Every October, rising artists take advantage of the Big Apple’s annual CMJ Music Marathon to flex their talent to those outside their regional borders or simply late.
I took advantage of the festival myself and invited two singer-songwriters in town to join me and my co-host Steven Horowitz on this week’s episode of The Juice Podcast: Kehlani and BJ the Chicago Kid.
Check out episode 25 of The Juice Podcast, below, to find out about Kehlani’s career start, BJ the Chicago Kid’s strong relationship with Kendrick Lamar and the rest of Top Dawg Entertainment, and what they’ve got up their sleeves:
Both storytellers fearlessly bare themselves in every one of their verses and have upcoming projects on which they turn it up a notch. Kehlani, who I was introduced to through “Locked Up,” a song from Bay Area singer-songwriter, Marc E. Bassy, recently released her honeyed album, Cloud 19.
She’s gained Nick Cannon as “a mentor” after he listened to her first single, “ANTISUMMERLUV,” and has been hustling since she was a kid in the band PopLyfe. She released a few loose tracks before delivering her first solo mixtape.
“This is my first project as solo artist. I wanted to drop a project that was very light, happy and warm, and had a glow to it. Every song on there is light. I wanted to stay away from crazy ballads [or] talking too much both the negative things that happened my life cause I’m saving that for my album.”
Kehlani shared that, before she drops her official debut album, she plans to release another mixtape “by Valentine’s Day” that’s “less structured and less typical R&B. I want it to be more just feels. I want five to six people to touch one track to add different layers.”
While Cloud 19 softened me up instead of evoking tears on tears, it sounds as if BJ the Chicago Kid’s upcoming efforts may do so according to the stories he tells us he’ll be telling. And yes, plural: BJ plans to release a free mixtape out next week, and an EP and LP in 2015.
Tell me what you think over on Twitter (@3rika).