Band to Watch: Elle Varner

Backstory: Raised by songwriter parents, Varner grew up absorbing their Motown and Burt Bacharach records and tagging along to recording sessions. She sang in her church choir and attended a performing arts magnet school before moving east for college, where she studied at New York University’s Clive Davis Program of Recorded Music and signed a record deal soon after. Family Affair: Varner involved her parents on Perfectly Imperfect, co-writing songs with dad Jimmy (who also helped produce the album); and asking her mom, Mikelyn Roderick, a former backing singer for Barry White, to contribute vocals to “Sound Proof Room.”