TIME Music

15 Musical Artists to Watch in 2015

See the rising stars most likely to break out next year

  • Ryn Weaver

    This summer, 21-year old Ryn Weaver seemed to emerge out of nowhere with “OctaHate,” a catchy single crafted by an all-star team of talent including Charli XCX, Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos, and producers Cashmere Cat and Benny Blanco, the latter of whom has take a particular interest in her career. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Emerging Artist Chart before the mysterious Weaver had even played an official show. She’s now working on her debut album, as well as some top-secret project with Charli XCX. If the new tracks are half as infectious as “OctaHate,” expect to see Weaver dominating the charts.

  • Raury

    This Atlanta songwriter counts Kanye West and SBTRKT among his fans. He dropped his debut project, the 10-song Indigo Child, at the end of August and has already topped year-end lists, signed to Columbia Records, opened for OutKast and been the subject of a New York Times profile. Not too shabby for an 18-year-old. Raury is still trying to figure out his particular sound — drawing from influences ranging from Cody ChesnuTT to Janelle Monae to psychedelic folk, an unlikely pastiche — but still, he has the world’s attention.

  • The Districts

    This band of Pennsylvania upstarts — all the members are 20 years old or younger — play imaginative indie rock: high-energy songs that meander through folk, blues and classic rock. It’s a potent sound that has earned the group plenty of hype and plum spots at ACL and Lollapalooza. The buzz should hit fever pitch when The Districts’ forthcoming full-length, A Flourish and A Spoil, produced by St. Vincent collaborator John Congleton, drops via Fat Possum on February 10th.

  • Alvvays

    Alvvays make sun-streaked California rock songs that belie their Canadian roots. Their debut self-titled album included breezy tunes undercut by a sharp wit and a gimlet eye. (Think early REM meets Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls.) The five-piece earned many fans in 2014 with their jangly pop songs and driving backbeats; 2015 should bring more acolytes to worship at their altar.

  • Dej Loaf

    Deja Trimble had just quit her job as a janitor at a Chrysler Plant in her hometown of Detroit when she posted her song “Try Me” on SoundCloud on a whim under the name Dej Loaf. A few months later, Drake posted lyrics from the song on his Instagram account; a sleeper hit was born. Wiz Khalifa and T.I. soon jumped on the “Try Me” remix; suddenly, everyone was talking about Dej Loaf. Soon after, she signed to Columbia Records and began work on her debut, which drops next year.

  • Blood Diamonds

    Michael Tucker, a.k.a. Blood Diamonds, has been working as a cooler-than-cool producer since he signed with 4AD back in 2012. He released an album of lush electronica akin to Caribou, worked with Charli XCX and Tinashe, and completed several successful collaborations with Grimes. Now, he’s working with Madonna on her upcoming album Rebel Heart.

  • Daniel Wilson

    The tracks on Daniel Wilson’s impressive debut EP Young Rubbish sail on the strength of his androgynous voice — a minimalist set that swerves from synth-driven space jams to deconstructed indie tunes that thrive under his Bon Iver-esque falsetto. Whatever the tempo, the intimate and ethereal songs reveal a deep talent.

  • Ella Henderson

    There’s little doubt that 18-year old Ella Henderson had a great 2014: Simon Cowell signed the British songstress after she was kicked off of The X Factor in 2012. Her debut single “Ghost” — which she co-wrote with Ryan Tedder — went to the top of the charts in her native U.K. and cracked the charts in the U.S. Chapter One, her first LP, is out stateside Jan. 13.

  • Girlpool

    Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad are teenage friends from Los Angeles who make fuzzy punk songs — but instead of pouring their hearts into a diary like teens of yore, they write catchy critiques of society and cultural ills. Kids these days, right? Their lo-fi sound and conscientious song writing is proven to great effect on their debut EP, which would fit in well with the Pacific Northwest sound of the ‘90s, and should earn them fans twice their age.

  • iLoveMakonnen

    Makonnen Sheran, better known as the hip-hop auteur iLoveMakonnen, has been a prolific musician for a long time — but it was only this year, thanks to a collaboration with Drake, that he became the industry’s hottest new voice. That massive hit, which cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, all but guarantees a big upcoming year for iLoveMakonnen.

  • Natalie Prass

    Nashville singer-songwriter Natalie Prass wrapped up touring as the keyboard player in Jenny Lewis’s band just in time to hit the road in support of her own self-titled debut album, due out January 27 via Spacebomb Records. The songs on the album pair Prass’s countrified R&B voice with Motown-inflected pop hooks, the occasional swelling string movement, and a dash of big band flair. The result is a soulful pop sound with a retro vibe. Think Harry Nilsson meets Dionne Warwick with more than a little Dolly Parton in the mix.

