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                                                                                                                   visual by Thomas Vanhuyse

To good tradition we finish off our Sound of 2014 list with The Girls - probably the hardest one to narrow down to just five tips, as a devoted DN-reader knows we love our female vocalists. For this list we also excluded the BBC Sound of 2014 etc tips so with pain in our heart we said goodbye (well, at least for this list) to the likes of FKA Twigs, Banks, Chlöe Howl and Ella Eyre. Many names remained, we picked out our five favorites, you’ll find them below.

You can find all of our Sound of 2014 tips right here and of course on the blog throughout 2014.

Empress Of

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Brooklynite Empress Of teased her talented gut with a series of teasers on Youtube: the snippets alarmed us, her soon-to-follow songs provided the buzz. Her style is unique, with her icy synths shimmering over a ghostly voice, drifting somewhere in between Grimes and Mariah Carey.

Clare Maguire

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A singer that we have had our eyes on for years now is Clare Maguire: originally marketed as the next big pop star, the London starlet re-branded herself and her sound to who she really was: a lost but beautiful soul. She found her place in her new music which just breathes heartbreak and intimacy. Wether she’s playing the piano or guitar, she always sounds vulnerable and honest- so pure, so great.

Rosie Lowe

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Probably one of the most unsettling and unusual, yet poignantly beautiful EP’s of the year came from new London talent Rosie Lowe - paired with producers Dave Okumu (known for his work with Jessie Ware) and Kwes. (known for his work with Valentina), the long-haired beauty delivers something ghostly, something really special - something to keep a very close eye on.

Mononoke

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Time stopped for little over 3 minutes when we first heard Alice, the debut gem by enigmatic singer Mononoke, a self-made alternative soundtrack to one of her favorite films. She does so much with so very little, so we were pleased to let her stop time a bit more - if she keeps up this pace, we’ll never get to 2015 and want to stay in her beautiful world for the rest of our time. 

Niia

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Paired with partner in crime Robin Hannibal (Rhye, Quadron), NY chanteuse Niia brings some very classy but breezy pop to the table in 2014 - she certainly learned the ropes playing James Bond soundtracks around NYC, as she brings an atmospherically, exciting and romantic twist on modern day pop.

Empress Of goes all next level on new song Realize You, a multi-layered thing of atmospheric, nu pop beauty. The production on this is fairly incredible: rich and complex yet with a natural flow, her voice echo’ing over the synths with a flair like no other. “Have you / been you / with you / lately?” she asks, giving her reason for asking just seconds later “because you haven’t been you with me.”

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After intriguing the internet with a series of so called color minutes and a limited 7” run on No Recordings, Empress Of is set to release an EP on Double Denim/Terrible titled Systems. The Brooklyn artiste continues in her own key sound, which combines a warped ghost-like yet playful production with her sweet, sweet vocals on new track Hat Trick.

Empress Of doesn’t necessarily need her blips and bleeps - in this session for Yours Truly she plays a romantic (piano’s always make us sob) version of her debut single Don’t Tell Me. Hear the regular version below in case you missed it, plus head over to No Recordings to buy the 7”.

Empress Of unleashes the beast in herself and eats a huge melon in the video for her Champagne - which is the a-side of her (limited!) debut 7” for No Recordings. We posted the b-side Don’t Tell Me a while back, Champagne is on the flip and fits the intriguing, playful electronics of the former. Eating melons totally got a new dimension thanks to this video.

We introduced you to the latest mystery-project Empress Of last week, today her debut single Don’t Tell Me gets launched onto the internet. “This is a project of sight + sound” says her website - amongst many (many) other things. Like we said last week: comparisons to Grimes and Class Actress are inevitable, but Empress Of’s sound is far less glitchy than Grimes’ and far less 80’s pop-oriented than Class Actress, so she might just be in a league of her own. (via)

Last week we stumbled on the Youtube-account off Empress Of, a mysterious new artist of whom we literally found no information. Hours and hours of scouring the internet (not really) led us to some information. The so-called Empress Of goes by Lorely Rodriguez in real life, resides in Brooklyn and looks like that. Needless to say we were intrigued: not only by her anonimity, but the 11 snippets of songs (in her own words “colorminutes”) she put on Youtube are indications of very good things to come. Comparisons to Grimes are inevitable, but we’re hearing some Class Actress in it as well. Anyhow: we can’t see where Empress Of ends up with this electronic pop-oriented blips. Some highlights below, check all 11 snippets over at her Youtube-account.

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