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Breaking The Rules

12 Alt-Pop Girls Taking Over the Summer: Kiiara, NAO, Shura & More

These ladies are switching up the rules of pop—and you need to be paying attention to them!

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The U.K. is forever known for impeccably cool dance/pop music, and its latest import is Shura. Hailing from Manchester, the singer is reviving the bright-eyed New Wave era from the '80s and makes it relatable for modern kids who don't care about fitting into the "cool" crowd.

Shura is gearing up for her debut album, Nothing's Real, which includes tracks like "2Shy," "White Light" and "What's It Gonna Be?" Be sure to pick it up on July 8!

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This British songstress made waves working with Kwabs and Disclosure, but now NAO is ready to solidify her name stateside with her debut album For All We Know (out July 29). The 28-year-old seamlessly blends jangling electronic with warm R&B notes (see "Fool For Love"), which is wrapped around a voice that is slightly similar to Aluna Francis with a bit more starry-eyed charm.

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Dua Lipa

Here's yet another rising star from the U.K. who is injecting the stagnant pop scene with ferocity! Dua Lipa may only be 20, but her deep, gravelly vocals and remarkable confidence places her among fearless peers like Rihanna. The singer's current single, "Hotter Than Hell," is just the scorcher you need to get through the summer.

Look out for Dua Lipa's debut album, which also features "Last Dance" and "Be The One," sometime this fall.

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Zara Larsson

Zara Larsson's U.S. debut album hasn't even arrived yet (look out for it in September), but the Swedish starlet already entered the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Never Forget You" alongside MNEK and worked with David Guetta for "This One's For You." The 18-year-old's infectious tunes and her unapologetic feminist stance even lead her to become one of our Fuse First artists.

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Allie X

This off-kilter pop girl hails from Los Angeles by way of Canada, and she is creating music that is almost deadly with its saccharine synths. Allie X is readying the follow-up to 2015's CollXtion I with the sequel, which features the handclap-ready "Old Habits Die Hard." She's already made a fan out of Troye Sivan (Allie co-wrote a lot of Blue Neighbourhood), so it's only a matter of time until she gains the attention of the masses.

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After Danity Kane disbanded in 2014, group member Dawn Richard took the opportunity to place her eclectic sound to the forefront as a solo artist. Now going by D∆WN, the singer has released two albums and is gearing up for her final one in the trilogy—Redemptionheart.

With songs like "Wake Up" and "Not Above That," D∆WN continues to push the artistic limits with her vibrant fusion of R&B and electronica.

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MØ caught the international wave when she collaborated with Major Lazer for "Lean On," but now the Danish singer-songwriter is ready to return to solo stardom with her sophomore album due later this year. Her current single, "Final Song," is the epitome of a carefree, dance-filled summer that you never, ever want to end.

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KLOE is a 19-year-old Scottish singer who manages to transform the complexities of teenage youth into her music. Songs like "Touch" and "Feel" aren't your typical blissful pop tunes; instead, KLOE amps up the dark vibes and uses icy production to create the emotions of a real teenager: flirty, anxious and moody.

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HAIM and rising act MUNA are both all-girl trios who hail from Los Angeles, but the latter doesn't rely on the sunny skies and palm trees to influence their female-positive music. MUNA, who describe themselves as "dark pop," create imperfect tunes that are just as easy to drunkenly dance to as they are to listen to while crying in the corner.

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Empress Of

Lorely Rodriguez, aka Empress Of, is all about creating punchy dream-pop that still holds a message. The club-ready production is intense and very in-your-face, yet the singer's almost hushed vocals are a reflection of those who'd rather stay in the shadows on the dancefloor. 

Empress Of released her solid debut Me last year, but she continues to treat her growing fanbase with studio session leftovers, like March's empowering track "Woman is a Word."

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Kiiara's glitchy pop isn't usually accepted by the mainstream, but the infectious qualities of songs like "Gold" led to the singer being one of Fuse's top contenders for the summer. The 21-year-old transferred that undeniable vibe into her debut EP low kii savage (released in March), which blends trap, bedroom-pop and smoky R&B.

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This 19-year-old British singer released her debut album Long Way Home back in March, which is filled with breathtaking, soulful tunes that have the maturity of artists twice her age. But instead of leaning towards the sometimes unbearably emotional Adele territory, Låpsley keeps it fresh with waves of ambient electronica and wonky vocal shifts.

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