Combining a voice that sounds made for classic soul with cutting-edge music, Khalid is a singer/songwriter from El Paso, Texas. Raised by a military family, Khalid lived in Germany and upstate New York before settling in Texas. He was first inspired to make music by his mother, who was aContinue Reading

The Swedish indie pop artist Lykke Li Zachrisson (better known as Lykke Li) grabbed the attention of international bloggers in the early 2000s with a handful of catchy, retro-chic singles made available on her MySpace profile. Armed with sensuous, barely there vocals and backed up by a quirky, bass-heavy electroContinue Reading

With a series of hits that bundled gangster rhymes, weed talk, pop hooks, and slick production, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania rapper Wiz Khalifa went from breakthrough single (“Black and Yellow”) to feature film star (Mac and Devin Go to High School) in the short span of two years. Along the way thereContinue Reading

Part of the explosion of Dutch EDM DJs who emerged during the 2012-2013 season, Martin Garrix kicked off his career in a high-profile way, first landing on the dance charts with his 2012 remix of Christina Aguilera’s “Your Body.” Born Martijn Garritsen, the then-16-year-old DJ spent 2012 remixing Aguilera, signingContinue Reading

Perseverance and a distinctive way with light melodies pushed SahBabii out of the Atlanta rap underground. Born Saaheem Valdery, SahBabii was raised in Chicago until the age of 13, when his family moved south. Inspired by the activity in his new environment — especially the output of Young Thug —Continue Reading

Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, and actor Janelle Monáe left her mark on 2010s R&B with an energized retro-futuristic sound wrapped in theatrical science fiction concepts. Growing up, Janelle Monáe Robinson felt constrained by the limited resources offered in her greater Kansas City, Kansas environment. When she finished high school,Continue Reading

During the 2010s, Russ Vitale — a rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer — emerged from the Atlanta-area underground with dozens of independent singles and albums, all of which were made freely available as downloads. Inspired by 50 Cent and Eminem, as well as the classic rock he absorbed as aContinue Reading

J. Cole, the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, was among the most commercially successful rap artists of the early 2010s. Born in Germany but raised in North Carolina, Jermaine Cole grew up with a mother who loved rock and folk, and a father who was a fanContinue Reading

A television star turned pop diva, Ariana Grande emerged in the mid-2010s as an heir to the throne of Mariah Carey. Blessed with powerful vocals that belied her petite frame, Grande had greater singing chops than many of her peers, and her Babyface-produced 2013 debut, Yours Truly, underscored her debtContinue Reading