Ones To Watch: Up-and-Coming Talent on Our Radar

Art work by Michelle Cheung for Novella Magazine

As our readers well know, Novella is that friend who keeps giving you suggestions on what to do, wear, read, watch, etc., perhaps at a rate father than you can keep up with. It’s the inner grandma who’s paranoid that you don’t have enough to eat that compels us so. In other words, it’s with love and affection and a kind of cultural anxiety and an insatiable need to dictate. But mostly with love. Without further ado, let our contributors come at you with their choices of up and coming individuals of talent you should take second and third servings of.

Drew Brown, Editor-in Chief 

Kelela Album Art – Take Me Apart

Singer and Songwriter Kelela has consistently been making good music since her 2013 debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me. We last heard from the songstress back in 2015 with the release of her EP ‘Hallucinogen’, which garnered good reviews, and yet she is still not a household name. In October, Kelela will release her debut studio album Take me Apart, and if her current single LMK is any indication of what we can expect from the second generation Ethiopian-American singer, I have no doubt that we will be hearing her name a lot more.

Hoon, Managing Editor

Relief of Julian the Hospitaller from Chris Knapp’s ‘States of Emergency’ published in the Paris Review this summer

Chris Knapp’s essays and fiction have been published in the pages of the Paris Review and the Los Angeles Review of Books, which for many — perhaps too many — writers today, is considered a sign of ‘having made it’. The blurb on Knapp on the Paris Review Daily says that he ‘lives in Paris, and also sometimes Brooklyn, with his wife. He’s recently completed a novel.‘ He’s achieved residence and certain placeness (the latter may be my fantasy) on both sides of the Atlantic, a functioning relationship, and finished a novel. Despite all these good signs, things many – perhaps too many — writers would kill for, I think Knapp is still up and coming. Judging from his short story, ‘State of Emergency,’ he has a lot to say. Knapp weaves the personal with the political, the immediate with the faraway past and future in his essays and stories — the stuff of good writing. If his circumstances have changed since the the Paris Review wrote his short bio, and if his website, which you can visit here, is telling the truth, he also has strong ties to Charlottesville, Virginia; I’m eager to hear what he has to say.

Adina Heisler, Contributor

While Phoebe Robinson has been an active writer, actress, and standup comedian for several years now, it’s only recently that she’s been getting the attention she deserves. Her podcast with Jessica Williams2 Dope Queens, just wrapped up its third season, and her solo podcast, Sooo Many White Guys, recently finished its second season. She also released a book last October called You Can’t Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain). This is all on top of being a writer for Portlandia and appearing in the show I Love Dick. Robinson is an utterly delightful comedian, and brutally honest about all topics, from race relations in the U.S. to her love of dad-bods.

Meg Summers, Contributor

One of my not-so-guilty pleasures is following every member of the Toronto-based band, The Beaches, and admiring their musical talents, individual styles, and overall “cool girl” vibes. This band seems to always be busy touring both Canada and the U.S., recording and creating fabulous music videos. In fact, their latest, Money, shows off the band’s creative edge and incredible musical abilities to create catchy and aesthetically great pieces. Look out for more from The Beaches as they are sure to continue growing a buzz around Toronto and far beyond. Follow them on Instagram here.

Kimberley Drapack, Contributor 

Morgan Parker — photo by Kwesi Abbensetts

Morgan Parker’s ‘There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé‘ is a standout success. Parker successfully intertwines pop-cultural and political titles to her poems that explore the complexities of what it means to be a black woman, isolation, femininity, and so forth in the context of the 21st century. She also folds in personal references, Marvin Gaye lyrics, and Hip Hop. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

Photo: Giphy

That Poppy may have been making videos on youtube for quite a while now with the help of her director Titanic St. Clair, but 2017 seems to be Poppy’s big break. Not only did her Instagram explode over night, her music career has finally caught the eye of Island Records, which have sent her on a North American tour that’s sold out in a few cities already. But Instagram fame and tours aren’t what makes her so interesting. It’s her entire persona that makes her so different from any of the pop acts parading around the music scene this year. Labeled or suspected to be everything from a satanist, Illuminati puppet, robot, and even a matrix like computerized entity, Poppy has created a satirical musical persona that pokes fun and exaggerates the all too common assumption that most pop stars sold their souls for fame. Like her persona aims to be, Poppy is a delightful mix of sugary sweet pastel princess with a mysterious, almost sinister, inner turmoil that often bubbles to the surface in her videos, leaving viewers dying to know if she really does live inside a computer or if she’s been brainwashed by a big record company and completely changed from her former self. It is a fresh take on the idea of what a performer and their performance can be.

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The Mooch is Denied a Honeymoon Period and Other News

Starting this Sunday, we’ll round up a weekly list of contents from the Internet (so big!) that we think you would (or should) be interested in. 

A postcard depicting the Latin Quarter in Paris
Photograph by Billy Farrell / Patrick McMullan (Getty)
  • And finally, long-time The New York Times chief book critic Michiko Kakutani announced earlier this week that she would be leaving her post. Her twitter page has already been updated: “former chief book critic, The New York Times.” Her impersonal stance, though often criticized, assured objectivity and scared and elated writers of the past four decades. You can read her criticisms here.

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