Five Underrated Artists to See at Best Life Festival

The most important factor in deciding whether to spend your life savings on a festival is often the headliner. At Best Life, Miami's first R&B festival, H.E.R. and Ella Mai, two of the genre's leading ladies, are definitely worth a pretty penny. But there will also be lots of newcomers and local artists. Here’s who you shouldn’t sleep on during Best Life Music Festival.

Kyle Dion
Kyle Dion
Photo by Saru

Kyle Dion. Most critiques of today’s R&B concentrate on artists' lack of vocal reach. Those don't apply to Kyle Dion. He possesses the ability to hit a falsetto on cue and perform an entire set without ruining one curl in his Afro. His single “Hold on to Me” demonstrates vocal range, while “Brown,” one of his newer hits, highlights the vocal control he has garnered during years of practice. Dion performed in South Florida last September, but he's expected to bring new material to the Best Life stage as his debut album nears its release.

R.Lum.R
R.Lum.R
Photo by Nolan Knight

R.Lum.R. You might think live instrumentation is a thing of the past. It's not. R.Lum.R’, a Bradenton-born alternative R&B singer, tells stories of love and heartbreak accompanied by production that expresses the true essence of his music. The soothing, genuine sounds of his guitar and piano are a reprieve from synthetic beats. His latest EP, ALTERIMAGE, includes six songs detailing past relationships. Among them is the hit single “Frustrated,” which he performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live last year. R.Lum.R brings to the table what most artists don’t: real music.

Summer Walker
Summer Walker
Courtesy of the artist

Summer Walker. Summer Walker makes music for moody 21-year-olds who long for the love of a companion but also want to live their best life, no pun intended. The Atlanta-based alternative-R&B artist allows songwriting to be at the forefront of her career. Her single “Girl Need Love” dives deep into the dilemmas of women who aren’t afraid to say they need sex. Walker has yet to release a full project, but we hope to hear unreleased music along with crowd favorites during her set.

Ari Chi
Ari Chi
Courtesy of the artist

Ari Chi. There are artists you can enjoy only on SoundCloud. Ari Chi, a Tampa-based songstress who gives a new definition to neo-soul, isn't one of them. Equipped with her ukulele and a speaker, Chi performs in the streets and on festival stages. She serenades fans via original music from her album Color Fool, released last year. Sometimes she covers rap singles such as those by “Panda" rapper Desiigner. Though R&B and soul are her go-to genres, Chi has a handful of synthpop and rap singles she'll release at the right moment.

Arin Ray
Arin Ray
Photo by Nikko La Mere

Arin Ray. Arin Ray auditioned and performed on The X Factor twice and didn’t make the cut. But that didn’t stop him from finding his voice and pushing forward. After noticing that bouncy R&B/pop singles weren’t for him, he began to tap into the grimier R&B that influenced hip-hop. It gave him the spotlight he deserves. The California native isn’t shy about flexing his vocals, as he did on his latest project, Platinum Fire. His most recent single, “2 or Nothin,” can be easily dubbed the perfect end-of-summer single.

Best Life Festival. 4 p.m. Saturday, September 15, at RC Cola Plant at Mana Wynwood, 550 NW 24th St., Miami; bestlifefest.com. Tickets cost $65 to $150 via blockparty.us.

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