Listen to this: New singles from Halsey and Ruth B

By Nicholas Jennings

The work of talent agents has been made easier by the rise of video-sharing websites. In their search for the next pop star, talent-seeking executives have only needed to search YouTube and Vine to see which hopeful singer was attracting the most views. Tori Kelly, James Bay, Alessia Cara, Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber were all discovered that way. This week, two young women who got their start posting clips of themselves on YouTube and Vine are the latest online stars to breakthrough.

Halsey – “Now or Never”

Born Ashley Frangipane in New Jersey, Halsey began getting attention by posting cover songs on YouTube under her real name. After getting signed to Astralwerks, she released her debut album, Badlands, and toured with Imagine Dragons. Her greatest success to date has been providing lead vocals to the Chainsmokers’ #1 hit song “Closer” and winning the Rising Star prize at Billboard’s Women in Music awards. Now Halsey has departed from her electropop sound to release a slow ’n’ sensuous r&b jam as the first single from her forthcoming sophomore album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.

The 22-year-old singer took to Twitter to post a notebook sketch announcing her single, video and upcoming album that shows off her creative calligraphy skills.

Ruth B. – “If This is Love”

The Edmonton-born singer posted her first Vine video in 2013 and was signed to Columbia in 2015. That year, Ruth (born Ruth Berhe to Ethiopian parents) had released a Vine-grown song, “Lost Boy,” which appeared first on iTunes and then on her debut EP, The Intro. The song became a hit in both Canada and the U.S. At this month’s Junos, the 21-year-old won the award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. As fans await her debut album, Safe Haven, Ruth has released a soaring romantic ballad that showcases her vocal and songwriting talent.

In January, Ruth went on Vine to post her last six-second-long looping clip, thanking fans for finding her through the video-sharing site.

HELLO! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.

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