Drake, Lady Gaga, The Chainsmokers, and Bruno Mars might be ruling the iTunes charts, but EW has compiled a list of irresistible singles from emerging performers who deserve a spot in any music lover’s library. Have a listen, below, to six hot tracks from artists who’ve yet to make it big in the U.S.
Ari Lennox, “Backseat” (feat. Cozz)
The sounds of Ari Lennox’s latest EP, Pho, are fresh, yet tinted with sounds reminiscent of tunes from the likes of Solange, Erykah Badu, and Janelle Monáe. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter, who hails from Washington, D.C., is joined on “Backseat” by rapper Cozz, who adds an appropriate edge to the silky-smooth, retro-inspired track about wanting to get down in a very public place.
Jane Zhang, “Dust My Shoulders Off” (feat. Timbaland)
Jane Zhang, who’s already had major success as the second runner-up on Chinese reality competition series Super Girl, gets a bubbly Timbaland-produced vault into the American market on “Dust My Shoulders Off,” which worms its way into your ear and stays there, with the 32-year-old’s featherweight, sing-songy voice drifting through a breezy, bass-and-snaps pop arrangement and playful lyrics (“go key his car up and tell him that it’s karma”) bound to play in your head on a loop.
Tom Aspaul, “Never Complaining”
U.K. electronic artist Tom Aspaul has worked steadily as a songwriter since releasing his debut single, “Indiana,” in 2013. His work caught the attention of international pop artists like Kylie Minogue, AlunaGeorge, and Alex Newell. Aspaul’s solo output is largely rooted in shimmering electronic production, and “Never Complaining,” the first single from his freshman EP, LEFT, due out Nov. 4, is no exception. The groovy, mid-tempo track glistens as an airy, snap-heavy tropical arrangement wraps itself around Aspaul’s smoldering vocals.
Hannah Diamond, “Fade Away”
Hannah Diamond is an up-and-coming fixture on the PC Music roster, dropping several bright, hyper-synthetic singles. But “Fade Away,” her latest release, is the first Diamond track that sounds like a bonafide international hit. The song’s dance-heavy, club-ready production taps into deeper electronic layers than Diamond’s previous efforts, while maintaining the crystalline charm of the U.K. native’s heavily auto-tuned vocals.
Goodbye June, “Daisy”
Nashville rockers Goodbye June, currently supporting ZZ Top’s Hell Raisers Tour, make a lasting impression on their rollicking debut EP, Danger in the Morning, which is anchored by “Daisy,” a jam with a sky-high chorus and delectable guitar solos.
Vada Wave, “Escape”
After placing ninth on the eighth season of American Idol, vocalist Megan Joy was introduced to Quinn Allman, a former guitarist for the band The Used, by producer John Feldmann. The pair eventually married, and later formed Vada Wave, a sonic project that spans several genres, including rock, indie dance, and grunge. Their 6-song EP, Out of Body, is due out Dec. 9, and includes rock, pop, and electronic influences. The set’s newest single, “Escape,” is a fierce, driving rock tune that builds in scope and intensity as heavy drums, restless cymbals, and soaring guitar riffs layer over Joy’s lyrics. The song, they say, was partially inspired by the couple’s investigations into The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ, a Mormon Fundamentalist organization which allows its members to practice polygamy.