Best of New Music To Know 2013 (page 2)

Disclosure, HAIM, Brandy Clark, A$AP Ferg, Charli XCX & Jhené Aiko make our list of the best new artists of the year.
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(Courtesy of Interscope, Columbia, Atlantic, Def Jam, RCA)

(Courtesy of Interscope, Columbia, Atlantic, Def Jam, RCA)

(Courtesy: RCA Records)(RCA Records)

A$AP Ferg 

Long before A$AP Ferg’s debut album was being broadcast to millions, he was set on just getting into the music business, or at least out of Harlem, away from his childhood home of 143rd and Amsterdam—purportedly across from where Kelis grew up—and getting a head start into the music industry. Something his father had a hand in.

“My father was a designer and graphic designer,” Ferg explained. “He did clothes and logos for record labels. He did Heavy D’s logo, he did Andre Harrell’s logo, and Puffy’s logo. He worked with everybody from Loon to Ruff Ryders…everybody in the hip-hop game. Teddy Riley, everybody.”

As a little kid, Ferg’s father took him to galas and events surrounded by the rap moguls at the time.

“I met Puffy a few times, I met Heavy D once at this Thanksgiving drive thing where he was giving away turkeys,” he said. “I didn’t even know who Puffy was at the time, he just had a big mink coat on with glasses. To me, he was just like a furry monster. And I was just a kid, and my pops was like ‘You don’t know who this is?!'”

As he got older, Ferg wanted to prove to his block that he could get out of those kind of situations that he talks about in the surrealist “Cocaine Castle.” There were a lot of people he saw that didn’t get out, or worse, but Ferg wanted to prove to himself and the people around him that he could make more of his life. -Jeremy D. Larson

(Courtesy Asylum/Atlantic)(Courtesy Asylum/Atlantic)

Charli XCX  

Her music has been described as synth-pop, dark wave, new wave, tumblrwave, indietronic, gothtronic and post-apocalyptic pop. Regardless of genre, one thing is certain: Charli XCX’s style is anything but ordinary.

The British singer-songwriter and former art school student describes herself as “Wednesday Addams meets Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice meets Baby Spice.” Having thrown teddy bears into crowds, licked photographers’ lenses, or writhed across boardroom tables, she‘s equal parts musician and showman.

Now 20 years old, Charli XCX (real name: Charlotte Aitchison) was just 14 when she recorded her first two songs in her bedroom. After posting them online, the tracks caught the attention of local club promoters, who requested she perform live at their venues.

Growing up as any impressionable teen girl during Britney Spears’ most formidable years, Charli looked up to the pop princess and even set her sights on emulating her career. But as time went on and Charli’s style matured, so did her tastes. Despite leaving her fondness for Spears to her youth, Charli still respects the pop star’s production, heralding songs like “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”

“I guess I just realized that I wanted to make my weird pop album and write the Britney sh** for other people,” she said. -Jay Tilles

(Courtesy of Def Jam)(Courtesy of Def Jam)

Jhené Aiko

Jhené Aiko doesn’t really have to sell herself—Drake has done that for her.

She not only sings (and wrote) the hook on Drizzy’s Nothing Was The Same track  “From Time,” she’s shown up on his recent Would You Like a Tour? to represent her part (and would like to work with him again). But Drake’s not the only rapper who’s an Aiko fan.

Her new EP,  Sail Out sees her teaming up again with Kendrick Lamar on the track “Stay Ready (What a Life),” following their 2010 collab on his early song “Growing Up.” “As a lyricist, I’m always impressed by how much he can fit in a verse,” she said of the Compton rapper, adding that after hearing his rap for “Stay Ready,” a slinky song that has Kendrick spitting about monogamy, she decided to change her own lyrics up a bit.

Aiko likens her songs to diary entries, and everything in her own life is fair game. Her latest single “The Worst”—which has her repeating the lines, “I don’t want you/But I need you,” over and over—was inspired indeed by a real relationship. The video, which features Aiko nonchalantly traipsing around her home as the police come to bust her for murder, is a metaphor for her “killing those feelings” she had for him. -Shannon Carlin

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