Sounds Like: A sax-y, dance-y throwback that stays contemporary
For Fans of: Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars, Estelle
Why You Should Pay Attention: Fleur East was just as surprised as her fans were when she tried out for the U.K. edition of The X Factor for a second time back in 2014. In 2005, she had originally auditioned as part of the girl group Addictiv Ladies, who didn't go further than Week One. "I didn't actually think I would go back," East admits. "I tried to make it in the industry on my own in-between and gained a lot of experience. It wasn't really happening for me. I didn't get the break that I wanted. I thought The X Factor was the last big risk I felt I could take at that time. Thankfully the risk paid off."
East ended up as the season's runner-up and was later signed to Simon Cowell's label Syco Records. She spent her 2015 recording Love, Sax and Flashbacks, a catchy, retro, upbeat album that spawned her European hit "Sax," which recently appeared in the trailer for Season Two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
She Says: East ran into controversy when she performed Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' hit "Uptown Funk" on The X Factor five weeks before the single was due to officially be released in the U.K. "I met Mark Ronson last year and he was really nice," she says. "He said 'I feel like I owe you a drink or something. He was really cool. I was hearing all these rumors that he was annoyed I performed the song before he released it, so I didn't know what to expect when I met him. But he was lovely."
Hear for Yourself: "Sax" is a post-"Uptown Funk" groove with a Michael Jackson flow. Brittany Spanos