Top Vocalists of 2020
Welcome to our Top Vocalists of 2020! Arguably the most important category of them all - because without these incredibly talented individuals, there wouldn’t be as much soul, as much meaning or as emotion within the music that we love so dearly. From gospel to spoken word, it’s the vocal touch that simply can’t be replicated. A sound so individual, a sound so unique - the beautiful synergy with the perfect producer for most harmonious of collaborations, it puts songwriting at the fore of the four-to-the-floor. Each year we take a step back to recognize those who soundtracked the year that was. This year proved to be exceptionally rich with vocal talent from all corners of the globe, so without any further delay we proudly present to you our Top Vocalists of 2020!
Known for: Moon Rocket, Paula - Reciprocity (Main Mix) Sebb Junior, Eric Roberson, Paula - Don’t Stop (Extended Mix) Moon Rocket, Paula - Reciprocity (Richard Earnshaw ‘Inner Spirit’ Extended Mix)
19. Brutha Basil
Known for: Kelvin Sylvester, Brutha Basil - Bedroom DJ (Original Mix) Brutha Basil, Jihad Muhammad - Listen (BTD Vocal Mix) Kelvin Sylvester, Brutha Basil, Natasha Watts - PT2 Bedroom DJ (Inner Spirit) Remix
18. Mr. V
Known for: Dutchican Soul, Karmina Dai, Mr. V - Raise It Up (Micky More & Andy Tee Disco Mix) Dutchican Soul, Karmina Dai, Mr. V - Raise It Up (Club Mix) Roy Ayers - I Am Your Mind (Mr. V 2020 Sole Channel Remix)
17. DJ Rae
Known for: Gene Farris, DJ Rae - Forever Always (Original Mix) Alaia & Gallo, DJ Rae - I Will Pray (Original Mix) DJ Rae - The Journey (Original Mix)
16. Earl W. Green
Known for: Doug Gomez, Earl W. Green - Can't Be With You (Jihad Muhammad Bang The Drums Remix) Deep Soul Syndicate, Earl W. Green - Love is A Classic (Original Mix) Jacob Rodriguez, Earl W. Green - Love You Better (Original Mix)
Known for: Anane - Our Love (Louie Vega EOL Remix) Louie Vega, Elements Of Life, Anane - Jungle Fever (ATOJ Mix) Louie Vega, Anane - Cosmic Witch feat. Anané (Main Mix)
14. Andre Espeut
Known for: Julian Sanza, Andre Espeut - Feelings (The Journey Men Remix) Situation, Andre Espeut - Beyond Compare (Sean McCabe Vocal Mix) Birdee, Andre Espeut - Can't Get Enough (Extended Mix)
13. Tony Momrelle
Known for: Tony Momrelle - My Paradise (Louie Vega Remix) Tony Momrelle - All The Things You Are (Louie Vega Remix) Tony Momrelle - My Paradise (Aquila Narø Remix)
Known for: Atjazz, Dominique Fils-Aimé - See-Line Woman (Extended Mix) Saison, Dominique Fils-Aimé - Show Me (Extended Mix) Dominique Fils-Aimé - Good Feeling (Atjazz & D-Malice Vocal Dub)
11. Tracy Hamlin
Known for: Soulista, Tracy Hamlin - Like Nobody Else (Extended Mix) Tracy Hamlin, DjPope - (You're Puttin) A Rush On Me (Funkhut Vocal) Fuminori Kagajo, Tracy Hamlin - Into The Sunshine (Timmy Regisford Main Remix)
10. Andreya Triana
It was an incredible year for British singer / songwriter, Andreya Triana, having provided the soundtrack to many of the year’s biggest tracks. Notably through her long standing collaboration with Ben Westbeech and Kon, aka The Vision - Andreya’s vocals resonated across DJ sets around the world consistently throughout 2020. The debut album contained the monster ‘Heaven’ and ‘Mountains’ as well as a number of other cuts where Andreya shone - including ‘Satisfy’ alongside Honey Dijon. A flag bearer for original music and songwriting, she is keeping the craft well and truly alive - appealing to longstanding House Music fanatics and music lovers, appreciative of well-constructed songs alike. Andreya also featured alongside the likes of Bonobo indicating a more expansive soundscape that awaits in the years to come. Pablo Nouvelle and Max Graef all got in on the action - adding further layers of Soul Funk Disco and Electronica to an already burgeoning catalogue of tracks. Andreya sits alongside excellent company, already marking her place at the table as one of the most exciting vocal and creative talents out there - and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in 2021!
