During the dawn of rave music it was common for producers to sample vocalists from popular songs and integrate them into their own beat in creative ways. The rave scene of the late 80’s – early 90’s put more focus on the beat, and any vocals were intentionally blended into the background so as not to stand out as much. But the rave scene has since matured and Electronic Dance Music has reached levels of popularity and production unheard of in the earlier days. While glitchy vocal samples and fully instrumental tracks are still common, these days have seen the rise of talented vocalists who specialize in offering their voices over EDM tracks. Some vocalists are extremely prolific, and feature on some of the biggest EDM anthems of the decade. Unfortunately, it often seems that these prominent voices don’t always receive the spotlight they deserve. More importantly, since EDM is a male-dominated scene (which is definitely changing) it seems as though females in particular have had a harder time receiving recognition for their work. Below is a list of some of the most prevalent female vocalists who have most likely featured on a song you love.
Tasha Baxter hails all the way South Africa, but her voice can be heard all over American and European productions. She usually features in more bassy or psychedelic style songs. She’s a frequent collaborator with Jon Gooch (aka Feed Me), a popular English DJ/Producer who has released music under Mau5trap. My personal favorite Tasha Baxter/Feed Me track is ‘Cloudburn’; Baxter’s contribution to this track is what makes it memorable. Baxter has also collaborated with American DJ/Producer Au5 on the song ‘Snowblind’ which currently has over 2 million listens on Soundcloud. Her most recent song feature is ABIS & Signal – The Wall (ft. Tasha Baxter). Also, listen to Greg Reve – Unveiled (2012) to get a really good sense of quintessential Tasha Baxter vocals.
It only takes listening to one or two tracks featuring Tasha Baxter to be able to quickly recognize her voice in any subsequent songs you listen to. To me her voice has jazzy elements reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. Her knack for bassy and psychedelic productions paired with her high vocal notes makes her best of both worlds in terms of masculine and feminine appeal.
Anna Yvette is a New York-based singer, songwriter, and producer. She’s been active in the EDM scene or almost 10 years. She’s been a prominent vocalist since the beginning of EDM’s meteoric rise in the U.S. Along with Tasha Baxter, she is probably one of the more recognizable names in EDM. Before EDM however she was really into rock, and she even has a rock album called Ships of Theseus from 2009. Her Monstercat Wiki page has a list of her most played Monstercat songs, and shows that she has amassed tens of millions of views within the record label.
Yvette is also very active on social media. You can find her tweeting frequently under the handle ‘Mother Unicorn’. She’s one of the more outspoken vocalists in the community and is partly who inspired me to create this write-up of female vocalists.
Demonstrating her versatility as an artist, Anna Yvette recently produced a song called ‘Summer Never Ends’ which includes Laura Brehm, another honorable mention in the field of female EDM vocalists.
Music blogging site Nest HQ recently did an Artist Spotlight on Anne Yvette. Check it out for a more in depth look at her recent projects.
Nevve is relatively new to the scene — she’s only been active for a few years, but she already features in some of the best songs by current up-and-coming producers. Some example producers include Illenium, 3LAU, Taska Black, Boombox Cartel, and many other diverse talents spanning the genres. In her short time as an EDM vocalist she’s amassed a million+ plays within Monstercat.
Nevve is also somewhat mysterious. From what I can see she is not active on any social media sites; her Instagram is private and doesn’t appear to have any posts. She’s active on Soundcloud though and already has 20k+ followers. I wasn’t even able to find an image online that I was 100% sure was her. Nevve’s mystery is gradually becoming a topic of discussion within the EDM community; some have even gone as far as suggesting that Nevve is actually a collective, whatever that means. Her frequent collaborations with members of San Holo’s bitbird record label may suggest Dutch origins.
Despite being relatively new to the scene Nevve definitely makes this list due to her rapid rise in popularity, and the fact that every last one of her features so far have been hits.
Canadian-born Veela has been one of my favorite vocalists since discovering her almost 10 years ago. She has been active for a while, offering her vocals on many of the lesser known (but nonetheless talented) electronic artists like Feint, Maduk, Rameses B, Varien, and Blackmill. One of Veela’s greatest features was on Blackmill’s ‘Let It Be’ which has almost 15 million views on YouTube and practically defines the Melodic Dubstep subgenre. Furthermore, anyone who has downloaded a fresh copy of the music production program FL Studio might remember her as being the vocalist in the sample song shown to users when they start the program up for the first time. Her Monstercat wiki page features millions of views under the record label.
Veela’s solo work includes her Prelude EP, Icy Love EP, 2233 EP, Course, Guide To Get Through It — all of which can be found on Spotify.
Some of her earlier fans may remember that she dated the geek culture rapper None Like Joshua who is known for his anime and video game-inspired raps. Veela and NLJ even did a few songs together.
Aside from her vibrant purple hair and infectious social media presence, Veela has always stood out vocal-wise for her enchanting voice and the fantasy themes of her lyrics and persona. Veela is also a consumer of geek culture and this is reflected in her music. Her stage name after all is inspired by mystical fairies of Slavic folklore, or it could be inspired by the magical creature of Harry Potter lore. Her voice reminds me of how the forest nymphs of ancient myth might sound. Her Canadian accent often-times slips through her songs as well, which — as an American listener with a non-regional dialect — adds to the enchantment of her voice. Veela is a sort of alternative Pop princess living in her own world. She radiates creative energy that seems to attract others of similar mindedness.
Visit Veela’s website for a sneak peek into her world, including merchandise and music.
Bright Lights aka Heather Bright
Heather Bright (aka Bright Lights) is probably the most high profile vocalist in this list (she even has her own official wiki page, for whatever that’s worth). Originally from South Carolina, she eventually moved to New York to really kick of her music career. Heather Bright has been writing songs for pop stars since 2009. She’s written songs for Ashley Tisdale, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and more. She’s also featured on some of the biggest EDM anthems of the decade. These include: ‘Language’ by Porter Robinson, ‘How You Love Me’ by 3LAU, ‘Follow You Down’ by Zedd, and ‘Never Say Goodbye’ by Hardwell.
Heather Bright features in one of my favorite songs by the electronic trio Savoy titled ‘So Bad’. I actually had the opportunity to see Savoy live in Portland, OR, and Heather Bright opened for them! I thought that she was a great performer. She was her own DJ, and she sang and danced to all of the anthemic songs that I mentioned above. And as a bonus, during Savoy’s set she came out and sang on all of the songs of theirs that she’s featured in. It was an incredibly fun show considering how small it was.
Keep a look out for Heather Bright’s debut solo album, which doesn’t appear to have a name or release date yet. Also visit her Official web page for links to all of her major performances, songs, and merchandise.
Honorable mentions: London Thor, Laura Brehm, Kerli