ASCAP Urban Presents: On the Come Up Showcase

September 29, 2020

Want a little taste of what's next? You've come to the right place. ASCAP's annual On the Come Up Showcase gives a platform to our rising urban songwriters and producers. We've invited six ASCAP up-and-comers, each with a unique spin on R&B and soul, to perform their original songs in intimate, never-before-seen performances.

Watch the full showcase below or scroll down for individual performances and interviews from BlxstLangston BleuSavannah CristinaJordan HawkinsLiza and Mylah. You just might find your new favorite artist...

Get to know our On the Come Up Showcase 2020 Performers

Blxst

Blxst began his solo music career in Los Angeles in 2015 after writing, producing and honing his sound. He’s been unstoppable ever since, releasing his first single “Who Would’ve Thought” in 2016 and his breakout hit “Hurt” in 2019, which surpassed 2,000,000 streams while being independent. This year he has teamed up with Red Bull Records to give us his debut EP No Love Lost, followed by a four-part series of visuals for tracks off of the project. As an artist and producer, respect for Blxst’s musical ability continues to grow. From self-editing artwork to mixing and mastering his own sound, these tools are what positions Blxst to work side-by-side with countless west coast figures, including DJ Mustard, YG, Kendrick Lamar and many more. 

Blxst.com // TW: @blxst // IG: @blxst

How would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as gangsta soul music. It’s relatable and laid back.

Who influences your sound?
Some of my musical influences are a mixture of Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Nate Dogg.

What/who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspirations are Pharrell, Ryan Leslie and Kanye West.

If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why?
If there was one tree I would compare myself to it'd be a bonsai tree, because I like to take my time and make sure everything is well put together. 

If you won the lottery today for $10 million, what would you do?
If I won the lottery today I would buy land and lots of it.

What projects are you working on? What's in the pipeline?
I got a lot in the pipeline for my fans. I’m especially excited about the deluxe no love lost EP.

Favorite cartoon character?
My favorite cartoon character would be Aang from Avatar.

Given the current climate, what's been a positive outcome or skill you've picked up when creating music?
During the lockdown I spent a lot of time trying to learn more chord progressions.

In the next five years, what are three things that you're looking forward to?
In the next five years I would like to executive produce another artist album. Also owning a home and releasing my debut album.

Langston Bleu

Raised in DC, Langston Bleu moved to Atlanta to hone his craft. Inspired by songwriters and performers like The-Dream, Rihanna and Usher, Bleu twists R&B/pop with a landscape of his own. An ASCAP Foundation Quincy Jones Award recipient and part of SoundCloud’s “Artists to Watch” this summer, Bleu will be releasing his debut EP in January 2021.

TW: @langstonbleu // IG: @langstonbleu

How would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as a mixture of pop and R&B. I pull inspiration from some of my favorite genres which include dancehall and house. 
 
Who influences your sound?
I’m influenced more by songwriters than artists a lot of times. Vocally, I take a lot of inspiration from Usher, Omarion and Mario. I grew up on so much 2000s R&B, so that plays a big part in how I sing, but my biggest love is songwriting. I take influence from Sean Garrett, Ester Dean and The-Dream.
 
What/who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is without a doubt The-Dream. I live in Atlanta, so I’m hoping I get to meet or work with him one day. I love the way he crafts his hooks and how versatile he is as a writer. He can do a ballad like "1+1" by Beyoncé while also writing a slew of uptempo bops. Outside of him as a writer he has successfully launched a solo career and has so many hits of his own. I’d love to have a career like his where I could write for some of the biggest artists in the world while still having an artist career of my own. He’s the “bleuprint.” 
 
If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why?
I’d definitely be a palm tree. I love being around palm trees and warm weather. It creates a sense of calmness in my hectic life. Plus symbolically palm trees represent freedom and victory.
 
If you won the lottery today for $10 million, what would you do?
That’s a lot of money. I’d love to donate to various school music programs. I wouldn’t be the artist I am without benefiting from school music programs and going to Duke Ellington School of the Arts. I really don’t need that much money, so I would definitely invest in some creative endeavors. Lack of funds holds artists back the most. 
 
Favorite cartoon character?
My favorite cartoon character is Bobby Proud from The Proud Family. I want to live my life like Uncle Bobby. He was always fly and had a song to sing. Shoutout to Cedric the Entertainer for being the iconic voice of Bobby Proud. 
 
