Nobody expected the cacophony of events that shook the world in 2020. However, the world adapted and moved on, and the music went on. Despite not having concerts or any form of shared musical experience, musicians had to find a way to gain attention organically. It was hard but not impossible as many turned their attention to social media, live streams, and challenges while others just let the music do the talking.
In the last year, many of us spent more time alone than we ever have. Music became the go-to company, and many new artists were discovered. These artists are some of the most impressive artists, and we have compiled 25 rising musicians in 2021 that are worth keeping tabs on in no particular order.
- The Weeknd
Photo courtesy: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, best known as The Weeknd, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer. The Weeknd made his mark with his vocal versatility, unique production style, and eclectic performances. He is often regarded as one of the biggest influences of contemporary music. The Weeknd’s first mixtapes House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, generated a buzz in the music industry. After signing with Republic Records in 2012, The Weeknd released his album Trilogy, following his debut studio album Kiss Land in 2013. The artist is recognized for his Billboard-topping singles “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” and “Beauty Behind the Madness.”
- Nick Porcaro
Nick Porcaro is from the same family name as Jeff Porcaro, former co-founder and drummer for six-time Grammy Award Winning band Toto. Nick is a rock and metal drummer based in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. Nick’s experience spans four decades.
Nick is an artist for SJC Drums, Collision Drumsticks, and Soultone Cymbals. He is also an Ambassador for Destroy A Drum, Salvatore Franco Fine Clothing, and Waylon Wristwatches. Nick was number #11 on the Music Observer’s Top 20 Artists of 2020. He plays in 2 bands and teaches people how to play drums. Nick is also an independent artist posting videos on Instagram.
Photo courtesy: Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, is a rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, and entrepreneur from Canada. He was born on October 24, 1986, and since his rise to prominence in 2010, he has become one of the biggest rappers globally. He released his debut album, Thank Me Later in 2010, and since then, he has four other albums, namely, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same, Views, and Scorpion. He has another album in the works titled Certified Lover Boy, but its release date has been postponed indefinitely. Drake has won four Grammy awards out of 42 nominations, two MTV Video Music Awards, 27 Billboard Music Awards, two Brit Awards, and three Juno Awards. He has been on Complex’s Best Rapper Alive Every Year Since 1979 list. He is signed to OVO Sound Record Label, co-founded in 2012 with his longtime collaborator, 40.
- Lady Gaga
Photo courtesy: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, professionally known as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, philanthropist, dancer, and fashion designer. She was born on March 28, 1985, in Manhattan, New York City. Lady Gaga is of Italian, French-Canadian, English, German, and Scottish descent. Her debut album The Fame made waves across the globe, surpassing record holders in the industry. The artist is best known for her smash hits “Paparazzi,” “Love Game,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” and more. In 2018, Lady Gaga starred in A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper. Lady Gaga has won coveted awards, including Academy Award for Best Music, Billboard Music Award for Top artist, Grammy Award for Best Music Video, and more.
- Michael Melvin
Michael Edward Melvin (born 8 November 1998), better known by his stage name MELVIN, is an American DJ, record producer, musician, and songwriter of electronic dance music from Greenwich, CT. MELVIN was formerly known as MoŁ; his career began to take off through mixing live sets at parties whilst attending school at Syracuse University. He is especially known for his eclectic style, melodic production, and his distinctive palette for fine organic wines. MELVIN has recently gained some fame and notoriety through performing at various private venues, with social distancing of course, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cony recently signed a deal and is moving to ATL in a few weeks to create his new album. The budding musician recently got a ZAYTOVEN co-sign. Several months ago, Cony made the billboards in Times Square New York and appeared in many magazines. His name is also becoming a trend in various radio spins and industry talks. A native of New Jersey, the rising star is reaching stardom faster than people expected. Everyone wants to be around Cony and his musical virtuoso definitely proves what all the hype is about.
In the past three months, Ric-a-Sha has been interviewed on iHeartRadio. The artist has been making waves because of his single, #BlackLatina, which has been featured on several publications like Fox, ABC, and NBC News. It received over two dozen blog placements.
Ric-a-Sha currently lives in Tampa Bay and he’s taking Tampa by storm, making headlines for #BlackLatina along with the Weeknd. Now, #funkflex is promoting #BlackLatina through social media on a 24-hour rotation. It has gained over 20,000 monthly listeners and 10,000 followers.
Born Michael Jefferson from Port Huron, Michigan, evrYwhr, pronounced as everywhere, is a Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, spoken wordsmith, and producer—a true musical visionary. Recognized for his eclectic take on R&B and pop with cinematic and orchestral feels, evrYwhr is easily one of the most promising artists of his time. His love for music began at the age of 5.
