It’s always fun to unzip the proverbial CD wallet of our favourite artists, so when Lorde shared a playlist yesterday with “what I’m listening to”, it served as a primer on Lorde’s music taste. What has she had on repeat since she began recording her forthcoming album, Melodrama? What does she listen to while furiously scribbling new lyrics in the New York diner, The Flame, where she bunked down, headphones on, during a spurt of late-night creativity?
The answer came to us in a curated Spotify playlist called “Homemade Dynamite”, which she promised to frequently update. It is presumably named after her unreleased song of the same name, which she first performed at Coachella. “Always posting what I’m listening to on Twitter so I figured... why not make a playlist of bomb shit and update it throughout this cycle?” Lorde tweeted. Besides the usual suspects – Future, Kendrick Lamar, Bon Iver and Nancy Sinatra – Lorde is effectively introducing a lineup of new artists to her rabid fanbase of 5+ million on Twitter. Not bad promo, if you’re trying to get your music heard. With her discernible taste, and the fact that this playlist likely points to the musical influences for Melodrama, let’s dig in to see whom Lorde would like us to hear.
SIGRID – “DON’T KILL MY VIBE”
Sigrid’s anthemic “Don’t Kill My Vibe” is right in line with the amorphous sounds of Lorde’s bigger songs. They feel more ambitious than the actual production they rely on. The Norwegian singer followed her siblings into the biz – both her brother and sister are musicians in their own right – and signed to Island Records at age 20. With only three tracks to her name, “Don’t Kill My Vibe”, “Plot Twist”, and the more recent acoustic song “Dynamite”, Sigrid (real name Sigrid Solbakk Raabe) is already slinking onto the candy-coloured stages of Scandi pop lore. Hailed as “the new Lorde, basically” by The Guardian, she can go from soft-voiced vixen to stadium-hollering powerhouse pretty damn quick.
KHALID – “YOUNG DUMB & BROKE”
Uploading his own Frank Ocean, Alt-J and Father John Misty-inspired tunes to SoundCloud as a teen looking for any kind of recognition, 19-year-old Khalid Robinson likely knows what it means to be “young dumb and broke” (as he sings on the track of the same name). Growing up in Germany, upstate New York and Texas with the sounds of TLC and Brandy on loop (thanks mum), he’s now twisting tired R&B tropes to create a fusion of Atlanta experimentalist Raury and the more folky sounds of Leon Bridges. His breakout single, “Location”, has surpassed 130 million streams on Spotify and was the catalyst for his signing to RCA records right after being crowned prom king in his hometown of El Paso. “The reason why I released ‘Location,’ it was around senior prom and I hadn’t released anything on SoundCloud in a longtime,” he told Fuse, “but on my graduation day, Kylie Jenner played the record on her Snapchat which was insane because the record, it’s almost like it skyrocketed.” The Kylie kosign may have helped, but Khalid is packaging his American Teen experience in melodies that make you want to roll down the car windows.
AMINÉ – “REDMERCEDES”
23-year-old Adam “Aminé” Daniel effectively channeled his getting cut from his local high school basketball team into a rap career. How, exactly? When he didn’t make the cut, Aminé began making diss tracks about rival high schools Grant High School and Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. His own way of supporting his team led to a couple of self-released mixtapes in 2014 and an official single released last year, “Caroline”, which peaked at number 11 on the Billboard charts. 2017’s “REDMERCEDES” takes his sound – descendant of Anderson Paak and Outkast – into newer, polished territory. It’s an unfuckwitable head bob of a track that refuses to leave you alone.
TOVE STYRKE – “SAY MY NAME”
Another wheedling Scandi pop tour de force, Tove Styrke has been making infectious music for some time. Influenced by Kylie Minogue and Robyn, the 24-year-old got her start on a TV singing competition called Swedish Idol. She signed to Sony off the back of that, and has since been pumping out earworms like 2015’s “Borderline” and “Number One”. What she doesn’t always include in her songs is her outspoken, fierce aversion to the patriarchy. “Society has taught me that there’s a limited space for me to grow within, a narrow idea of what I am supposed to be,” she told us back in 2015. “I am free when I fully let go of the things that I, as a girl, have been taught to be throughout my life.” After a two-year hiatus, Styrke is back with “Say My Name”, whose layered vocals call to mind Lorde’s new single “Green Light”.
CHELSEA JADE – “LIFE OF THE PARTY”
Lorde might feel a special kinship with fellow pop singer Chelsea Jade, who also calls Auckland, New Zealand, home. The pair are friends, to start. “I told @lorde i was primed to weep at her coachella outing & she literally handed me a victorian tear catcher after the show,” the singer recently tweeted. To boot, Jade’s presence is kind of ethereal: she’s been known to caress the faces of her watchers while performing to ensure she has their rapt attention. To add to that built-out, downtempo dream pop that she’s established herself with on 2014’s EP Beacons, she uses her iPhone for field recordings, which find their way into her songs – a trickling stream, waving grass. “Life of the Party”, released recently, is decidedly different to what she’s put out before – a breathy, sultry slow jam.
Follow Trey Taylor on Twitter here @treytylor