Next Up: Help Us Choose the Hottest New Artist On the Rise

Written by  Jacinta Howard & Satchel Jester

Help Us Choose the Hottest New Artist On the Rise

Itching for a music fix? Meet six of the hottest rising acts in music—Jhene Aiko, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Spree Wilson, Carlitta Durand and Jesse Boykins III. Some are signed, some aren’t—but all are dope in their own right.

Here’s where we need you.

We’re giving Upscale readers the chance to pick their favorite rising act and the artist with the most votes will earn a feature in our upcoming June/July issue. So if you have an opinion about who should appear in the pages of Upscale, click, pick and rock the vote.

Jhene Aiko
The newest signee to Def Jam/Atrium, Jhene Aiko, could be the next big thing. Her mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), features impressive collaborations with Miguel, Drake and Kanye West. We’re expecting a great official release from the multicultural beauty, but in the meantime, cop the mixtape and get reacquainted.


Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean, singer and songwriter, is a rare breed. This could be because of the success of his mixtape, Nostalgia/Ultra, or because of his impressive portfolio of contributions and collaborations with Brandy, John Legend, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Jay-Z, among others. With an anticipated album release in spring 2012, the album is set to be a classic. We don’t disagree.


The Weeknd

Every now and then, music gets a wild-card player. Meet The Weeknd. Initially a voice without an identity, the artist and producer infiltrated the scene with a trilogy of musical collections, House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, and became a cult sensation almost immediately, with more than five million YouTube views. Currently featured on Drake’s Take Care, The Weeknd isn’t here for relaxing. He’s ready to work.


Spree Wilson

A jack of all trades, songwriter, producer and rapper, Spree Wilson has been buzzing behind the scenes for years, though his popularity has come to the forefront recently with the release of his stellar mixtape, The Never Ending Now. After working with everyone from Dallas Austin to Esthero, NO I.D. and Q-Tip, his debut album The Spark, is due out on Sony Music this month, marking the rise of one of the most underrated talents in the business.


Carlitta Durand

When Carlitta’s honey vocals first appeared on acclaimed rap duo Little Brother’s Get Back album, she was hard to ignore. Fast-forward a few years, and the North Carolina native has earned the support of everyone from Questlove to 9th Wonder. On the verge of independently releasing her debut, I’ll Be Gorgeous When I Die, Carlitta is focused not only on redefining the industry’s version of beauty but also displaying her gorgeous vocal ability and writing chops.


Jesse Boykins III

It’s been a long time since someone with Jesse Boykins’s vocal ability has come on the scene. Smooth and controlled, his vocal style is only heightened by his superior writing ability, as displayed on his standout projects The Beauty Created and Way of a Wayfarer.


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