Despite earning a degree in Sales and Business Marketing from Western Michigan University, evrYwhr knew his passion lay in music. He worked to achieve his dreams until he got the opportunity to collaborate with artists like Leona Lewis, Mila J, and Aaron Carter.
evrYwhr has co-written “Gravity” and “Confessions” for the 2013 Grammy-winning album Gravity by gospel rapper Lecrae. His empowering single called “Letter to the White House” received acclaim from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University, and iHeart. It was also used as a leading soundtrack for numerous campaigns during the 2020 US Presidential Elections.
- Jamaar Milton
Jamaar Milton has become one of the most promising independent artists of our generation. His latest body of work “9” which seemed to drop in perfect timing has earned him several accolades and undoubtedly propelled his career from years in the underground circuit into the mainstream arena.
Reigning from Long Island, NY this “woke-hop” rapper/producer has been seen seemingly everywhere in 2020 not just dropping some of the most relevant material we’ve heard in decades but also leading activism and philanthropic efforts throughout NYC and Flint, Michigan. His new anticipated album “As Above” has been rumored to have A-list hip-hop artists and producers attached to the project, including young hip-hip legend Joey Bada$$, and more! After a 2-year run of singles and jaw-dropping videos which also included some Neo-soul gems showcasing his versatility, he is without a doubt a sure shot for what we’re looking for in terms of the total package to open up the 2021 year!
- Zay Shenron
After storming his way through the New Jersey hip-hop scene, Sicklerville’s very own Zay Shenron has to be on this list. Credits to Power 105 NY as a showcase artist, and two placements on SoundCloud’s “Hot Tracks” playlist with his major track “Showtime”, but we’re all anticipating his 2021 year. After almost nothing in 2020, what’s next?
- Damon Fletcher
Damon is a new artist and has created two soon-to-be dance floor packing hits. He was inspired by Usher’s words and understood that the COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect time to pick up a new hobby. Damon has a few hits planned to be released in 2021 and cannot wait for the world to hear them. With Damon, always expect the unexpected.
Ellis Pascal, aka Elli$D, is an artist who realized that “if life is just a dream, so why not dream lucidly?”
The triple entendre is a meningitis survivor and an activist for special needs. As an individual who has many classifications and who has completely conquered a very severe case of Tourette Syndrome, High Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, OCD, Bipolar, Spasticity, PTSD, etc, Ellis became a stronger person. Walking around, people would think that he is just an ordinary guy. Not unless he has told you his story.
Ellis has a Second Degree Black Belt he got in 2001 and a Pro Bowler in 2016. Bottom line, from not being able to control his mobile and vocal motions/actions at one point in his life to taking full control, Ellis has an understanding of language that very few have. As an artist, he understands his place in the world and has the utmost confidence that his passion will not be broken. Ellis intends to help others in the community as well as sharing his art through any medium he can.
- MLG Ki
MahKi, called by his peers as “Ki,” is a 14-year-old aspiring rapper. Since he was young, Ki always had an ear for music. At 12, Ki started taking his passion for music seriously and booked his first showcase in East Palo Alto, CA, his hometown.
For Ki, the fulfilling joy and excitement of performing and hearing the crowd chant his name brought him an unmatched feeling. He decided to continue on this path, and assumed a musical identity, “MLG Ki.”
And since, MLG Ki has been dedicated to getting his name out there and letting the world know that he’s here to stay! Follow MLG Ki on his journey to greatness on Instagram.
- Evan Pietrzak
Evan Pietrzak has taken the next step for his career by performing for Super Bowl LV with 2Hot Radio. Singing his smash hit “Back Again” by his band Nigel & Evan, the young singer dominated the music scene in Tampa, Florida this past weekend by being the most standout performer by being the first and only pop singer at the entire event.
Pietrzak stated that “It was a great opportunity to share my music with a whole group of people who have the same dreams as I do. It was an honor to be invited to perform, and it was an experience I will never forget.”
Being humble and grateful for every opportunity he gets, Pietrzak is destined to become the next big pop star. He also plans to release a brand new song called “Where You Goin’’’ with fellow bandmate and producer Nigel Seibert. The song deals with the heartache and challenges of the teen dating lifestyle. Be sure to check out Nigel & Evan on Spotify and stream their new record “Where You Goin’’’ while it leaves you dancing like there’s no tomorrow.
