Music Observer’s Top 20 Artists

On the back of a pandemic and the restrictive year 2020, the year 2021 began with higher hopes and aspirations for every person who was affected in one way or another by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Unfortunately, for those in the music industry, the year 2020 gave them minimal opportunity to perform their materials and songs, sell their merchandise, and restricted them to relying on streaming numbers. Now, seven months into the year 2021, with most restrictions already being lifted, artists are beginning to go back into their arsenal to pull out songs that are even better than their 2020 releases. Below is a list of the top 20 artists of 2021.

  1. Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber is a Canadian singer and songwriter who began music at a very young age and is one of the youngest music stars to date to go mainstream and achieve global renown. 

It took his mother posting videos of teenage Justin performing, singing, and dancing on YouTube for him to go from being an untrained and unknown singer to a superstar with a huge record deal with Usher within two years. Justin Bieber has become the first solo artist to feature on the Top 40 with singles before the release of a debut album.

In 2009, Justin released the album My World, which went platinum in several countries. However, a series of significant media exposure from offensive activities led Justin to break from music and the limelight completely. He made a return in 2015 with his first number one song, “What Do You Mean?” In 2017, Justin collaborated with Luis Fonsi to release “Despacito,” a record-breaking and chart-topping single. In addition, his 2020 release of the album Changes affirmed Bieber’s place as the youngest artist to have seven albums reach the top spot on the Billboard Hot 200.

Official website: www.junstinbiebermusic.com

Instagram: @justinbieber

  1. Olivia Rodrigo 

Olivia Rodrigo (born Olivia Isabel Rodrigo on February 20, 2003) is an American actress, singer, and songwriter who is best known for her roles as Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and as Paige Oliviera on Bizaardvark.

In 2020, Olivia signed with Interscope and Geffen Records 2020 and released her debut single “drivers license” in January 2021 with much critical acclaim. The single would go on to reach number 1 in multiple countries, including the United States. Her critically acclaimed debut album was released on May 21, 2021, and was preceded by two more singles, “déjà vu” and “good 4 u,” with the latter going on to become Olivia’s second single to debut at number 1 in both the United States and the UK.

Official website: www.oliviarodrigo.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/oliviarodrigo

  1. Drake 

Drake is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and entrepreneur who gained recognition after starring in the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2007), and he had released his debut mixtape Room for Improvement in 2006. Drake released two mixtapes, Comeback Season in 2007 and So Far Gone in 2009, before signing with Young Money Entertainment in pursuit of his music career.

In 2010, Drake released his debut studio album, Thank Me Later, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. He released his first commercial mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, in 2015; Drake’s last two projects were certified multi-platinum in the US.

Armed with the same rigor and consistency, Drake released his fourth album, Views, in 2016, and for 13 consecutive weeks, the album sat atop the Billboard 200, making it the first album by a male artist to do so in over a decade. Also, although marketed as a playlist, Drake’s second solo commercial mixtape More Life has set multiple streaming records since it dropped in 2017.

Official website: www.ca.octobersveryown.com

Instagram: @champagnepapi

  1. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish (born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell December 18, 2001) is an American singer and songwriter who first gained prominence and attention in 2015 in the wake of her debut song “Ocean Eyes.” The single was released by Darkroom, a subsidiary of Interscope Records, where Eilish is signed to and became an instant hit in the US and UK and globally.

“Ocean Eyes” was written and produced by Eilish’s brother, Finneas O’Connell, who regularly collaborates on her music recording and live shows. In 2017, Billie released her debut EP, Don’t Smile at Me, which became an instant hit, including reaching the top 15 in the US, UK, Canada, and Australian charts. Her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was released in 2019 and debuted at the top of the U.S. Billboard, and reached number one on the UK charts, and is one of the best-selling albums of 2019.

In recognition of her musical prowess, Eilish has seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, two Guinness World Records, and several other accolades.

Instagram: @billieeilish 

Website: www.billieeilish.com 

  1. Chris B

Chris B from California is making a massive buzz in the mainstream music industry with his unique voice and rap style. Gaining close to half a million fans on all social media, reaching millions of views on all platforms with his top hit ranking songs ‘I don’t even know’ hitting 1.3 million views and ‘6 Shooter Cowboy Feat. Haylee Cook’ also hitting 1.1 million views on Facebook. Chris B has closely worked with the label, Strange Music and has done many collabs with known artists like Krizz Kaliko. Chris B is catching the attention of many mainstream artists.

