Very excited to announce Detroit singer Britney Stoney as our November Next Step winner! Having learned guitar just two years ago, Britney has made quite the impression on her local circuit playing at coffee shops, clubs, and open miss. Citing Tracy Chapman, Dionne Farris, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill as influences, ger sound is primarily soul with alternative, folk, and pop leanings - you may even hear a tinge of reggae or country at times.
Above, we've got an awesome live performance video where Britney starts out with an Amy Winehouse cover of "Valerie." After, she moves into an original piece where she shows welcome hints of Adele in her style. Below, hear another one of Britney's tracks called "Three." Heaps of potential with this young lady!
Her voice is sweet and her lyrics are filled with emotion. Her music digs deeper than the surface, and is crafted with precision. Her name is Sza and she is here to share her music and herself to the world. Take a glimpse inside her mind in this interview with Giant Step contributor, Andrea K. Castillo.
I first became familiar with your EP through Giant Step and I immediately downloaded, and I listened, and listened, and thought, “Wow, this is really great! Let me learn more about this girl.” So I read all your press stuff and decided to do an interview, so here it is. We’re in the time of Sza. Your EP, See Sza Run, has been out for a few weeks now, tell me a little bit about the process, I know you worked with a bunch of different producers, how was that experience?
Sza: Super. A lot of these happened by chance. You’d be surprised at how any people don’t give you beats or don’t give you permission for anything, so I pretty much stole three-quarters of my project. Once they [the producers] heard it, they weren’t as angry with me. It was definitely interesting, I was like “That sounds good, MINE!”, and just ran with it.
So it’s seven tracks, and when listening it is very atmospheric and I can see what you are talking about. It’s a little dark, but I like that, and your lyrics are very refined. How long have you been writing?
Sza: That’s a really good question. I’ve been a writer, prior to singing or anything, for a very long time. That was my strong suit. Even in high school I was in AP English…writing is my thing. I’m a serious reader and heavily into poetry, so before I even opened my mouth and thought “Maybe I should try to translate this into something, it’s crowded in here”, I had to find a way to get these thoughts out of my brain.
You paint a picture with your words, and in regards to your visuals, I noticed across the board there are a lot of flowers; the album artwork, the music videos. Can you tell us more about your choice to use floral imagery in your work?
Sza: My mom was somewhat of a botanist, so gardening, plant life, that’s all her sh*t, and my dad was super into science. I went to school for science, so I love plant life and wild life. Knowing a lot about flowers and what they represent and the energy they bring…I use a lot of tiger lilies in my work because they used to grow in my backyard all the time; those are my favorite, they’re so pretty.
Just having released her debut album a couple months back, Selah Sue sat down with us to talk about her journey and her influences that led up to Selah Sue the album. Selah also shared a backstage ritual, a memorable phone call, and a live rooftop performance, amongst other juicy bits. So endearing this young starlet is - so glad we got to catch up!
Giant Step contributor Maiya Norton kicks off this new exclusive video series, Covers, on our Tribeca rooftop. Many thanks to our film man, Rashid Zakat as well.
Be sure to catch Selah on tour supporting Allen Stone and Walk Off The Earth!
Tour Dates w/ Allen Stone
TUE - 13-NOV - FRENDALE, MI - THE MAGIC BAG
WED - 14-NOV - TORONTO, CANADA – THE OPERA HOUSE
w/ Walk Off The Earth
MON - 26-NOV - SEATTLE, WA – THE SHOWBOX
WED - 28-NOV - PORTLAND, OR – WONDER BALLROOM
THU - 29-NOV - SAN FRANCISCO, CA – THE REGENCY BALLROOM
FRI - 30-NOV - LOS ANGELES, CA – TROUBADOUR
SAT - 01-DEC - SANTA ANA, CA – YOST THEATER
On June 3, Belgium's precious miss Selah Sue got her gully on at the annual Roots Picnic in Philly. Above, watch a mesmerizing rendition of Lauryn Hill's "Lost Ones" - Selah's interpretation of the song is completely captivating with her sweet disposition showing a thrilling transformation in this performance.
After the jump, you can catch more info on Selah's tour dates - she's going to be on the road with Emeli Sande, Allen Stone, and Ed Sheeran.
UK based singer-songwriter Emma Shaheen got her start in a nu-jazz band called Today's Mathematics and in the last few years has been cultivating her solo craft. Citing influences within the realm of Erykah Badu, The Roots, Roberta Flack, Lauryn Hill, and Jeff Buckley, Emma's vibe is refreshingly earthy and light. Her tone and enunciation kind of reminds us of a mellower Zaki Ibrahim.
A couple weeks ago, Emma released her Heart Cries EP, a five track EP of fluttery, flowy music to pick up the mood of anyone's day. The fifth track is actually a Tall Black Guy remix of "Sunshine," and is the most upbeat tune on the easygoing album. We love it all, though. Watch the video for the title track after the jump and stream the entire EP below!