Musicandotherthingz Best Vocalist of 2016

Since Florence Welch won this category last year, there has been a superb variety of skilled vocalists over the following twelve months who have commanded their songs and their music in a familiar and creative ways. Thom Yorke with his tuneful howl, the defiant and unsettling melody of Jehnny Beth and Angel Olsen’s lax whispers to her deep bellows received a lot of praise through the voting. They all remain in the long list that follows though and the close contest that is the chosen top three is as below.

3. Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate (16.28% of the vote)

The flowing chords and melodies that open this track are perfectly aligned with Michael’s vocals; so effortlessly intermingled and a powerful instrument in their own right. He delivers a lot of disciplined power without much task. Despite the smooth and rich quality to his vocals, which are difficult not to fixate upon, there is a rough edged peak in his sound evokes an earnest and emotive quality to his vocals. Arguably the best British vocalist around at the moment. 

2. Christine and the Queens – Here (18.60%)

Heloise Letissier again demonstrates her versatility with ‘Here’. It is another track with a minimalist arrangement, but also with a relatively modest production; so it is here that her vocals lead the way and dominate the track. In general she has a highly charged energy behind her vocal performance and here she saves it for dramatic flair as she goes from a hushed tone to perfect pop melody and sullen backing vocals. Beyond this, she is also to switch from English to French as if it was perfectly natural which is quite a rarity with modern music. She’s not quite the Queen here though…

1. Solange – Don’t Touch My Hair (20.93%)

Yes, we know. She has a fairly famous sister and a strong Vocalist to boot, but Solange has used 2016 to make her own mark whilst her sister was grabbing the headlines. Her vocals flow through the subtle arrangement with this track, remaining soft edged and intricate. She doesn’t need to raise her voice at all as she channels her lyrics with ease with this delicate tone on its own. The year she maximised upon her talent.

Owen Riddle

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