Given the current climate, what's been a positive outcome or skill you've picked up when creating music?
A positive outcome has definitely been the ability to just focus on myself. We get so caught up in getting invited to the right events, meeting the right people, booking the right show, etc. that sometimes we lose ourselves. It felt at times more important to play the game than to make the music. I fell in love all over again with my purpose and it’s been a beautiful feeling. 
 
In the next five years, what are three things that you're looking forward to?
Working with Rihanna, living without roommates, and getting nominated for a Grammy.
 
What projects are you working on? What's in the pipeline?
I just released "Slow Down," which is the lead single off of my debut project, Bleu. I’ve got another single coming soon that I’m very excited about, as well. I’m currently working hard to finish this EP up. It’s some of the best music I’ve ever made, and I plan on releasing it at the top 2021.

Savannah Cristina

R&B singer and songwriter Savannah Cristina practices “Soul Therapy.” The vocalist’s show-stopping voice, poetic confessions and warm spirit flip feelings of pain into prowess, sadness into joy, and loss into love. At the end of 2019, Savannah’s single and video “Self Care” caught fire. Directed and shot by Savannah in front of the ocean, the accompanying visual went viral to the tune of 3.4 million views in a few months. In January 2020, Grammy Award-winning icon Alicia Keys touted it in a Genius “Cosign” clip. Now with more music and performances on the horizon, Savannah’s “Soul Therapy” will make an impact for a long time to come. Amassing approximately 8 million views, generating 2 million streams, and attracting the endorsements of everyone from Alicia Keys to The FADER thus far, the Florida-born artist both captivates and heals on her 2020 debut for Warner Records.

savannahcristina.com // TW: @saveannah // IG: @savannah.cristina

How would you describe your music? 
My music is very personal. It’s soul therapy. I describe my sound as a personal venting session to myself. 
 
Who influences your sound? 
Jill Scott and Drake are two really important artists to me. They’re content and subject matter is very similar to the themes I have in my music. Jill Scott’s poetic flows and neo-soul roots are a very big influence on my sound, especially in my new Self Care EP. Drake has a current flow that is so versatile and experimental while staying true to his R&B roots. 
 
What/who is your greatest inspiration? 
My greatest inspiration is Beyoncé. She is so powerful and work-oriented. Her commitment to her performances and vocal quality is literally the pinnacle of artist talent of our time. 
 
If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why? 
I would be a bamboo tree. As an underground artist that started at my organic roots. Bamboo trees grow underground for a long time before they uproot above the soil. It’s a story of faith and patience. 
 
If you won the lottery today for $10 million, what would you do? 
I would buy some houses. I would definitely start a non-profit for girls in the inner city, teaching them about self care and mental health. 
 
Favorite cartoon character? 
Courage the Cowardly Dog is my favorite character. He’s very misunderstood. I feel like he was the “woke” character. 
 
Given the current climate, what's been a positive outcome or skill you've picked up when creating music? 
I’ve learned more about visual content creation during this pandemic. How to connect with my fans even though we can’t meet physically. Events like my drive-in concert are perfect examples of the innovation that has been birthed during quarantine. 
 
In the next five years, what are three things that you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to living comfortably and finding new ways to create beyond music. My true goal is to write books for young people, to find motivation and believe in themselves. I’m looking forward to helping many people reach their full potential. 
 
What projects are you working on? What’s in the pipeline?
My EP Self Care is releasing October 2. I’m very excited about this project because it expands on the story I originally introduced in my single, "Self Care." My supporters should be expecting a lot more visuals and intimate interviews to get more of an idea of who I am genuinely.
 

Jordan Hawkins

LA-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jordan Hawkins builds a hypnotic atmosphere with his music, inviting the listener into an alternate reality that moves at its own unhurried pace. With his impossibly smooth vocals and powerful range, the 23-year-old North Carolina native delivers a minimalist yet potent breed of R&B, infusing each track with his one-of-a-kind guitar work: shapeshifting, meditative, endlessly expressive of the unrestrained emotion at the heart of every lyric. Currently working on his debut EP, Jordan is on his way to becoming one of music's most exciting new additions.

jordanhawkinsmusic.com // TW: @imjordanhawkins // IG: @imjordanhawkins

How would you describe your music?
My music is R&B driven by soulful vocals and passionate guitar playing. I enjoy having lush instrumentation and elements of my live performance incorporated into my tracks also. I’m really pushing to create a unique lane in the current R&B space with my debut EP.

