There are some artists that have staying power but you don’t always know which ones when they start out. Who could have predicted that Beyonce would be as huge as she is when she started out in Destiny’s Child? Or that Trey Songz would still be relevant ten years after he came out of Virginia?
Or that a sweet young teenager from Barbados would become the industry’s bad girl and sell more records than just about any other female artist around?
To wrap up Black Music Month, we’re going to take our own crystal ball and see if we can figure out who might be hot for years to come. Here are our five choices for the next New Classic artists.
New Classic Blue Eyed Soul: SAM SMITH
Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke have justly laid their claims to the blue-eyed-soul throne, but they may have to make some room up there for a new kid from across the pond. Brit Sam Smith already made some noise with his 2012 U.K. hit “Latch” with the electro-funk group Disclosure, but he’s putting out new stuff that hits right on the R&B genre.
His debut In the Lonely Hour came out in May and its hit “Stay With Me” has made him a budding star. The openly gay 22-year-old says he struggles with love, OCD and the nervousness anyone has with approaching fame, but it looks like he’s going to have to get used to it.
New Classic Funky Diva: ALICE SMITH
If you watch Being Mary Jane you may remember when the remake of Cee-Lo and Melanie Fiona’s “Fool For You” came across your TV speakers, sending you running to the website to figure out who was singing it. That was Alice Smith, who’s been out since 2006, but is slowly on the blow-up, given that TV exposure and an already solid, if not huge, fanbase.
Her first album, For Lovers Dreamers and Me came out in 2006 and her second, She was released last year. If you like Ledisi and Erykah Badu, as well as Emeli Sande, this is the girl for you. The Southern born singer/songwriter makes good musical choices in her personal life as well – she’s with singer/songwriter Citizen Cope.
New Classic Old School/ New School Hip-Hop Artist: ISAIAH RASHAD
There have been mountains of type already exhausted on how hip-hop has become so wack, so hardcore, so lacking in soul that a lot of old school listeners have just about given up on it.
But there are a few acts trickling under the radar whose music gives you an updated version of that old school feel your favorite artists used to. Chattanooga’s Isiaiah Rashad is one of them.