Every once in a while, a talent comes along that is so unique, so special and powerful - that it changes the way that we listen to music. Thankfully for us, for House Music and for House Music in general - Ursula Rucker brought her inimitable spoken word art to the world in the 90s. Ever since then, she has gone on to collaborate with and feature alongside some of the most exciting artists in the world. Rucker adds class, sophistication and meaning to any music that she’s a part of. ‘Or Stay Alive’ - Ursula’s standout Foliage Records release alongside Daniel Rateuke, gave her the space to breathe and resonate across 6 minutes of Afro House art. It wasn’t done there though, as Richard Earnshaw came through with his ‘Inner Spirit’ extended mix, adding his own unique touches. In true Rucker fashion, she embraced the expansive and progressive sounds of Hannes Bieger on ‘Poem for the Planet’ - a time capsule for the world that we live in. congratulations to one of the greats, and to an artist whose touch turns music to gold!
It was a great year for Johannesburg’s Sióbhan, Sió. The incredibly talented vocalist and storyteller made great strides in cementing her position as one of South Africa’s most in demand musical exports - representing on the global Soulful, Deep House and Electronica stage. Her collaboration with Ralf Gum on ‘Un-Love You’ found its place high within our charts for a number of weeks, receiving widespread support from some of the biggest names in the scene and becoming a GOGO Music classic in the making. Fred Everything dropped ‘Native Language’ with Sió making for a deep, hypnotic number fit for the dancefloor. ‘Forbidden’ alongside Dwson was another Deep House cut that displayed her versatility as a singer and songwriter. It feels like we are witnessing a transformative stage in Sió’s journey, and we’re excited for the next chapter!
7. Amy Douglas
2020 was a huge year for singer and songwriter Amy Douglas! Continuing her succession of smash releases, aligned with the brightest talents in music right now (Horse Meat Disco, Soul Clap, Luke Solomon, Dr Packer) Douglas finds herself right at home amongst the likes of Glitterbox and Classic Music Company. ‘Love. Hope. Happiness’ was one of lockdown’s small wins, as what started out as an unfinished project with Luke Solomon and Queen Rose became an optimistic hit for the year. Australian Disco maestro Dr Packer took up remix duties on Horse Meat Disco’s ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ as part of his Different Strokes Vol. 2 series elevating Amy further up our charts right across the board. ‘Message To The People’ saw her feature alongside soul trio Dames Brown on yet another sublime disco jam which featured remix support from Danny Krivit and Kelly G. Disco duo, Body Music, brought more flavor to Glitterbox this year along with Amy on ‘Love Games’ - with her fierce vocals on fire proving yet again that when it comes to songwriting and laying down timeless vocals, that she is indeed a force to be reckoned with.
6. Josh Milan
All hail Josh Milan! A driving force and catalyst within House Music, songwriting and creating music since the mid 80s and still going stronger than ever. He’s toured the world and played at some of the biggest and most prestigious venues. He’s produced, performed, managed and distributed music - a true cornerstone of the scene that we enjoy right here in 2020. His time as co-owner of NYC’s legendary Shelter and history as an artist flows through his music - rich in soulful goodness, future proof for 2021 and beyond. Standout tracks of the year include the brilliant Doug Gomez remix of his Tribal Winds release with Antonia Ocasio, ‘Soulmate’, Djeff’s ‘Difficult’ on Kazukuta Records also stood out, receiving widespread support from across the scene, as did ‘Tenderly’ - Milan’s collaboration with Wipe The Needle on Makin Moves.
5. Lee Wilson
East Coast singer/songwriter, Lee Wilson, had a great year. His passion and vocal talents have taken the House Music world by storm since his first outing on Dopewax alongside Kenny Dope - ‘Turn You Up’. Ever since then he’s been riding with the greats - Todd Terry, Reelsoul, Michele Chiavarini, Richard Earnshaw, Doug Gomez, Stacy Kidd, J Paul Getto, Hatiras, Angelo Ferreri, Mr. V and Kevin Sylvester - just to name a few! Clearly an artist in high demand, and for good reason too - his trademark smooth vocals lend themself to a hybrid of deep and soulful flavors. Wilson teamed up with Queen B for the beautifully-charged ‘Nobody Else’ released on Let There Be House. Richard Earnshaw offered up remix treatment for his El Funkador collaboration ‘Complicated’ on Blockhead Recordings’ before dropping a huge slice of House Music with none other than Alaia & Gallo and Angelo Ferreri on Milk & Sugar Recordings release ‘Straight Up’. These highlights alone provide a window into a sound and a career of an exciting and versatile artist who is ready to explore and break creative boundaries and keep things fresh. Here’s to you Lee Wilson!
