A new face to welcome into Chicago’s hip hop arena, No Montana Hannah first got our attention at an Ever Evolved Battle of the Sexes event at Auxiliary Aux Center. Winning crowd favor that night for a win for the ladies, No Montana Hannah quickly becomes a noteworthy artist with her hip hop lyricism. With a new release accompanied by a music video, No Montana Hannah turns heads once again with a reggaeton track, bringing out the dancers to back her up as she vocalizes on the chorus and raps a few verses. With the help of Scott Anderson AKA Scotty Rocks at the Dog and Pony Show Studio and Tunnel Vision Media team, NIGHT TIME is a big hit, both musically as well as visually. Exciting to see what else No Montana Hannah has up her sleeves.
Coming up upon another talented artist that displays the amazing diversity in Chicagos music scene. A model with a beautiful voice, Kellen Fescina comes into attention with a sensual pop single called ADDICTED. Not new to the mic in the slightest however, Kellen has a few releases this year following a hiatus. Currently armed with a 12 track album and some singles, she has bounced between synth pop styles, dance music tracks and experimental rock. ADDICTED takes on more of an R&B aura, and shows a maturity and more confidence in her presentation compared to her earlier work!
Singing “Boy you got me drunk off your love, it’s addicting! I need it, I fiending! You got me losing my mind,” over a slow beat and piano chords. The chorus uplifts you with a vibrant emotional serenade, as you fall into a dream state! A powerful yet gentle tune to add to your playlist, to really get the vibe right in an intimate setting. This track follows LEAVE ME and SHINING, a hip hop and house beat respectively, released earlier this year. Quite a different energy from her earlier releases in her album LOVE IS A GAME, where that album treads into retro and old school styles and influences, while her recent releases have more a contemporary, confident and original quality. It is always interesting to hear an artists experiments and progression!
An astounding performative character, on and off the stage! Radiating confidence, independence and joy where ever she is seen. Emma Grace is an artist on another level, with quite an inspiring attitude, whether she knows it or not. First learning of Emma at an Ever Evolved open mic event, she is making noise right now with a release, and it is exciting to hear some new music from this artist!
Upon first look Emma looks like a sweet, cherishing gal, but that is changed instantly upon her behavior and talent on stage! Enveloping a room with her deep range of vocals and energy, and it is contagious. She is a rockstar! Her style of music and lyricism captures you and you cannot help but move! More than that, she can be an inspiring character for confidence on and off stage.
Emma is an artist to push boundaries no doubt, of what it is to be, look and act like as an artist. As a curvy woman, she proudly displays her beauty in a multitude of ways. From tastefully provocative photography as a model, to performing on stage, in front of a crowd with nothing on, but pasties and underwear. Whether she intended to or not, she may as well accept the banner of a role model for confidence, self love and joyfulness!
Aside from her inspiring and very welcoming attitude, her voice and work as an artist is the cherry on top of it all! With her latest release LOVING WAYS, she projects her energy through lyrics. The opening lines say it all, “Oh all the loving ways to know, yea we got a ways to go, all the loving ways to grow.” LOVING WAYS places you right in the moment, with a message to remain positive despite adversity. She articulates it much more fluidly, so press play and get to those LOVING WAYS.
It is exciting to hear some new music from Jamila Woods. A powerful and wisdomatic voice and advocate for black communities, women in music and in general. With numerous songs highlighting the power of Black Girl Magic, she is an inspiring voice for youth artists, who she helps support through charities like Chance the Rappers SocialWorks, and teaching them herself as an art director at Wordplay Youth Chicago Artists. Advocating for justice from police brutality, and missing black women, highlighting #SayHerName movement in her videos, is it always a delight to hear her speak her mind through her music.
Wisdomatic is no exaggeration when it comes to her lyricism. With her recent live release of ZORA on soundcloud (Which can be best experience with the live video) from her most recent LP LEGACY! LEGACY!, you can hear it in her chorus simply put, “I will never know everything, everything. You will never know everything, everything, and you don’t know me, couldn’t possibly.” From individual wisdom to self love, her most recent release SULA expresses personal independence. “I’m not sorry that I cut you out, I’m not sorry. What’s done is done,” her closing chorus emboldened by her earlier verse, “Promiscuous holiness, slope is slippery I got all this time to kill, Somethin’ like a prayer to kneel to.” Jamila always speaks to the power within you with her music, and the ambiance of it is something else entirely to get lost into.
More than a musician, Ill-ēsha is an inspiring artist! She is multi-talented in music, from vocals to midi-controllers and other instruments, live painting, visual designer, to even being a voice actor. While using her voice for music, it gets extra powerful when she speaks on equality between genders in music, and supporting local artists in general, working with groups like Nap Girls, GRL Gang, Rapper Chicks and Grassroots Collective. Her latest project partnership, We Out Here on Youtube, parodies different scenarios in the music industry with skits. Spreading the good word from Chicago to her current hometown Denver, Colorado since that late 90’s, Ill-ēsha continues to experiment, break norms and collaborate with talented artists, with her music!
From key-tars, to turntables and DAW’s, Ill-ēsha does not shy away from her electronic equipment! Her production in music has changed up from drum & bass, to perfecting glitch hop in her earlier career, to future bass and dubstep. Her releases this year are a great example of the diversity in her music and her talents! Most recently, SIDEWAYS with 90five displays her more gentle, lo-fi, synth pop, future bass style, as she sings over the melodies and bassline. Contrary to her UNLEASHED EP, released earlier in the year, which hits on her more heavier glitch-hop and dubstep production; dig deeper in her playlist, she has something for everyone!
