In December, former Houston Press music writer Brian McManus was hired away from his perch at the Village Voice to be BuzzFeed's new music editor. And it looks like McManus hasn't forgotten his old stomping grounds—yesterday he co-wrote a story with the very Buzzfeed-y headline "25 New Artists You Need In Your Life in 2015," and two of the artists have Houston roots. Singer-songwriter Robert Ellis, who first made a name for himself here before moving on to Nashville and now New York, makes the list at number 14 (although the writers claim the list isn't in any particular order). BuzzFeed's recommended song: "Houston," of course.
Ellis has already received plenty of local and national coverage, including in Houstonia, but also in Texas Monthly and Esquire, which called him "the best young singer-songwriter in America." The 10-piece soul band The Suffers, on the other hand, have maintained a lower profile. Although they've been praised in the New York Times, SPIN, and PASTE magazine, the BuzzFeed mention (at number 23) is sure to expose them to lots of new fans. And the timing couldn't be better—the band recently released "Make Some Room," the first single from their new EP of the same name, which is scheduled to be released on January 20.
As BuzzFeed notes in its write-up, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons once attended a Suffers concert and was so impressed by lead singer Kam Franklin that he approached her after the show. "Young lady, I was not prepared for what you just did on that stage," he's supposed to have said. Now that they've broken through nationally, we can only hope they don't follow Robert Ellis to New York.