Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
A hardware store employee from Illinois who dislikes interviews and Instagram doesn’t sound like a promising pop star, but Kiiara‘s super-current sound and lyrics made her, in the words of Neon Gold, the “hottest unsigned artist alive.” The 20-year-old singer is the quintessential Soundcloud star and Hype Machine darling, with her subtly catchy electro-R&B-pop. Her sound is high-pitched and timid, shrouded in glitchy, layered production, exemplifying the alt-pop confusion as to whether she’s supposed to want to be a pop star or not. Kiiara may be based far from the music industry in Illinois (known as "the Prairie State"), but as her debut single Gold was produced by another Soundcloud favourite, Felix Snow, she is more connected than she seems. Gold has accumulated almost 4 million plays, and that number should keep growing as it soundtracks a new Apple Watch ad. Critical acclaim has come from all the usual suspects (The Fader, The Guardian, Stereogum etc.), and her song Tennessee was premiered by Zane Lowe on Beats 1. She’s been promising the release of her debut EP Meet Me in the Cornfield since the summer, perhaps delayed until the inevitable major label deal was announced. And just today, it has emerged that Kiiara is signed to Atlantic! They released Gold last night as her first official single.