5 Women in the R&B Scene You Should Be Listening To

1) Bibi Bourelly

Image via Fader

Image via Fader

While you might have not heard of her by name, you likely have heard something that the multi-talented Bibi Bourelly has worked on recently. Having helped co-write part of Rihanna’s album ANTI (specifically Rihanna’s hit song “Bitch Better Have My Money”), the young songwriter is now primarily working on her own music. Having grown up around music with a musician father, Bourelly explains in an interview with SPIN that music has always been what she wants to do. This passion comes through in her lyrics which speak to her own experiences and thoughts, giving a very raw authentic realism whether she is crooning about love or singing about how she is just that good and no one can “bring [her] down.” Giving off a bluesy vibe in some songs, Bourelly’s sound really varies from song to song utilizing guitar riffs in some and a traditional R&B beat on others. She has released her singles “Whitehouse” and “Writers Song” in the last few months, with a possible record on the way.

Song to listen to when it's Friday, you are surrounded by good friends, and just got paid: “Ballin”

2) Lizzo

 

Image via Rolling Stone

Image via Rolling Stone

Another genre fluid musician, Lizzo’s music falls under a variety of genres from her fast raps on her past album Lizzobangers to her more recent upbeat R&B and pop jams. The musician is an up-and-comer this year, having recently performed on Ellen during the month of January. Her songs follow the trend of recognizing one’s self-worth, preaching self-love, and knowing that you “don’t need a crown to know that [you’re] a queen.” Her abilities do not end at just singing. She is also a classically trained flutist, which comes through many of her songs particularly those in her EP Coconut Oil. Her new album Cuz I Love You will be out April 19, and it will feature her new single “Juice.”

Song to listen to when you are done with break-up sadness and ready to recognize your self-worth: “Truth Hurts”

3) OSHUN

Image via Hip Hop Archive

Image via Hip Hop Archive

OSHUN is an independent duo hailing from the DC area, made up of Niambi Sala and Thandiwe. The group draws influence and their name from a Yoruba deity with whom they feel a connection to “manifest a sweeter tomorrow for us all,” as they state on their website Oshuniverse. Their nu-soul vibe has an added flair as the group draws from Afrofuturism vibes which come through in the sounds that accent their beats, such as heavy drums and bass, as well as in their lyricism. The two women draw from their experiences as black women and implement what they call “artivism” in their music, which they explain in an interview with FADER. They cover topics ranging from sisterhood to love to politics—all things any modern day young woman could relate to. Their debut album bittersweet vol. 1 is now out and can be listened to on all streaming sites.

Song to listen to when you are hyping yourself up to shoot your shot: “Burn”

4) UMI

Image via Ones to Watch

Image via Ones to Watch

The USC student UMI is LA-based but Seattle born, and she’s using her soft melodies as a form of self-expression like many of the other artists on this list. Her alternative sound draws from neo-soul and lo-fi vibes to create fluid, dreamy melodies. She writes and records all her own songs which allow for her to promote her own messages without the limits of a record company. Her songs focus primarily on the topic of love and relationships as well as her own self-identity. Being self-made, she is not set up to release a major album anytime soon, but she has been regularly releasing singles. Her most recent single is “High School,” which even has a music video to accompany it.

Song to listen to when you are nostalgic for your high school romance: “High School”

5) ASIAHN

 

Image via Lab.fm

Image via Lab.fm

ASIAHN came into 2019 strong with the release of her new album Love Train 2, which is a change in pace from her previous role in the music industry. She has written for artists like Miley Cyrus and J.Lo, and has been nominated three times for a Grammy because of the songs she has written. Having debuted two albums each have focused on the journey of dealing with relationships and where to go from there, ASIAHN bares her feelings on her albums. The raw emotions that accompany her lyrics are made melodically sweet with her dulcet voice. She, like a lot of other artists of the time, focuses on self-love, and primarily the work of loving yourself post-break-up. Although she has been behind the scenes for years, her freshman work is both artistic and inspiring, and worth listening to.

Song to listen to when you just can not get over your ex: “Laid Up”