Based on the caliber of artists and projects coming out of the area, it’s an exciting time for D.C. R&B and soul talent.
“I feel like we’re in phase one of the dream vision of what I see for artists in D.C. and the surrounding area — a music movement,” says Grammy-nominated, D.C.-bred singer Raheem DeVaughn (no relation to William). “Hip-hop serves a purpose, R&B serves a purpose, soul music serves a purpose — any buzz-worthy hype or visibility we can get for the area is good. People have an eye on us, they have an eye on what we’re doing — our area is that next spot.”
Toward that end, here are six artists that you should have your eye on in the coming months. They’re just a few of the immensely talented singers making the city sound better.
Singer and rapper Visto
has not one but two amazing singles out right now, both with titles that can’t be printed in this newspaper: “How That [Expletive] Taste” with rapper Phil Da Phuture and “[Expletive] Around,” both on his album “Before Euphoria,” which drops Aug. 20.
It may seem bold for an up-and-coming artist to release two singles with titles that fans may be embarrassed to say aloud, but Visto isn’t worried.
“If you listen to what I’m saying on [“How That [Expletive] Taste”], I’m singing about a girl being patient and not rushing things, but because of the vulgarity in the hook, that word alone, people are shocked,” says the Norfolk-born, Southeast-D.C.-raised vocalist.
After the shock wears off, though, listeners will find themselves enveloped in infectious, sexy R&B. “Before Euphoria” is hard to peg, but think slow jams for a generation reared on strip-club anthems.
“I’ve had the craziest responses,” Visto says of reactions to his first single. “People I don’t know hit me on Twitter, like, ‘I played it last night — me and my girlfriend had a good time.’ I’m like ‘Okay!’ I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s definitely cool — that’s what music’s for.”
Annoyed by the focus on how female performers look rather than how they sound, singer-songwriter Alison Carney
dresses down onstage, usually wearing a white shirt and jeans. Right now, the artist and educator is rocking that uniform on a transcontinental youth-empowerment train journey with the Millennial Trains Project. She’s engaging participants in conversations about the music industry and consumer culture and writing music that will become a 10-song collection called “The Millennial Trains Project Operation Musical Revolution: The Jeans and Teease Series.”