If you can't always see the connection between industries like music and fashion, you're not alone. It's a super-subtle one, but if you look closely, you'll start to notice how certain artists across generations have been solidified as fashion icons. (Think Madonna, David Bowie, Stevie Nicks—the list goes on.) It's names like these who've got a creative vision in more ways that one. We're almost halfway through 2018, and we're already spotting a new lineup of crazy-talented up-and-comers in the music industry who have us all ears. "People should be able to look at you and know what type of music you make," UK-based singer Nina Nesbitt told us. "Fashion is a way to represent who you are as an artist."
Just look at any of these five young artists and you'll find all the proof you need that style and musical talent can definitely go hand in hand.
Rainsford is already something of a fashion darling, working with cult brand Réalisation and recently shooting in head-to-toe Adam Selman for a Paper magazine spread. From her "weirdo-pop" sound to her "gothic Spice Girls" aesthetic, she's got the recipe for indie-pop stardom figured out. Just last month, she released her EP Emotional Support Animal, featuring her signature moody vocals and a collaborative track with Twin Shadow, and if anything, it proves that her music can't be put into one box.
Her vision extends beyond her music alone, something you'd quickly realize by watching the surrealist-inflected visuals in her "Japanese Time" music video. As for her writing process, "90% of the time I write about what I'm going through." This is her way to work through how she feels about something and what she wishes she could say. Given the title of her EP, it seems apt.
A veritable "cool girl," she dresses the part. "I wear almost only vintage," she told Who What Wear. "I'm also drawn to pastels, goth, plastic stuff, and weird sporty stuff. It would seem the term "weirdo-pop" translates over into her closet, too.
"Raw. Stripped-back. Thoughtful." This is how UK-based Nilüfer Yanya describes her music to us, and truthfully we couldn't have offered better descriptors than she does. We just hope you believe us when we say that we've never heard music quite like hers before. We could name the influence of genres she brings to the table—R&B and soul, jazz and acoustic—but her haunting chords are best appreciated when you don't try to pin them down.
With so much influencing her music, we were curious to know about her process. "I start with something on guitar, and then it will inspire me to write something lyrically," she explains. "Normally, the melody works with certain words, and then I build the song out from there."
As you might expect from an artist with as unique an approach as Nilüfer, her personal style is just as eclectic. "I try to keep it mainly secondhand and vintage these days. I'm trying to steer away from what everyone else is wearing, and I find secondhand shopping really fun because you never know what you're going to find." Through all the medley of musical and stylistic preferences, she points to the one outfit that makes her feel 100%: a white vintage suit. "I feel very pulled together the instant I put it on."
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When you're signed to Katy Perry's Unsub Records after meeting the pop star in person, it's not long until all eyes (and ears) are on you. For Cynthia Nabozny, it was all "a dream come true." The Detroit-born artist, who goes by Cyn, is already hitting career milestones that most up-and-comers only dream of: She just released a new single, "Alright;" performed her first major music festival at SXSW in March; and is currently touring the U.S. with artist Sigrid, all while working on her debut EP.
"I really didn't think it was going to turn into me working with Katy," she told Who What Wear. "It really just felt like even if I had a lot of work to do still, the work I had been doing was being recognized because she was interested in it. It was incredibly validating."
Whether her tracks are infusing pop or jazzy influences, Cyn's music always brings a lot of attitude. "I don't know about genre, but when I write songs, I need the bass line to have its own personality and part of the song." Along with defining her musical style, she spoke excitedly about getting to flex creatively with her stylist, too. For her SXSW performance, she picked out a silky baby pink set that she says made her feel invincible. "I can't go wrong when I wear pink."
As for her off-stage style, it's practical but always sophisticated. "A lot of my style choices feel European in that they're effortlessly put-together. I think of a turtleneck and a long coat and maybe some bracelets. And definitely lipstick. That would be like my perfect outfit."
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Rozzi is by no means new to making music. Though she was first discovered by Adam Levine at 19, it's her forthcoming debut album for the new label Small Giant Records that is about to put her name on everyone's radar very soon. Her soulful vocals are what will first grab your attention; she writes and sings lyrical ballads that often garner Aretha Franklin comparisons, and for good reason. Hers are the type of power ballads that make you feel like a stronger version of yourself as soon as you hit play.
That's by no coincidence—she fills up her lyrics with personal experience, expressing a powerful message of self-love that comes straight from the heart. It's tracks like "Never Over You" where she sings about being in a fight with her boyfriend. "It was the first time finding all these reasons not to be in love but still being in love." She told Who What Wear that her biggest challenges have taught her the most important life lessons so far. "It's okay to be uncomfortable and feel less than great, especially when you're going through so much change, and that's fine. I always want to have everything figured out, but I've learned that despite the effort, you can't control everything, and that's actually a great thing."
When it comes to personal style, she cites artists of generations past as her muses. She tells us that "musicians have always been style icons" in her book. "Artists like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell—they were trailblazers." These influences are evident in the way she approaches getting dressed, too: "I always dress in whatever I want without considering the weather or the occasion. It may be impractical, but I've always been like that." Whether she's confidently wearing heels to the movies or relying on feel-good pieces like a pair of high-waisted button-front jeans from Eve Denim, Rozzi is fearless and unapologetic about her choices, sartorially, musically, or otherwise.
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Scotland-born Nina Nesbitt has hit her stride, so to speak. Her latest feel-good pop tunes, "Somebody Special," "The Best You Had," and "The Moments I'm Missing" have racked up nearly 35 million combined streams on Spotify, and we'd be lying if we said that it was unimportant when "The Best You Had" earned a spot on Taylor Swift's Favorite Songs Playlist on Apple Music (because let's face it, T. Swift is T. Swift). She's currently on a North American tour with Jake Bugg and Clean Bandit, and as if that wasn't enough on her plate, she's wrapping a new album that's set to come out later in the year.
Her songs take you along on her journey of personal growth, like "Somebody Special," which Nina told us is "about being with someone who validates what you're worth." That feeling of fierce independence definitely carries over into other parts of her life, too. In the caption of one of her Instagram posts, she declares, "I don't wear 'sexy' clothing to sell my music, I believe I can sell it without that, I wear it to learn to feel good about myself." RT, Nina. We couldn't agree more.
Now you know five of music's most stylish up-and-comers. Well, what are you waiting for? Add these names to your favorite playlists stat.