Website: chrisb.net

Instagram:@chrisbtv

Spotify: Chris B

Facebook: @therealchrisb

  1. Kid Lit Music

A free-spirited icon, Kid Lit Music is the influential artist raising the banner of the Black Queer community. Born to Caribbean immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, Kid Lit Music felt stifled at an early age. 

The beliefs of his community forbade him from stepping out of the closet, and it was not until he won Vanderbilt University’s Battle of the Bands did he gain the courage to walk out on his own. Since then, Kid Lit Music has been making waves in the industry.

As the pioneer of the new genre craze electroSoul, the phenomenal talent has released empowering hits such as “Bando Love,” “Mugshot,” “Rock My Mind,” “The Girls,” “Return of the Kid,” and “Read You Like I’m Khia.”

Instagram: @KidLitMusic

Website: www.kidlitmusic.com

  1. Patrick Beck 

Patrick Beck, also known as DJhypnotrip, recently recorded his album Royal Palace and also recorded and released a single guitar solo entitled “Arabian Gold,” which is now available on all platforms. He was recently nominated to run for president—the youngest person to do so. Recently, he also got married to Niece Waidhofer. Check out his linktr.ee page and follow him on Instagram @boss.glass to support his campaigns.

Website: www.linktr.ee/bossglass 

  1. Ah’lay

Alaya Woods, or better known as Ah’lay, is a fifteen-year-old emerging actor, dancer, rapper, singer, and songwriter originating from Michigan, now based in Florida. She started making music at twelve years old, the talented rapper/singer is quickly making waves in the scene with her unparalleled sound and style. Inspired by the likes of SZA and Billie Ellish, and xxtention Ah’lay seeks to create music that will connect people around the world. She’s the fifth child out of eleven and comes from a very talented family, releasing her latest collaboration album called Asylum with her brother NuVegas and a video release for the popular song “why feelings.” 

With a mature and powerful voice and unique hip-hop style, the multi-talented artist seeks to push the envelope with her sound. With a mix between hip-hop and alternative, Ah’lay is ready to showcase her talents to the world and dominate the industry with her talents. With every release, the Michigan now based Florida artist will have listeners engulfed into the world she creates with her story-telling lyricism. Ah’lay is an artist to keep an eye on and ear out for as she is set to leave her footprint in the music industry for years.

YouTube: Ah’lay

  1. Ivan B

Ivan B is a globally recognized chart-topping music artist. Without an influential label and mentor backing him, Ivan B made the headlines as the independent talent behind the album Forgive Me for My Honesty, which debuted at number 10 on the iTunes charts.

His success only grew with the subsequent release of his hit second album, Remains, and his latest full-length masterpiece, Frames, which encapsulates the poignant yet inspiring themes of moving past regrets toward realized dreams.

While promoting Frames, Ivan B is expected to make his onstage debut as the headliner for a Los Angeles show this November 4, 2021, at the “Catch One” venue.

Instagram: @fromivanb

Website: www.fromivanb.com

  1. Johnnie Spencer

Johnnie Spencer is a man of God, created by God, to be used by God for God’s purpose. His objective is to encourage each and every soul throughout the land. According to Johnnie, his goal is to minister to the hearts and minds of every spirit in this world, through the music the Lord inspires him with.

“It is my prayer that, in some way, all Men, Women, and even children will tune in, and receive the blessings of the Lord through song. In the meantime I’ll continue to hear from, on high, and write music accordingly as God gives it to me. Be well, be safe, and be blessed.”

Linktree: www.linktr.ee/John_Spencer 

  1. avidbeloved

davidbeloved, born David Hill, is a Rapper , Singer, Writer, Producer, and Entrepreneur who is hungry and ready to takeover the game! With hits like Extraordinary, Ur Tha One, and Holyfield, davidbeloved is up and coming and filled with fresh ideas for a public looking for something fresh, especially in this stale time of season.

