Photo: Peter Forest/Getty Images
Essence Fest: 7 Female R&B Acts You Need To Know
Essence Fest is the ultimate celebration of Black women and music. And while it manifests that mission through dynamic headline shows featuring some of music’s biggest acts (Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu), it also serves as a major introduction for a slew of up and coming artists. And this year was certainly nothing different. Over the course of the three day event, we have spotted seven rising female acts whose music you need to explore right now.
The summer (and in part Essence Fest) belongs to Ella Mai. Her chart-topping breakout single “Boo’d Up” has induced instant sing-a-longs all week, and the recent release of a remix featuring Nicki Minaj and Quavo of The Migos, shows that the British R&B singer is not slowing down.
If you’re a New Orleans native, Denisia is certainly not a new artist. She first garnered mainstream attention back in 2015 when she was featured on YaBoyBigChoo’s cover of Adele’s hit “Hello”, remixed in the locally popular bounce music style.
The mysterious R&B singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose identity at one point didn’t go beyond a shadow and silhouette, is fully stepping into the spotlight---albeit with her face still slightly concealed by oversized sunglasses. After her soul-stirring performance at the 2018 BET Awards went viral, H.E.R. (an acronym for "Having Everything Revealed") hit the Essence Fest Superlounge to a massive crowd.
A student at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, rising songstress Yanina made her Essence Fest debut this year. Currently working on a yet-to-be-titled EP, she is making her mark thanks to her powerhouse voice, dancing ability and a striking stage presence.
Groups formed via reality shows typically have a shelf-life that expires at the end of a TV season. But every so often there are exceptions. Enter June’s Diary. Formed on the Kelly Rowland-executive produced BET show Chasing Destiny, this talented line-up of singers have the harmonies, moves, and style that puts them on par with the great girl groups of the past.
Mykia Jovan is proving to be a name bubbling in the progressive soul music scene. The New Orleans native’s unique vocal quality has been compared to the likes of Erykah Badu and the late great Billie Holiday. Her debut album Elliyahu is currently available at mykiajovan.com.
After one hears Victory Boyd’s voice, it becomes clear why Jay-Z signed the New Jersey-native to his Roc Nation music label after hearing her perform just two songs. Many have placed her vocally in the lane of Tracy Chapman, Roberta Flack, and Nina Simone. However, her approach to soul and folk music is so fresh and youthful, that she is in a lane of her own.