Happy New Year everyone! Now that we’ve all breathed a collective sigh of relief that 2020 is a thing of the past, we can look towards the future. Wondering what trends to look out for in 2021? Check out our 2021 Music Industry Insider Forcaster, where we asked some of our industry friends for their predictions, as well as favorite 2020 releases.

2020 was an unexpected year to say the least, and perhaps it will inspire some wild things out of 2021. Escapism? Another renaissance? Who knows! What we do know, however, is that there are a handful of artists who rose to the occasion despite the year’s challenging circumstances and are on track to absolutely own the new year. Here’s what you need to be listening to in 2021.



Big Freedia has been owning it for years after developing the bounce genre for over a decade. We anticipate that her reign as Queen of Bounce will only continue into 2021. Global super stardom next? Multiple Top 10 hits? You already know! The last few years brought us collaborations with the likes of Lizzo, Flo Milli, Kesha, Lucky Daye, and Icona Pop…and of course Beyonce and Drake. What’s next? We’re proud and honored to be a part of Freedia’s world as her music publisher for the last 7 years, via our sister music publishing company, Brill Building.



Skylar Stecker took 2020 to become a musical triple (quadruple? quintuple?) threat. Not only is she a singer-songwriter- she’s also a multi-instrumentalist and producer. In 2020, she displayed those new skills on her cover of “In Da Club,” released on our very own label!



In November, we elected YDE to be the spokesperson for Millennials and Gen Z. You see, her debut single “Stopped Buying Diamonds,” put words to the frustrations younger people face. In the form of a sarcastic apology, YDE says that we’re sorry for not “buying diamonds or going on vacation.” The actor-singer-songwriter’s first songs came out in 2020, and it’s apparent that she’ll be one of the best new artists to watch in 2021.



Singer-songwriter Arlo Parks grabbed the world’s attention with her honest lyrical poetry. At just 20, the London based artist put out some of the best indie songs of the year. Her highly anticipated album Collapsed in Sunbeams will be with us at the end of the month.



From TikTok success to her bedroom-pop-meets-90s-rock album Fake It Flowers, beabadoobee’s confessional songwriting definitely made an impact. From indie to pop, listeners of all ages and genres heard “death bed (coffee for your head),” which racked up 5.6 million videos on TikTok and over 834,000,000 streams on Spotify. Beabadoobee followed gracefully with a nostalgia laced album full of bangers like “Care” and “Worth It.”



We’ve been familiar with Salem Ilese for quite some time, as we released some remixes of one of her first songs, and we also work with Bendik Møller (her co-writer/producer) on the publishing side. In 2020 the rising pop star got the recognition that she deserves. “Mad at Disney” blew up on TikTok, and what’s equally as impressive is that Salem's two follow up releases maintained that same level of quality songwriting. “Coke & Mentos” and “Marry Christmas” further confirmed that she is consistent in delivering songs with strong concepts, supported by unique vocals and fun production.



We wrote about Jean Dawson a while back, and I think we said it best: Jean Dawson is cool as f*ck. One of the best new indie artists of 2020, Jean Dawson’s alt-pop album Pixel Bath is in a league of its own. The introspective album explores identity over synth laden tracks. It sits right at the intersection of some of our favorite genres, and is a must listen going into 2021.



2020 brought us Flo Milli’s debut mixtape Ho, why is you here?, and it did not disappoint. Full of previous favorites like “Beef FloMix,” and “In The Party,” it also introduced us to new jams like “May I” and “Not Friendly.” She’s confident, honest, and is the definition of star power. In 2021, we can only hope for some more “Flo Milli shit”



Wit and transparency come together on Baby Queen’s anti-pop anthems. While elements of her brand and many of her songs are funny, she’s also incredibly open about mental health and serious about her songwriting. With honesty at the forefront, Baby Queen’s songs resonated with listeners worldwide in 2020.



If I had to describe CupcakKe in one word, it would be “outspoken.” Luckily, I can use more than one word, as the Chicago rapper has many dimensions. Some of her songs are sexual, fun, and witty, while others comment on various social and political issues. On her most recent release “How to Rob (Remix)” (inspired by 50 Cent’s debut), she puts some of the industry’s biggest stars on blast, sparking lots of discussion on social media. It’s clear that she’s really talented, and it’s beyond impressive that she’s achieved all of her success without a record label.

Looking for more of our 2021 artist picks? You’re in luck- we’ve got a playlist for exactly that:

Image Credits
YDE by Kristin Gallegos
Jean Dawson - Power Freaks cover art
beabadoobee by john CC 2.0
Arlo Parks by SamuelWren98 CC 4.0

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Arielle Tindel is from Cleveland, Ohio. She recently graduated from Berklee College of Music with degrees in Music Business Marketing and Songwriting. In her free time, Arielle can be found gardening or playing bass.