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Frannie Kelley

Will Johnson has seen some things.

"A couple years ago I got approached by these, like, Silicon Valley dudes," the musician says,"and they basically were like, 'Yo. We have created a formula to make a for-sure No. 1 hit.' Literally."

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Session musician Stephen Bruner has played bass in other people's bands for more than a decade. He can play metal, R&B, hip-hop, jazz. And he's been folding all that into his own music, which he puts out under the name Thundercat.

Now, with his second album, he's stepping to the front of the stage.