Am I the only one who no longer really cares about the Grammy Awards? I remember as a kid staying up late to watch every year, and feeling tremendous excitement if my favorite singers won. Nowadays it feels like an extended eye roll. On SNL recently, the Grammy nominees were likened to “a Spotify playlist of a 12-year-old girl,” and that made me cackle. Because it so often seems true. This year the Grammy Awards were roasted on Twitter and recapped by Luvvie (click here to read). I didn’t watch and I don’t really feel like I missed out on much.

One of the things that has pushed me away from the Grammy Awards is the manufactured nature of the system. So many underrated artists go unsung on awards show nights. There are so many more musicians out there that are worthy of acclaim and attention.

This is the perfect time to introduce you to a new Afrobella contributor. Bellas, meet my new music contributor, Martamique Ajoku. Every month she’s going to share new songs by new artists who we all need to know more about. Here are Martamique’s picks of 10 songs we slept on in 2014.

10 Songs You Slept On in 2014

Hello Bellas!

Before we move on to the new sounds that have arrived this year I want to take a step back and share some music with you from this past year. All kinds of wonderful music was released — including the long awaited return of D’Angelo with his album Black Messiah. Along with all the huge releases, there were a few songs and artists that were definitely slept on. Here are 10 songs you may not have given a listen to in 2014. Enjoy!

 

1. Somi-Ginger Me Slowly

East African singer Somi is beautiful and so talented. Ginger Me is a smooth jazz song, sung with such intention and grace. This song will make anyone an immediate fan of Somi if they aren’t already. The lyrics paint a picture of a woman gently guiding her lover around her heart. Click here to listen to more of Somi.

2. Naomi Wachira-Anywhere

 

Seattle based singer/songwriter Naomi Wachira’s Anywhere is a beautiful anthem about the human experience. It offers a reminder that no matter where a person is from, we are more similar than we are different. Click here to listen to more of Naomi Wachira.

3. Marian Mereba- Blue for Mr. Green Blue for Mr. Green is a gorgeous acoustic folk song. The quality and lyrics will put you in a very relaxed state. Click here to listen to more Marian Mareba.

4. Malia- Sunny Day

Sunny Day is just so uplifting and positive. Malia sings about being fully content with herself singing, “nothing wrong with today, I got no complaints. I’m okay.” Malia has a pretty voice that is rich and soulful. Click here to listen to more of Malia.

5. Andrew Ashong- Never Dreamed

 

Andrew Ashong is a multitalented British-Ghanaian singer/songwriter, DJ and producer. This song will remind you of a relaxed, lazy Sunday. It’s one of those songs that will make you feel like you’re floating…in a good way. Click here to listen to more of Andrew Ashong.

6. KING- Mister Chameleon

King used their beautiful harmonious voices for this soulful song about a man whose ways change as often as the colors of a chameleon. If you’re looking for a solid vocal performance showcasing a large range, this is that song. Click here to check out King.

7. Meshell Ndegeocello– Forget My Name

 

I have been a fan of Meshell Ndegeocello’s music for years, and she’s certainly mastered mixing genres together to create a phenomenal sound. Forget My Name is funky with a bit of a reggae rhythm to it, laced nicely with Meshell’s sultry vocals and amazing instrumentation. Click here for more Meshell.

8. Nasimiyu- Even in the Dark

Nasimiyu sings about being able to see, “even in the dark.” The video  beat might make you want to get up and do a soul clap. Check out more of Nasimiyu’s music right here.

9. Ibeyi- River

French-Cuban twins Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz make up the duo Ibeyi, and their songs are in English and Yoruba.  River is a song about baptism, and is rooted in the Yoruba religion. It’s upbeat and has an addictive quality. It’s one of those songs that will get stuck in your head (in a good way). Click here to check out Ibeyi.

10. Body Language – Good Things

Good Things will make you want to get up and dance. It has a pulsating bouncy beat with minimal lyrics.  Click here to check out Body Language.

I hope you enjoyed this list, I think all of the artists are beautiful and talented. I wanted to showcase slept on songs from 2014, but the point of this list is to remind you to get out there and support these artists. Share the music with everyone you know. Get the people to wake up!

 

I’m Martamique Ajoku.

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 I’m 25 years old, and an HBCU alum. I love to write, and I draw inspiration from all genres of music. I like to keep an open mind with open ears to match. I love to listen to sounds from every corner of the globe. I think expanding our music tastes can promote diversity and bring people closer together.

Thank you for sharing these diverse and beautiful selections, Martamique! If you saw anything you liked, please let us know in the comments! And if you know of any amazing musicians we need to be up on, let us know about them in the comments!

COMMENTS

PurpleShoesLA says:
February 10, 2015, 1:48 am
With the exception of Meshell who I've been a fan of since Plantation Lullabies, I've never heard of the other artists in your list. Wondrous music; all of it. Thank you for the introduction!
Starofebony says:
February 10, 2015, 9:45 am
I am thankful for your list. You have helped me create the new soundtrack of my lite. These artist are sticking to my heart already.
Sylvia says:
February 10, 2015, 9:47 am
Thank you. I am familiar with King, still loving their first EP, and of course I adore Meshell's music from way back,so glad to know she is still making her own music. It is always great to hear new talented artist. I don't listen to the radio and the music I do love is basically my old school favorites, like Meshell. Now I have some new music to love. Thanks again!
pets says:
February 10, 2015, 10:02 am
Thanks for the introduction to new artistes.
Erin says:
February 10, 2015, 3:19 pm
My Spotify playlists were getting a little repetitive. Glad I have some new music to listen to. Thanks for the list and introducing me to some new artists!
jcanwisegrrl says:
February 10, 2015, 6:50 pm
Somi!!!!!! I discovered her late last year and I am obsessed. Her voice is gorgeous and so is she. Martamique (love your name, btw), you say you have 'open ears,' so might I recommend Tessanne Chin? She's the Jamaican stunner who won The Voice in season 5. Her album 'Count on My Love' came out last year with little fanfare, but there's some amazing work on there and her voice is AMAZING! If you didn't watch The Voice, here she is slaying Whitney Houston's 'I Have Nothing' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNxp9j6Vczs. You'll find more of her vids on the page. Thanks!
Shamelle Belcher says:
February 10, 2015, 6:51 pm
Love to learn about new music. Thanks so much
Carla says:
February 12, 2015, 10:06 am
With the exception of KING I've never heard of the others. But I'll add them to my new Playlist today.
Effie says:
February 26, 2015, 12:40 pm
Somi Live is sublime!!!! She is keeping African Jazz alive