Abstract in all senses of the word, this Monica Rose music video release for her track ALIEN will make you feel other worldly! Wildly creative with claymation animation, an impressive and time consuming effort resulting in a Mark Twain‘s Mysterious Stranger style presentation. She creates a scene in a room of art, singing lyrics like, “Staring out at the stars you’d think I’m not from here,” Monica seems to be in a state of contemplation. Over a lo-fi indie rock production, following up from her music video for BUTTERFLIES, Monica Rose has a fresh and dynamic style that sticks out among Chicago artists, exciting to hear what she may be coming up with next. A keeper for the playlist!
Another up and coming artist in Chicago is breaking grounds with a significant achievement in her music career. Yajaira is making some noise with her debut EP, REALISY. The singer, dancer and model is inclined towards soulful genres like R&B, Pop, Neo-Soul and even Gospel, having experience singing in Church and summer camp talent competitions. Her debut EP even dips into more cultural genres like reggae, and reggaeton creating a diverse portfolio from the start.
Starting REALISY off strong with a MAKE IT, a collaboration featuring K Breeze, and J. Trav. Walking the line of confidence and ambition with a hook like, “My future I can see it. When my eyes close, I can dream it. Can’t let no one come between, all my life I swear I mean it.” Following up would be WHAT YOU DO TO ME, a reggae influenced track adding diversity to the EP, singing about the dance of a temporary and fleeting seduction. Pondering about attraction in TO BE IN LOVE, she sings beautifully as she unravels her thoughts. Yajaira innocently lets her fans know the project is about her own perspectives, embracing her point of view and being able to visually create the world she sees. Her vocals paint a colorful picture of her mind and her range is a refreshing addition to the music community in Chicago, particularly R&B.
Real lowkey artist with a soulful voice, Me’chelle presents her fans with WHIRLWIND. Since performing at an Ever Evolved Empower Herstory event a few years back, her sound and energy could not escape the mind. Patience is well deserved as WHIRLWIND brings a sound of peaceful composure. Speaking like a goddess and a guardian, “but when we let that hurt go look how great we can be, two god like beings, with a billion destiny, I dont need you to rescue me, and with out you I’m complete.” Though the chorus would imply personal relationships, the simple yet powerful lyrics echoes independence and security. The R&B and Soulful energy brought by the drum pattern, bass line and ambient sounds compliment Me’Chelles vocals, creating a disarming yet relaxing vibe when you need it.
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!