Updated: Jan 15, 2021
One of the most exciting things about music is seeing new, emerging artists develop their sound and reach their full potential. Every year you will discover a new artist that will have you wondering how on Earth you never came across them before - so we thought we'd give you a bit of a head start in 2021, asking some of our friends for some of their artist picks to look out for this year. If you like what you hear then go and give the artist a follow to keep up with them!
Words by: Azariah Sheeley
Living in Louisville, Kentucky I first stumbled upon Zaniah on Instagram. I chose Zaniah because her music takes me to places of such relaxation and happiness that I wanted to share it with the rest of the world. Her voice endows a vibrant soulful tone which goes hand in hand with the wonderfully melodic instrumentation in her latest single ‘Coffee Bean”.
I had been following her for some time, quite some time before she had put out any music, however, she has since released two beautiful singles - definitely check them out. These releases didn’t disappoint and lived up to all my expectations after listening to her sing online for some time.
Ericsson Kaner is a Pianist/Composer from Forest Hill in south east London and member of the Levitation Orchestra. I was so pleased the day this artist got in touch with me and showed me his latest song ‘Changed Beings’. I was blown away. The craftsmanship this artist exhibits release after release is exquisite. Not your typical ‘Jazz’ artist, his music takes you on a journey. With ‘Changed beings’ I was quite reminded of the soundtracks to the Studio Ghibli films. An anime adventure. His latest single ‘In Convalescence’ featuring O the ghost is another great track to behold. With almost ‘ghostly’ vocals and tinkering piano riffs reminding me of rain, this is music which paints imagery.
BEN BEFORE CHRIST
Although I haven’t heard any original music from this artist yet, I was impressed by a recent video I saw on his Instagram. Rapping over a beat in a back garden surrounded by friends, there’s no denying this artist has rhythm. Aside from rapping his Instagram includes a number of singing videos which caught my attention, a soulful voice which has much potential indeed. I am super excited to hear his debut EP ‘We need a Vacation’ coming out this March.
Words by: Brad Bennett
Originally from Portland, USA and now living in London, the first thing that struck me about JT Flowers was his unique vocal tone. What's most interesting is that his deep and commanding voice seems to be able to blend in seamlessly on all types of production. Whether it be over the hard-hitting 808's on 'Penny Hardaway', the smooth guitar-lead beat on 'Track 4' or the more soulful 'Lose My World', JT Flowers comfortably flows over them with his introspective writing. On Instagram he recently teased an upcoming project, so keep your ears to the ground for more info on that soon.
With his breakout EP Umm.. Random Shit in 2019 (produced entirely by KianVsLife) dereck d.a.c. was able to cement himself as one of the most exciting, up and coming artists in his city, Brighton UK. Continuing his upwards trajectory he followed that project up last year with blue. (produced by Otherside) which further displayed his sharp lyricism on the mic and beat selections, complimentary to his style. After hinting at it throughout last year dereck & KianVsLife are expected to drop the follow up to their acclaimed collaborative project in 2021, which is sure to make waves in the underground rap scene, and take them both to new heights.
With her songs barely clocking in at 2-minutes in length, Dexter still manages to showcase an excellent ear for melodies as well as displaying her talents as a songwriter, where she offers a sincere outlook on unrequited love. Along with her heartfelt vocals and delicate guitar plucking, the stripped back feel to her music is the perfect setting for her raw storytelling.
Words by: Andy Rossiter & Annabel Whittle
(Love Thy Neighbour)
LIME are a Brighton, UK-based 4 piece who make disco influenced indie-pop. They've only released two tracks so far, but both are super catchy and they've quickly established themselves in their city's scene. They're one of the bands I'm looking forward to seeing live again when we can!
The Regressive Left
The Regressive Left are a post-punk three piece whose debut track 'Eternal Returns' was recorded shortly after their first show, supporting PVA, Scalping and Porridge Radio in London. This is the only track they've released so far and it has a sax solo to die for.
Irish Indie/folk-pop singer CMAT is sure to be a big artist in 2021. With four successful singles under her belt, her roaring voice draws you in, complimented with funny and intriguing lyrics. She is emerging from what appears to be a growing Irish scene at the moment, alongside artists like Pillow Queens, Sorcha Richardson + more.
Words by: Ned AKA Feleke
Kymara is one of the most gifted artists that I’ve seen coming through the Brighton scene over the years. With her well drilled band, she had a terrific end of 2019 and a start to 2020 before the pandemic. Nonetheless she’s been cooking up that soulful vibe to bless our 2021 with. A must see live with fiery flavour and poignant delivery. Let's hope that venues open from spring/summer this year so she can bless us all with her presence.
Don’t sleep on Meron T, take my advice. Sultry vocals and a cool guitar player with beaucoup style. Her sound is like a summer breeze that holds the listener enchanted by her spell. A great singer/songwriter hailing from South London, 2021 could be a breakthrough year for her.
