Traxsource Top 100 Vocalists of 2017

From its roots in the discos of the 1970s, House music has had a great history of songs and vocalists – a tradition that has continued to the present day. The Traxsource Top 100 Vocalists of 2017 has been a pleasure to compile, as we got to re-listen to some of the best vocal performances and productions of the year. This category is all about contemporary singers – we know there are plenty of classic and legendary vocalists that get remixed and reworked every year – but for this list, we’re talking about active vocalists, working in the House Music scene now. So come with us as we present the songs and the singers: our Top Vocalists of 2017.

100: Nonku
99: Clara Hill
98: Indeya
97: Sheree Hicks
96: Angie Fisher
95: Kaye Fox
94: Nomi Ruiz
93: Lee Wilson
92: Diva Avari
91: Carissa Nicole
90: Emory
89: Khaya Mthethwa
88: Jem Cooke
87: Mpumi
86: Solara
85: B’utiza
84: Carla Prather
83: Boswell
82: Nedelka
81: Teni Tinks
80: Brutha Basil
79: Joi
78: Ella
77: Coco Bonne
76: Chelsea Como
75: Darien Dean
74: Selina Campbell
73: Phonte
72: Kadesh
71: Sharlene Hector
70: Berget Lewis
69: Zipho
68: Mijan
67: Bel-Ami
66: Aaron K. Gray
65: Richard Burton
64: Vonita White
63: Randy Roberts
62: Noelle
61: Lifford
60: Ali Tennant
59: E-Man
58: Anane Vega
57: Robert Owens
56: Ann Nesby
55: Pauline Henry
54: SuSu Bobien
53: Jackie Queens
52: Sabrina Chyld
51: Karen Harding
50: Zano
49: Duane Harden
48: Mama
47: Joe Killington
46: KE
45: Lisa Millett
44: Jaidene Veda
43: Angela Johnson
42: S.e.l
41: Kenny Bobien
40: Fiora
39: Andre Espeut
38: Anabel Englund
37: Sara Devine
36: Stephanie Cooke
35: Asia Yarwood
34: Florence Rawlings
33: Cinnamon Brown
32: Cindy Mizelle
31: Tracy Hamlin
30: Amy Douglas
29: Vikter Duplaix
28: Xoli M
27: Jinadu
26: CeCe Rogers
25: Crystal Waters
24: Tony Momrelle
23: Nona Hendryx
22: Tawatha Agee
21: Ultra Nate

20: Marc Evans

Native Baltimorean Marc Evans served up lots of soulful vocal delights in 2017, including a rousing performance on the glitter-ball tinged ‘You Change My World’ from Jamie Lewis & Marc Evans on Purple Music. He also sounded on great form on the future-soul Opolopo remix of ‘Josephine’ on King Street Sounds, in collaboration with Antonello Ferrari and Aldo Bergamasco. Overall, Marc had a great year, with a clutch of successful soulful and disco-tinged releases on Soul Deluxe, Nervous, Purple Music, Defected and Glitterbox.

19: Sheila Ford

We loved singer/songwriter Sheila Ford’s jazzy vocals on Will ‘Reelsoul’ Rodriquez’s ‘Found A Way’ which dropped on Reelsoul Musik in the summer, whilst her sultry delivery on ‘Why Can’t You See’ was an absolute delight – showcased to the fullest on the Louie Vega & DJ Open Extended Vocal. Sheila also appeared on Stacey Kidd’s afro/jazz hybrid ‘Groove Funky Music’ which came out on his House 4 Life imprint.

18: Pete Simpson

The smooth tone and soulful delivery of Pete Simpson graced a number of soulful house tunes this year. He really shone on the uplifting ‘New World’ from Sean McCabe / Lem Springsteen on Good Vibrations Music, and put in a sophisticated vocal on the funky ‘Time To Change’ from Steven Stone at the end of the summer.

17: Khalil Anthony

Khalil Anthony guested on UK Deep House don Jimpster’s killer album ‘Silent Stars’ with a brilliant performance on the cutting-edge Deep House track ‘Where Are You’, showing all aspects of his not inconsiderable vocal abilities. Khalil also appeared on Jimpster’s other label, Delusions of Grandeur, and released a killer four-track EP with Damon Bell, and benefitted from quality underground re-rubs by thatmanmonkz and Bryon The Aquarius, all on Shadeleaf.

16: Yasmeen

Quality, emotive vocals are the order of the day with Yasmeen Sulieman, most frequently known by her first name only, and she certainly delivered the goods this year. Teaming up with last year’s Traxsource #1 artist, Sonny Fodera, ‘Caught Up’ on Defected tore up dancefloors worldwide, whilst ‘Glad I Found You’, released under her full name, saw her make inroads within the Afro House genre.