After 11 1/2 years in prison, davidbeloved released his first album on June 6th, 2021 on a site called LÜM and on Soundcloud. At this point in time davidbeloved is having his album professionally mixed and mastered and will be officially dropping his album, Fresh Endings 2 New Beginnings in the middle of August. At this point in time you can hear his EP album Fresh Endings…To New Beginnings on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Soundcloud, etc. If you just want to hear good music, go to the other guys. You want to hear something great, listen closely to the story told in these rhymes.

Website: www.davidbeloved.wixsite.com/davidbeloved 

  1.  ClassikMussik

Independent artist, writer, and producer ClassikMussik is a talent that proves politics is more important than music to some in today’s market and should never be. “Millions of people are being deprived of good music today,“ says the proclaimed King Of Vibez.

“Some artists get there and fade and some artists u just know that once the world catches on , that fire coming through those speakers will spread to every ear that enjoys real undeniable music. Music that makes you think, feel, love, relate, feel motivated, and even just ride and vibe. Still has its much needed presence in our lives today, and people are starving,” says ClassikMussik.

Determination is a word often remembered attached to greats through history, and there is no doubt that through that same determination, an angelic voice, real life lyrics, and his undeniable sound, ClassikMussik has the chance to add his name to the greats.

Website: www.classikmussik.info

  1. Mariea Antoinette

Mariea Antoinette is an internationally renowned music genius, held as the world’s premier soulful harpist and a celebrated national recording artist.

A native of San Diego, California, Mariea Antoinette is a proud alumna of the University of California S.D. and the University of Arizona, where she pursued a master’s degree in harp performance. Her learned techniques and mastery over the instrument have taken her across the country and abroad.

Mariea Antoinette is recognized for her performances with the Los Angeles Southeast Symphony Orchestra, for the BET Awards, American Idol, and former United States president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama. You can see her across the country in major Jazz festivals this summer in the Capitol Jazz Festival, Columbia Maryland September 4th and the Catalina Jazz Festival off the coast of California , Catalina Island October 23rd

Her stages and discography include “Single,” “Sexy Paradise,” “Straight from the Harp,” “Overture,” “That Thing,” “All My Strings,” “My Favorite Things,” along with her latest masterpiece “Loving You” featuring Fattburger, has made Mariea a prestigious instrumentalist, advancing a love for heart-wrenching music and harp performances worldwide. She will be releasing a new single August 6, 2021.

Instagram: @marieaantoinette

Website: www.marieaantoinette.com

  1. 1KFlexer

1KFlexer is a twenty-three-year-old rapper out of Broward County, EastSide, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He never wanted to rap, but later on decided to take rap seriously in 2017, writing a song through his iPhone notes instead of a pen and paper. The would-be artist never recorded a song before until he had a close friend take him to a home studio where they recorded by the closet.

A few months went by and he ended up being locked up, which took to another direction in making music. After getting in contact with the same engineer that started his music, 1KFlexer recorded a couple songs which amazed listeners. 

1KFlexer is currently with a group called SoFlo UNDG, where they work together to bring revenue but he decided to make himself a bigger picture not only for SoFlo UNDG but as well as for an upcoming rapper.  

“Making music is the only way I can express myself, especially for a Cancer sign like me who doesn’t talk as much with little to say. For all the expressions and pain I’ve been feeling from past to present, now or later and whether I have to spit a rhyme or spit a melody, I enjoy making music even if I never wanted to. Throughout my life I’ve been around music such as piano, guitar, drums, choir, trumpet, etc. But taking the mic for myself is another accomplishment that I have yet to thank myself for but I am very grateful that I did.”

Website: www.unitedmasters.com/m/1kFlexer1300Blk 

  1. Lamar Love

Lamar Love is an artist from California based in Atlanta, Georgia. The artist has been heating up with SelfPaid Records independent label music since 2014. Lamar Love released his first projects such as “Palm Trees” mixtape, “Digital Love” mixtape, “Mucho Dinero” EP, following along with two hit singles “Still Alone” from 2020 and his latest single “Tap Out” in 2021, which have new videos out now on YouTube. 

“Tap Out” single is set to release on all platforms July 5, 2021. Now, his newest EP “SelfPaid” is set to release on August 5, 2021. Subscribe to his YouTube channel  and follow him on Instagram. For all business inquiries, contact SelfPaidRecords@gmail.com.

