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.
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.
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.
Niykee Heaton comes out of Chicago a successful player of grassroots music stardom. Similarly to Tasha Sultana, she gained fans and followers by performing covers on Youtube with acoustic guitar. However she leans more towards acoustic trap queen more so than the raggae-ska, indie hippie with covers of songs by artists like Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla Sign, and Chief Keef. She followed up with modeling, and solidified her position in music entertainment with her flawless, racy aesthetic leading up to and after her first project, BAD INTENTIONS.
Since then she has grown in ambitions as an artist. She now produces and performs original songs, and in front of live audiences, graduating from simple acoustic & vocal covers. Niykee also owns her own unisex sportswear collection called, NATURYL A Vibe By NBK, and uploads fitness & health videos on her YouTube channel, as well as a personal Vlog. More than ambitious, she is charitable as well, donating money from her campaigns to Good Shephard Shelter (the first domestic violence shelter in LA) and Feeding America‘s Covid-19 Relief.
Far different from her acoustic trap covers that gained her glory, her original production leans towards more R&B and pop soul. Continuing on with more sophisticated guitar chords and melodies, vocal harmonic layering, bass and percussion. Just released is her previously unreleased demo, COME FORE ME, flawlessly swerving on unwanted advances in her lyrics. “You don’t need to come for me, I don’t need the company… I would rather come for me,” taking self love and confidence to another level. Strong sentiments to share for a feminine following and just about everyone!
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, this Midwest artist made her way through Chicago, and now resides in Nashville. Leah Jean has caught our attention during an Artist Collective networking event, where she was performing solo on stage with her guitar. A signature look as you get familiar with her music! Her style offers a fresh sound in a city saturated with artists, her lyrics and sound can invoke a confident vulnerability in your soul, and her voice can bring chills to your spine!
Always putting her talents humbly on display, Leah owns a Youtube channel where she creates acoustic and electric covers of her favorite songs and artists like Raveena Aurora, Snoh Alegra, Tom Misch, Bill Withers and more. Trained in classical and jazz guitar styles, she adds her own touch along the way, and video editing shows the extent of her creativity. Her inspirations are often jazz, folk, R&B and soul inspired, as evident by her series of covers! She keeps the ethereal energy in her original songs as well, with a new release she calls RIGHT THERE, singing about a fantasy like relationship. Her music, and creativity she puts in her videos, can give fans a real sense of connectivity to themselves and her music for its authentic quality!
There is no shortage of love when it is true, and with an R&B beat and delicate vocals, Schenay explains her expression in her latest single! The Ohio artist holds recognition throughout the Midwest in general, associating with artists like Adam Ness in Chicago, Smino, SZA in St. Louis and more, and for good reason; her voice is beautiful! This track follows up on her song released late last year titled NO WAY, featuring YoursTruly. Preparing for another project release to follow up on LOTUS, MILLIONS teases her upcoming EP, SILK CA$HMERE, as its first single!
Cover Photo: @mreidphotog
A favorite when it comes to R&B, especially if we are talking Chicago, Jean Deaux is a must have for your playlist. She is a mystifying figure, always making big moves, with big names. She has both, the cities attitude and a sense of seduction. With her hip hop influence, she balances between being intimate and powerful. Her ear for a good beat, and her lyrical talent and original flows makes her an unstoppable artist!
Recently Jean Deaux released her EP, WATCH THIS!, with the help of some talented artists. On production she would would have artists like Ambi Lyric, Prodxvzn, daedaePIVOT, Letmode, 1Mind, Grant Strumwasser, ROMderful, and she even has her own work on production, with Renzell on the track FLICK! Always working closely with big names in Chicago like Ravyn Lenae, Phoelix, PIVOT with DaeDae and Saba, THEMpeople, and Nico Segal associated with SAVEMONEY and more; she leaves quite the imprint in Chicago hip hop and R&B. Taking a look at her lyrics and style, it is apparent as to why such notable artists with Jean Deaux and vice versa!
“Might break a tradition. You ain’t gotta like my opinions or who my friends is, tell me where the benji’s? – You see, bae, don’t, play,” Jean Deaux switches up style between her verse and chorus flawlessly, OK! is an easy favorite. Her confidence and attitude shines in FLICK (STACEY), featuring Yung Baby Tate, singing: “You can’t hit it if you call me talking crazy baby, I am not your lady ’cause you bought me a mercedes, ‘cedes, no you cannot fuck me if you lay up in that lazy, safety. First thing you gon’ strap up before you jump into this hesitatin;” straight off the bat, with a hot flow! Then she follows up with MOODY!, featuring Saba PIVOT, and a personal favorite, VALID! with its chorus, and you realize how hot this EP is. The whole project and Jean Deaux’s talent really speaks for itself, hear for yourself!
Another example of a powerful female figure in the music industry is in Bella Bahhs. Back with a new music video, following up from 2016, for her single BLACK POWER; she reps her heritage and her skin proudly. Calling herself a raptivist, you can hear her ideals in her lyrics, “Know where I come from, I’m proud of. All of my heroes are Panthers. Some say I’m biased, well kinda. We got the juice like Wakanda.” The song is full of references to Black power and growth.
Music is not the only thing on her mind as well, she does not call her self a raptivist just for her lyricism. Bella is active in resistance, attending and performing at rallies against police brutality, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration events, and other civil rights efforts. She even takes part in photo, film and acting, having major credits in IVORY AND GOLD: A DANCE FOR FILM, and also in the THIRD STRIKE for In Justice For All Film Festival. Most recently she featured in a short film by Briana Clearly, there is a lot this woman is putting on her plate! Unafraid, It seems Bella Bahhs has real power within her to make waves in this world, and those Bahhs are no joke either.