15: Elderbrook

It wouldn’t be right to put together a list of the top vocalists of the 2017 without mentioning the dulcet tones of Alexander “Elderbrook” Kotz who sung on CamelPhat’s huge ‘Cola’. ‘Cola’ was arguably the biggest dance tune of the year and has since picked up a Grammy nomination, as well as being named Traxsource’s biggest track of 2017.

14: Joi Cardwell

House music legend Joi Cardwell continued to delight in 2017, with some gorgeous vocal tunes. Her ‘State of Confusion’ from Honey Dijon’s Killer long player ‘State of Confusion’ was a big track for Joi, and deservedly so, her soulful delivery a perfect foil to Honey’s rolling Chicago beats. Joi also made a sterling appearance on ‘We Can Do Better’ from DJ Gomi on Nervous, the Fred Everything re-rub of which was particularly notable.

13: Lisa Shaw

House chanteuse Lisa Shaw has got some serious house music heritage, and this year she kept up the pressure with some great songs with many of the scene’s best producers. The Art of Tones remix of ‘In My House’, credited to Nickodemus, Lisa Shaw, Carol C and Bam was easily one of the strongest vocal tracks of the year and is still picking up DJ support 6 months after its release. Her big Defected tune ‘You Got Me’ did the business throughout the summer season and Lisa also released ‘Other Side’ with Dax On Sax, which French producer Sebb Junior remixed into a serious vocal-funk excursion.

12: Dawn Tallman

A few producers were lucky enough to be graced with the beautiful voice of Ms Dawn Tallman on their records this year. One of them was New York producer Moon Rocket, whose irresistible funky ‘Another Dimension’ was big on the Soulful House scene this year. And we have to mention Stacey Kidd’s emotive ‘Brenda’, dedicated to his mother, which Dawn delivered with sensitivity and palpable feeling. Keeping busy throughout the year, Dawn also appeared on releases on King Street Sounds, Nite Grooves, Groove Odyssey, Doomusic and more.

11: Seven Davis Jr.

Plenty of big tracks this year from vocalist/artist/producer/writer Seven Davis Jr. this year. Kicking off 2017 with his sophisticated minimal ‘You Should Be Dancing’ with Mark Farina and Homero Espinosa (Moulton Music), he then spent the next 12 months putting out his own particular brand of inventive house music on labels like Yoruba, Defected, and Crosstown Rebels. His catchy ‘Appreciate’ with House stalwart Jesse Rose was a huge dancefloor hit this year, as was ‘It’s Not Over’, both released on Jesse’s Play It Down label.

10: Mr. V

House music trooper Mr. V released some dancefloor destroying vocal tracks this year, across a number of different styles. On the one hand, he put out the dark, skipping beats and earth-quaking bass of ‘My House’ with Low Steppa on Simma Black, and on the other, he delivered the warm soulful vibe of ‘It Can Be’ with Sean McCabe on Good Vibrations Music. We also enjoyed the rolling Atjazz remix of Mr. V / Genetic Funk collab ‘The Believe’ too, which picked up plenty of DJ attention when it dropped on Grounded Music.

9: Sio

In Sio we have a singer/songwriter who is talented and enigmatic, who put out a succession of sophisticated House vocals this year, including ‘1000 Memories’ with top South African producer Jullian Gomes, which was an absolute smash. The original was a beautifully restrained collection of percussion, keys and vocals that came with a set of killer remixes from a remix dream team of Yoruba, Kaytronik, Atjazz and Fred Everything. We were similarly impressed with the slow-burning vibe of ‘How Did We Get Here’ from US House don Gershon Jackson which Sio lit up with her intense vocal. Finally, ‘A Dream Away’ teamed warm synths and sophisticated Afro percussion to provide a perfect backing for her voice, resulting in another deep and classy track.

8: Roland Clark

2017 was another sterling year for House Music legend Roland Clark, whose voice will surely be familiar, if you have even just a passing interest in the genre. ‘Do You Remember’ released in April by D-Vine Sounds, was a tight, moody slice of quality House that picked up plenty of DJ support on its release. And Roland’s ‘Talk Dirty’ on legendary NY label Strictly Rhythm – their 900th release – was simultaneously funky and dark, and another great track to add to Roland’s ever-growing discography.

