It’s been awhile since the Billboards were starstruck by soul diva. Adele’s been quiet and unfortunately Amy Winehouse is no longer with us. (Moment of silence for a fallen femme fatale.) So for those of you also with cravings for the sacredly profane, here is my personal list of women to watch while we wait for Adele’s sweeping return and the zombie apocalypse.
If you dig the bad girl ballads of Amy Winehouse or Duffy, you absolutely have to listen to Gin Wigmore. This sound-alike hails from New Zealand, where she writes catchy, growly blues rock tunes about life, love, revenge and rebellion. She has two albums out, Holy Smoke (2009) and Gravel & Wine (2012), both of which feature her gorgeously gravelly vocals. Her hit, “Man Like That,” is the reason many relate her to Amy Winehouse, but I am more enamored with Gin’s acoustic version of her own “Hey Ho.”
If you fancy Adele, but also get a kick out of hip-hop and bass drum, give ZZ Ward a shot. I caught her at Bumbershoot this past summer, and her live sound is simply to die for. Her tone and strength are highly reminiscent of Britain’s prized Grammy collector, though she pairs her talents with upbeat pop-rock instead of melancholy piano melodies on her latest album, Til The Casket Drops. It’s Etta James meets Wu Tang Clan with a pinch of country rock flair, and it’s fabulous. Watch her most popular music video, “Put The Gun Down,” here.
Quadron was the warm-up band at concert I attended last month at Neumo’s. Danish electronic soul has never been a predictable genre, but it was the first time I witnessed an opening act completely outshine the main event. Their neo-soul jams have percussive prowess and jazzy pizzazz. When coupled with lead singer Coco’s rich R&B contributions, you get grooves ranging from catchy earworms like “Pressure” to the more salty and subtle songs like “Crush.” They have released two albums to date, Quadron (2009) and Avalanche (2013).
–Maddie E, 17, Teen Center Adviser