The Brighton-raised singer-songwriter’s arresting, piano-led pop exists on a sliding scale between strength and vulnerability, each track hinged on the 20-year-old’s robust and emotionally bracing vocals.
Carter started making music when she was 13 after her stepfather, also a musician, gave her a guitar and encouraged her to start writing. A self-professed “angry child”, music allowed her to express her frustration and feelings of confusion growing up with her single mother. Now, though, her songwriting has dual ambitions: in addition to exploring her own feelings she wants to help others express themselves emotionally.
Thankfully, Carter succeeds in terms of relatability, her music exposing the universality of emotions as they veer from lovelorn to irate. Debut single Silence boils with exasperation at ineffectual communication. Likewise, her debut EP, Saving Grace, is a fervent meditation on life, family and heartache. Ashes, produced by frequent Beyoncé collaborator Mike Dean, creaks with longing and pin-sharp R&B beats, and Saving Grace throbs with reverence for the singer’s mother. Grace Carter’s music isn’t rewriting the rules; it’s so good it doesn’t have to.
Rina Sawayama – “Cherry,” an exclusive live performance for Vevo DSCVR, the channel for the best in new music. It’s been fun watching Rina Sawayama craft her career path these last few years. The singer, who was born in Japan, moved to the UK as a kid, and spent her university days studying politics at Cambridge, was part of a university hip-hop outfit that also featured Wolf Alice’s Theo Ellis.
But soon enough, the music-making bug bit her hard enough to venture on her own, and those who heard early efforts, like “Sleeping in Waking,” realized there was something valuable about her approach. 2015’s “Where Are U” proved that the fun she had growing up with pop heroes like Britney and P!nk in her head could be spun her own way. The poise of a techno poem like “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” was equally seductive, and the fact that the young artist also spent time modeling for some key brands helped expand her horizons.
Last year’s ‘RINA’ EP made it plain, and this summer’s fashiontastic video for “Ordinary Superstar” underscored it: she has a great pop sensibility. Sawayama performed a couple of tracks for us at Britain’s The Great Escape earlier this year, and we knew we wanted more. Her DSCVR performances of “Take Me As I Am” and “Cherry,” complete with a pair of dancers, are total fun.
When Megan Bulow’s ‘Damaged, Vol 1’ dropped a couple of years ago, the impressive newcomer was still in high school and her besties had “Like This Guy,” “Not a Love Song” and “Lines” blasting through the sound system in the cafeteria. Turns out they weren’t the only ones listening. In the last year “Love Song” has clocked almost 30M Spotify streams, and become an eloquent statement of intent for anyone who wants to be both involved and not involved in a new romance.
With a gentle purr of a voice that leaps out when contrasted against the radiant electro-pop that she’s becoming more and more expert at crafting, the singer, who has graduated school and moved to Canada, is earning a sizable rep. That’s been enhanced by ‘Damaged, Vol 2,’ which arrived at the start of the summer. bülow takes a few cues from Avril Lavigne when it comes to the “honesty-above-all” school of songwriting, so the big blast of candor in our two dscvr performances is now a signature trait. “Honor Roll” is a dreamy hang-wringer that finds her wondering about the balance between partying and adulting, and “You & Jennifer” is a barbed retaliation to a cheating bf. Watch ’em both, share ’em with a friend, and head to the ‘Damaged’ EPs for more bülow.
Jhay Cortez – “Y No Le Conviene” an exclusive live performance for Vevo DSCVR, the channel for the best in new music. Director: Micah Bickham Producer: Emily Louick, Contrast Films Editor: Editor: Lika Kumoi.
From behind the scenes, Jhay Cortez has already worked with some of the biggest names in reggaeton, but now he’s being recognized for his debut solo EP, ‘Eyez on Me.’ Watch his live performance of “Y No Le Conviene” and more now.
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