Image Credit: Pandora
With 2020 coming to a close, Pandora and their curators have analyzed music industry trends and data to predict who will break out in 2021.
Spanning many different genres from hip-hop to alt-rock, Pandora have got something for everyone with their Artists to Watch 2021 list, plus dedicated choices for Latin and country music.
Royal & The Serpent has been killing it right out of the gate. Her breakout track “Overwhelmed” was released late this summer, and is quickly approaching 70 million global streams, over 4 million TikToks created, and just broke into the top 5 on alternative radio. Dubbed by fans as “Lady Cobain” due to her killer on-stage performance, she truly is a diverse and talented artist.
Los Dos Carnales have emerged as perhaps the biggest viral stars in Regional Mexican music in 2020. Their audience steadily grew into the new year and exploded with the release of their smash hit, “El Envidioso” in April. Natives of Coahuila, brothers Poncho Jr and Imanol Quezada have made a name for themselves with a sound rooted in the classic tradition of norteñas, embellished with clever lyrics and a modern perspective.
Brittney Spencer moved center stage after years of singing background vocals for the likes of Carrie Underwood and honing her songwriting craft with a lyrical style that blends country music’s recipe of “three chords and the truth” with a dash of clever imagination. The Baltimore native’s new EP, “Compassion,” has received rave reviews from music critics and fellow artists alike. Maren Morris beat Pandora to the punch, naming Spencer an artist to watch in her 2020 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award acceptance speech.
Iann Dior, who hails from Puerto Rico, was featured on one of the biggest songs of 2020, so it’s no surprise that he reached #1 on the Pandora Predictions chart and is one of our 2021 ATW. He teamed up with 24K Goldn on their global hit “Mood” that hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks and has over 500 million streams on Pandora to date. In June, he released his acclaimed EP that featured collabs with Lil Baby and Machine Gun Kelly. Be sure to check out his latest single “Holding On” and expect big things from Iann in the new year.
Born and raised in Australia, The Kid Laroi always knew he wanted to make it big in music and at just 17 years old he’s well on his way to being a superstar. He had a close friendship with the late rapper Juice WRLD, who he also considers his mentor. The two teamed up for a song that was released in 2020 on LAROI’s F*CK LOVE mixtape, which also features collaborations with YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Internet Money, Marshmello, Lil Mosey and Machine Gun Kelly. His latest release “So Done” continues to gain momentum and is gearing up to be his most buzzed about song to date.
Co-signed by the likes of Drake, Summer Walker, Justin Bieber and Snoh Aalegra, Giveon is well on his way to reaching their level of success. He’s a 25 year old Long Beach, CA native who got his first break with a feature on Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle.” He has since toured internationally with Snoh Aalegra and released two separate EPs in 2020. We’re keeping a wide open eye on him and you should too.
Known as Da Mayor, the Greensboro, Georgia native Foogiano has quickly earned attention for his powerful and honest lyrics which paint verbal imagery of the struggle that encompasses poverty, relationship woes, systemic issues, street violence, and hood politics. In the past year, Foogiano has gained major buzz after the success of “Molly,” which led to Gucci Mane signing him to The New 1017. Foogiano also received a major co-sign when DaBaby hopped on the “Molly” remix. Be on the lookout for him to go to new heights in 2021.
17 year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Tate McRae hasn’t let the pandemic stop her from becoming a rising pop star. After having early success with singles “Stupid” and “One Day,” she dropped “You Broke Me First” in April 2020 and the song has over 525 million combined streams on Pandora. Expect a ton of new music and a tour for Tate in 2021.
Genre-bending electronic duo 100 Gecs have emerged as one of the most exciting acts in recent years. Consisting of Laura Les and Dylan Brady, the duo creates chaotic yet catchy experimental-pop with influences coming from all over the map. 2019 saw the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album “1000 Gecs” and followed up in 2020 with remix album “1000 Gecs and the Tree of Clues,” which saw the group co-signed and remixed by the likes of Charli XCX, Fall Out Boy and more. Their no holds barred approach to songwriting and sonic experimentation make it so that we can hardly wait for what they have coming in 2021.
Mobile, Alabama native Flo Milli started her rap career at the age of 11. At the age of 16, she released her first official solo hit in 2015, “No Hook.” In 2018, Flo Milli gained notoriety when she released “Beef Flo Mix,” and then inked a deal with RCA records in 2020. Flo Milli combines her confident persona with witty lyrics and catchy dance moves which makes her an artist to really watch in 2021.
