Listen Up with Spotify’s Shanon Cook

The trends expert fills us in on the latest music buzz

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Meet Shanon Cook, Spotify’s trends expert-slash-our new music insider. Tune in monthly for a series we’re calling Listen Up, in which she shares what’s all the rage in the world of music. Find out what your favorite Aussie is up to and why we’re planning to crash the Spotify House.

Can’t Get Her out of Our Heads
Kylie Minogue. ’Nuf said. The singer recently graced our London digs with her smiling presence, dressed in jeans and killer pointy black booties. She performed a few numbers, including new single “Into the Blue,” from her album Kiss Me Once (out mid March). Fellow Aussie Sia co-executive-produced the album and gets top marks for upping the raunch factor; three songs are about sex. Pharrell Williams also lent his sought-after skills. “I have a song on this album that Pharrell wrote and produced for me, called ‘I Was Gonna Cancel,’ because I was gonna cancel that day but I didn’t. Thank goodness,” Minogue says.

Also Spinning at Spotify
America, meet Sam Smith. Sam Smith, meet America. The 21-year-old British singer is soaring faster than his heart-stirring falsetto. Smith came to our New York headquarters and sang a gorgeous acoustic version of “Latch,” a track he collaborated on a couple of years ago with UK electronic duo Disclosure. Smith has already collected serious accolades for it in his homeland, and U.S. listeners are latching on in a big way; it’s one of our top ten viral songs and Smith’s debut album hasn’t even dropped yet. The Lonely Hour arrives in May and documents never having been in love. Expect rawness; buy Kleenex. Says Smith: “I’ve been so brutally honest that it’s almost hard to sing the tunes.”

Climbing the Pop(corn) Charts
The Lego Movie is a smash at the box office, and its theme song, “Everything Is Awesome,” is pretty great, too. The upbeat ditty by twin sisters Tegan and Sara (and featuring The Lonely Island) has topped our viral charts in the U.S. and UK and is also a hit in Ireland. Lana Del Rey’s song “Once upon a Dream” sounds otherworldly and was introduced to us via the trailer for Disney flick Maleficent (out in May); it’s getting steady shares and streams.

Austin, We Will Rock You
SXSW is just around the corner, and we’ve staked out a domain (it’s going to be very, very noisy). The Spotify House has hosted some pretty awesome breakout-star performances in years past, like Angel Haze and Tom Odell. Expected to pop over this year for a beverage and show: Oakland rap artist G-Eazy, whose clean-cut look has earned him the nickname “the James Dean of hip-hop” (his real name is Gerald). Girl-guy duo Phantogram is also invited; our listeners are smitten with “Fall in Love.”

Stream the playlist on Spotify.

Photos: Richard Young / Courtesy of Spotify