New Sensations: Why Are You Still Sleeping On Rihanna Collaborator Bibi Bourelly?

Carl Williott | March 2, 2016 9:29 am

New Sensations is our semi-regular roundup of emerging acts you oughta know.

I personally don’t understand why a successful songwriter/producer would want to try to make the Kesha/Kanye leap from song credits to the spotlight. Sure, there’s the potential for millions of dollars and VIP treatment, but you can still make a very large pile of dollars and get an NYT profile from planting your ass behind the boards while someone else moves their ass and mugs for the cameras and “plays” the “game.” No groupies, sure, but also no stans to deal with, no touring, no press. That sounds like the ideal music-creating scenario to me.

Bibi Bourelly — who penned Rihanna‘s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “Higher” and “Yeah, I Said It” — does not think like me. And for that, the pop world should be thankful. The 21-year-old is about to make a name for herself as an artist, and if you were expecting some sort of Rihanna clone material, her two most recent songs will immediately dead that notion.

Hear those and more tunes from some exciting emerging acts in our latest New Sensations roundup below.

Bibi Bourelly

With her gravelly soul voice and a lone wolf mentality, Bourelly comes off like an angrier Alessia Cara. Thus far her singles aren’t club fare, but where she does echo Rihanna is in the way she exudes an astronomical amount of confidence in her songs. No way a personality this big was going to be confined to studio sessions and someone else’s liner notes.

Rina Sawayama

This London-based singer nails a hybrid of R&B diva sultriness, bedroom pop preciousness and chillwave, with commentary on the digital age thrown in. “Where U Are,” her reimagining of Michael Jackson‘s “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” examines “the online relationship you have with yourself” and it’ll be on her debut Alone Together EP later this year.


Though Karó was raised in Scotland, the 21-year-old was born in Iceland, and her first two singles carry on the Nordic brood-pop tradition. On “Silhouette,” her calm delivery centers the listener amidst synth squelches and hi-hats, while on follow-up track “Wolfbaby” an effortless melody is imbued with enough emotion to withstand a brassy trap bounce. She co-wrote both songs with Logi Pedro, who produced them.


Darkwave R&B is not dead! The Weeknd may have brightened up since plotting his chart takeover, but Jahkoy’s “Odd Future” takes the House Of Balloons torch deep into another sex dungeon, with a boost from eerie production by WondaGurl and Nova. The Toronto musician doesn’t just do gloom, though. On “Hold Your Hand” he lands on the other end of the spectrum with some warbly cyber-house.


When you hear Tigertown’s overblown synths and shouted chants, you can just tell the members of the Australian quartet are smiling as they perform it. This can either be irritating or uplifting, depending on where you stand on Coldplay‘s “Adventure Of A Lifetime” (a good song, for the record) and Passion Pit‘s Manners (a foundational text of the synth-poptimism era, for the record). The band is supporting St. Lucia on some US tour dates.

Which new pop voices are you excited about? Let us know in the comments, or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter.