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Discover Black Artists In The Music Industry

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

As an inspiring storyteller and singer/songwriter, I have the utmost love and respect for musicians. Music has a way of reaching people, it is a universal unifier, regardless of language and station in life. In my experience, when I don’t know how to express my feelings, I turn to music. Music is a form of expression, a way of conveying a message or a feeling and for me, it has always been my way of telling my story and expressing how I felt in specific moments in my life. With the help of different musical instruments such as the piano and the guitar, mixed with my own harmonies and lyrical poetry, I can finally express what I wanted to say all along. It is such a beautiful process that I have been doing for as long as I can remember.

As a music lover, I enjoy discovering and listening for new upcoming artists in the music industry. From solo artists, to boybands and girl groups, I am in awe of the diversity in music and I am excited that I have the opportunity to explore different artists and genres.

From the Black artists that I have discovered, one thing that all these artists have in common is that all of their voices deserve to be heard. I almost can’t control my excitement to share them with you.

So I can’t keep these artists a secret any longer.

Here are the small Black artists in the music industry that I absolutely love.

1. Mon Rovîa

“It’s better to share with the world, to give the artist a voice” – Hailey David

When I first discovered Mon Rovîa — also known as Janjay, I thought there was no other artist I wanted to listen to. He has a life story that needs to be heard and that his music expresses ever so clearly.

Mon Rovîa is originally from Liberia West Africa, but escaped the second Liberian war at the age of seven. He was adopted and then migrated from Monrovia, Liberia to the United States. Throughout his journey living in the United States, he moved around a lot. But at the age of thirteen, he was exposed to more popular music by his foster brothers. And with this musical exposure, he began to use music to reflect on his own experiences through his life in Monrovia, Liberia – hence his name to honour his birthplace.

However, in 2020, he expressed that in sharing this experience, it is difficult for him to reflect back on his past, but this has allowed him to also express hope for a better future. He holds a lot of survivor guilt and feels as though he has not given back to his people. With the decision to quit, his friend, Eric Cromartie saw so much potential in his music, that he convinced Mon Rovîa to keep going.

“Mon Rovîa” is a tribute to my land — a banner above this journey. A journey in which you belong.

Mon Rovîa – to honour his birthplace

Mon Rovîa is an indie/rap artist and has released a lot of music throughout the years. The first songs by Mon Rovîa that I was exposed to were titled: “Big Love Ahead” and “Minute Maid Lemonade”. I was first drawn to his music because I was in awe of the emotional pull and mellow instrumental track these songs held. It is as though the calm and hopeful feeling these two songs create, allowed me to immerse into his world. All I wanted to do was be immersed in the experience of his world and the feelings he wrote about in his lyrical masterpieces.

As I share his music with everyone, I hope you see the beauty within his music. I hope you welcome the stories he wants to tell, and I hope it brings you a sense of calm. His music has helped me navigate through so many different emotions. He spoke to me in a way other artists have not done in a long time.

My favourite song currently:

2. Rachel Chinouriri

I have more than 40 playlists on Spotify. I have a playlist for different moods, different months, different years, and even for different holidays. As I continue to make playlists, I always strive to find new songs to add to my collection. And one day, I came across Rachel Chinouriri.

Rachel Chinouriri is a singer/songwriter whom I have grown to love. As an alternative/indie pop artist, Rachel continues to express who she is through her previous and upcoming music.

Rachel has a wide range of accomplishments. She is currently on tour in the UK, performing in places such as Edinburgh, Liverpool, Norwich, and much more. Rachel is also celebrating the release of her debut album, which is coming out on May 3, 2024. One of the songs on this album, titled: “Never Need Me”, was recently released on January 18, 2024, accompanied with a music video on YouTube, featuring the actor, Florence Pugh. With Rachel’s new and upcoming projects this year, she has a lot to be proud of.

Continuing to make an impact in the music industry, Rachel has allowed me to welcome new genres and music into my never-ending playlists.

The first songs that I discovered from this artist were: “So My Darling” and “All I Ever Ask”. These were the perfect songs to listen to in the summer, while I was working, during a long car ride, and to share with friends. However, these were the only two songs I have ever listened to by this artist thus far.

My goal this month is to listen to more of the music she has created. Rachel continues to shine bright in the music industry and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Currently my favourite song by Rachel Chinouriri:

3. Olivia Dean

Olivia Dean has the perfect songs when it comes to breakup tunes, girl anthems, and music just to listen to on that warm summer day. It was like a breath of fresh air when I discovered her music for the first time. Olivia is such a beautiful artist that is not afraid to reflect her life experiences and create relatable scenarios in her music. To discover Olivia’s music has been very impactful in my life because I get to relate to her and jump into her imagination.

As Olivia continues to perform in front of live audiences, I hope the comfort of her music makes a great impact on others.

Olivia Dean was raised in Highams Park, north-east London, and singing was always her passion. In 2019, Olivia released her song “Reason to Stay”, and an EP quickly followed. Within her EP, the songs “Be My Own Boyfriend” and “The Hardest Part” spoke to her as she was going through her own personal situations.

“Your opinions would define me / This time, I made some for myself,” she sings. “You had the chance to love me, but apparently you won’t.”

Olivia Dean – The Hardest Part

The first song I ever discovered by Olivia Dean was: “The Hardest Part”. This was the song that allowed me to grow and hope for so many things coming my way in the future. Not only did this song raise my spirits, but it allowed me to dance around my room, sing it too loud for my family to hear, and to fall in love with myself once again.

I envy Olivia Dean a lot as a young songwriter myself. Her music has been very inspirational and she has inspired some of the original songs that I have written at my music station in the middle of my room. I would consider adding her music to the next playlist that you are going to create. With her beautiful and unique mix of folk, pop, and rock music, you get a little bit of everything.

4. Kaleah Lee

In 2023, I was on TikTok for a lot of my free time. I was saving new videos, following new creators and artists, and I was always trying to find more uplifting and enjoyable content to watch. And one day, I came across Kaleah Lee. Quickly after this first discovery, I followed her and I kept up with her content ever so often. Now that we are in 2024, I hadn’t listened to her music for months on end, until recently. Listening to her sound once again, has allowed me to wonder why I ever stopped.

And now I want to share her sound with you.

Kaleah Lee is a singer/songwriter from Vancouver and has been writing and posting her music on YouTube and TikTok. From music covers to original songs, Kaleah captures a beautiful mellow tone essence with her music, which has quickly become popular. With more than 80 thousand followers on TikTok and 2.3 million likes, Her fan base is quickly growing.

“It’s been very interesting to see [the growing attention], but honestly, it’s weird for me. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the amount of people,” admits Lee. “But I try to separate myself from the pressure and continue posting. There’s such a big music community on TikTok, so I’ve been in touch with a lot of other artists and that has been super helpful.”

Kaleah Lee – Her Rise to Fame

I first discovered Kaleah Lee on TikTok and the calm mellow tone of her music is what first drew me to listen to her various song covers and this original song:

Until I was writing this article, I never realized that I saved her song to one of my playlists. Once I noticed, I knew I had to include this artist because her voice resonated with me and I believe that she deserves to be heard by many.

Lately, she has been very active on TikTok, and around the same time she first activated her account, the more her songwriting has progressed. However, she continues to post cover songs, along with “sneak peeks” for new original songs in the works.

It is a beautiful thing to share your art with the world and at the same time, uncover your voice. I hope when you listen to Kaleah Lee, that you capture the captivating stories she wants to tell.

5. Judah Mayowa – Member of Tiny habits

Judah Mayowa is a singer/songwriter from Boston, Massachusetts. He studied at Berklee College of Music and continues to post his music on social media. However, I was not introduced to his singles first, but rather, I discovered Judah when I came across a small singer/songwriter group titled: Tiny Habits.

When I first discovered Tiny Habits, I fell in love with the way their music spoke to me. One of my favourite artists is Lizzy McAlpine, and there was a new release featuring this artist titled: “Everything Ends” by JP Saxe, Lizzy McApline, and Tiny Habits. After hearing this song, I couldn’t get Tiny Habits’ sound out of my mind, and my love for them blossomed from there.

Tiny Habits is a singer/songwriter group and they release mellow/indie music. The members of the group: Maya Rae, Cinya Khan, and Judah Mayowa, explore various types of music, connecting with their fans all around the world. Here is one of the songs I truly enjoy from these talented artists:

The song “Tiny Things” was one of the first songs that I discovered by this talented group. From there, I wanted to hear more, and I started to listen to their album and their song covers on Spotify. I was deeply in awe of all of their voices as they harmonized with each other, but there is something about Judah’s tone that is so special. He truly adds that beautiful undertone to the songs they write together.

Although I have heard his voice from Tiny Habits, I have not truly explored his music on my own. I just started to explore his songs. But once I decided to research small artists to include in this article, I discovered the song: “In Your Circle” by Judah Mayowa on Spotify and I have been enjoying every second of it. With approximately 11K followers on Spotify, his career individually and with Tiny Habits is growing more and more every day.

So together, we have discovered a new artist!

I am ever so grateful to explore such talented musicians and it has been such an experience to expand my music pallet. If you are looking for a new artist to listen to, I encourage you to take a listen to Judah Mayowa’s music.

I am also seeing Tiny Habits in concert this April and I have the opportunity to meet them before the show. I am very excited to hear this group live, meet the artists in person, have a conversation with them, and fall in love with their music once more.

I encourage you to take a listen

My music taste has been growing every single day with new and upcoming songs to explore. I am very appreciative for the year of 2023, where I was introduced to a lot of young Black artists in the music industry.

So I encourage you to take a listen and appreciate the music these individuals have gifted us with.

Although, there are so many Black artists out there waiting for you to listen to their music, here are a few songs that I have recently discovered:

Hailey David

Carleton '25

Hailey is a fourth year Media Production and Design student. Not only is she staying present in the social media world, but she is creating her own designs in various projects. Outside of her degree, she is passionate about mental health and creating content. Currently, she is on her co-op term, exploring the media world. Music is her passion, whether she is creating her 50th playlist on Spotify, or writing her own music, it continues to be present in her world. She is fascinated by art, the warmth of tea, and the comfort of reading. But of course, if she had the chance to rewatch The Fosters or Shadowhunters a third or fourth time, she would.