Artist Spotlights

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Artist SpotlightsMusic

East India Youth, Fifth Harmony and More Stars Choose Their Favorite Albums of 2014

We continue our look back on the year in music with some personal favorites from artists we loved in 2014. Below you’ll find an incredible portrait of how vibrant the sounds have been over the last 12 months thanks to our first set of artist Top 10 charts:

LA rockers Echosmith praises buzzworthy albums from the likes of St. Vincent, Interpol and Little Dragon.

Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Interpol- El Pintor
Little Dragon - Nabuna Rubberband
Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were
London Grammar - If You Wait
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
Bleachers - Strange Desire
Vance Joy - Dream Your Life Away

X-Factor stars Fifth Harmony serves up a girl power-packed playlist featuring Ariana Grande, Jhene Aiko and Lana Del Rey.

Lana del Rey - Ultraviolence
Ed Sheeran- X
Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour
Ariana Grande - My Everything
Adele - 19
Jhene Aiko - Souled Out
Alt J - This is All Yours
The 1975 - The 1975
Vance Joy - Dream Your Life Away

Electropop darling Little Boots features body movers by Todd Terje, Royksopp & Robyn and Metronomy.

Todd Terje - It's Album Time
Kindness - Otherness
Perfume Genius - Too Bright
Honeyblood - Honeyblood
Ariana Grande - My Everything
Lana Del Ray - Ultraviolence
Royksopp & Robyn - Do It Again
Tomas Barfod - Love Me
Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband
Metronomy - Love Letters

Her fellow British electronic producer East India Youth contributes an esoteric set thanks to contributions from FKA Twigs, Caribou and Eno/Hyde.

FKA Twigs - LP1
Owen Pallett - In Conflict
Grouper - Ruins
Caribou - Our Love
The Bug - Angels & Devils
Eno/Hyde - High Life
St Vincent - St Vincent
Dean Blunt - Black Metal
Perc -The Power and The Glory
Mica Levi - Under The Skin (Original Soundtrack)

Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes reveals that he couldn’t stop playing albums by Foo Fighters, Maroon 5 and Nick Jonas.

Ed Sheeran - X
Hozier - Hozier
Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour
Various Artists - Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Maroon 5 - V
Nick Jonas - Nick Jonas
5 Seconds Of Summer - 5 Seconds Of Summer

And Aussie synth wizard Luke Million gives it up for international colleagues including La Roux, Tensnake and Chromeo.

Todd Terje - It's Album Time
Flight Facilities - Down To Earth
Justin Faust - Spellbound
Tensnake - Glow
La Roux - Trouble In Paradise
Royksopp - The Inevitable End
Royksopp & Robyn - Do It Again
Chromeo - White Women
Caribou - Our Love
The Juan MacLean - In A Dream

Stay tuned for more top 10s from artists like Sylvan Esso, Mickey Guyton and Sam Romans in Part 2!

Artist SpotlightsMusic

5 Questions with Cliff Martinez, Composer of "The Knick"

Film composer Cliff Martinez may have begun his career as the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but in the past two decades, he has emerged as one of Hollywood's most prolific film composers. A long-time relationship with the director Steven Soderbergh has led him to collaborate on over a dozen projects from Sex, Lies & Videotape to Solaris and Contagion. Recent acclaimed work includes his score for Spring Breakers and Drive. Out today is his latest project for Soderbergh's new medical drama, The Knick, currently on Cinemax.

1. When you think of a TV show set in turn of the 20th century New York, you don’t normally imagine a very modern score full of haunting synths. What made you choose this sound?

The choice to go modern was Steven’s idea. Many of the ideas for sounds came from Steven’s temp score, which included Contagion, Spring Breakers and Only God Forgives.

2. You began your career as a drummer (for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) before you became a composer. Do you think first and foremost in beats and rhythm? Or has that changed over time?

Sometimes, yes. Tempo is one of the first parameters I try to figure out before any actual writing begins. If rhythm or beats feel like they will be dominant elements in a scene, then I will often start with that.

3. Do you imagine the sound of it evolving as the show transpires? What new sound elements would you like to add?

I can’t say for sure until I see it. I can imagine another minimal electronic score but perhaps with a hint of the diverse ethnicity that was transforming New York in 1900.

4. You’ve worked with Steven Soderbergh almost a dozen times over many decades. What have been your favorite musical moments together?

One that comes to mind is Kafka. I went to Prague to watch the film being shot. Steven introduced me to a Czech bar band (that is featured in the film) and we both fell in love with an exotic East European folk instrument called the cimbalom. We both knew that that would be the dominant instrument to be used in the score.

