During his time at George Mason University, Manila Killa wasn’t just juggling classes — he was touring the world as one half of DJ duo Hotel Garuda. Now, the Filipino wunderkind is ready to step outside the guise of his joint project. He achieves this with his debut solo EP, “1993,” which is a slight but imposing introduction to the producer and his nomadic upbringing. Manila Killa — a.k.a. Chris Gavino — constructs cinematic, dreamy soundscapes that feel momentous but also featherweight. His visionary effort will come to life at U Street Music Hall when he returns to the Washington area not as the same, hopeful college student he once was, but as a producer who’s determined to reach the stars on his own. April 26 at 10:30 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. $15-$20.
Making a name for yourself through the reality TV track is a shot in the dark, and no one knows that better than Cassadee Pope. She was quickly thrust into the spotlight after she was crowned “The Voice’s” first female winner in 2012, but slowly became a blip in the world of country music after her major label debut the next year. This was the moment when Pope hit a creative wall — but then she tore it down completely. She parted ways with Republic Records and had newfound freedom to make music as she saw fit. The artist that longtime fans will hear on Pope’s first full-length album in five years, “Stages,” is one that relishes her independence, with 11 buoyant tracks that were mostly co-written by Pope. April 27 at 6 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. $15.
There’s never a one-size-fits-all solution to getting over a breakup. After one devastating split, folk artist Julia Jacklin’s healing process involved recording a new album, “Crushing,” on which she untangles a labyrinth of emotions. Jacklin makes clear that this isn’t just a breakup record recounting a relationship gone awry — there’s a larger existential theme of self-reflection and acceptance at work here. On the opening track, “Body,” Jacklin muses on a provocative picture that her ex took of her and wonders whether it will be used against her: “Would you use it to hurt me?/ Well, I guess it’s just my life,” she shrugs. The clarity and bravado in Jacklin’s vocals reflect a woman who clearly feels burned by her lover but remains steadfast and hopeful for the future. April 30 at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel. Sold out.
Last January, a wider swath of the pop music world was introduced to Maren Morris through her “The Middle” collaboration with Zedd and Grey. Loyal fans bemoaned the possibility that the Top 40 song was Morris’s denouncement of her country roots. Instead, she used her “Middle” attention to expose her new followers to “Girl,” her latest full-length album, which still fully embraces her twangy Nashville sound (see the rollicking anthems “The Feels” or “All My Favorite People”) while skirting the fringes of power-rock and pop. Once cutting her teeth writing songs for Tim McGraw and other country music giants, the culmination of Morris’s meteoric rise will be fully realized as she headlines a sold-out show at the Anthem. May 2 at 8 p.m. at the Anthem. Sold out.