Growing up a fan of Beyonce, Mariah Carey, and Michael Jackson, singer, songwriter, and model Pia Mia found it natural to mix pop, R&B, and hip-hop. Born Pia Mia Perez in Guam, she launched her career by uploading videos to sharing sites, earning over 17 million views and the attention of Chris Brown’s manager, Abou Thaim. Thaim brought in producer Nic Nac for a 2013 cover version of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” It helped when social media lit up over an a cappella version of the song — performed at a dinner in the Kardashian household with Kanye West in attendance — which was posted by Kim later in the year. The song landed on her debut EP, The Gift, which was released by the Interscope label in 2014. In 2015 she dropped both the “F**k with U” single featuring G-Eazy, plus “Do It Again” with Chris Brown and Tyga.
Dvsn is an alternative R&B act that consists of producer Paul Jefferies (aka Nineteen85) and vocalist Daniel Daley. Like some of the other Toronto-based artists in Drake’s orbit, dvsn weren’t all that forthcoming about their identities, but the names of Jefferies and Daley were the common factors in the songwriting credits of each dvsn song through the debut album, Sept 5th. Released by Drake’s Warner-supported OVO Sound as a digital download in April 2016, it peaked at number 17 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Similar to the likes of early Weeknd, PartyNextDoor, and Majid Jordan, dvsn specialized in narcotic slow jams that featured sexually frank lyrics delivered with intentional lapses in enunciation, often in falsetto.
Justine Skye tagged along with her mother, an entertainment lawyer, to a music panel held by performance rights organization BMI. During the question-and-answer session, Justine surprised everyone in attendance by asking to sing. In front of various music executives, she performed a cover of Sam Sparro’s “Black and Gold.” The Brooklyn native subsequently took singing lessons and honed her songwriting, then worked with August Rigo (Justin Bieber, One Direction, Musiq Soulchild) and Eric Hudson (Kanye West, Diddy, August Alsina). Their sessions led to Everyday Living, a confident contemporary R&B EP released on Atlantic in August 2013. The brief collection featured a cover of Aaliyah’s “I Don’t Wanna.” In August 2014, Justine returned with the slow-jam single “Collide,” a DJ Mustard production that involved a guest verse from Tyga.