  • Sophie

    To call this London-based producer enigmatic is an understatement. Believed to be male, Sophie prefers to operate anonymously after rising to notoriety with the 2013 breakout club hit, “Bipp”. On the strength of this summer’s scorching “Lemonade,” the producer may finally be moving into the big leagues, working with Diplo, Madonna and Nicki Minaj — even if he’s not entirely out of the shadows.

  • SZA

    The self-described “Glitter Trap” artist had only been making music for a few years when she caught the attention Top Dawg Entertainment, the home of Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q; she started to gain traction last year on the strength of her major label debut, Z, and an opening spot with on tour with Jhene Aiko.

  • Tobias Jesso Jr.

    Pitchfork Music Festival Paris 2014 - Day 3
    Burak Cingi—Redferns/Getty Images

    A well-deserved buzz has been building around this young Canadian singer-songwriter in advance of his True Panther Records’ debut album, Goon, which is due out in March. Jesso writes disarming break-up songs that are brittle and beautiful; an all-star roster of producers, including indie super-producer Ariel Rechtshaid, Girls’ JR White, and the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney have stepped up to help bring his heartbreaking songs to light.

  • Torres

    Mackenzie Scott’s voice has a honeyed rawness that feels like a simultaneous gut punch and a pat on the head. The Nashville singer’s minimalist songs and blistering anthems would fit seamlessly on a playlist alongside PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Emmylou Harris. When her long-anticipated album drops next year, Torres should have some buzz to go along with her honey.

TIME Music

Listen to The Weeknd’s 50 Shades of Grey Soundtrack Song “Earned It”

The song is steamy, of course

When you’re making the soundtrack to the most thrillingly erotic movie ever, there are three go-to artists: Beyoncé, Miguel and The Weeknd.

So far, the only artist confirmed for the soundtrack is Beyoncé; her incredibly sensual, spooky version of “Crazy In Love” was featured in the film’s first trailer, while two tracks from her self-titled album— “Ghost” and “Haunted” — scored the film’s most recent teaser.

Now comes news that sultry alt-R&B singer Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, is also on the soundtrack to the highly-anticipated film, which hits theaters on Valentine’s Day. His contribution, “Earned It,” is in a similar vein to Beyoncé’s darkly dramatic songs — all emptiness, yearning and fervent desire. It’s like he doesn’t know that Jamie Dornan won’t be fully nude in the film.

Cross your fingers that Miguel is also on the soundtrack.

TIME Parenting

For Success at School, Personality May Beat Brains

Schoolkids Raising Hands
Getty Images

Intelligence isn't everything, says new study

When it comes to success in school, being smart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Personality may have a lot more to do with academic success than just sheer intelligence, according to a new study.

Arthur Poropat, a lecturer in psychology at Australia’s Griffith University conducted the largest ever review of personality and academic performance. Porporat found that an individual’s personality traits are better indicators of academic success than a high score on an intelligence test, for students at both high school and college. Specifically, he suggests, students who are conscientious, open and emotionally stable have the best likelihood of succeeding at their studies.

“Conscientiousness reflects things like making and carrying out plans, striving to achieve, and self-control, and is linked with a factor of childhood temperament called Effort Regulation,” says Porporat. “But I found that two other personality factors were also important: Openness (also called openness to experience and intellect), encompassing being imaginative, curious, and artistic; and Emotional Stability, covering calmness and emotional adjustment (as opposed to being anxious, fearful or unstable).”

Students who had those traits were able to compete more effectively in an academic setting. “A student with the most helpful personality will score a full grade higher than an average student in this regard,” says Porporat, whose results have been published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences. “In practical terms, the amount of effort students are prepared to put in, and where that effort is focused, is at least as important as whether the students are smart.” (Interestingly, Porporat published a separate report on elementary students and found the effects are even stronger, although intelligence has a much bigger impact in primary education.)

How did he arrive at this counterintuitive conclusion? “My research was actually a series of meta-analyses, using similar procedures to those used in medical research,” says Poropat. (Meta analysis is a process of analyzing a wide swath of results of other studies, and correcting for errors).

So far he has completed two analyses: the first included nearly 140 studies and over 70,000 participants, and the most recent, which he spent the last eight years working on, looked at 22 studies with 5,514 participants and focused on links between personality traits and academic performance in secondary education.