So excited about this band. Nigeria has a rich history of great live music and this band embodies that. First heard of these guys as the backing band of another great act coming out of Nigeria at the moment, Lady Donli. Another cool musician Etuk Ubong occasionally plays trumpet for the band. I genuinely can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band and the new live music scene taking shape in Nigeria.
Words by: Laura Pegler
(So Young Magazine & Boogaloo Radio)
Entering the ring in 2020, the Leeds hailing four-piece made an outlandish debut with three
consecutively compelling singles. Recounting tongue-in-cheek tales under the guise of a
minimalist-rock outfit, Yard Act’s music is brimming in character and ladened with hook
Having signed to industry heavyweights EMI Records in the summer of last year, it’s since
been an upward trajectory for the York based alt-pop lads. With four feel-good releases
firmly in the mix, Bull could well be the answer to putting a smile back on our pandemic-
worn faces one upbeat riff at a time.
The beguiling post-punk alias of London based Jojo Orme, Heartworms made a thrilling
entrance at the tail-end of last year with her enticingly devilish single ‘What Can I Do’.
Released via the illustrious indie label Permanent Creeps, who’ve worked with the likes of
Peeping Drexels, Italia 90 and Football FC, 2021 looks like a blank canvas set for her own
Words by: Nicholson B. Davids
Effortless flow on the beat and a nice vocal tone in his raps.
I love the combination of the minimal beats mixed with the raw emotion of his lyrics.
Heard Adeline feature on the track 'Mango' by KAMAUU and I've been hooked ever since - timeless soul voice!
Words by: Pedrin Edu
(The Seigfried Collective)
She is easily one of my favourite vocalists ever. I got into her music after I watched her perform life at The Great Escape Festival 2019 in Brighton and since then her rise has been truly amazing. Not even an EP out and she already has collaborated with artists from Etta Bond to Kojey Radical & opened on tour for Eminem. During the first UK lockdown she dropped her breakout single 'You Lose' a female anthem that took Shae’s career to even bigger heights. Such a resumé with no album or project out, makes her an obvious choice as an act to watch out for in 2021. The sky is not her limit, she owns a whole universe.
Mnelia, Born Monique Amelia, is a fresh voice in the UK R&B genre. Hailing from Northwest London, the singer/songwriter dropped her debut EP, 2:4, in 2018, encapsulating an array of contemporary U.K. sounds including drill, exhibiting her versatility. She caught my attention after bursting into my consciousness earlier last year with the release of 'Say Yeah' which features her honeyed vocals gliding over harp synths while radiating ’90s R&B and old-school vibes. Following it up with her sophomore EP, 'After 6' it's safe to say that Mnelia has made a very impressive mark on the scene in such a short period of time! I expect nothing but greatness from her and I’m sure she will prove it this year.
The 23-year-old Ghanaian born rapper/artist known as Juls Delø is someone you should definitely put on your radar. He just dropped his first ever debut mixtape KTSFE (The Tape), a project heavily inspired by the sounds of the golden age of classic Hip-Hop from artists such as Notorious BIG, Nas, Jay-Z and Outkast, to the modern classic sounds of artists like Kanye West , Drake , Kendrick Lamar ,Frank Ocean and ASAP Rocky. Juls Delø is determined to cement a legacy that puts him in the company of the greats. His mission is quite clear as he aims to shake up the rap game and shine as one of Ghana’s finest to ever touch the music scene worldwide. This is just the beginning for Juls Delø.
Words by: Erin James Media
(Tough Cookie Mag)
Yazmyn is a Brighton/London based artist who used vocal looping to provide magical and
dreamy songs, sets and performances. Her track ‘where do we go’ was recently used on a
trailer for Grown-Ish, a big American TV Show, and she’s gaining worldwide attention
quickly. I believe Yazmyn’s style and niche of vocal looping makes her stand out from a lot of
other artists at her level, and I think she’ll likely have a wide and impressive career.
Danny is an Afrobeats/R&B/Hip-Hop artist, who only has a couple of songs out on Spotify, (the rest can be found on Soundcloud). He doesn’t have nearly enough attention as he should, but I believe his unique style of merging Afrobeats and Hip-Hop together makes him one to watch for the near future. His song ‘MAMA’ blew up in 2018, but he is yet to get the
recognition I believe he deserves.
Zones, runner up to The Rap Game, is one of the hardest new rappers I’ve heard. As a
female in a male-dominated genre and industry, I believe Zones works harder than a lot of
her male counterparts just to get the recognition she deserves. She recently released ‘Gintu’
which is an absolute banger and what I can see being the first of many singles to start
gaining attention and hopefully blowing up.
Words by: Fil & Chris
Some fierce new noise bands are coming up through the Kent corridor; and these guys are top of our pile. Debut rocker "The Virgin" has kicked things off nicely. We're fortunate to have had a sneak peek at what's coming up and you should be very excited.
Word on the street (and their social media) is these guys are back after a breather in 2020 (good foresight). Brighton Glam Punk: Joan Tett meets Ohh Sees with a side of Dream Nails. Big 2021 approaches.
How else to kill this time which no longer passes? New songs inbound from Bristol post-punkers.