5. The Knick has already been picked up for a 2nd season. Are you going to continue with the project?

I haven’t been asked officially but if I was, yes I would continue with it.

Watch The Knick Fridays at 10pm ET/PT on Cinemax.

Artist SpotlightsThis Week on Rdio

Artist to Watch: 5 Questions with Strange Talk

Strange Talk

Strange Talk's debut Wind-Up Records release, Cast Away, has countless electrifying tunes that are bound to get stuck on repeat and never leave your head. We sat down with the Melbourne-based electro-pop band to discuss their new album, upcoming tour, and being one of Rdio’s 2014 Artists To Watch.

1. Where did you write the record?

We wrote the album in two completely different places. The first was a farm in Victoria in the country and the second was on the coast of Melbourne at a friend’s beach house. We locked ourselves away for several hours a day writing.

2. Were there any favorite artists that made an impact on the album’s sound or songwriting process?

There are so many musicians who made an impact on Cast Away! Michael Jackson, Daft Punk, and Queen are just a few of our long time influences. The album is a reflection of all the music we’ve listened to through the years of our lives and we put all these influences in a blender and out came the album.

3. How excited are you to finally debut these songs live in the US? What will the touring experience around this record be like?

We've spent a fair amount of time in the U.S. thus far playing in various cities, but never with an album released. So playing the songs that haven’t been released is always hard as no one knows them. It’s definitely a new chapter for us having an album out now.

4. You recently recorded an Rdio Session at SXSW. Can you tell us about the experience? What can fans expect from the live session compared to the album?

We try to make the live show different to the recording. We're big believers in having that difference because it seems so boring otherwise.

5. Who are some artists you think are on the verge of making it big and what is it like being chosen as one of Rdio’s 2014 Artists to Watch?

Warpaint and Great Good Fine Ok. To choose us out of all the other bands is very humbling and a huge honor! Thank you!

Strange Talk’s album, Cast Away is out today on Wind-Up Records. Keep up-to-date with all the band’s activities and follow Strange Talk on Rdio.

New to Rdio? Start listening for free right now. Want the most of your Rdio experience? Upgrade to Rdio Unlimited for mobile on-demand features and ad-free listening everywhere you go.

Artist SpotlightsExclusivesMusicThis Week on Rdio

World Exclusive: Celine Dion Shares Album Commentary

Celine Dion

Celine Dion is back with her first English language album in five years. Loved Me Back to Life features duets with Stevie Wonder and Ne-Yo and was produced by a team of top producers including Babyface and Tricky Stewart. It’s a very fresh feeling and new release for the timeless diva, and now she’s sharing a behind the scenes view of it with you. Listen to the Loved Me Back to Life - RDIO Exclusive Commentary Version to hear Celine discuss her thoughts, feelings and motivations behind her latest release.

Artist SpotlightsNews

Meat Puppets Now Rocking on Rdio

Meat Puppets

Meat Puppets might be most widely remembered as Nirvana’s favorite band that hit the road with them on the In Utero Tour in 1993 and guested on the seminal live recording of the 1994 album MTV Unplugged in New York. But the band has had a prolific and inspiring career all its own. The band formed around the family core of brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood have been together on and off for 33 years, a partnership that has yielded more than a dozen albums and helped an independent record label called SST one of the most influential in the DIY movement of the 1980s and 1990s.

Now that the Meat Puppets catalog is on Rdio, you have unlimited digital access to the work of these largely unsung country punk rock heroes, from commercial peak Too High To Die to fan favorite II and so much more. Eat to the beat!

∞  October 7, 2013 — 10:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Scissor Sister Del Marquis Reveals Inspirations Behind Slow Knights


Del Marquis is best known as the lead guitarist of the Scissor Sisters, but he also rocks out with his side project Slow Knights. In honor of the debut album Cosmos, Del has created an exclusive Cosmos Inspiration playlist for Rdio that reveals the many inspirations behind his funky solo recording.

His work channels the best elements and expresses a nostalgia for that time in the Eighties when R&B was so adventurous, it was practically intergalactic. Give Del’s mix a spin to hear classic gems from the likes of Rose Royce, Cherrelle, Prince, and Chaka Khan — and then take a trip to Cosmos.

∞  May 13, 2013 — 10:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

At Rdio Sessions: Missy Higgins


Australian songstress Missy Higgins is hot off her tour with Gotye and back with her new single "Hello Hello" — she stopped by the Rdio HQ Penthouse for a performance last Friday. With the city of San Francisco as her backdrop, the Melbourne musician moved dexterously from the keyboards to guitar.

