclusion that not even I would want to hear them. I enjoy Bilyou, though, she harkens back to early-ots Pink, when she was drawing us her Family Portrait. I look forward to seeing what Bilyou has throughout her sophomoric phase. On her website you’ll see some kind, encouraging words in concern to bullying in society. She currently has one album out called Emmasary, and three other singles, all available on CDBaby and iTunes.
When it comes to contemporary pop, leaning toward adult alternative, Alexander McKay takes the cake. The cake he takes, that is, is moist, not too-rich, with a delicate balance of spice and artisan flare. His vocals provide a rustic taste for those of us fed up with the vocal stylings today: as airbrushed and manipulated as the magazine covers those stars grace. McKay’s work isn’t without great production, but you can tell where they sacrificed polish for the sake of vocal integrity. In the song “Against The Tide,” there is an undeniable air of romance akin to Thereau and those artists who find solace in nature. The video supports this theoretical traditionalism, where McKay performs on a beach, filmed at a very magic hour. I do have a question, though: the acoustic guitar featured in the crashing waves, how did that happen? See for yourself. To purchase either of his two available albums, Brings Us Together or Stones visit his iTunes store.
Rexford has to be my new favorite band. I’m relentlessly exposed to new music, and I have my tastes. Some people wouldn’t consider my taste to be ‘good’, but I prefer to FEEL good, rather than taste good. Rexford is a beautiful group of men, who create a light-hearted and harmony-driven catalogue of music perfect for my morning pick-me-up. They are not afraid to weave themselves (their true selves, beyond performers) into their videos and stagework. With a style that stretches from ballad to pop overdrive, I can see myself with these fellas for many years to come. I know what you’re thinking, “you’ve only known this band for a couple days and you’re all ready to settle down?” The keyboard, walking bass-lines and vocal fusion would be my favorite memory with this group, so far, and I fall in love with them again each day. In the following video, “Space Parfait,” the artists bring together my three favorite things: astronomy, desserts and harmony. Additionally, I suggest you watch their NPR TinyDesk performance to supplement your exposure to this next big gig. To find and buy any of their three albums, Good Lie, Back Around or Ship We Sank, visit their iTunes page.