Instagram: @thereallamarlove

  1. Jay Scott

Jay Scott was born on November 18th 1998, in Baltimore Maryland. The artist was introduced to music by his uncle Tony at the age of ten. Ironically, he was a church organist. The way his uncle played the organ made him feel like he was “walking on clouds.” 

Jay wrote his first song a couple months later in 2010. Unfortunately, his uncle, one of his greatest influences, passed away, and it led him into thinking to stop making music for good. He  gave up on all hope, but something told him to keep going.

Twelve years later, he has been working on music constantly with close friends such as Princelightskin & W.B.K. Currently, Jay is working on an EP called “Alcatraz,” which features artists like 12am and Dylan Reese. IJay already dropped two singles from the EP called “suicide” & “death sentence.” The debut EP got him co-signs from Big Daddy Kane and twista. 

According to Jay, he is inspired by Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Denzel Curry, Aurora, Sasha Sloan, and his favorite, Kevin Gates. 

Spotify: Jayneto

  1. Lil MC

Rapper, singer, producer, podcast personality, hip-hop educator, and comic artist—these are among the titles that powerhouse creative Lil MC carries every day.

With Prey for Gods, PunisHER Volume 1, and PunisHER Volume 2 under her belt, Lil MC is a veritable hitmaker and is credited for revolutionizing the hip-hop industry. Her efforts and electric music have introduced new bangers to the industry and paved the way for countless female talents after her.

At present, Lil MC furthers her impact with her single “OMG (feat. Cozzee)” debuting on NBA 2k21 and her recently-released track “Riding the Pink Cloud” shaking the top charts. 

Instagram: @lilmc.music

Website: www.lilmcmusic.com 

  1. Madison Beer

With 25.4 million followers on Instagram and countless more listeners worldwide, Madison Beer is an undeniable star. Before launching to fame, Madison started out doing covers on YouTube.

That was how she was discovered by Justin Bieber, who shared the link to her content and introduced his massive following to the then-rising star. Since the life-altering event, Madison Beer has been the name on everyone’s lips, breaking records and ranking in Billboard Charts for her debut single “Melodies,” EP As She Pleases, and studio album Life Support.

Madison Beer has announced a European tour centered on the latter piece, which will kick off sometime in the Spring of 2022.

Instagram: @madisonbeer

Website: www.madisonbeer.com 

  1. Walker Hayes

TikTok users and dancers who have been following the latest crazes all know the name Walker Hayes. Walker is a famous pop-country music artist who is a frequent visitor of the coveted Billboard charts, his latest rank being that of the well-loved track “Fancy Like.”

He first launched his career in 2010 with “Pants,” which debuted at number 60 on the Hot Country Songs Charts. Following his unexpected success, Walker Hayes expanded his discography with “Why Wait for Summer,” “You Broke Up with Me,” “Craig,” and “90’s Country,”  to name a few. 

While working on his sound, Walker has also branched out into acting and songwriting and is currently welcoming crowds for his nationwide tour.

Instagram: @walkerhayes

Website: www.walkerhayes.com 

  1. Benjamin Gibbard

Benjamin Gibbard (born August 11, 1976) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is famous for being the lead guitarist and vocalist of the indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie. Gibbard and the Death Cab for Cutie band have recorded nine studio albums to date, and he is currently one-half of the electronica act the Postal Service. Gibbard released a collaborative studio project with Jay Farrar in 2009, followed by his debut solo album, Former Lives, in 2012.

Gibbard was engaged to actress and fellow musician Zooey Deschanel in 2008 and was married in September 2009 near Seattle.  However, on November 1, 2011, they announced their separation and finalized the divorce in December 2012. Gibbard would later marry photographer and tour manager Rachel Demy in October 2016 in Seattle.

Instagram: @gibbstack 

Website: www.benjamingibbard.com 

Glenda Drewery
Glenda Drewery is a Media Publisher Lead at Music Observer. She works with publishers, broadcasters, news outlets, sports and music organizations, education, and lifestyle brands (among others) to create a healthy ecosystem of diverse content. She ensures clients from the entertainment industry are positioned for success.

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