Porporat examined five distinct personality traits (conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, emotional stability and extraversion) and found that conscientiousness and openness have the biggest influence on academic success. His results fall in line with similar work by well-regarded educationalists such as Paul Tough, who regards “grit” as the most important quality in a student.

Could this could mean that intelligence tests are not as useful as they’ve been made out to be? “Intelligence tests have always been closely linked with education and grades and therefore relied upon to predict who would do well,” Porporat says. “The impact of personality on study is genuinely surprising for educational researchers, and for anyone who thinks they did well at school because they are ‘smart.'”

So how do educators measure and cultivate these personality traits? Well, they can’t just ask students if they have them; Porporat found that self-assessment only was only about as useful for predicting university success as intelligence tests. But when he had people who knew the students well assess their personality traits, the results were nearly four times more accurate for predicting grades.

“What I found was that when someone who knows the student well provides the personality rating, the correlation with academic performance is much stronger than if the student rates their own personality,” said Porporat. “In the case of conscientiousness, it is nearly four times as strong, but the effect for emotional stability is comparatively greater. Apparently, students don’t rate their levels of anxiousness at all accurately— not exactly surprising but the consequence is important.”

In the classroom, this could mean that teachers can assess a student’s personality and match educational activities to their dispositions. Porporat believes that understanding how personality affects academic achievement is vital to helping students reach future success.

This is good news for many parents and students. While intelligence can’t be taught, per se, conscientiousness and openness can be learned. “Personality does change, and some educators have trained aspects of students’ conscientiousness and openness, leading to greater learning capacity,” said Porporat. “By contrast, there is little evidence that intelligence can be ‘taught,’ despite the popularity of brain-training apps.”

Don’t rule the intelligence test out completely however; Porporat admits that the best students will be both bright and conscientiousness, open and emotionally stable.

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TIME Music

Listen to Miguel’s Super-Sultry Surprise EP

Dom Perignon With Alex Dellal, Stavros Niarchos, And Vito Schnabel Celebrate "Metamorphosis" Art Basel Miami Beach
Miguel attends Dom Perignon Celebrates "Metamorphosis" Art Basel Miami Beach at Wall at W Hotel on December 4, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. Andrew Toth—Getty Images

Take some private time and hear the crooner's new songs

While you were sleeping, the world got a little bit sultrier thanks to a surprise three-song EP from Miguel. Somehow, it makes perfect sense that the man who loosed “Adorn” (a.k.a. the most sexed-out love jam ever) upon the world would release his new EP in the middle of the night.

The seemingly unnamed EP features three unadulterated slow-burning jams that show Miguel is still very much at the top of his game. The EP’s opener, the slick “NWA”, features L.A. rapper Kurupt letting his rhymes slither over a funky guitar track while Miguel’s voice soars underneath. “HollywoodDreams” is a steamy number built around sharp hooks, muddy guitars and yearning vocals that could easily stand in for a b-side on his full-length, Kaleidoscope Dream. The closing track “Coffee”—which Miguel teased on Instagram a few months ago—is a sultry knee-buckler. Listen to in private, just to be safe.

 

TIME Music

Some Genius Mixed the Serial Theme With Notorious B.I.G.

Fill the Serial void with this mashup

There are certain indisputable facts that are too unpleasant to think about — the whole sitting-will-kill-you thing, the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, the knowledge that Benedict Cumberbatch is getting married and the fact that there are no more episodes of Serial‘s first season.

The highly addictive podcast’s season finale was released yesterday and while there are other books, television shows and podcasts to enjoy while waiting for the show’s TBD second season, the end of the podcast has left a void.

Luckily some genius felt our pain and decided to help fill that gaping void by mashing up the Serial theme music with the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Somebody’s Gotta Die,” a song choice that brings to mind this Clickhole article that claims a superfan has agreed to be murdered to ensure a second season of the podcast.

It’s the Notorious B.I.G., so be aware that the lyrics are NSFW and decidedly not PC:

[H/T Digg]

TIME Music

Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games Song Gets the Dance Remix No One Asked For

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" Party - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Jennifer Lawrence attends the "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" party at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2014 in Cannes, France. Mike Marsland—WireImage/Getty Images

The surprise hit song takes on a new life

Jennifer Lawrence may hate “The Hanging Tree” — her song from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part One, reportedly even breaking into tears the day she had to sing on camera — but the world can’t seem to get enough of it.

Not only did the single from Mockingjay land at No. 29 on the charts in the U.K., but now the song has gotten the remix treatment. The original track was a haunting, acoustic song with lyrics penned by The Lumineers and The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, but the remix is a club-ready jam that might even get some radio play.