Ever wanted to know Missy’s favorite city to play and the song she can’t get out of her head? She indulged us and filled out an Rdio Survey. Find her answers below and view some fantastic photos of the event on Facebook.

Rdio Sessions - Missy Higgins

∞  July 5, 2012 — 1:00PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

At Rdio Sessions: Dent May


Mississippi singer-songwriter Dent May may have very well become a yoga instructor had Paw Tracks failed to come across the budding musician — at least that’s what Dent claimed on the Rdio Survey.

Lucky for us, Dent May seems to have a long career of funky folk beats and falsetto wailing ahead of him if his new album Do Things is any indication. Last Friday Dent May stopped by Rdio HQ’s penthouse for a soulful jam session. Take a scroll through the pictures on our Facebook and get the 411 on Dent May with his handwritten Rdio Survey.

Rdio Sessions - Dent May

∞  July 5, 2012 — 12:00PM

Artist Spotlights

Listen to Rhett Miller’s Fave Songs Playlist on Rdio


Old 97s frontman and solo singer-songwriter Rhett Miller’s popularity rose steadily thanks to his strong songwriting and singing — no gimmicks. His latest album, The Dreamer, is another solid set from Miller. To celebrate the occasion, he’s wrangled his favorite songs into the playlist found below.

Rock, folk, pop — play Rhett Miller’s Faves now, and read his well-written notes on why he picked each song.

  • The New Pornographers - “Mutiny, I Promise You”
    Carl Newman writes great songs. Thorny, dense things, devoid of obvious handles and hooks, but sticky and slippery in the best way. Oh yeah, and Neko Case as a vocal counterpoint? Pretty sweet.

  • Guster - “Do You Love Me”
    Do you love handclaps? Do you love bells? Do you love songs that will keep you awake at night out of sheer catchiness? Then you will love this song.

  • Guided By Voices - “Teenage FBI”
    Once upon a time, The Cars' Ric Ocasek produced a record for the kings of lo-fi indie rock and this song came into being. At less than two minutes, this song challenges you not to play it again.

  • Redd Kross - “Peach Kelli Pop”
    This ultimate rocker, off their historic Neurotica album, will start any day off right. I wanted to include "Stay Away From Downtown" off their upcoming album Researching The Blues, which features the classic Neurotica lineup, but that album doesn't drop until August. In the meantime, you should be researching Redd Kross.

  • Dukes of Stratosphear - “Little Lighthouse”
    This XTC side project has never left my heavy rotation. I wish more people remembered them. Garage rock psychedelia that will melt your square brain. Play it loud.

  • The Head and The Heart - “Lost in My Mind”
    Seems these guys are blowing up these days. And rightly so. THATH are a great combination of the sweet little things I love about music (simple melodies, sparse moments), and the huge, fun things (mallet-wielding monster drummer, massive multi-part harmonies), and are, thus, one of my favorite new bands.

  • Carolina Chocolate Drops - “Cornbread and Butterbeans”
    I just love these guys. I hesitate to describe them too much. You should just find out for yourself. This song contains my new motto: “Eatin' beans and makin’ love as long as I am able".

  • Crowded House - “Fall At Your Feet”
    I toured with Neil Finn years ago and came away from the experience with a newfound respect for his enormous talent and admirable work ethic. Oh, and this new favorite song.

  • Ben Kweller - “Jealous Girl”
    BK has been blowing my mind since he was a kid. And his newest record may be his best yet.

  • Sarah Jaffe - “Clementine”
    This track appears on her new record Suburban Nature. It's a sweetheart of a song and a perfect showcase for the husky beauty of her pipes. To have such a special voice and the ability to write a song like this? An embarrassment of riches for my young friend Sarah.

  • Dawes - “When My Time Comes”
    With songs like this, Dawes time should be coming... Right. About. Now.

  • The Pixies - “Wave of Mutilation”
    The greatest song of all time. That's all.

Yrs, Rhett

∞  June 15, 2012 — 9:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Play Cadence Weapon’s Dirt City Influences Playlist


Edmonton, Alberta native Rollie Pemberton, aka Cadence Weapon, is not your average MC. The rapper has received acclaim in the past for experimenting with the rap format, using sparse, austere soundscapes and out-there electronic as beats for his unique flow and thoughtful lyrics.

Want to know what inspired the eclectic sounds of Cadence Weapon’s new album, Hope in Dirt City? Listen to his playlist of influences, En Route to Dirt City, and then sample his new album to hear where his hip-hop is headed next.

∞  May 31, 2012 — 10:00AM