Who influences your sound?
D’Angelo, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers to name a few.

What/who is your greatest inspiration?
Jimi Hendrix. I basically taught myself guitar by using YouTube and a Jimi Hendrix songbook I borrowed from a friend.

If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why?
I’d be a persimmon tree! I grew up with two in my backyard and miss my grandma's persimmon pudding in LA. If my grandma made persimmon pudding out of me it would be even more savory.

If you won the lottery today for $10 million, what would you do?
Buy my mom a crib and invest the rest into my career in some capacity.

What projects are you working on? What's in the pipeline?
I am working on my debut EP with ST80s! I am dropping two tracks October 6 titled "Daydreams" and "Sunsets." One of which was made on acid.

Favorite cartoon character?
Undoubtedly Scooby Doo! That was my childhood nickname!

Given the current climate, what's been a positive outcome or skill you've picked up when creating music?
Patience!

In the next five years, what are three things that you're looking forward to?
Playing live shows again! Touring internationally. Winning a Grammy. 

Liza

Liza (pronounced Lee-za) is an Ethiopian-Canadian R&B singer/songwriter with an undeniable presence. Born and raised in Toronto, a city overflowing with blended cultures, it becomes evident that these subtle influences spill over into her music. Her pensive lyrics and progressive production invite listeners on a reflective journey. Her music specifically draws influence from traditional Ethiopian sounds she grew up listening to, with R&B and neo-soul influences.

In 2017, she independently released her debut project titled February 29, which received positive reviews from various music outlets in Canada and across the US. Following the release of her debut EP, Liza released a number of follow up singles including “Here to Stay,” “Passes Me” and “Morning Glory,” and most recently released a mini-EP, titled ID.

She has taken the stage at a number of venues in her hometown and abroad, such as NXNE, where she opened up for Tinashe, Canadian Music Week, headlining a Manifesto Festival show, and SXSW in Austin, TX. As fate would have it, she opened for the legendary songstress Lauryn Hill during the 20th Anniversary Miseducation Tour in Toronto, alongside Santigold, Busta Rhymes and Tierra Whack, and has opened for Kyle Dion and Raveena during their respective tours.

Most recently, Liza was featured on Daniel Caesar’s latest project, CASE STUDY 01, and was also featured on Michelle Obama’s official Spotify Playlist, “Higher Ground.”

lizayohannes.com // TW: @lizayohannes // IG: @lizayohannes

How would you describe your music?
At its core, I would describe my music as therapeutic R&B/neo-soul, with a blend of some jazz and alternative elements. 
 
Who influences your sound?
I grew up in an Ethiopian household where I listened to a lot of Ethiopian artists like Aster Aweke, Teddy Afro, Gossaye, Tilahun Gessesse and Ethiopian jazz. At the same time, I inherited my love for R&B/neo-soul/jazz from my dad, who introduced me to the artists I look up today like Brandy, Sade, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Zapp & Roger, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, etc. I essentially grew up listening to an amalgamation of neo-soul/R&B and Ethiopian music. I feel like my music, writing and overall technique and style are subconsciously and consciously heavily influenced by this blend of genres/sounds.
 
What/who is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is my dad. I was raised solely by him and he has taught me so much about what it means to be resilient, kind, strong and authentic to who I am. The most important life lessons I've learned from him easily translate to my journey in music, and I'm so grateful for that guidance. 
 
If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why?
A cherry blossom tree - they're so beautiful, but also because they bloom every year at Trinity Bellwoods Park and High Park in Toronto and it's almost a Toronto tradition for people to gather at the park to watch them bloom every spring. 
 
If you won the lottery today for $10 million, what would you do?
I don't think my day-to-day would change too drastically. I would still be creating music with my friends, but I just wouldn't have to worry about any financial constraints that come with it. I would ensure that my family and friends are good. Also, definitely give back to my community and fund/support initiatives I'm passionate about.
 
Favoritecartoon character?
It's between Chuckie from Rugrats and Rick from Rick & Morty
 
Given the current climate, what's been a positive outcome or skill you've picked up when creating music?
Being able to pause and be alone has allowed me to spend some much needed time with myself. There have been so many things that have happened during this time, and I didn't have any distractions to turn to, so instead, I was forced to dive into what I was experiencing on a deeper, more introspective level; I feel like I've become a better/stronger songwriter because of that. I've also gotten a lot better at playing keys and I just picked up guitar, which has been really fun. 
 
