Making waves throughout 2017, this list is a nod to those who demanded the cities attention this year. Throughout many venues, DIY locations, personal events and more – these female MC’s and R&B artists are who you should keep your ears open and eyes peeled for heading into 2018.
*Listed in No Particular Order*
1. Yomi the Harpist: Recently releasing her Goodbye Autumn EP, Yomi brings a phenomenally unique sound to Chicago. Combining neo-soul, glitch pop, and R&B stylings; tracks such as areyoudown? and standstill ft. Blake Davis & Elton Aura, are essentials while introducing yourself to Yomi. Closing out her exciting year, last night alongside Rich Jones and Vapor Eyes at The Empty Bottle. Make sure to catch Yomi live the next chance you get!
In her newest EP Growth, Jovan brings tracks that touch on her queer identity, relationships, and social justice. With an accompanying talent for production as well, Jovan is a force to be reckoned with in 2018. This project was a clear labor of love as the young MC aims to leave a mental mark with listeners. Tracks D.O.O.M. ft Fury and Fallin’ In Love ft. The Land, Mykele Deville are the first to check out as you explore the poetic works of Jovan.
3. Christian JaLon: It’s hard to describe the incredible talent on jazz & R&B infused LP Vinyled Love. Released only a month ago, the LP came at a perfect time and really made an impact on this list. A beautifully composed album made for listeners to laugh, cry, feel, love and more. Vinyled Love also carries an impressive Nujabes styled, low-fi hip-hop production and is an essential for any lover of down-tempo soul music. Unlike anything else we heard this year, expect the talents of Christian Jalon to reach you again in 2018.
4. Tasha: One of the more lighthearted artists to come out of the R&B scene in Chicago this year. Tasha explores production that is peaceful and airy, a dreamy symphony of soul music. Tracks such as recently released Lullaby are an immersive and emotional journey for listeners. Always bringing new, unique and beautiful songs, Tasha is an artist we expect only the best from as she continues to develop her sound.
5. Joslyn-Marie: Releasing her Karma EP in early 2017, Joslyn has been busy throughout the year. Performing at various venues around the city including a Tonic Room appearance with fellow locals DXTR Spits, Ano Ba and Samo Genius. Joslyn’s positive vibes and beautiful voice immediately draw any listeners attention. Aiming to share the love of positivity, Joslyn-Marie is a not only a phenomenal vocalist but an inspiring human being.
6. Mother Nature: Composed of MC’s Klevah and T.R.U.T.H, the duo speaks on “societal ills, Mother Nature weaves political rhetoric into music that you can party to.” On tracks MVMNT and recently released Run It Up, booming production surrounds heavy hitting lyrics. Aiming to become a fearless force in Chicago Hip-Hop in 2018 and beyond.
7. Tee Spirit: A new up-and-comer, Tee Spirit is a voice we want to hear more from in 2018. After releasing the lyrically stunning Run, Tee has gained our attention. Performing at a few separate events over the course of the last six months, we can’t wait to see grand things from Tee in the new year.
8. Gem Tree: Making waves with her EP Gem and I, she is on the top of our list to see live heading into next year. Originally from St. Louis and migrating to Chicago, her unique twist on hip-hop and R&B is refreshing. Blending styles of both cities, Gem Tree hits a sweet-spot with her music. We really hope to not only see more releases from Gem, but collaborations with similar Chicago artists who share her unique balance and flow.
9. Loona Dae: Also coming from St. Louis, Loona Dae is a singer / songwriter / producer who blends light-hearted production with mesmerizing soul and r&b lyrics. Touring as support with fellow St. Louis artist Smino on his Fall tour, Loona Dae gained a lot of traction heading into the new year. She’ll be performing alongside our next artist pick (Via Rosa) on January 19th at The Subterranean in Wicker Park.
10. Via Rosa: Hands down one of the artists we enjoyed seeing take off this past year. Heading into 2017, we had high-hopes for Via and she absolutely smashed it! Traveling around the U.S., opening her very own restaurant, continuing to release beautiful lo-fi indie R&B, Via blew us away. Also working with her group Drama Duo performed for Red Bull Sound Selects 30 Days in Chicago, this past month at Metro Chicago. Someone we just can’t stop listening to, we are excited to catch her performing at The Subterranean on January 19th alongside Loona Dae and Sen Morimoto.