When covering promising unsigned artists, it is common practice to introduce their accolades before their music. For somebody who has never heard the artist’s work, things like stream counts and their number of projects often serve as meaningful details – one’s that translate information about the artist’s music before the reader looks them up on Spotify. For Chrystel Bagrou, her accolades take a wildly different form – she’s a Grammy-nominated artist who was invited to J Cole’s ROTD3 sessions as a songwriter. This work would land her name on a #1 record, earning her a large social following and impacting her own future career as a solo artist.
Chrystel is an Atlanta-based singer/songwriter whose own artistry takes inspiration from the wide array of music she listened to growing up. Traces of afrobeat make their way into her own music, which often takes form as a unique blend of afrobeat, R&B, electronic, and pop music. Following her debut single “Dangerous” in 2017, Chrystel released three tracks last year, continuing to work hard until the recent release of her debut EP Prey. Synthesizing Chrystel’s near-effortless natural talent for singing with her affinity for songwriting, Prey is composed of three varied yet consistently cleverly written afro-flavored bangers.
From the soft and steady momentum in “Thunder” to Chrystel’s hypnotic vocal harmonies on “Good Thing," Prey is a phenomenal exhibition of raw talent from one of music’s most promising upcoming artists. Though it is hard to label Chrystel’s music as just one genre – perhaps it is this aspect that makes her such a great artist to follow. Each new track is like a stylistic curveball from a talented artist who is just scratching the surface of her talents.
It is rare that an artist so early into their career is able to create music that feels global – taking inspiration from different areas and instilling within the listener a sense of community – but Chrystel inexplicably manages to do just that. With more music and visuals likely on the horizon, now is the perfect time to become a fan.