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Hot Artist: Sara Bareilles

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The Fiona Apple comparisons are inevitable. As soon as Sara Bareilles opens her mouth, she reveals the vocal depth of Apple with the pop sensibility of Rachael Yamagata and Regina Spektor and the soulful sultriness of Norah Jones and Feist. In fact, on her website, she says:

"I write mostly on piano and I'm a girl, so lots of people say it's Norah Jones, or Fiona Apple. That's fine. I love Norah's subtlety and Fiona's fierce lyrical prowess. But I also have an affinity for the playful and intelligent-pop of people like Elton John and Ben Folds."

Her major label debut, Little Voice, was released in July and immediately found success on iTunes. With no formal piano or vocal training, she's one of the most interesting finds of 2007. Her music may not be as dark as her fellow contemporaries but its unapologetic catchy-ness is a welcome difference. So let everyone make the Fiona, Rachael, Norah, and even Cat (as in Power) comparisons; to have that kind of talent without training only suggests the potential she has. Watch out for this one, she's a firecracker songwriter and a dynamite singer and that combination is sure to light the way to a bright future.