When you hear Jae Stephens’ bluesy bass-backed tracks, it’s clear the LA singer and beat-maker is a natural born talent. If you look (click through the internet) a little bit closer, you find out that her success isn’t an overnight gift per se, but rather the byproduct of an artist working tirelessly, seizing every opportunity and breaking free of genre conformity. From grassroots beginnings on Tumblr to solid support c/o major media players like Pigeons & Planes and The Fader, it’s evident that Stephens’ reputation is gaining momentum. No doubt that her latest single “Headlights,” on the heels of mid-tempo hit, “You Like That,” will continue to redefine pop RnB and solidify her standing as a key voice of 2018.
Stephens was born in Dallas but spent most of her life in LA – a town she sings about, but tires of, and can deal with, because she’s not following the pack down the 405. She’s blazing her own trail. The competitive intensity of music-making in Hollywood brought her to the UK, a place where she could hone her sound and collaborate with the best in the production biz: Jam City (“24K”) and Bruno Major (“Every Time”). She worked on her latest offering, “You Like That,” with LA’s Jonah Christian (TDE, Anderson.Paak, SiR, Aminé, Jay Prince). With no allegiance on either side of the pond, and a tech-soul sound that pulls from multiple eras, it’s safe to say Jae Stephens doesn’t have her brake lights on.
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Stream Jae Stephens’ latest tracks on her SoundCloud page here.
Once in awhile, an artist’s sound completely captures the zeitgeist and informs musical trends for years to come. In the somewhat complex coexistence between house and pop, that person is Jan Blomqvist. Heralded as one of the world’s top live DJs by Resident Advisor, his presence in Germany’s dance scene is by far one of the strongest today.
Before he headlined clubs worldwide and performed at festivals including Burning Man (which has an impressive 760K streams on SoundCloud), he wasn’t signed to a label and was bartending while figuring out how to raise his profile. “I was immediately on SoundCloud when it came out,” he says. “I was pretty young in the scene. The clubs didn’t want me to play live, so it was an interesting way to get my music to people. Later on when I played in the clubs, they’d ask for my SoundCloud!”
These days, with 76K followers, a supportive label plus a new album (Disconnected came out last month), he utilizes the platform as a way of sharing ideas with contemporaries and remixes with other musicians. As his career evolves, so does Jan’s commitment to SoundCloud — and we’re proud of that.
Listen to the latest music from Jan Blomqvist on SoundCloud now.
For Little Simz, it’s always been about raw passion — which made her and SoundCloud a natural fit. She joined the platform back in 2012 with the goal of getting her music out there and exploring the space. “I didn’t have to overthink it – it was really fluid and I love the spontaneity of being able to put something out based on impulse… just because I feel like it,” Simz says.
The 24-year-old rapper has been invested in the performing arts since the early age of nine, and her impressive skills have quickly secured her a spot as one of hip-hop’s hottest ones to watch. Just in case there was ever any doubt on that front, Kendrick Lamar recently stated that Simz “might be the illest doing it now,” so you know it’s real.
After her track Marilyn Monroe received serious props from the SoundCloud community, she released a video for it. Since then, she’s dropped two albums (her most recent, Stillness in Wonderland, came out last year), collaborated with fellow SoundCloud success story Kehlani and is currently in the midst of a European tour. Casual, right?
No matter what Simz’s next move is, she never forgets her SoundCloud roots. “It’s an amazing platform to discover new music and it’s not only for fans — it’s a great way for artists to meet others.” And that’s what it’s all about.
Listen to the latest music from Little Simz on SoundCloud now.