by Becca Ahern
7 min

2020 was a hard year for many emerging artists trying to break into the music scene. Despite the absence of live shows and the ability to attract new fans and label reps, many artists came out of the pandemic with new and inspiring material. We’ve all had enough time to explore new music but it’s all too easy to stick with the same damn playlist for months. So, in case you’re in need of fresh young talent, we’ve picked out 15 of our favourite up and coming artists that are set to light up 2021. Thank us later.


Dian was signed to record label Spin Desire last year at just 20 years old. The experimental LGBTQ+ artist debuted her music career on the track ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ with Crystal Murray. Her latest single ‘Bailerina’ teams beautiful visuals with a voice that can’t help but make you think of Amy Winehouse. The track was created as a “humble homage” to the loss of a dear friend. Her next single Paper Angel’ is due to be released soon, so stay tuned.


24KGoldn has already made a significant name for himself in the last two years. The Cali-based artist is a chameleon of genres, moving between pop-rap and moody R&B. He’s also no stranger to the social media game with 4.4 million followers. With a few Billboard hits like ‘Mood’ and ‘City Of Angels’ under his belt already, we’re buzzing to see what 24Goldn will bring us next. 


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Alewya uses her Eqyptian and Ethiopian heritage mixed with West London influences, to bring us her newest release ‘Sweating’. Little Simz boosted the singer’s growth when he added her to his 2020 track ‘Where’s My Lighter’. The 25 year old plays with a vibrant mix of deep dub bass and afro swing.


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Baby Keem

Baby Keem has all the confidence and matter of fact delivery of a Billboard chart-topper. A mentee of Kendrick Lamar and with a healthy social media fan base, the 19 year old hip-hop trap protégé is destined for big things in 2021.


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Backroad Gee

Backroad Gee is a voice everyone is listening to in the drill, grime game. The artist had a big year in 2020 with two releases ‘Party Popper’ and his latest, ‘Take Time’, which brings a change of pace from his usual style. At just 23 years old, he’s set to massively influence the next generation of British artists. 


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Bad Boy Chiller Crew

Bad Boy Chiller Crew are a group of Bradford lads, bringing the humour to the British Garage scene. One look at their IG and you’ll get why; funny, slapstick videos set to their tracks with their Bradford twang to match. Our recommendation? Their latest track; ‘Needed You’ is one for the summer playlist or their 2020 banger ‘450 ft S Dog’ will add an upbeat tempo to your Friday nights.


Berwyn’s voice is pure liquid gold, placed on top of his smooth, soulful tracks. The artist gained traction when Drake shouted him out on Instagram for his at-home live performance on Later… With Jules Holland. His lyrics have a soothing sadness that you would go out of your way to hear. ‘Vinyl’ is the artist’s latest release and we expect huge things from the self-taught musician this year.


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Cat Burns

Cat Burns brings gospel-inspired pop to the table with her music. With an impressive TikTok following, the 20 year old Londoner went viral for her velvety vocal covers. With her track ‘Go’ having been out for six months now, we’re looking forward to what’s in store next. 


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Fred Again

Fred Again, the award winning producer is certainly an exciting all-rounder to watch. He gained praise for co-writing George Ezra’s 4x platinum hit ‘Shot Gun’ and for his collaborations with industry giants such as Stormzy. Fred has recently branched out, releasing his own solo material. ‘Julia (Deep Diving)’ is his latest drop in which he plays with video content from Instagram influencer Julia Michaels. If you’re looking for something from his archives, ‘Kyle (I found You)’ is a beautiful listen.

Genesis Owusu

A fan of Childish Gambino? Then you’ll be sure to love Genesis Owusu. Owusu is a Ghanian-born Aussie bringing good humoured jams to the music industry. The feel good singer mixes Rap and theatrical R&B for a mood-elevating vibe. His 2019 live cover of The Gorillaz’s track ‘Dirty Harry’  is three and a half minutes of foot-tapping happiness.


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Gracey Barker is a Soundcloud original. She has already co-written works with big names like Rita Ora, Jonas Blue and Sub Focus. If Dua Lipa, Lorde or Sia are your vibe, then she’s one to listen out for. Her career derailed following a temporary loss of voice in 2019 but lucky for us she’s bounced back with twice the punch. Her latest drop ‘99%’ explores the fear of falling in love. 


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Jordana is an artist levelling up with every release. Her style is a mix of acoustic sounds and soft Rock that keep us guessing throughout her dark humoured music. The Indie singer was signed to New York music label, Grand Jury in early 2020. With them, she dropped her album ‘Classical Notions of Happiness’ which explores self-reflection and personal relationships. Her most recent track ‘Reason’ was released in December 2020 and is the perfect summer vibe.


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Kamal is a fresh faced British artist that won’t stay on the down-low for long. With his R&B style, he explores Gen Z issues such as social anxiety and mental health. Billie Eilish recently included him on her lockdown inspired playlist. His songs are centred around a coming-of-age vulnerability and the trials of teenage life. Enjoy the mellow beats of Khalid? This one’s for you.


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Malady are the London-based band redefining indie music. Their debut single “London, I love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’, takes an interesting perspective on the love/hate relationship with city life. The track already has 170,000 listens on Spotify since its release last November and is best described as a mix of post-rave culture and indie guitar-based music.


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Kara Marni

Another artist giving big British musicians a run for their money is Kara Marni. She was brought to the music industry’s attention by rapper Russ, after reaching out to Marni on Instagram admiring her previous single ‘Lose My Love’. For Marni, 2019 included sold out shows, supporting artists like Lewis Capaldi and Rita Ora and a coveted festival appearance at Glastonbury. Her new release ‘Trippin’ is a colourful remake of Amerie’s ‘1 Thing’ with the addition of elevated vocals and an upbeat tempo. 


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