In music, the phrase "one to watch" gets tossed around a lot. But these days, with so many new ways to consume songs and so many new songs to consume, what make an artist actually worth listening to? In this weekly column, Teen Vogue's resident A&R scouts introduce you to up-and-comers who've got something to say both on and off their record. We're not concerned with labels or throwing out descriptive niceties just to convince you that these artists are "the next big thing." It's in their music and in their own words, and all you need to do is lend a curious ear.
Each featured singer or band is matched with an amazing photographer who has generously donated their time to capture these eclectic acts, because they too believe in their potential. The ground rules for our subjects? Come as you are, no professional styling or makeup, and be ready for a raw black and white guerrilla-style shoot. The portrait is paired with an amateur snapshot shared from the depths of the musician's phone. From pop to folk and R&B to rock, these artists (much like their photographs) are unfiltered, uncensored, and unfazed.
Photographed by Ash Kingston in London.
NAME: Rainy Milo
BORN: Southeast London
BEFORE THE PHOTO: Rainy Milo, born Rachel, earned her nickname on the playground, never thinking it would stick. "I hated being called Rachel, so everyone called me Ray, and then one day this annoying kid called me Rainy as joke," she remembers. "It just stayed with me, it was even on my official school papers, but I didn't even mind it—at least he did one good thing!" Growing up in Southeast London, Rainy was surrounded by music from the start, whether it was her grandfather blasting dancehall records after church or her mom playing Ella Fitzgerald, instilling in her a love for reggae and jazz that can be detected in her music today. She began performing with local musicians at the age of fourteen, and writing her own songs as a way to deal with the trials of teenage life.
The British songstress penned "Bout You" when she was fifteen, releasing it a year later after a friend convinced her to put in to on the Internet. The jazz-influenced track quickly caught the attention of major labels, but Rainy passed on their offers to take time to develop her own sound. "They were suggesting I work with people that just weren't right for me at all," she says. "So I decided to just do my own thing and make music on my own so that I could go back and say, 'This is my sound, this is me.'" Waiting paid off. She self-released her debut mix tape Limey in 2012, before signing with Virgin EMI, and released her debut album, This Thing of Oursin April of this year, causing the industry to take note.
The album is a combination of her myriad influences, seamlessly blending R&B, soul, hip hop, and reggae with more futuristic production, creating a sonic landscape that is all her own. "It's a lot of different sounds that I love, you can't really define it one genre," she says. "It leaves me free to explore, because I'm not defined by one specific sound." Binding it all together is her unique voice, soulful and powerful, with a strong accent that is more pronounced than many other UK artists, lending a very real, very modern quality to her music. What's immediately apparent from talking to the artist and listening to her album is that everything she does is 100% her. No treatments, no gimmicks—just Rainy.
ON THE HORIZON: "It's crazy because the first album just dropped but I'm already thinking about the next. I was actually in LA for two months, and I went up to the Bay Area to lay down some tracks for the new album. I recorded my first mixtape, Limey there and just fell in love with the studio, so I keep going back. I think for the second album, I would like to make things slightly more up-tempo—more similar to "Rate You" or "This Thing of Ours"—but lyrically I want to keep it as honest as I always have been. That will always stay with me. And we're touring later this year, which I'm really excited about because I've never toured the U.S. and I had so much fun at SXSW. Everyone was telling me how crazy it was going to be and I didn't even know what to expect, but I had so much fun."
WHO IS RAINY MILO: "My mom can't sing at all, but she loves music, and she used to play so much soul music when I was growing up. A lot of gospel and jazz, too. My father was in an indie band, and my grandfather had been a dancehall DJ, so I was listening to all different types of music all the time. It was kind of a clash of sounds and styles, but it got me into all different genres from a young age."
"When I first started writing on my own, it was really just like therapy for myself. I'd write about things I'd gone through, as a way of getting over them. Once I write a song about something, I fell like the situation is resolved and I'm done with it."
WHAT MAKES YOU WORTH LISTENING TO: "My music is just very real and raw, and I hope that's refreshing. I've always said that the best feeling is to feel understood and like somebody knows what you're going through, and I hope that my music does that. I hope that they can listen to my lyrics and feel like I understand them, and that I'm there for them. That they'll look back and my music will have helped them."
Photographed by Rainy Milo, Courtesy of Rainy Milo.
SCENE AND HEARD: "I snapped this on a recent trip I made to Los Angeles to work on some new music. It was taken at 424 on Fairfax where I usually hang out with my squad."
Watch the video for Rainy's R&B-laden track, "This Thing of Ours."
Source : http://www.teenvogue.com/entertainment/music/2015-06/sound-scout-rainy-milo-interview
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