Should We Be Listening To Misha B?

Please note her jazz hand

Please note her jazz hand

In the dance world, one of the best ways to judge an artist is by how well she uses a sample: When she builds a new track around a snippet from a classic, is the result fresh and surprising, or does it sound like lazy recycling?

Does the sample help her demonstrate her own artistic point of view, or does it make her seem generic in comparison to an amazing old hit? When an artist doesn’t use a sample well, then you get depressing crap like Pitbull and Christina Aguilera’s “Feel This Moment” or that awful thing Jessica Simpson did to John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane.”

But when an artist can turn a sample into something new, then you get Misha B.

A dance diva from the U.K., the 21-year-old X Factor contestant just dropped her single “Here’s to Everything (Ooh La La),” which she co-wrote with producer Scribz Riley. It’s built on the chorus of “Ooh La La La” by Teena Marie, which was also sampled by the Fugees in their flawless anthem, “Fu-Gee-La.”

And here’s the cool part: “Here’s to Everything” doesn’t sound like either song. Instead, it’s a heart-exploding command to dance your ass off and have a good time.

I mean… right?!?! I’m listening to this in my living room, and I still want to grab a glowstick and start spinning around. In the second verse, when the beat drops out and gets replaced by that spare marching-band rhythm? I love that because it not only mixes up the sound, but also puts the focus on Misha’s smoky voice. And then the beat comes back, which is one of my favorite tropes in pop music. It’s always so satisfying!

But if I’m being real, I like Misha B’s earlier hit even more. Check out “Do You Think of Me,” a lighters-up anthem that hit the UK Top Ten late last year. Her vocal is even more impressive and emotional here, especially during that tightly controlled run of high notes when she sings the song’s title lines. She stays right on the melody, but manages to color it with  small tremors of feeling. It’s awesome.

Both of these songs will probably be on Misha B.’s first album, which arrives this summer. I hope America pays attention—we could use this lady in our lives.

Previously: Is it wrong to think this guy is hot?

Mark Blankenship is excited that Lauryn Hill is about to record new music, and he hopes she’ll sample Misha B. He tweets as @IAmBlankenship.