Donna Missal (BMI)

Abe Olman Scholarship, 2016

New Jersey singer Donna Missal has one track to her name, but the newbie’s enrapturing and passionately raw vocal proved she could capture even the most jaded of listeners. Her mighty set of pipes fits somewhere between the smoky pop softness of Lana Del Rey, the soulful strength and grit of Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and the retro rocker howl of Janis Joplin, the songstress’ trifecta appeal carries her with a lighted torch to the forefront of today’s crowded musical landscape.

With debut single “Keep Lying,” Missal fired off an undeniably forceful first punch, that first sparked the airwaves after the track premiered on Beats 1, then skyrocketed to the to the top of the Spotify Viral charts, as well as the #1 spot on HypeMachine.

The song exemplifies the depth of her range as an artist, as she softly sings of being seduced by deception. But as the listener is lulled into a false sense of safety by the track’s honeyed throwback of an arrangement, Missal’s vocal shatters through on the potent—and massive—chorus, like a drop-kick to the chest as she belts “Let me down now slowly, you know me, tell me I’m your only, even if it hurts.”

As the track unravels with Missal’s vocal acrobatics at the close, it’s clear that this young singer’s distinctly rare talent won’t get lost in the static.