After the 1918 pandemic came a renaissance of culture, art and music in what we now call the Roaring 20’s.

It’s similar to what we’re experiencing today, except for with TikTok. Though we’re still in the thick of the coronavirus, one positive aspect may be that artists are now perfecting what they do best, sharpening their musical gifts in the safety of their homes.

2020 saw artists putting their quarantine time to use, bringing us countless new albums, singles, and EPs including: BTS’s “Be,” Taylor Swift’s “Folklore,” Dua Lipa’s Future “Nostalgia,” The Weeknd’s “After Hours,” Megan Thee Stallion’s “Good News,” Ariana Grande’s “Positions,” Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake,” Bad Bunny’s “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana”… the list goes on.

But as the world’s biggest stars released their isolation creations, budding new artists shone just as bright. Whether they were going viral on TikTok, getting featured on Spotify’s Discover Weekly, or popping off on Soundcloud, young artists with a fluorescent spectrum of creativity began to carve out their own space in the music industry.

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The one thing these young artists all have in common? They’re impossible to put into a box. They’re all bending genres and breaking glass ceilings left and right, roaring into 2021 with a passion and drive as we’ve never seen before. Below, we’ve rounded up our top music artists to watch in 2021.

1. Frances Forever

Genre: Alternative/indie pop

Vibe: Hazy bedroom pop daydreams and crystal-clear radio visions, threaded together in the same melodic galaxy.

Hot track: “Space Girl”

2. Tate McRae

Genre: Alternative/indie pop

Vibe: Heartbreaking main character energy, backtracked by synth-pop that will make you want to scream at the top of your lungs with the windows down.

Hot track: “you broke me first”

3. JVKE 

Genre: Pop, Hip-hop

Vibe: Poppy, feel-good tracks tailor-made for TikTok fame with clever hints of lyrical hip-hop and euphoric beats.

Hot track: “Upside Down”

4. Serena Isioma

Genre: R&B, Soul

Vibe: Ultimate cool bitch energy, veering away from binary boundaries by bending gender and genre through vintage loops and echo tones.

Hot track: “Sensitive”

#5. Tai Verdes

Genre: Alternative/indie, Hip-hop

Vibe: Frat party anthemic sing-alongs that will make you want to hug a friend or kiss a stranger even more than you already do.

Hot track: “DRUGS”

6. 347aidan 

Genre: Hip-hop, perhaps…but near-impossible to categorize.

Vibe: Unique, statement-making tracks meshing elements of hip-hop, rock, electronic, acoustics, and alternative, giving a direct middle finger to society.

Hot track: “Dancing in My Room”


Genre: K-pop

Vibe: BTS-esque up-and-comers serving internationally sexy pop beats with that special South Korean sauce.

Hot track: “Given-Taken”

8. Claud

Genre: Alternative/indie

Vibe: Swiftie-worthy lyrics and soft melodies exploring relationships, from the giddy sensation of a first kiss to heartsick longing.

Hot track: “Wish You Were Gay”

9. Celeste

Genre: Neo-soul

Vibe: A modern take on the timeless soul and raw emotion of smoky, jazzy classics, giving contemporary life to the trails blazed by legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin.

Hot track: “Stop This Flame”

10. Bree Runway

Genre: R&B, Hip-hop

Vibe: Uncensored anthems for the ultimate bad bitches, featuring pounding bass and rock elements.

Hot track: “ATM”

11. Arlo Parks

Genre: Alternative/indie pop, Neo-soul

Vibe: Sad-girl slash e-boy passion projects, with lyrical wordplay teasing bedroom pop and indie folktales.

Hot track: “Eugene”

12. Maude Latour

Genre: Pop

Vibe: Revolutionary, contemplative pop that will take you on a rocket ship ride through space, creating a world of unapologetic youth and dreams.

Hot track: “Shoot and Run”

13. Tiera

Genre: R&B, Country

Vibe: Unique combination of passionate, soulful vocals telling country tales with just a hint of twang.

Hot track: “Be Kind”

14. Gatlin

Genre: Alternative/indie

Vibe: Guitar loops soundtrack stories of growth, childhood, love and relationships, supported by peaceful harmonies that may force a tear down your cheek.

Hot track: “Talking to Myself”

15. Ella Jane

Genre: Alternative/indie pop

Vibe: Ambiguous singer-songwriter energy, vocalizing the complexity of emotions that summarize Gen Z.

Hot track: “nothing else i could do”

16. Giveon

Genre: R&B, Soul

Vibe: A deep, powerful voice dripping with richness and clarity drifts amongst sultry R&B backtracks, begging for passion.

Hot track: “LIKE I WANT YOU”

17. Surf Mesa 

Genre: Dance/electronic

Vibe: Organically-textured electronic music, rooted in dance and perfect for all-around West-Coast feel-good nighttime drives.

Hot track: “ily (i love you baby) (feat. Emilee)”

18. Samia

Genre: Alternative/indie

Vibe: Gentle, underdog Gen Z rock and roll that could easily soundtrack the movie of your life as you gaze out the window of a train at the city passing by.

Hot track: “Big Wheel”

19. Flozigg

Genre: Alternative/indie, Hip-hop

Vibe: Low-fi beats and synth meet powerful piano and drums to create poetry in motion; a nearly spoken-word effect where you often don’t know where to look.

Hot track: “No Service”

20. Tayla Parx

Genre: Pop

Vibe: As this songwriter takes center stage, she serves stuck-in-your-head hooks, with the sultry vocals of Sza and the pop presence of Ariana.

Hot track: “Dance Alone”

21. Glaive

Genre: Dance/electronic, Alternative/indie

Vibe: Head-banging, angsty teen dance tracks that mesh somewhere between sad, mad, and badass.

Hot track: “astrid”


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