Rather than wait and see, we wanted to make some predictions about who will breakout this year as the artists to watch. This year promises some new artists to come upon the scene that will not only entertain you, but offer something different this year that you may not have enjoyed before. Whether it’s their youthful flair, charming melodies, or boundary-breaking concept, these artists will definitely engage you as they breakout onto the scene. Here are some of our top picks of artists we think will make 2012 something special and new.
King– Last year, an independently produced EP called The Story floated across the internet, its three songs perking the ears of none other than his Purple Majesty, Prince, and some of our other favorite soul artists like electronic-soul duo Foreign Exchange and hip-hop drummer and personality ?uestlove. This EP, featuring the trio of young 20-somethings—Amber, Paris and Anita, who call themselves King–is a magnificent aural masterpiece of flawless melodies and futuristic beats and only a glimpse into the magnitude of talent possessed by these artists, two of whom are classically-trained musicians. The title cut is the draw. Reminiscent of our favorite girl group of the 90s, Zhané, King mixes harmonic melody in a blend where groove and soothe coexist. Performing in festivals and recording a song with Foreign Exchange in 2011, King promises us that we will see more of them as they make 2012 a break-through year, releasing in mid-year their debut LP. Honestly, we can’t wait.
The Internet- Departing from their hip-hop origins as members of the often offensive group Odd Future, DJ Syd The Kyd and producer Matt Martian team up to form the group The Internet which released their debut album Purple Naked Ladies digitally in December—set to release physical copies this week with bonus tracks. Fluid, psychedelic, sexual and pulsating, the music collection, we predict, will attract fans of groups like Little Dragon or J*DaVey. Building on the buzz that has already surrounded the video of their controversial first single “Cocaine”, 2012 will be their year to break up and out as a newfound entity of their own.
Willow Smith- We whipped our hair with her in 2010 and, if there are children in the house, you’ve probably heard the song or seen the video to her song “Fireball” with Nicki Minaj. But, if you are a fan by this point, you probably want to know when the album is dropping for Will Smith’s “mini-me” Willow Smith. And, the answer is—this year! With a projected April 2012 release, Willow’s first LP release is sure to catapult Willow into Justin Beiber-like stratosphere, and with her already famously folks at the helm managing her, we can really expect no less, right? She taught us how to whip it, so we’re looking forward to seeing what this miniature diva has in store for 2012.
Melanie Amaro– Melanie Amaro won our hearts as the first winner of the U.S. version of the show The X-Factor, signing to Epic records for a $5 million record deal and stunning viewers by winning the competition after a dramatic dismissal earlier in the season. The 19 year-old soul singer, who covered songs such as Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, should be dropping her first CD sometime this year and boy, we can’t wait!
14th– Singer-songwriter Tracey Duodu and producer Tom Barber are 14th, a London-based duo who took their name from an Outkast song. They aren’t hinting yet when they’ll be dropping new music, but their tune “Hide Yourself” created enough buzz in 2011 to let us that 2012 will be a year for them to breakout over and under the competition. Tom Barber’s thoughtful musical accompaniment matched with Tracey’s glistening other-worldly vocals can not be contained in a box. Possibly attractive to fans of Adele, Duffy, and Amy Winehouse, 14th will definitely make 2012 memorable if they continue to release soulful outputs. And we’ll be there with ears open and waiting.
Tell us what you think about our list and share with us some of your own picks for the 2012 Break-Out Artist or the Year.
-Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman
Follow Khadijah on Twitter @KhadijahOnline.