2021 MUSIC INDUSTRY INSIDER FORECASTER (AND 2020 WRAP UP)

1/4/21

We could be like every blog and do a Best of 2020 New Music post, and while we dare say we have impeccable taste, we aren’t like every other music blog out there (well, at least we don’t think so). By doubling as a label, and also having a music publishing arm (check out Brill Building, where signings range from: Ariel Pink, Big Freedia, Overcoats, TOBACCO and previous clients like SOPHIE and TOKiMONSTA, to current hit makers like Jake Torrey, Bram Inscore, and Noah Conrad), not only do we write about new music - we also invest and work on a minute to minute basis, directly with those creating it.

Instead of just sharing our favorite songs for 2020, we decided to reach out to some of our favorite, well trusted music industry friends about their favorite releases, new emerging artists and what’s on the horizon for the best new artists and trends for 2021.

So without further ado, the 2021 Music Industry Forecaster (and 2020 Wrap Up).

 

JAIME ZELUCK HINDLIN

Owner/Founder Nonstop Management

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

“Savage Love”, by Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo. It was created the second week of lockdown when we had no idea what was going on in the world, and to see the life it had (pretty quickly) was something I don’t think I ever experienced in my career, especially under the circumstances of this year. It was pretty crazy to watch.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

Niko Rubio, Ryann, Bantu, Naliya, Babygirl,  and so many more!

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

I think now more than ever there are no limits on what can and will be done. I think people will continue to cross genres, collaborate with others more than they ever have - there are no rules. I also think alternative music is going to have a big comeback, it already is, and I can’t wait for more of that.

 

JAWSH 685 + JASON DERULO - “SAVAGE LOVE”

 

MATT RILEY

Head of A&R AWAL UK

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

Probably the Kenny Beats / Denzel Curry mixtape "Unlocked"... It's brazen, original and amazing.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

Girl In Red, Phoebe ∆x∆, Jean Dawson, Serena Isioma

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

There is lots of emo trap / metal happening, no-one has quite nailed it yet in a huge pop way, but someone will soon. Elsewhere electronic music could come back huge as we all look for some fun and escapism in 2021

 

KENNY BEATS + DENZEL CURRY - “UNLOCKED”

 

MAX BERNSTEIN

Founder, Crowned Records & Muuser

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

1. Savage Ga$p’s “moshi moshi 2,” is the second song on his debut album which came out Oct 16th. It's sonically one of my favorites from the album, and is rooted in the fabulous origin story of Savage Ga$p (“moshi moshi 1” was one of his first big tracks).

2. CORPSE “E-GIRLS ARE RUINING MY LIFE! feat. Savage Ga$p” was the most explosive song of 2020 from my perspective and we are grateful to be a part of it. CORPSE was upset at first when we asked him to wait until the end of September to release it, so as to capitalize on the spooky Halloween vibes and coincide with Gasp's album cycle. But, the CORPSE brand ended up growing so much in that 5 weeks, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

Sabby Sousa and sophiemarie.b are both set to pop off in 2021. They are tremendous songwriters with relatable and important messages.

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

Artist owned crypto coins and voice platforms are set to become widely popular (Stationhead, Clubhouse, etc).

 

CORPSE FT. SAVAGE GA$P - “E-GIRLS ARE RUINING MY LIFE!”

 

BENJAMIN GROFF

Owner, We Are: The Guard / Brill Building

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

I'm going to be real here. Sadly, hmm - for me, there were really no releases this year that really REALLY blew me away, where I felt I discovered the next Prince, David Bowie, Carole King, Notorious B.I.G. or _______ (insert icon here).  Not for a lack of trying!  I think my Spotify Yearly Round up said I discovered 10,000 + new artists ... maybe those “mind blowers” for me, just weren't out there and were hiding in quarantine this year (or most likely, I’m just becoming much more of a jaded music business person : )

There is, however one release that I was really excited about (though the artist isn’t new to me): “Dance With You” by Sofia Kay. At just 15, she already had her first cut as a professional songwriter with TXT’s “Way Home,” and her originals have been gaining traction on Spotify. I’m lucky to work with her on the publishing front. Sofia Kay is a one in 10 year signing.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

I think it was more in 2019 that I experienced my first Dorian Electra audio and video and then attended their first L.A. live show. That's the energy in the air for me!

