Staff Picks of 2013

 

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As 2013 nears its end, we continue our tradition of yearly staff picks summing up our favorite music from the 12 months past. This year is very special as we’ve extended our list makers to include Giant Step fam outside of the staff itself; many thanks to Maiya Norton, Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote), Natasha Diggs, Rich Medina, and DJ Spinna for contributing their takes!

Amongst the most popular favorites were Disclosure‘s Settle, Rhye‘s Woman, James Blake‘s Overgrown, and Hiatus Kaiyote‘s Tawk Tomahawk. Dig into the complete lists and let us know your faves as well!

Giant Step Staff Picks of 2013

January Next Step Winner: Selina Carrera

 

A Philly native and graduate from the famed Creative and Performing Arts High School attended by Boyz II Men, Jazmine Sullivan, Amel Larrieux, Questlove, and Blackthought, songwriter, poet, singer, and rapper, Selina Carrera comes from a promising lineage of artists.

Her The Wonder Years project released earlier this year takes a collection of her older works to display the impressive breadth of her skill and sound, which spans hip-hop, soul, and electronic. Stand out tracks are “Get Up,” “Raw Bounce,” “Energy,” and “Retro.”

Look out for her debut EP, Everyday Love, later this year. In the meantime, hear an exclusive track from the upcoming EP called “Better Off” below.

Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

New Release: Melody Gardot – ‘The Absence’

 

The Grammy-nominated Melody Gardot has just released her Latin spirited jazz, blues, and soul album, The Absence. Pulling influence from Morocco to Lisbon to Brazil to Buenos Aires, the album is rich in sound and culture.

Here most recent video is for “Mira,” which you find below. The track starts off with a soulful murmur and scatting that whisks us into a nostalgic bliss of some our favorite Amel Larrieux tunes. An easy summer scape to the tropics is as close as hitting play on this flirtatious and sunny track – we’ll take it, gladly!

For those itching for a physical copy, cruise to your nearest Starbucks for a double fix!

Enter our contest to win The Absence.

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Purchase The Absence at your nearest Starbucks location

Purchase The Absence on iTunes | Amazon

Facebook | Twitter | Official Site

February Next Step Contest Honorary Mentions

 

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As the submissions for our March Next Step contest come to a close tomorrow, we want to share some of our favorite submissions from February in this “honorary mentions” post. Y’all made it rough last month – here’s to another great month!

Our February Next Step Contest Honorary Mentions:

DC based “soul garage” band Black Alley. In the video above, the young group rips covers of Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Nirvana in their poignant dedication to “Club 27.”

Psaul, a collaboration between Swedish singer/songwriter Paul Mac Innes and producer Stray. The sound is pop sensible electro-soul with a retro vibe. Below, you can get down to the sunny “Change” and on Soundcloud catch a super funky cover of Chaka Khan and Rick James’ “Slow Dancin’” featuring the dynamic Karma Stewart.

New York based singer, songwriter, and producer Cilla K. has certainly got something special. With a darling lilting character to her voice that makes you feel at home and a jazzy soul sound that’s playfully offbeat, her vocal style is airy and refreshing like Amel Larrieux, her production hinges on that ever-nostalgic Esthero vibe, and her left-field play with music touches on Sonnymoon. Her most recent release, New World Lullabies, feels just like it sounds. Listen to “You Know Me Better” below and let your worries fall away.

And again, you can still submit to be considered for March!

Don’t miss Backpack Jax and Kimberly Nichole after the jump!