Self-described “Yoruba, Taino, Puerto Rican girl with really brown skin, full curly hair, and a spirit that does not quit,” Destiny Frasqueri has been rapping under the name Princess Nokia for three years. Now 25-years-old, the native New Yorker gained recognition for her song “G.O.A.T.” and mixtape “1992,” released this past September. Frasqueri also runs the collective Smart Girl Club and recently went viral for throwing soup at man yelling racial slurs on the New York City subway. Tackling subjects like the many natural hairstyles of black and brown women, her favorite parts of living in New York City, and the African diaspora, Frasqueri’s raps are empowering anthems for women from all walks of life—at her shows, she requests that men stand at the back. “A Princess Nokia show is this place where girls can do that and take the space in the way that men and the brotherhood do,” she told The Guardian.
Recently named one of VEVO dscvr 2018 Artists to Watch, Au/Ra is an Ibiza-born, Antigua-raised singer and producer who first caught the attention of electronic music fans with her 2016 single “Concrete Jungle.” Au/Ra cites her background and upbringing (both her parents work in music, and her father has contributed to Ibiza’s trance and electronic scene) as significant influences in her music. Now based in Los Angeles, Au/Ra is sure to go far—despite her youth (she’s still a teenager!) her singles has managed to garner over 20 million streams worldwide.
Canadian songstress Allie X puts a dark twist on pop with brooding, self-reflective lyrics and an interest in psychology, particularly Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow self. “The more you try to hide your shadow, the more evil the shadow becomes…So in many ways the art that I am making is an expression of my shadow self,” she told The Star in 2015. Counting Katy Perry and Troye Sivan among celebrity supporters, Allie X is poised to take off in the coming year. Earlier this month, she released a remix of her song “Casanova” by fellow pop artist VÉRITÉ.
Rock newcomer Harlea left Birmingham, England and moved to to London when she was only 16 to pursue modeling. Her long-held love for music eventually turned into a career as she met other musicians and people in the industry to collaborate with. Her singles “Miss Me” and “You Don’t Get It” mix elements of old-school rock n’ roll with a contemporary, pop-leaning sensibility.
Formerly known as Phlo Finster, R&B songstress Iconika is part trap queen part 60’s Youthquaker. (During her time as a stylist, she became fascinated with Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick, and incorporates elements of Sedgwick’s aesthetic into her look.) After the death of close friend Peaches Geldof, with whom she lived in London, Finster went on hiatus and later returned to the music scene under the name Iconika. Her debut mixtape “Indecent Exposure” was released in May 2017 and her upcoming project, “X-Rated,” is slated for release very soon.