• Kanye West's 'Yeezus' was one of Kia's top albums of the year
  • Lorde is Kia's pick for rising artist to watch
  • After Jhene Aiko’s collaboration with Drake on his newest album 'Nothing Was the Same,' the singer’s new release is one of the albums Kia's most excited about.
  • Kia loves Jared Leto's new ombre look

Kia Marakechi

Kia Marakechi’s background in the music industry is strictly in editorial. Although he’s never performed in a band, he’s a self-professed amateur DJ and has spun at a few New York bars. We asked the Huffington Post senior editor to give us the scoop on his favorite albums released the year and which bloggers have changed the industry.

New genres of music emerge all the time. Which types of music are having a moment now?

At this point, it’s cliché to say that dance music (which includes Dubstep and Trap) is having a moment—but it's true. Dance music festivals and tours are booming, although it's hard to know how much longer this fad will last.

In your opinion, what were the best albums this year?

To me, the best albums of 2013 have so far accomplished very different things. Kanye's Yeezus album challenged him as an artist as well as the hip-hop/rap genre. Daft Punk's Random Access Memories came with a lot of promise but seems to have tapered off in relevance—but maybe that's the point. While I've been particularly impressed with Earl Sweatshirt's Doris and Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady, some of last year's efforts are still on repeat. My favorite album from last year is undoubtedly Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, m.A.A.d city.

Which upcoming album releases are you most excited for?

I'll listen to anything by Lorde. I've been lucky enough to have already listened to the new Pearl Jam album, which is great. Drake's song “Hold On We’re Going Home” was probably my favorite leak of the year. Everyone from Joan Jett to Katy Perry to MIA to Future are releasing new albums this year—so it's a good time to be a music fan!

Who are your top three picks for rising artists to watch?

Lorde, Lorde and Lorde. There’s also this weirdly enchanting rapper Dominic Lord (no relation). I'm also excited for Jhene Aiko to do big things this year after stellar collaborations on the Drake album Nothing Was the Same.

Which artist or band do you think has the best hair?

I must say, Jared Leto’s new ombre look is really majestic…so much so that my colleagues at HuffPost Style interviewed the stylist behind it. It's really a thing to behold.

How does a musician’s style (fashion and beauty) impact his/her career?

There's no doubt that messaging is important in today's social media-driven world, but if you look closely, it's actually always been that way. I’ve never seen a haircut and thought, "That person's going to be a star," but I'm sure everyone from Cher to Lady Gaga to Questlove can speak at length at the impact of their hair and style on their credibility and fan engagement.

Many musicians are either creating their own fashion lines or becoming the faces of established brands. What are your thoughts on this intersection of fashion and music?

I think any collaboration between an artist and brand that feels authentic makes sense. Why not? These people work hard and like to make lots of money, but they're also artists (at least in theory). Limiting an artist to one medium bores me.

If you could reunite any band, who would you choose?

I would have said The Postal Service, but then Ben Gibbard went ahead and toured the whole country with Jimmy and Jenny Lewis. I suppose I'd be remiss if I didn't answer with The Smiths.

Although they're still a ways away, do you have any predictions for the Grammy Awards?

I expect the Grammys to throw awards at Taylor Swift, because they like doing that. It would be nice to see Kanye and some talented hip-hop artists not be relegated to the urban categories. One can dream.

How have technology and the rise of bloggers changed the music scene?

Bloggers are the music industry's best and worst friend. The democratization of publishing has made it easy to get your band's Soundcloud embeds on any number of blogs, and bloggers have definitely surfaced artists like A$AP Rocky in ways that are entirely new for the industry. At the same time, like all media, they can be diminished by a herd mentality. Technology has obviously changed everything: It has never been easier or cheaper to produce music. Consequently, it has never been harder to do something original.

From what you've seen in the music industry, what tips would you give aspiring artists?

Pay attention to what's happening in the cultural world around you, but don't be a trend-hopper. Nobody likes a biter.
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