This month kicked off with a handful of surefire releases with both Fivio Foreign and Coi Leray releasing their debut albums to start off. Notably, rap stars Jack Harlow and BIA graced fans with summer songs like “First Class” and “London” featuring J. Cole respectively, while Cardi B linked up with incarcerated rapper Kay Flock for New York’s lastest anthem “Shake It.” Elsewhere, we had a number of R&B releases including Ambré’s 6LACK-assisted song “What You Deserve (Remix)” and Justine Skye’s “What A Lie,” which sparked some chatter around her ex-boyfriend Giveon. Not to mention, Kendrick Lamar is back!
To round the month of April off, we handpicked some of our favorite releases—and artists to watch—for music lovers alike to tune into. On the pop side, trio Not The Main Characters become the perfect little trainwrecks in their new song “bad things,” while Aubrey Haddrad leans into alternative with her summer-ready single and accompanying video for “Green As Ever.” R&B-wise, Ravyn Lenae is back and better than ever with her forthcoming album slated to release next month while RIMON visits home for a live performance of “iClout.”
Meanwhile, Toronto-based duo 88GLAM is currently preparing for their first album since leaving XO Records, capturing our ears with “Happy Belated.” Check out our eight picks for artists to watch in April and beyond!
Chicago-born singer-songwriter Ravyn Lenae has undoubtedly pioneered her own sound, blurring the lines of contemporary R&B and moving swiftly in a lane of her own. Amassing millions of global streams and touring alongside R&B sensation SZA, there’s no introduction needed to expand on the sheer amount of hard work and talent Lenae holds. Since the release of her 2016 EP Moon Shoes, the singer has been on a steady incline to acclaim while cultivating a stellar fanbase to back her honey-hued vocals.
Gearing up for her eagerly-awaited debut album—her first project since 2018’s Crush—Ravyn will be dropping Hypnos on May 20th. It’s joined by pre-release singles such as the Steve Lacy-assisted singles “Skin Tight” and “Light Me Up,” as well as the recently released “M.I.A.” which is produced by Sango. Her latest offering stands in stark contrast to the album’s previous cuts, exploring the conversation of feeling comfortable in your own skin. See the song below.
Not The Main Characters
Among the new wave of rising pop stars, Not The Main Characters was born of a unique beginning. The three members—Gabi Gotts, Perrin Xthona, and Tammy Gonzalez wrote their first single “bev hills” via Zoom during the 2020 quarantine. Since then, their meteoric rise to acclaim has been none short of euphoria with songs like “murder party” and “i hate every1” amassing millions of streams across streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
As they prepare for their forthcoming debut EP Bad Things Come In 3’s, set to drop on May 20th, the trio has unloaded a number of irresistible pop anthems. The most recent being “bad things,” which channels their inner-The Powerpuff Girls over cleverly distorted production, finding cohesion as a group while still maintaining their own individuality. Not too long ago, they also shared songs like “8ball” and “lava,” further heightening the anticipation for the group’s first full-length project.
Hip-hop and R&B 88GLAM, comprised of Derek Wise and 88Camino, formally introduced themselves in their Weeknd-cameoed 2017 debut track “12.” Since then, the pair have garnered two platinum singles, multiple JUNO nominations, and millions of global streams, becoming a recognizable name in the Toronto scene and over the years, internationally as well. Although briefly signed to XO Records, the two are now embarking on their journey as an independent force with their forthcoming album reportedly titled Close To Heaven Far From God slated to drop soon.
While they’ve previously amassed attention from cuts “Ziploc” and “Want To” earlier this year, 88 unveils yet another offering from the album, “Happy Belated.” The song, accompanied by a music video, continues the pair’s rise to acclaim with their signature pairings and ambient production. With the sound more refined than ever, Derek Wise and 88Camino are making it known they’re here to stay.
