The rising pop singer Jacqueline Mapei Cummings, 30, who goes by Mapei, grew up in Providence, Rhode Island; New York; and Stockholm, with stops in Brazil, Tunisia, and Portugal. Hey Hey, her soul-inflected debut album, out September 23 (Downtown), sounds similarly well-traveled: There are earmarks of Swedish electro-dance, Brazilian baile funk, and spoken-word passages that recall the time Cummings spent in Brooklyn in the mid-aughts. Produced by Magnus Lidehäll (who’s wrung pop magic out of Sky Ferreira and Britney Spears), the album even has the soaring vocals and positivity of gospel, which the singer discovered in the church basements of Providence. But most distinctive is a rap verse that shows off her sure-footed delivery, which was initially honed around 2008, in the thick of an underground hip-hop moment in Stockholm. Now she wonders if her transformation from freestyling rapper to potential pop star might erode some of that hard-earned street cred. “I was trying to keep it cool, but this is just what came out of me,” she says. “I didn’t plan it—but why not?”
Hair by Edward Lampley for Bumble and bumble; Makeup by Rachel Wood for ABTP.com. Digital technician: Alex Muccilli.