Music Abroad: 5 International Vixens You Should Know
There is nothing new about talented Vixens coming from abroad and shining on American soil. Landing heavy rotation on radio stations and stealing the hearts of American fans, British singer Adele is the latest example of this, and Rihanna, hailing from the island of Barbados, has become one of music’s biggest acts. Also, Sade Adu, of Nigerian and British descent, is known as a soul legend. Of course, there are more brilliant artists in the world who haven’t quite cracked the American music mainstream. For those looking to upgrade their playlists with some audible treats, here is a list of five international songbirds worth your attention from now on. – Natelege Whaley
1. V V Brown
Reppin': England, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico
Signature Style: Pinned back bang, masks, costumes.
V V Brown’s style of pop is in no way cookie cutter with its swing and explosiveness. She stepped on the scene with her debut album Travelling Like The Light in July 2009. The album made an appearance on the US Billboard charts peaking at 179. Her single “Shark in the Water,” about a stint with a disloyal beau, charted at 67 in America. Although Brown hasn’t blown-up per say, she has made her buzz in the industry performing at SXSW and also being invited by one of her musical influences, rapper Q-Tip, to perform at the Jack Daniel event in Los Angeles in June 2010. In September 2011, V V Brown released her single “Children” featuring Chiddy from Chiddy Bang. The song will be on her upcoming album Lollipops & Politics to be released in February.
Songs to Know: “L.O.V.E.,” “Shark in the Water,” “Children.”
With her voluminous hair always pinned up to show off her cocoa brown features that can compete with any top model, Shingai is definitely a style magnet. As leading lady of The Noisettes, she has released two albums since 2007 with the band including What’s the Time Mr. Wolf and Wild Young Hearts (2009). Their catchy tunes meet somewhere between rock and pop, with Shingai’s soulful chops bringing the songs alive. Born in South London, England, Shingai’s childhood was not so fortunate, as her father died when she was 11, leaving her to be raised by a single mother. Music then became her escape from reality. This child-like reverie and excitement is always present in her live shows and music videos. So far, The Noisettes have performed at Coachella in 2007 and SXSW in 2006 amongst countless other shows. They are currently working on a new album.
Songs You Need To Know: “Don’t Upset The Rhythm,” “Never Forget You,” “Every Now and Then.”
The happy go-lucky singer Asa has made a name for herself in her birthplace of France and home country Nigeria. Inspired by her father’s collection of Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Fela Kuti records, Asa decided to pursue a music career. Her self-titled debut released in 2007 and peaked at number 15 in France. Her sophomore album Beautiful Imperfection (2011), reached number 3 on the US Billboard World Music chart. Asa possesses a serene control on her 1960s inspired “Be My Man,” and her song “Why Can’t We” brings out more of her fun laid-back vibe. In 2011, Asa was nominated for Best Female Act in 2011 at the Victoires de la Musique (French Music Awards). She has also opened for Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Akon and John Legend, and has toured internationally.
Songs To Know: “The Way I Feel,” “Why Can’t We,” “Be My Man.”
Nneka, does not want to be your next pop superstar. Her hip-hop and reggae inspired tunes have given her a platform to record emotionally-charged responsive lyrics about unrest in her native Nigeria and in the world. This has brought her comparisons to Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill. Nneka began her musical career after moving from Nigeria to Germany. In April 2005, she opened for Sean Paul in Hamburg Stadtpark, Germany, and received great feedback, leading her to begin recording her first album Victim of Truth, released later that year. She followed up with No Longer at Ease (2008), and Soul Is Heavy in 2011. In 2010, Nneka, received an opportunity to be a more familiar face to America, coming aboard as the opening act for Nas and Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives tour.
Songs To Know: “Heartbeat,” “African,” “Uncomfortable Truth.”
Already being compared to Aretha Franklin and Macy Gray, with her stern and rich vocals, Rebecca Ferguson is another British singer to be reckoned with. Before becoming a contestant on the The X Factor UK, Rebecca was rejected from Britain’s Got Talent and P. Diddy’s Starmaker. Although distraught at first, she continued on with her dream. She wanted to win The X Factor, and being runner-up allowed her to have more creative freedom over her album. Her debut Heaven released December 2010, and the songbird’s first single “Nothing’s Real But Love” reached top ten on the UK Singles charts. Her second single “Too Good To Lose” will release March 4.
Songs To Know: “Nothing’s Real But Love,” “Glitter and Gold.”