Detroit singer-songwriter Chloe Moriondo started posting cover songs on YouTube in 2014. Fast forward to 2020, she has 3 million subscribers, a major record label deal and is creating her own lane in the pop music scene. She blends the perfect mix of indie/bedroom pop and her latest single release “Girl On TV” is not only incredibly relatable but also gives off major Avril Lavigne circa 2002 vibes. She’s definitely someone to keep your eye on in 2021.
Toosii grew up in Syracuse, New York but relocated to Raleigh when he began taking music more seriously in 2017. After posting some various projects online and gaining traction, Toosii then released the “Why Not Now” EP, which displayed his unique melodic hip hop sound. The buzz he received off of that EP helped him get a deal with South Coast Music Group, the label also known for discovering DaBaby. Toosii is not only a very talented artist but possesses star-like charisma you can’t teach.
Detroit rapper 42 Dugg found his calling during an especially dark time when he was locked up. While in solitary confinement, he began writing rhymes to keep his sanity. Once free, he began pursuing music full-time and released his first song, “Mama I’m Sorry.” He gained the attention of Lil Baby and Yo Gotti, and signed to both of their respective labels in a joint deal. At the top of 2020, 42 Dugg took the rap game by surprise when he was featured on Lil Baby’s “We Paid” track. Be on the lookout for more big things from him in 2021.
TikTok-sensation Fousheé is riding the wave of success with her RCA Records’ debut single “Deep End.” The song first found its way onto the platform after being sampled by rapper Sleepy Hallow. However, Fousheé was not originally credited for months. She then posted a video of herself singing her original song, prompting users and fans to demand justice. Soon after her post went viral, she got a record deal and was able to release “Deep End” in July under her own name. Fousheé deserves this moment and we’re here to recognize it.
Three-time Grammy nominated Asiahn (pronounced Aah-Zee-Yahn) is a prolific singer/songwriter who has penned hits for Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Dr. Dre, Pitbull and Lil Wayne. She’s a self-described “chocolate, melanated, Black girl magic, lesbian, nerd and animé aficionado” who released a top 40 R&B hit “Like You” in 2019. In 2020, this songstress is giving us more heartfelt soul through her latest releases like “Gucci Frames” and “Get Away.” Asiahn’s pen game and vocals must be celebrated.
Binki is one those rare artists that erases genre boundaries and churns out just good old fashioned fun music. The 23 year old phenom self describes his sound as “packed with equal parts riotous funk, cavalier rap, and bratty rock swagger.” He was recently propelled into the limelight in a big way after being a featured Pandora “Point of Origin” artist along with a major sync on an Apple commercial featuring his track “Heybb!” Needless to say, get used to Binki, he’s super talented, here to stay, and just the right amount of positively we need in our lives right now.
UK DJ and producer Joel Corry is poised to have a great year in 2021. The hunky one time reality star has been delivering club heat since 2015, but it was his in 2019 his hit single “Sorry” that really brought him to prominence. In 2020 he cemented his place as a dance floor hitmaker with back to back singles “Lonely” and the absolute smash “Head & Heart” featuring MNEK on vocals. After racking up millions spins on Pandora, with no signs of slowing down, we can’t wait to hear what he has in store for 2021.
Terrian is one of those rare artists who beautifully bridges the gap between Christian and Gospel music. She’s just about everything we could hope for in an artist – she writes, she sings, she plays, she dances—she’s contagious, in the best possible sense of the word.
Jada Kingdom stormed the entertainment scene in Summer 2017 and immediately had the world standing to attention. The irrepressible 22-year-old Jamaican grew up in 7 Miles, Bull Bay on the outer bands of Jamaica’s capital city Kingston. Bubbling with creativity and self-confidence from a young age, Jada started singing when she was 8, inspired by artists such as Minnie Riperton, Nina Simone & Deniece Williams. She’s channeled those influences into a unique style – her voice can be sweet and soaring or dangerously seductive, often breezing over R&B-influenced dancehall rhythms. Jada is sure to shine brighter than her nickname “Twinkle” – she’s an artist destined for stardom.
Crossing over to an American market is a slow difficult task that has so far eluded all but a few of the biggests names in afro pop. Which is why it was impressive when a young rising star from Nigeria with a penchant for Hindi melodies became the talk of the town last year. After making his initial splash with his afro pop hit, “Dumebi’,” Rema went on to release three EPs and a subsequent compilation album, as well as delivering the amapiano-influenced viral dance track, “Woman,” arguably the biggest afro pop anthem during lockdown. However, 2020 proved to be more of a stepping stone rather than a crossover year for the 20 year-old singer. That said, if there was any concern that the expectations were premature, his recent work with Alunageorge, KAYTRANADA, and the rumored collaboration with Drake, may finally demonstrate his full potential while positioning him to reach far beyond the ears of his African audiences.