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Without a doubt one of Mikky Ekko's highlights in his young career thus far is his collaboration with Rihanna, a song that you've inevitably heard and might have even cried to: Stay. Today the rising singer-songwriter has unveiled his solo version of the Justin Parker co-written piece of shimmering beauty, in which he shows he can do it perfectly on his own.

Subtle is the latest offering from Active Child's forthcoming new EP Rapor, with a guest appearance from that other great male falsetto doing the rounds, wonder man Mikky Ekko. It’s even richer than we know from Active Child, with layers and layers of synths turning the track into some kind of pop hit from another dimension. Everything but subtle, the pair put their voice and energy in a brooding thing of beauty.

In this session for Yours Truly, Mikky Ekko tells us about the story behind his latest single Kids (which was apparently written during the London riots), right before he takes place behind the mic to amaze you with a set-back version of the song. His beautiful voice (if you have seen him live like we have last week in London, you’ll agree for sure) almost takes up all of your attention, but then you notice just how brilliant that piano chord is and you’re head over heels for the song once more. 

Mikky Ekko plays some kind of pinball machine in the oddest of places in the video for the joyful and carefree Kids, his latest single and first offering after that brilliant duet with Rihanna. Apart from digging the song and the video, we’re also digging his new haircut. Now he definitely has everything to become a proper pop star.

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Mikky Ekko gained a lot of attention with the slow-burning, Clams Casino-produced Pull Me Down and thanks to his feature on the (truly) excellent Stay by Rihanna, yet new single Kids has him drifting back to the vibrant pop sound he first tried to break through with. It tells the story of the carefree joys of childhood and the memories one has when they say “remember when we were kids?” All of this packed into a very solid track, Mikky Ekko’s Kids simply reaffirms his spot on our Sound of 2013 list.

We’ve already seen a visualisation of Pull Me Down and saw Mikky Ekko perform the song live in a session for Yours Truly, but no “proper” video had been unveiled yet. Today that is the case, with the Sam Pilling-directed piece matching the sinister yet romantic atmosphere of the song.

Mikky Ekko sits down with Yours Truly for an interview and a stellar performance of Pull Me Down (which is still on repeat in our heads); this live version learns us that Mikky is kind of holding back vocally on the studio version of Pull Me Down and makes us even more excited to hear new tracks from the man (and eventually see him live).

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Today we take a closer look at The Boys. We admit we’re more easily attracted to girls musically, but 2013 might become the Year of the Boys if you take a look at the five acts we’ve featured below.

Mikky Ekko

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Mikky Ekko is definitely most promising and exciting new singer-songwriter that crossed our path in 2012, his Pull Me Down might have something to do with that. This Louisina-born young man spent the last months recording his debut record with a handful of big producers (Paul Epworth, John Hill, Dave Sitek, Clams Casino, etc) and one of our favorite new songwriters Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey’s partner in crime, Laura by Bat For Lashes) - it would be a true shock if this album doesn’t fulfill our wishes.

Ofei

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Ofei is a “London Soul” singer that bathes in mystery; he’s got nothing but one track out, the stunning London, but that one song makes us gasp for breath. His voice reminds us of Ellery Roberts’ (WU LYF) over-the-top voice, as it almost sounds as if he’s singing his lungs out. London represents the true sound of the city of London: with it’s many layers and unexpected directions it represents the chaos and vibrant atmosphere of the city; on the other hand, London is a highly charismatic and soulful tune because after all, living in London is basically kind of living in a dream.

S O H N

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Vienna-via-London producer S O H N is probably the most intriguing producers around right now, with a sound that’s so organically electronic you can hardly call him a producer. With his well-structured and highly original tunes, S O H N received worldwide praise - we are sure he is capable of a lot more.

Deptford Goth

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Deptford Goth doesn’t mess around and goes straight for your heart - it’s very easy to love him though. Lyrically and musically, this London singer creates a safe harbour for all hopeless romantics and lonely hearts out there. Perfectly crafted indie-oriented pop; we just can’t wait to have his record soundtrack those quiet evenings.

Mykki Blanco

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Oh boy, we sure do love Mykki Blanco. His whole persona-game are what attracted us to him/her in the first place, but Ms. Blanco is one of the most exciting rappers out there in our humble opinion. Surrounding yourself with talented producers, directors and photographers sure has it benefits, but the idea of combining a certain macho aggressivity with a sexy female bitch-vibe was all her’s.

Mikky Ekko's Pull Me Down is a song that’s been on repeat ever since we first heard it, we keep on singing the line “pull me down if you want to / and I hope that you want to.” Davy Evans, known for his recent visualisations of every track on The xx’ Coexist, created a video for Pull Me Down which is reminiscent to the Coexist visuals but has more variation and a stronger organic vibe to it.

Mikky Ekko (not to be confused with Mykki Blanco) is an exciting new singer-songwriter - he was born in Louisiana, grew up in Mississippi and then moved to Nashville. All of these cities and travels have influenced his sound, which is currently a pop-structured melancholic one. It caught the attention of some big names like Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence and the Machine), Elof (Niki and the Dove), John Hill (M.I.A., Santigold) and Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), people is he currently recording his debut full-length with.

More recently, he spent some time in the studio with Clams Casino - even though Mikky Ekko’s sound is nothing like Clammy Clams’ usual guests (A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, etc), it’s nice to see the rising producer do things a little differently without losing his own vibe. One of the results of that collaboration is Pull Me Down, a slow-burner which pairs up Mikky’s talent and Clams’ beats (and reminds us of Lana’s Born To Die). We also heard Justin Parker is also writing tracks with/for him, which you may or may not know from Lana Del Rey (he co-wrote most songs on Born To Die) or Bat For Lashes’ ballad Laura.

Find Pull Me Down, along with some other recent tracks of his. He released some EP’s back in 2010 (which are still available on iTunes), but it seems he’s being “re-positioned” on the musical market to become a star in 2013.

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