Dancing, stomping and swallowing in an atmosphere bursting with dance music, often we wait on the ‘drop’ or the ‘hook’ before journeying into a dance movement frenzy. Drum & bass music loaded with growling basslines, techy and gritty sounds, and fast breakbeats among other elements, also have some of the most meaningful lyrics captured by harmonious vocals. We list out our picks of DnB tracks that showcase some of the best vocal skills in drum & bass music –
Hybrid Minds – Touch
UK liquid drum & bass producers Hybrid Minds, consisting of Josh White and Matthew Lowe, are known to exhibit a melange of elements transiting trip-hop, soul, and RnB. For many of their collaborative projects, they have roped in artists Rocky Nti, Charlotte Haining, Linguistics, and Tiffani Juno, who is now under the moniker Catching Cairo. Hybrid Minds released ‘Touch’ in 2017 as part of their album ‘Elements,’ which features the British musician Catching Cairo on vocals. Cairo’s assertive vocal qualities nestle seamlessly between the piece’s drum & bass rhythm and keyboard work.
Speaking about ‘Touch’ in an interview with UKF the pair shared, “We were surprised by how well Touch went down. Afterward, we created a few tracks without vocals, but because of how well Tiffani was received, we gave her three more tracks. Everything she touches turns to gold.”
Kenya Grace – Meteor
London-based singer/songwriter/producer Kenya Grace belted out an incredible sonic journey with ‘Meteor.’ Released in May 2023, the track stretches across almost three minutes, plugged with captivating lyrics, blissful beats, melodic liquid drops, and Grace’s temperate vocals. ‘Meteor’ also has a well-produced music video by videographer Jasper, capturing Grace’s production techniques in the woods, and concluding with a meteor shower. Kenya Grace has previously described her music as “sultry, smooth, delicate, dreamy, electronic, empowering.”
Netsky ft. Becky Hill – Hold On
One of the biggest names in electronic dance music and drum & bass, Belgian musician Netsky (Boris Daenen) battered DnB devotees with ‘Hold On’ in 2020 featuring English singer and songwriter Becky Hill. Released via Hospital Records, on the album Second Nature, the tune whips up a steady build on the keys, fast-paced melodies, and Hill’s signature vocal traits.
When asked to name a favorite track from the 2020 album Second Nature, Netsky told EDM-LAB, “First time, I have a clear favorite. For me, it’s ‘Hold On’ with Becky Hill. It’s a song about missing someone and struggling to get through a relationship while being far away from each other.”
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Nero – Satisfy
If you enjoy a slender melange of electronica, dubstep, and drum & bass layered with fiery vocals, then British dance electronic music trio Nero’s ‘Satisfy’ is a must-listen. The four-minute tune features pulsating melodic beats and weighty basslines, with band member Alana Watson on vocals. ‘Satisfy’ premiered in 2014 and was released on their Between II Worlds album in 2015.
On the absolute banger ‘Fall From the Dark,’ Canadian electronic music producer René LaVice enlisted the vocal abilities of singer/songwriter RAIGN (Rachel Rabin). Released in February 2023, the four-and-a-half-minute track showcases RAIGN’s vocal skills and stellar work from production form LaVice. Forty seconds in and you soak in a deep vocal and sonic drum & bass journey. ‘Fall From the Dark’ was LaVice’s first single release after a seven-month hiatus.
Speaking of the track, René LaVice shared a passionate message on Instagram, saying, “This track marks a turning point as it’s the first track I’ve released since stepping away from other roles I had taken on (such as presenting) and focusing solely on my own music, touring & DeVice. I feel inspired, & I feel like everything is coming together. It was a real pleasure to work with @iamraign who was instantly inspired by the instrumental. We captured something enigmatic in the lyrics that I was aiming for when I wrote the chords. It was great to see the vision take shape and come together.”
Shapeshifter – Monarch
Shapeshifter, hailing from New Zealand, is a drum & bass, dance music outfit that combines elements of drum & bass, soul, jazz, funk, rock, and electronica in their sound. The five-piece band engulfs arenas in a jumpy dance-heavy atmosphere when performing their music live, incorporating guitars, synths, sampler, drums, and powerful vocals.
Shapeshifter’s ‘Monarch,’ off their Delta album, is one of the closing tracks on their live setlist. It begins slowly with orchestral-style key work and grows into a DnB heavy piece with a saxophone solo, with vocalist PDigsss singing over the music. If you enjoy ‘Monarch’ and their style of music and lyrics you should also give their tracks ‘In Color,’ ‘Stars,’ ‘Runaway‘ and ‘Twin Galaxies‘ a listen.
John B ft. Jillian Ann – Love Again
English music producer John Bryn Williams, best known as John B, joined forces with singer Jillian Ann to release ‘Love Again’ in 2012. Available on John B’s Light Speed album, the nearly 2-minute-long fast-paced, high-energy tune boasts the producer’s cutting-edge drum and bass production techniques, meticulous piano work, and rip-roaring sounds, coupled with singer Jillian Ann providing her slick vocals over the track.