7: Hanlei

The distinctive tones of talented soulful house vocal duo Hanlei were heard this year on a slew of House tracks in different styles: ‘Runnin’ Me Wild’ from David Bailey and ‘Taste The Rainbow’ from Rhemi were both big on the Soulful scene, while Hanlei also guested on Kiko Navarro’s ‘Right On’ which was given the serious tech treatment by our #2 Tech House Artist this year, Dario D’Attis.

6: Barbara Tucker

One of our scene’s most legendary voices, Barbara Tucker is a constant, soulful presence in house music. This she she gifted us a bunch of hot releases, including the breaks and vocal belter ‘Think (About It) from DJ Spen on Spen’s own Quantize Recordings. A re-make of the Lyn Collins funk classic, Barbara made the song her own, and both the vocal mix and the dub tore up dancefloors worldwide.

5: Josh Milan

As one half of seminal house music group Blaze, Josh Milan is a certified House Music legend. 2017 was a great year for Josh, who had some big tracks including a collaboration with Louie Vega, the frankly brilliant ‘The World Is A Family’ on RMVK Records. His jazzy ‘I Will Wait’ on Honeycomb Music was a summer hit for Josh in 2017 too, and in a productive year, he also dropped plenty of quality product on Vega Records, Nite Grooves, Go Go and more.

4: Alex Mills

One of the most talented singers out there, Alex Mills’ appearance on Sonny Fodera’s vocal anthem ‘Always Gonna Be’ on Defected put her centre stage this year. She also turned in a euphoric performance on ‘Into The Blue’ on Joey Negro’s acclaimed ‘Produced With Love’ album project. Showcasing her versatility, Alex went straight from the disco to the underground with a quality appearance on the low-slung, moody tech-garage of Low Steppa’s ‘Karma’ for Simma Black.

3: Omar

Great work all year long from UK soul hero Omar, who featured on some seriously big tracks in 2017. He dropped effortlessly smooth performances on both the polyrhythmic ‘Getty Getty’ from Hallex M (Groove Odyssey), and the string-laden, laidback groove of ‘History’ from Los Charly’s Orchestra (Imagenes), which we particularly enjoyed in the form of John Morales’ mix. Then there was Boddhi Satva’s ‘Benefit’. The MYNY remix delivered a feast of heavy duty percussion topped off to perfection with Omar’s trademark confident vocal delivery. Always reliable, always quality.

2: Toshi

A leading voice within the Afro House scene, Toshi enjoyed a fantastic 12 months with a series of fire tracks including the Manoo remix of her massive ‘Amahloni’ on Stones and Bones. Her collaboration with David Morales, ‘Hela’, a sizzling blend of Afro rhythms and classic Morales production, was also a standout track for Toshi this year, and she also made a superb appearance on the classy Ticck D.H.A. Club Mix of DJ Kabila’s ‘Atsha Pha’. Toshi’s unique vocals also featured on the atmospheric ‘Uyankenteza’ from Afro Warriors which picked up substantial plays from the likes of Black Coffee and Hyenah.

1: Mike City

At the top of the inaugural Traxsource Vocalists list is Philadelphia singer-songwriter and producer, the multi-talented Mike City. Mike (real name Michael Flowers) got his name from his admiration for the seminal house vocal group Ten City and has continued in their footsteps, delivering soulful vocals on serious house grooves and establishing himself as a serious player in the House scene. However, it could be argued that he’d already achieved a highly respectable status, having produced the likes of Sunshine Anderson’s classic R’n’B / funk cross-over ‘Heard It All Before’, Brandy’s ‘Full Moon’ and ‘I Wish’ for Carl Thomas.

Mike comes from a musical background with a family history that is full of talented vocalists, so it is perhaps no surprise that he also developed into a professional singer. 2017 saw the talented Mr City release emotive soul duets like ‘When I Luv’ with R’n’B icon Faith Evans, which we particularly enjoyed in the form of Kenny Dope’s taut remix, and ‘My Weakness’ with Ian Friday, both of which were massive for Mike this year.

He has just dropped another effortlessly smooth vocal killer on Tribe, ‘Take For Granted’, and supplied more of his vocal talent to releases on Groove Odyssey, Makin Moves, Liquid Deep, and Double Cheese. Perhaps the biggest news for Mike this year though, was the release of his full-length album on BBE, ‘The Feel Good Agenda Vol. 1’. Featuring 12 tracks of soul-infused house music, and guest appearances from a host of other quality vocalists including Faith Evans, Carl Thomas, Lalah Hathaway, it was a brilliant affair that garnered support from all over the DJ spectrum.

A great year then, for a great talent, and as ever we’re looking forward to more quality material from Mike City in 2018.

Releases on Traxsource.