10 New Artists You Need to Know: February 2017

Julia Michaels, Khalid, Judah & the Lion and more

Jahkoy
10
Ararsa Kitaba6/10

Jahkoy

Sounds Like: Young love, youthful ambition and California dreaming

For Fans of: Bryson Tiller, 6lack, Partynextdoor

Why You Should Pay Attention: Signed to Def Jam, Jahkoy is preparing for a national tour with Kehlani. Last October he earned critical acclaim with his debut EP, Foreign Water. Its first single, "California Heaven" is a blissful homage to the former Toronto singer's newly adopted Los Angeles home, produced by Rico Love and featuring a cameo from Schoolboy Q. Despite his rising profile, Jahkoy says he's still "rebranding himself" since he started making music as a rapper at the age of 11. "I've only been singing since 2014," he says. "Now I've got a vocal coach, and I feel a lot more comfortable with where my voice sits and how to control it." Journeying from his native Toronto home to Atlanta, and then L.A., the 22-year-old fomented his buzz with the 2015 mixtape Forward Thinking, while singles like "Still in Love" and "Odd Future" earned hundreds of thousands of online streams.

He Says: The current working title for Jahkoy's Def Jam debut is Glory Child. "I'm not calling myself the glory child," he explains. "It's a Toronto love story. … This girl, she's the one who got me to make the switch from rapping to singing. I started liking this girl, and I really wanted to impress her. So she made me want to do the most, or not the most, but do more. And to me, she won me over in a sense where she made me want to go harder for myself. With that being said, she is the glory child, you know?"

True, you can't really serenade a girl with a rap song. 

"Yeah, definitely," he laughs. "I've tried it before, y'know? But it's not as sweet."

Hear for Yourself: On "California Heaven," Jahkoy raves that all the girls are perfect over flickers of reggae guitar and island vibes. Mosi Reeves


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