Lawrence may think she sings like “a tone-deaf Amy Winehouse”, and claimed that singing in public is one of her biggest fears, but the remixed single isn’t all that bad. Not that she should give up her day job or anything.

[H/T Vulture]
TIME Television

Here’s a First Look at Season 3 of Orphan Black

The third season of Orphan Black begins airing April 18, 2015

The first peek at Orphan Black‘s third season is here — and it looks completely tense.

A first image, which premiered on EW Wednesday, shows Tatiana Maslany as a clone (Sarah, probably) facing off against the newly-discovered male clone played by Ari Millen. The family reunion does not look particularly fun.

Show creator Graeme Manson told EW that the male clone pictured in the teaser image isn’t who viewers might expect. The clone isn’t Mark, the clean-cut man who viewers met on the cult-like farm last year, but is instead a new male clone from Project Castor named Rudy. As for this new clone breed, Manson raised more questions than he answered in the interview: “How are they different? How are they the same, these brothers? Is Mark a traitor? Is Mark undercover? Like everyone else on Orphan Black, Mark has divided loyalties.”

While Mark and his brothers may be invading the show’s third season, Manson assured fans that Sarah and her sisters will remain the focus of the story. “We want that audience to be taking that journey with Sarah, throughout the whole series,” said Manson. “She’s going to be leading her sisters and protecting her family. And that’s the drive. She’s the one that the audience roots for.”

One thing Manson did confirm, though, is that the new season will kick off more or less right where we left off in Season 2. Based on the two teaser trailers circulating, there’s no time to waste.

The show returns April 18, 2015.

TIME Viral Videos

This Impromptu Subway Singalong Will Brighten Your Day

All these commuters want is "A Little Respect"

London subway riders just want a little respect, apparently.

A new video circulating the web not only proves that Aretha Franklin, Rodney Dangerfield and Madonna were right and everyone does want a little respect, but the video also proves that everyone loves Erasure (and “The Circle of Life”) .

Almost exactly a year after Erasure’s first Christmas album came out, the band gave the world a new Christmas miracle by way of a subway rider who got in touch with his inner Vince Clark in the best way possible.

The intrepid and bold London commuter—a local singer named Neil Francis (who admitted to the BBC to having had a few drinks to “wet the whistle”)—belted out a few lines of Erasure’s “A Little Respect” on a crowded North London subway platform. Soon enough commuters up and down the platform were singing along, asking the world at large—or perhaps just the transit authority— for “a little respect” during their travels.

[H/T Death and Taxes]

 

TIME Television

Watch Jenny Slate as Marcel the Shell Sing Fleetwood Mac on Conan

"Landslide" didn't take Marcel the Shell (with Shoes On) down

Jenny Slate has many credits to her name: a brief stint on Saturday Night Live, a reoccurring role as Mona-Lisa in Parks and Recreation and a star turn in Obvious Child, but she is perhaps best known for her work as a tiny tiny shell (with shoes on).

The comedian stopped by Conan Tuesday night and used some of her couch time to talk about her creation, the beloved talking snail (?), Marcel the Shell. It turns out that Marcel isn’t just talking anymore, but covering pop songs, too. Slate showed off the shell’s skills by singing a few lines of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” telling Conan O’Brien, “just a little bit because I don’t want you to have to pay.” Stevie Nicks would be so touched.

Slate noted that Marcel the Shell’s voice is “so little, so little,” but as Conan points out the adorable univalve sure has some “big lungs.”

TIME Music

Watch Kendrick Lamar Debut a New Song on The Colbert Report

The rapper was the show's last-ever musical guest (sob)

Kendrick Lamar debuted a brand new song on The Colbert Report last night. The rapper needed to pull out the big guns, because he was the final musical guest ever on the late night talk show. Colbert joked about the big shoes Lamar needed to fill: “Keep in mind that Paul McCartney, R.E.M., Jack White and Nas were the opening acts.”

Lamar performed the new untitled track alongside a band that featured singer Bilal and Thundercat, who is rumored to be producing on Lamar’s highly-anticipated follow-up to good kid, m.A.A.d city, along with Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams, Rahki and Soundwave. The new album is expected to drop sometime in 2015.

Colbert took a moment to ask his guest about his “stage name”: “Why did you decide to name yourself after Anna Kendrick and Senator Lamar Alexander?” before questioning Lamar about being an artist. “I always want to stay true to who I am,” Lamar said.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive

 

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive

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