This past year, Eritrean singer-songwriter RIMON captured the world’s attention upon the release of her critically-acclaimed EP Digital Tears. The 6-song offering, boasting a loan feature from EARTHGANG, helmed fan-favorite tracks like “Feed Me” and “20/20” among several others. The project is an exploration of life in the digital age, navigating the everso complicated feelings encompassed in relationships and love. Though she has yet to unveil some of her new music, the Amsterdam-based artist unveiled a live iteration of her song “iClout” earlier this month.
Shot and performed in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Abana, the acoustic version of the track sounds more phenomenal than ever. “Body type right, dopamine line / Perfection is the norm, keep it jiggy all the time,” she sings. The accompanying video arrives in time for her headlining tour, set to kick off in June with dates across London, Berlin, Paris, and more. In the meantime, watch “iClout” below.
Music newcomer Ray Laurél combines personal lyrics with almost psychedelic productions, tackling heteronormative structure with queer, genre-bending anthems. The alternative singer-songwriter, who draws inspiration from the likes of Frank Ocean and Prince amongst others, released his first song “INTRO [mum, i think i’m free]” earlier this month. Ray quickly followed up with the release of his Euphoria-inspired track “Hunter Schafer,” a clear nod to the actor who plays Jules in the HBO-breaking series.
“The show really helped me feel comfortable in my skin again, especially with my newly-realized sexuality. I started dressing different, talking different even—I felt me again,” he shared. “I decided to make a dramatic purple rain-esque bop almost as an ode to myself and my newfound freedom.” The song is an indie-electronic tour de force showcasing a winning combination of razor-sharp vocals and innovative production. Watch the video below.
Established herself as a driving force in music, film, and fashion, Los Angeles-based songstress Tanerélle is no stranger to success, having laid down the blueprint for new-Gen artists with her genre-blending sound. With 82 Moons, her first full-length project since 2017’s 11:11, the singer and songwriter delves deeper into her grand artistic vision and technical prowes over the 6-track release. It includes her 2021 viral cut “Good Good” in addition to new, never-before-heard songs like “Space Cowgirl” and “Twin Flame.”
Describing the project, she explained “82 Moons is the moment I submitted to unconditional love, eternalized. It encompasses my story of being seen, heard, and realized by myself for the first time.” With this latest offering, she cohesively blends electronic elements with an R&B nostalgia reminiscent of her upbringing as seen across tracks like “Water” and “Sidetracked | Perfect Lover.” Listen to the EP below.
NYC-based indie-pop singer Aubrey Haddrad captured our attention with the release of the single “Just A Wall” back in March, a song that examines her own reflection and begin to find self-acceptance. Her outstanding loose singles and performances over the past few years have come full circle as the songwriter introduces fans alike to a more vulnerable side of her artistry layered in self-realization, love, and evolution.
Haddard, who is currently preparing her second full-length album Awake And Talking, recently unveiled “Green As Ever.” Director and frequent collaborator Josh Rob Thomas reunited with the singer for the video which sees her among lush trees and tall grass, running down her empty, rural street from her childhood, as the sky transitions from day to night. “It was a leap of faith, with choreography being the focal point. The song is really an ode to summer and I wanted to reflect that in a juvenile way,” she shares. Aubrey’s album is slated to release on August 19th, but in the meantime, watch “Green As Ever” below.
Rasharn Powell, a rising voice in the UK’s R&B scene, unveiled his first song of the year earlier this month. “Play 2” sees him uniting with fellow musician Ojerime for their Preston Teitjen-directed video. Playfully using movement and shadows to enhance the intimacy felt through the lyrics, the seductive vocals run through the song creating a futuristic R&B sound.
“This video lifts us out of this world in a similar way the song does. It’s kinda extraterrestrial,” Rasharn says. “It adds a different view to the sensuality of the song plus I’ve always wanted a video in the desert!” The London vocalist is currently preparing a handful of releases slated to drop later this year, continuing to pioneer his own sound and DIY approach to music. Watch the video below.