2021-01-05T09:00:39-05:00 2021-01-05T01:40:00-05:00

EARMILK's 2021 Artists to Watch [Pop]

If we have learned anything from history, it's that times of great suffering produce amazing art. 2020 saw some of the music industry hit a temporary pause at the onset of the pandemic, we ended the year with some artists finding their way through to release some truly amazing new music. Heading into 2021, this set-in "new normal,"—a music industry without live events—will see aspiring new artists with a narrower, less defined, path to gain new fans. A class of talent armed with only the digital space as their launch pad, we're bracing ourselves for a year of some truly remarkable art from artists who will surely make their mark on this year. These are your 2021 Artists to Watch, according to our staff.


Standout track: "Professional"

"Professional" was a standout from this relatively young artist, which showcases what her style is. - Steve Likoski, Contributing Writer


Standout track: "FOOL'S GOLD"

His 2019 project WELCOME HOME has been a frequent go-to since it's release, but with his recent singles he exudes a bold new confidence in both his crossover production and vocal delivery that has vastly increased my appetite for more from him. - Robin Fulton, Contributing Writer


Standout track: "Trouble"

Persian-Kiwi Rapper CHAII showcased more of her heritage this year within her music, with "TROUBLE" being a solid mix of lyrics, story and production. - Steve Likoski, Contributing Writer

Charli Adams

Standout track: "Didn't Make It"

Charli Adams released an indie EP last year with crooning tunes and soft pop production. This year she said "fuck it" and leaned in to the pop side of things - and it paid off. As much as I love the 80s inspo apparent in her "Good At Being Young" EP, this year's "Didn't Make It" has such a unique melody while still highlighting her deeper toned vocals. Her 2021 debut LP will hopefully contain many tracks with similar elements. Also, her duet with Rosie Carney "Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl" proves she's connecting with similar artists who will only expand her breadth of lyrics and production. She's a top indie-pop artist we just don't know it yet. - Rachel Hammermueller, Staff Writer


Standout track: "Ascension"

So many artists look to add a grungey tinge to pop-trap production but daine does it in the most organic, compelling way I've heard since Lil Peep. Outside of that, she has the vocal chops and versatility to excel in so many other ways if she so chooses. - Madeline Quach, Contributing Writer


Standout track: "astrid"

glaive has amassed a considerable following in 2020 and his bummer-jam, sugar-sweet brand of hyper-pop is going to be one to watch out for. - Madeline Quach, Contributing Writer

Golden Vessel

Standout track: "midwest"

It's hard not to be addicted to Golden Vessel's chilled tunes when they're incredibly emotive and laced with infectious melodies. With distinct vocals, theres a fluidity that transpires into pure bliss. - Paige Sims, Contributing Writer

Julian Lamadrid

Standout track: "Patience"

Julian Lamadrid has a quality that transcends the sometimes frigid music world of fast content, fast hits: in his slow and honest approach to his craft, the young Lamadrid displays a maturity and self-awareness that is sure to heat up his ascend to the top. - Rene Cobar, Contributing Writer

Malia Civetz

Standout track: "Broke Boy"

I saw Malia Civetz perform at a School Night show in the Before Times, a required stop in LA for up and coming artists who are going somewhere, and saw there that she possessed some real star quality. She's been hard at it since, releasing singles, and I think next year we're going to be seeing even more of her. - Steph Evans, Managing Editor

Mia Gladstone

Standout track: "FOOD"

Mia brings Amy Winehouse style into 2020 with roaming melodies and lyrics that feel like a conversation with your cool friend who's busy manifesting a better 2021. - Madeleine Sirois, Contributing Writer

Nova Miller

Standout track: "Mi Amor"

Nova Miller's over-the-top chorus and insane vocals owned this song. It radiates energy and is overall beam of light on this year. It's hard to forget your troubles with a song but this one could definitely make you want to dance the whole way through. Known for her vocal prowess, Nova is TikTok famous at this point and I'm sure her fanbase will only continue to skyrocket next year. - Emily Treadgold, Contributing Writer

Olivia Grace

Standout track: Roulette

Olivia Grace's "Roulette" is haunting and dangerous and feels like dark pop at its finest. Her ethereal voice is the perfect accent to the hypnotic track. - Emily Treadgold, Contributing Writer

Rina Sawayama

Standout track: "XS"

Rina Sawayama is one of the most exciting, off the wall vocalists of the year by far. Her pop interpretations are wildly experimental and incredibly bold; she's already broken ground and she's just getting started. - Max Pasion-Gonzales, Contributing Writer

Sally Boy

Standout track: "I Wonder"

Sally Boy is the alter ego of 21-year-old, Philadelphia native, Erez Potok-Holmes. It serves as an extension of himself, or at least the version of himself he thinks he would've been if he hadn't had social anxiety growing up. Having released an entire EP as well as some singles, in 2020, we have had the chance to watch Sally Boy come into himself in real time, as we listen to his sonically cohesive comng of age story. If 2020 has proved anything it's that Sally Boy isn't shying away from self discovery and that there will be plenty more to uncover in 2021. - Sloan Pecchia, Contributing Writer


Standout track: "Drugs"

UPSAHL's song "Drugs" grew to populatiy on Tik Tok this year, but her attitude just bleeds through her songs. It's the definition of cool girl pop and she's always a head of the curve. - Emily Treadgold, Contributing Writer


Standout track: "Bitter."

Yavin combines slick pop sensitivity with thunderous dance rhythms for a style that carries itself well into the next year. Watch out for this artist as he continues to experiment with trending recording methods in the exploration of his modern sound, so far it has been a fun experiment to witness. - Rene Cobar, Contributing Writer


Feature · Lists · Main Stage · Pop


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