This year’s Men of Rock list runs the gamut: From soulful singles to electronica to straightforward alt-rock, all of these artists share standout vocals, strong personalities, and plenty of talent.
What makes them unique is their individual approaches to their tunes. This isn’t a popularity contest, though. Justin Bieber and Jay-Z get enough attention as it is. The following men of rock are causing a stir because of their innovation, music, and accomplishments. Check ‘em out.
Newman’s debut solo album has only been out for less than a year, but the singer from Settle, England turned heads with his singular fusion of breakbeat and Northern soul. His album “Tribute” debuted at number one on the UK albums chart, generating the smash single “Love Me Again” and an electronic dance music (EDM) remix of same. The result? A trio of BRIT Awards nominations. Now, his tunes “Cheating” and “Losing Sleep” explain a breakup that influenced the album, but Newman’s rebounding with early critical acclaim.
He may have a former career as an Australian footballer and a degree in law, but it seems singer-songwriter James Keogh, a.k.a. Vance Joy, has found a different calling, given his recent Lollapalooza set. Blending light, witty lyrics with ukulele and quirky storytelling, his debut album, “Dream Your Life Away,” hits outlets in September. His first single “Riptide” is already triple-platinum, and “God Loves You When You’re Dancing” got the feet moving at Lolla. Keep an eye on Joy, who could be the solo successor to sounds like The Lumineers or Bon Iver.
Maroon 5 frontman Levine has had quite a year, so much so that he’s standing alone on the strength of his own name even more than with the band that propelled him to fame. His judging gig on the NBC singing competition “The Voice” showed off both Levine’s musical knowledge and quick wit, and his coaching snagged him two wins on the show. And going back to Maroon 5, their latest album shows them successfully expanding their modern rock sound with added synths and ‘80s sensibilities. Levine’s having big-screen success, too, via his role as rock star Dave Kohl in “Begin Again.”
Mars certainly started his year on a high note, and he’s not slowing down. He won Best Pop Vocal Album for his “Unorthodox Jukebox” set at the 56th Grammy Awards in late January, and one week later, he was onstage at Super Bowl XL- VIII as the featured performer during the halftime show. Not bad. Since then, he won Artist of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards this past May, and ranked number one on Forbes’ 2014 30 Under 30 List. Up next? Mars will be returning to Vegas to wrap up his roster of eight shows at the Cosmopolitan, bringing along his three-octave range and fancy footwork.
It could be said that native Michiganian White is on his fourth music career. His breakthrough band, of course, was The White Stripes, which he followed up with band projects by The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. White launched his solo career in 2012 with the set “Blunderbuss,” and this year’s song “Lazaretto” has solidified his solo artist status. A champion of vinyl, White was reportedly thrilled when “Lazaretto” broke the record for the largest sales week for a vinyl record since 1991. He’s keeping busy otherwise running his Third Man Records in Nashville, where he decamped after leaving Detroit.
From Scotland arrives DJ, producer, and singer Harris, who’s finally getting his own musical due after having put together tracks for a host of other singers, including Dizzee Rascal and Rihanna. Late last year, he became the first exclusive resident DJ at the MGM Grand’s nightclub in Las Vegas. And this summer, he was one of only six headliners at Lollapalooza, where he showed off the reasons he’s listed as the highest paid DJ in the world by Forbes. Harris’ fourth album is due out early this fall, and, in a Men of Rock wraparound, his new single, “Blame,” features vocals from … John Newman. Modern rockin’ men gotta stick together.