Visual artistry has many different genres, just like music, and has been becoming more and more relevent in music itself as well. Fashion and style always been a part of music culture, and that is where you will see the photographer. As music videos become more frequent, more creative, you will find your video-graphers putting in work; on camera and in the editing process. Here is where you will find creatives like Candice Alise, who does a bit of it all and then some. She is a force to be connected with!
Currently stationed in Chicago, she did a lot of work overseas, significantly in Austria. Aside from painting, photography and videography, Candice is also an arts and event curator. Founder of Art After Dark with teams in Tunisia in North Africa and Vienna predominantly. With over 50 events curated between the two, she has began to expand her operation into the states, with Art After Dark Chicago and LA, connecting American and European local artists. Dragged to the states by opportunity and romance, she works close with Ever Evolved and other artists around the city.
Within regard to Ever Evolved, Candice offers her talents with marketing events, to taking photos of the artists in our studio and shooting video recaps for events as well. Offering similar services to other artists and creatives in the city, she will take it a step further (as soon as lockdowns are lifted), and take artists overseas to Europe, to a larger audience and vice versa. In the meantime she will be giving hip hop artists a platform online with Cyphers After Dark, a new cypher series collaboration, with artist and romantic partner Wilhelm Duke, showcasing lyrical ability of Chicago’s finest local hip hop talent. Episode 1, Directed and edited by Candice, out now on Youtube with RhymSter, WRDS, Radcliff Music, Wilhelm Duke, RapCrush and Azmattic.
Coming in with her second release of the year, Chicago pop R&B artist Kiara Lanier comes with a message of love. Not just known through music, Kiara also works as an actress on Fox‘s Empire, Showtime‘s The Chi, as well as being a finalist on American Idol. Always uplifting the black community, she takes it step further to address African American men. “We love you, we appreciate you, and stand with you, especially in these times.“
In times where male depression and suicide and becoming more and more apparent, often times POC take the heaviest punches. From being brutalized in the street, stressed as a child, and bullied online, in school, Kiara remembers the strength and resilience of Black men in her latest single, I CHOOSE YOU! Taking a line from one of her verses; “Ain’t no Black man that I don’t appreciate. Whole world wanna be they just mad they aint.” Introducing the first song off her upcoming album EMPRESS, with love and enlightenment, another milestone for this unraveling Chicago icon.
The multi-talented artist from Chicago is back with a social-politically charged song. Since releasing KILLING (PAIN), a deep personal memoir, she has been working in the background on graphic design, art, hair styling and production. Recently being invited to Insomiac Studio to perform on the God Hour to showcase her lyrical ability. Very skilled with her lyricism, ELL V!rtuoso quickly strikes through her new track, LOOK AROUND, with power like lightning, with one message to behold: All systematic oppression and injustice must end. Starting with a vibe like Lauryn Hill on the intro coupled with vocal harmonics, balanced with raw lyrics; the most powerful line comes in the outro: “They play brutality like a game of chess, there’s no rest. Off stress cause you guessing who’s next, will it be me? Can we be free? There’s a war on peace, I need Malcom X and Dr. King…”
Aires Adora is a gem to find in the vast treasure trove of artists that is Chicago. Tapping into the city’s music history and becoming apart of the dance music culture, being classically trained, her vocals and style are a perfect match for Chicago House. Closer to the original style, filled with soulful vocals made popular by artists like Frankie Knuckles and Farley Jackmaster Funk, mixed with some R&B; giving off a bit of a Disclosure vibe. Consistent throughout her discography with tracks like ANOTHER DAY, MAJIK CARPET RIDE and most recently, her music video for TAKE MY LOVE.
Produced by non other than Ron Caroll, close friend and player of Jackmaster Funk and Chicago House respectively, and written by Latoya Washington, Aires Adora flawlessly vocalizes for the camera! Dancing confidently as she sings in her night dress, easily getting you dancing to the rhythm and chorus. As most contemporary house music or edm artists focus more on production and limited vocals, (in most cases just using samples) Adora modernizes that classic marriage of production and vocals in house music. Infecting our senses with the urge to dance, it would be a fantasy to see Aires Adora combine her talents with other Chicago icons like Green Velvet and Kaskade.
An artist to add wonderful diversity to your Chicago playlist, the style and vocals of Lili K will leave you stunned! Originally from Milkwaukee, this Midwest artist bases herself in Chicago. Blending in easily with the vibrant music culture, she gained exposure working with artists like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Learning to perform at an early age in church and school choirs, and being trained in classical, jazz and opera, you can hear the experience in the control of her voice! Along with her talent and love for music, she also expresses a bit of altruism, donating to important social causes.
Within recent events Lili K has been advocating to match her donations for Love and Land Foundation efforts for Black women and girls to reach therapy. In another case she donated to help free BLM protesters in downtown Chicago arrests; with a great voice comes a great heart it seems, in this case! Her vocal talent and style fits the burlesque culture and jazz lounges, and with frequent performances at spaces like Untitled Supper Club and Soho House, her name is becoming quite known in Chicago among lovers of jazz and soul. Recently releasing the song BLUFF, calling out the weak intentions of a significant other and leaning towards independence, Lili sings beautifully over bass and string instruments, sax and vocal harmonies, with the help of Jeremy Jones.