NY native Angela Johnson continued to build on her legacy this year as one of the true greats within our scene. With a formidable career that has seen resounding success both in and outside the realms of House Music - Angela Johnson continues to raise the bar on what it means to be a unique and original talent. Johnson has penned songs for Reel People, Dave Lee & the Sunburst Band, Josh Milan, Micky More - not forgetting Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah! Bringing it back to this year, her collaboration with OPOLOPO resulted in the gorgeous Soulful House cut ‘Stay This Way’, Groove Culture gave us the delight that is ‘Time’ alongside Micky More & Andy Tee. King of the remix, Dr Packer, lent his magic touch to Fuminori Kagajo’s ‘No Pressure’ released on Nu Notes music before teaming up with Birdee on the irresistibly funky track - ‘Something About You’. All in a year’s work for Angela Johnson and we can’t wait to find out what she’s been up to in the studio when the 2021 releases start rolling out!
It was a strong year for the incredible songstress, writer, poet and musician that is Toshi! After studying classical music at the University of Western Cape and realizing it wasn’t really for her - it was House Music’s gain! After encouragement from the likes of Black Coffee to step into the studio and express herself, Toshi’s music career has been on the rise since, placing her as one of South Africa’s finest musical exports in recent years. Her name appeared frequently throughout the year amongst our charts - Nervous, Tribe Records, GOGO Music, DIRIDIM, MoBlack Records, Quantize Records - the finest imprints from all around the world were lining up for a slice of Toshi! Her ongoing collaboration with Timmy Regisford continues to bring fresh cuts such as ‘Self-Love’ at the back end of 2019. ‘Shele’ on unquantize featured amongst many of our guest DJ charts, including our own Weekend Weapons and Hype charts. Timmy Regisford teamed up with Mark Francis for ‘Dark Room’ where Toshi sounded as good as ever. ‘Maka’ was a real standout as David Morales joined the unstoppable duo for ‘Maka’ before German maestro Ralf Gum teamed up with Toshi on the brilliant ‘Xakanga’. We have to also give a special mention to Enoo Napa’s remix of Toshi’s cut with DJ Merlon - ‘Layla’ proving the power of vocalists and their ability to bring added texture to House Music.
2. Mike Dunn
Legendary Chicago producer Mike Dunn has been gracing us with his distinct vocal tones for over three decades now. Also an established DJ and producer within his own right boasting a discography that is bursting at the seams with successful landmark releases - it’s his vocals that have continued to shape some of House Music’s biggest cuts with his unmistakable voice intuitively forming memorable hooks, or leaving us hanging on each of his spoken words. From the iconic ‘God Made Me Phunky’ to ‘Phreaky MF’ - Mike Dunn is one of the most special attributes of a scene that continues to build on the foundations which he helped to build. 2020 was no exception. He. Was. On. Fire. ‘If I Can’t Get Down’ taken from his ‘My House From All Angles’ released on Classic Music Company last year got the remix treatment - one of which was Mousse T.’s massive funky shizzle remix. ‘Natural High’ became an anthem thanks to his airy and hypnotic vocals, Nulu served up deep tribal dancefloor driver ‘Drummotions’. He took up remix duties for Crystal Waters and DJ Spen’s ‘Party People’ on Quantize, teamed up with N-You-Up on the huge ‘Jack My Body’ which David Penn also added a big room piano-led remix. ‘Til The World Blow Up’ alongside Dave + Sam offered a sprinkle of Mike Dunn magic to the Brooklyn duo’s debut genre-defying album released on Classic Music Company. The legacy continues!
1. Tasha LaRae
International recording artist Tasha LaRae continues to blaze a trail around the world filled with Soulful House and R&B vocals that kept the world feeling optimistic in 2020! Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Tasha established herself within the Atlantic Music scene and hasn’t looked back since. From touring with the 2 x Grammy Award winning group, Arrested Development as their lead female vocalist - to serving up cuts on Quantize Recordings, a match made in heaven. This year alone, Quantize gave us several of Tasha LaRae’s biggest cuts - ‘Till You Get There’ with Jihad Muhammad, the critically acclaimed tune from her album that finally found its way to the world as a single with Jihad’s beautifully arranged composition driving the feel good energy home. It also featured remixes from Sean McCabe and DJ Spen giving it the ultimate Quantize tough! Other standout tracks included ‘I Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ - Tasha’s outing with DJ Spen which got the remix treatment by none other than John Morales and ‘Be Mine’ - where she teamed up with Atlanta’s DJ Kemit for brilliantly penned single that weaved between the R&B, Soulful House and Afro House spectrum. As this is a look back at the full year, we have to give mention to her stunning debut album titled ‘Tasha’ that dropped on Quantize at the end of last year and we implore you, if you haven’t already, to listen from start to finish. Congratulations on landing the #1 spot Tasha LaRae!