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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!