In the next five years, what are three things that you're looking forward to?
This year really taught us that we can only plan for so much, but I'm really looking forward to playing shows again, traveling and putting out a lot more music. 
 
What projects are you working on? What's in the pipeline?
I've been working on some really cool collaborations and writing with other artists/creatives. Right now, I'm working on a project that'll be out early next year which I'm really excited about. 

Mylah

In an industry that looks to box artists into rigid categories, Mylah is one who has always looked to test boundaries. Her music is not just R&B or soul; not exclusively sexy, trendy or classic - the different genres and aesthetics are meshed together effortlessly by this seasoned performer. Mylah's music reflects her overall personality - cool exterior and deeply passionate underneath.

No rookie to the game, this Indiana native has been performing and writing since the age of 17. She’s worked with such notables as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Brandon “BAM” Hodge and Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter, Bryan-Michael Cox. She has performed at legendary venues, toured the states with soul artist Anthony David, and has done BGV work with Lauryn Hill and Kandi Burruss, to name a few. In 2019, Mylah headlined her very own tour in Eastern Europe and has also toured the Middle East and Africa. “Performing is definitely my passion and something that I feel like I need to do, no matter where my life takes me!”

Choosing to stick with the indie route, Mylah released her third EP, THE PURGE in January 2018, which debuted at #24 on the iTunes R&B chart. She is currently working on a new project for 2021 release.

"I don't write picture perfect love songs, nor do I have flawless vocals, but the music is a beautifully honest look on love and my life. I don't do cliché, because I'm not that type of girl. Honesty is key." It's that refreshing honesty and ability to tap into different musical vibes that will surely grab listeners' ears and keep Mylah making music for years to come.

mylahmusic.com // IG: @mylahmusic

How would you describe your music? 
If Mary J. and Sade had a baby, with Faith Evans as the Godmother, that's me!
 
Who influences your sound? 
Honestly, I am most inspired by my fellow indies. Many of them, I consider The Great Unknowns. And that's not to say that nobody knows them...they just aren't in the mainstream eye. But their creativity and talent and hustle influence me to keep shaping my own personal sound.
 
What/who is your greatest inspiration? 
My current greatest inspiration is my son because I always want to be a great example of resilience and tenacity for him. I want to keep going on this road of artistry for as long as I feel and I know that will show him what perseverance looks like. Life is also a great inspiration. The good, bad and ugly parts.
 
If you could be a tree, what kind would you be and why?
I've literally never thought about that! Maybe a palm tree? Sturdy and well-grounded at its root. Interesting and somewhat exotic to look at and experience. And who doesn't like being around an environment with palm trees? It's a vibe!
 
If you won the lottery today for $10 million, what would you do? 
Buy a small island, equip it with bomb Wi-Fi and a bright, sunny home and live my best introverted life! I'd bless some people and families in need, too. Gotta do that.
 
Favorite cartoon character? 
Daria from the MTV show. I was pretty much her for a long time, lol. I'm a bit lighter now.
 
Given the current climate, what's been a positive outcome or skill you've picked up when creating music? 
I thought I was going to have this huge creative burst since I had nothing but time to create, but I've got to say, it's been the opposite. Without being able to go out and kind of BE in the world, I've been really uninspired, if I'm being honest. Only recently did the spark come back. Live performance is my power up, so not being able to do that almost turned me back into Daria, lol. I guess I learned that it's okay to take a step back and live with yourself, quietly, and be okay with that. I picked up meditation...that's a positive.
 
In the next five years, what are three things that you're looking forward to? 
I look forward to charting on Billboard - you listening, God? Performing on a world tour, not as a background singer, though I love background singing, as well, and being happily married and impacting the people with a wonderful example of love. That last one is something I've never said before, but thanks to all of this time off and lots of self-reflection and love, here we are!
 
What projects are you working on? What's in the pipeline? 
I've been sitting on an entire project this whole pandemic! It didn't make sense to me to put it out when my main way of reaching people, performing live, was taken out of the equation. Since things are slowly getting back to normal, I'll be releasing a new single really, really soon. Maybe the same time the readers are reading this! I'm going to slowly dip my toe back into the water, but I am OVERLY ready to start sharing my feels with the world again. I want to be a cool breeze for them and a release for myself. Yeah!
 

Read the On the Come Up press release