The NME 100: Essential new music for 2018

R&B

Mabel

From: London

Sounds like: Slinky ’90s- influenced pop with a modern twist.

For fans of: Dua Lipa, Lauryn Hill

Need to know: Music is in this rising star’s blood: her parents are none other than ’90s star Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey. Recent R&B mixtape ‘Ivy To Roses’ sits closer to her mum’s style than her dad’s, mind.

Essential track: ‘Finders Keepers’

Jorja Smith

Jorja Smith On My Mind

From: Walsall

Sounds like: Velvet smooth R&B from the Midlands.

For fans of: Amy Winehouse, Sampha

Need to know: Drake is such a fan, he handpicked the 20-year-old to guest on two different tracks from his 2017 playlist ‘More Life’. She repaid the favour by taking the Canadian
producer to her local Co-op when he visited Walsall with her.

Essential track: ‘Beautiful Little Fools’

Mahalia

From: Leicester

Sounds like: Confessional, soul- soothing R&B.

For fans of: Rihanna, Lauryn Hill

Need to know: Mahalia was signed to Atlantic at just 13. A folk-tinged mixtape followed, but it’s her new R&B flavour that’s piqued everyone’s interest.

Essential track: ‘Sober’

Smerz

From: Norway

Sounds like: Complex-pop perfect for the 21st century.

For fans of: FKA Twigs, Jessy Lanza

Need to know: With backgrounds in classically trained music, the Scandi duo comprised of Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt turned to heavy basslines and house beats for their intoxicating new project.

Essential track: ‘Because’

Dounia

From: New York, New York

Sounds like: A rich blend of R&B and pop, directed by Dounia’s expert songwriting abilities.

For fans of: Blood Orange, Solange

Need to know: Already an Instagram star and an influential activist, the Moroccan-born, Queens-raised musician channeled her experiences into debut release ‘Intro To’ last year. Expect
to get to know her sharpish as the songs come tumbling out.

Essential track: ‘So Cool’

NME 100: new R&B artists for 2018

A playlist featuring Mabel, Jorja Smith, Mahalia, and others

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