Portland Artists to Look Out For in 2019
Chanti Darling has been blowing up in the Portland dance and Rhythm and Blues (RNB) scene ever since he started performing his choreographed, high energy live shows around 4 years ago. His highly anticipated full-length debut album RNB Vol. 1 dropped in August of 2018. RNB Vol. 1 channeled some of the heat, friction, and energy that the summer of 2018 seemed to bring into Portland. This record encapsulates late summer vibes and summer drives with your friends blasting throwback 80’s jams with the windows rolled down.
Chanticleer Trü is a multi-instrumentalist, an opera-trained vocalist, and an artist who knows how to make people dance. His rise to popular artist is helped by his background as an in-demand DJ, and his knack for promoting. His live shows consist of choreographed dancers and live instrumentation. He displays a vocal range and emotion that sweeps the audience off their feet. Chanticleer Trü’s RNB Vol. 1 shows the breadth and energy of his musical undertakings keeps all of Portland on edge looking for what will come next.
Maarquii is the stage name of Marquise Dickerson, a 26 year old dancer and Portland-raised hip hop artist. Maarquii has been rattling the Portland hip hop scene with the same intensity as the bass they channel in their sound since they released their EP Heavy Petty. While Maarquii danced with Chanti Darling’s live group, they began to start working with the producers Derek Stilwell and Saint Michael Lorenzo (Lorenzo and Stilwell make up the group JVNITOR) to record the music they had been penning while backing up Chanti. Maarquii is one of the best hip-hop artists around right now. They bring the voices of black femmes, genderqueer and display a raw, unapologetic “pure high faggotry”. Maarquii told OUT Magazine that they are “driven by the need for black, femme bodies being represented in music and media”. After two acclaimed EP’s, In November 2018 Maarquii released their debut album C.A.B.O (which stands for Cut A Bitch Off) It is available on Soundcloud. If you go out dancing in Portland, chances are you’ll know you are in the right place if you hear Maarquii’s song Taalk Shiit.
KayelaJ is the stage name of Makayela Johnson, a 22 year old rapper born and raised in NE Portland. Through her music and presence, KayelaJ is providing the city with a style, flavor and energy that it seems desperate for. Though she as been rapping since she was 6, Kaylea J put the majority of her music out in 2018. Her debut album, titled Homage, is a collection of appreciations to the women in hip hop that inspired her both in life, and in her journey to make music. Each of the 25 sample tracks pay homage to a different woman. The album is in chronological order starting with Roxanne Shante and ending with Cardi B. Along with her rapping over sampled loops from each artist, this album includes clips of her mother speaking about her experiences with accepting Kayela’s sexuality, a major theme of Homage and Johnson’s lyrics. Most recently, KayelaJ performed alongside Raquel Divar at Girlfest at Holocene on January 10th. KayelaJ brings a lovely vibe around with her, and everywhere she plays she stuns her audience with her quick tongue and daring lyrics.
Indira Valey is a first generation Latinx avant garde experimental multi-instrumentalist. Her live shows are a dazzling array of sounds and textures caressing one another from a collection of different noise-makers like guitars, wooden chimes, blocks, and other improvisational items. She presents a sense of reverence and prayer in her live performances. This feeling can be heard in the music she records as well. Indira Valey hails from Oberlin, Ohio but has thrived in Portland as a DIY songstress. Her latest of 5 albums is titled Recordar and it is available on Bandcamp.
Indira Valey performs with Gillian Francis and Sheers on January 24th at Mississippi Studios.
Sávila became Portland’s biggest crush at the end of 2018. Comprised of Fabiola Reyna, Brisa Gonzalez and “Portland’s Busiest Musician” Papi Fimbres, his group plays a style of smooth, Cumbia-influenced music that is rare to see make so many waves in Portland. Nevertheless, Sávila’s fans are growing exponentially. This Portland based three piece hones the influence of Cumbia, the band’s Mexican heritage, and the many years of these musicians former and current projects. Fabiola Reyna is founder of She Shreds which is the only women focused guitar magazine in the country, and a former member of La Luz. Brisa Gonzalez fronted Swan Island, and Papi Fimbres seems to play drums in every other band in Portland (he is in nearly 14 bands currently). Sávila’s debut self-titled full-length album is a gorgeous collection of dancey, calming, and heart wrenching music. Check out their Bandcamp tracks.
Sávila opens for Y La Bamba at Revolution Hall on February 9th.