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

The Roaring 20s are here again?!  Will the vaccine be the drug of choice fueling the culture of the day and the music to go along with it?  Before COVID my answer would have been the underground goth and dark music scene. I haven’t felt a real culture and specialness to the crowd and lifestyle and our “own secret club” vibe since going to Miami in 2000 and delving into electronic dance music before it was in fashion. But I think going back 100 years - in the 20s (1920s that is) - it was all about dance music - and jazz was born.  So will there be a new genre / artform to come about?  And who or whom (or where) will spawn it?!

 

DORIAN ELECTRA - FLAMBOYANT (DELUXE)

 

BRYAN MOONEY

Director, A&R @ DashGo (A Downtown Music Holdings Company)

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

I'm ashamed to say that I've been listening to much less music for pleasure during the pandemic, and Q1 ("the beforetime" as we should lovingly call it) feels as if it were many years ago. Adam Melchor's SUMMER CAMP may have been my favorite release of the year, as a fan. Am I supposed to flex DashGo releases? I don't want to play favorites. To pick an artist I've been hardly involved with, mehro's music sounds like what I wish the last Hozier album had been. It was also fascinating to watch the explosion of Dixie D'Amelio's "Be Happy", a release that I'm sure will continue to be the benchmark for digital talent crossing over into music.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

My management client Axel Mansoor is working on something vulnerable and special that we're excited to share. There, that's my plug. As far as DashGo, I have several projects I can't wait to announce in January ;)  If you follow me on IG, I post my favorite DashGo releases to my story along with some sick gifs.

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

Surprising nobody, my prediction is that artists and artist teams will increasingly move towards independent distribution solutions. Artists, management firms, and 3rd party service providers will more aggressively establish their own labels as much to create new passive revenue streams post-covid as to maintain control over their art and careers.

 

ADAM MELCHOR - SUMMER CAMP

 

KRISTIN ROBINSON

Publicist for 10K Projects / Freelance Journalist with bylines in Variety, Chicago Tribune, Water & Music, Flaunt Magazine, etc.

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

One of my favorite releases this year was On Self Loathing, an EP by McCall. It combined the iconoclastic feel of hyper pop production but with none of the kitchy-ness. The lyrics were top notch as well. I was fortunate enough to speak with her about the record for a piece with Ones to Watch, and I've been in love with it ever since. It really accompanied my quarantine when I needed it.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

Samia! She really hit her stride in 2020 with her breakout album The Baby. I can't wait to see what she does next.

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

I've been seeing a lot of nylon string guitar in rap production recently and I think guitar will only continue to grow within that space. I also feel like indie women had such a big year this year. I naturally found myself listening to more women than men consistently, and I believe that is the first year that has happened. I'm excited for all the new female artists on the horizon.

 

MCCALL - ON SELF LOATHING

 

JACKSON FOOTE

Artist (Loote), Poorchoice Music Founder, Writer, and Producer

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

High Waist Jeans By WOLF. To me, this record speaks to such a huge audience with such sincerity. It's rare to believe everything an artist says and that's how I feel about “High Waist Jeans.”

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

WOLF

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

Every few years this is a different decade lol. Maybe we are headed for the 90's!

 

WOLF - “HIGH WAIST JEANS”

 

ALEC STRASMORE

Strasvision / Happy Hr LA

Favorite release(s) of the year and why (or any information / stories behind the release)?

Katya Mila’s 3rd single, Fake Friends, came out 12.22, and it  is the record I’m most stoked for. Kat has always been a self sufficient creative and I’ve never had to worry that our visions would clash. I’m thankful for her writing talent and her natural poetic nature because the message in this song is clear and can’t be misconstrued or disguised by over production and dull lyricism.

Which artist(s) are you excited about for 2021?

12AM, Katya Mila, Seb Torgus, Rence, Arkade

What do you think the future music trend will be in 2021 and beyond?

I don’t want to say too much, but I’m thinking music is going to get a lot more aggressive in 21.

 

KATYA MILA - “FAKE FRIENDS”

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Well there you have it: the best new artists and 2021 trend predictions - directly from those immersed in the music industry. It’s no secret that 2020 sucked. With the vaccine on the horizon and new methods of creating however, there’s no doubt that 2021 is going to be a big year.

We’ll be continuing this series of talking with music industry professionals and executives throughout the new year. If you want to know which emerging artists the A&Rs, managers, bloggers, and others are excited about, keep your eyes peeled for new posts! Happy New Year everyone! Stay safe and stay healthy.

Image Credits
Daniel X. O’Neil CC 2.0
Julio Enriquez CC 2.0
Jessica DiMento CC 2.0
MTV International CC 3.0

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