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10 New Artists You Need to Know: November 2014

Meet the rising stars of rock, EDM, hip-hop and more acts shaping your tomorrow

Diptych of emerging artists Anderson Paak and Oliver Heldens

Anderson Paak (left) and Oliver Heldens (right)

Eleanor Stills; Bart Jansen

Once again, we talked to 10 of the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos. This month: Dej Loaf's viral rap&B, Dorothy's blazing rock, Oliver Heldens' unique house blend, a country supergroup starring a Black Crowe or two — and much more! 

Benjamin Clementine

Micky Clement

Benjamin Clementine

Sounds Like: Nina Simone's brother steps into an elegant French café, sits down at the piano and tears open a vein.

For Fans of: Antony and the Johnsons, Nina Simone, Edith Piaf

Why You Should Pay Attention: Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Clementine, 25, was discovered busking in the Paris Metro in 2013 by a French music agent. In short order, the heroically cheek-boned singer who prefers to perform barefoot released his first EP, Cornerstone, and appeared on the BBC TV show Later With Jools Holland, where his galvanizing rendition of the title track earned a big thumbs-up from fellow guest Paul McCartney. His 2014 EP, Glorious You, sealed the deal with another set of proudly despairing kicks against pricks. Benjamin goes international in January with the release of his debut full-length, At Least for Now, and first U.S. tour. A collection of poetry titled Life Through the Eyes of a Wild Greyhound is also in progress.

He Says: "It came out of despair. I just wanted to eat, to survive. I started singing a cappella in bars. I saved up money to get my first guitar and started writing songs. Fame is like icin' on the cake. What I've done mostly is work my ass off. I'm literally nowhere yet…When things started going well, this French designer called Ami gave me some shoes and clothes to wear. But when I sat down to play the piano, the very new shoes kept slipping off the pedal. So I took them off, threw them away and have never worn shoes while playing the piano from then on."

Hear for Yourself: Benjamin is "all alone in a box of stone" in this powerful solo rendition of "Cornerstone." By Richard Gehr

Bunt.

Bunt.

Sounds Like: Tuneful EDM that prominently showcases acoustic instrumentation — folksy guitars, smooth saxophone, peppy flute, even harmonica on a track that is helpfully titled "Harmonica."

For Fans of: Avicii, the harmonica hook on Pitbull's "Timber," the poppier strains of deep and tropical house.

Why You Should Pay Attention: Levi and Nico are two 20-year-old Germans (based in Stuttgart) whose tracks are inching up their country's iTunes dance charts. One such composition, "Journey," which features vocalist Emma Carn offering her take on Ellie Goulding-style ethereal longing, landed in a Fujifilm ad. The duo plan to release a video for "Harmonica" before the end of 2014, and there's a collaboration with Spinnin' Records signee Sam Feldt planned for next year. In addition, Bunt. hopes to work with a broader range of musicians and integrate live instrumentation into their performances as well.

They Say: "Our neighbors and family members are not always happy with us producing in our homes," says Nico. "Dance music isn't very neighbor-friendly! Just like in old cartoons, our neighbors will knock on the walls to tell us to turn down our music, especially when we get excited about a song and want to listen to it over and over again. But our families' opinions matter very much to us as well. [Our parents] can be very honest; if they tell us it's shit, we go back to the drawing board. But when Levi's mom dances to it, we know we have a hit."

Hear for Yourself: "Harmonica" is an electro-hoedown with a lonesome drawled vocal. By Keith Harris

Anderson Paak

Eleanor Stills

Anderson Paak

Sounds Like: Club kids, Cali weed and Tumblr R&B

For Fans of: Chance the Rapper at his sing-songiest, Miguel, AlunaGeorge

Why You Should Pay Attention: With its allusions to Low End Theory-styled electronic beats, chirpy radio pop and house, Brandon Anderson Paak's impressive, genre-blending debut, Venice, exemplifies R&B's post-Internet metamorphosis. But his roots run deeper than your typical Bandcamp rookie. Born in Oxnard and raised a Southern Baptist — he still plays drums every Sunday at St. Paul Baptist Church — Paak toiled in L.A.'s underground for years as Breezy Lovejoy, from busking as a session musician with innovative soul producer Shafiq Husayn to rapping and singing with experimental hip-hop crew Hellfyre Club. Around 2012, he switched to his government name. "It was hard for me to imagine introducing myself working with certain idols like Dr. Dre and Kanye West and introducing myself as Breezy Lovejoy. It made me cringe a little bit," he says. Anderson Paak's Venice arrives just as he's starting to gain wider notice, thanks to a opening slot on Watsky's tour and a duet with TOKiMONSTA for the electro-soul ballad "Realla." 

They Say: Paak explains the story behind one of Venice's better cuts, the DJ Nobody-produced "Milk N' Honey": "It's about my experiences with older women. Sometimes when I'd play in clubs, I wouldn't have a place to stay, so me and other musicians would bang older broads in order to have a place to stay and eat. Sometimes these older women would spend money on us and feed us. Whether we'd have sex with them or not, they were down to help us in our journey. So I took that and expanded on it to tell a story where you have a sugar mama, and you're having the greatest time of your life with her money, but it turns around on you."

Hear for Yourself: In a stunning B&W clip for "Miss Right," Paak investigates the murder of a video model. By Mosi Reeves

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