Spotify: Nigel & Evan
- Zoah Silva-Landry
Zoah Silva-Landry is an artist out of Boston Massachusetts who has been involved with music his entire life. Since his early years he’s played many instruments, including, drums, guitar, piano and most recently began experimenting with vocals. “Music for me is a hiatus. Whenever I’ve needed to vent or needed to get something off my head, I would resort to music,” he said
“Music was my first love and since starting it, I’ve made so many connections and met people I never would’ve had I not been in the industry. It has also taught me so much about myself. How to be resilient and devoted to something if I care about it. It has taken me this far and can’t wait to show the world where I go next,” Zoah added.
- Linda Washington
Linda Washington is a nurse, singer-songwriter, author, single mother of four, and breast cancer survivor from Phoenix, Arizona. Linda is the genius behind the song “Love Again” ft. Superstar Lamar, a song dedicated to breast cancer survivors like herself who need the motivation to believe that they are beyond their illness. Linda is also the author of Forbidden and Broken: Finding Love Behind the Scars, which recently released its Kindle version on Amazon. The book shares her journey from pre-treatment to post-treatment procedures for breast cancer and how the experience made her stronger as a woman.
For over a decade, she has built herself to become one of the most inspirational persons in her community and even appeared in the dazzling billboards of New York. Linda is currently a licensed practical nurse in Phoenix. Considering herself as a warrior and a fighter, Linda aims to enlighten breast cancer survivors’ lives and leave a mark in the world.
Facebook: Forbidden And Broken Finding love behind the scars
Soundcloud: Linda Washington
- Heri Iznaga
Heri Iznaga is a singer, songwriter, and music producer. He was originally born in Cuba and at a young age, he already took piano and guitar lessons but never continued his studies with the instruments. At the age of 14, he moved to Miami with his family to pursue a bigger dream. He quickly fell in love with music and taught himself how to sing and produce music of his own.
Heri’s debut EP, “State of Flux” was his first experimental album which took him three years to complete based on personal experiences. A year later, he booked a flight to Iceland to film his very first music video ever for “Dancing in the Mirror” single which is OUT NOW on all platforms. Heri has produced songs both English and Spanish owning up to his Hispanic roots.
Born Kenneth Angel Castro, KCAST is a singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, and a musical package. A native of South Bronx, New York, KCAST has listened to almost every genre of music growing up and that affected him spiritually as he got older.
“God’s music was the first sound I was introduced at a very young age of 3. Hip-hop, pop, rock, and many others became a part of who I am today,” said KCAST.
KCAST enjoyed music all his life, but he never got the chance of creating it until he graduated high school. Instead of only writing songs and recording them, he wanted to learn how music was made by studying audio engineering alongside making beats/instrumentals. Before, he has been considered a ‘loser trying to be the best,’ and he really didn’t find his true talent until he started creating music. KCAST intends to become one of the best in the music industry, reaching the ultimate dream of making the world a better place through music.
- Kweku Smoke
Kumasi, Ghana-born Kweku Smoke, is the hottest rapper making his name with a unique type of music in Ghana’s hip-hop scene. He has been proclaimed as the “King of Drill Music” and is living up to the name with his catchy beats, witty wordplay, and deep lyrics in English, Twi, and Pidgin. As the pioneer of Drill music in Ghana, he has influenced a new wave of musicians to adopt his sound style, which is taking over the hip-hop scene in Ghana. His new album, Snoop Forever, is one of its kind and the style of music on the album has never been heard before.
Kweku Smoke has his sights set on breaking into the global market. His influence on the Ghanaian music industry is profound, and his authenticity, combined with his talents, is poised to take his music beyond African shores. As one of the few artists who retain their original sounds without using auto-tune in their songs, Kweku Smoke has inspired a new wave of authentic artists.
Learn more about Kweku Smoke on his official Instagram page.
Facebook: Kweku Smoke
YouTube: Kweku Smoke
- Tyler Porterfield
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, LA-based artist/producer and label owner, Tyler Porterfield (Pop Cautious), provides a soulful blend of rock, reggae and indie folk. West Coast and Southern influences can be heard in the music and production styles. The artist currently has a few singles and a four-song self-titled EP available for streaming and download. The debut LP titled, ‘Troubadour’, is in the works.
“Pop Cautious continues to inspire people with his ambitious goal of peace and unity for all, and the accomplishments both he and his record label achieved in working towards that goal” (Music Industry Weekly, 2020). Check out the link below to view the music video for “2 hearts” by Pop Cautious on YouTube.
Band Camp: Pop Cautious
Facebook: Pop Cautious
SoundCloud: Pop Cautious Records
Spotify: Pop Cautious
YouTube: Pop Cautious – 2 hearts
SCY, pronounced “sky,” is a musician from Los Angeles. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, SCY developed a profound love for music at a very young age and has carved a niche for himself as a musician using his real-life experiences and observation to create music. Beyond writing music and performing, SCY is also a recording engineer and music producer with many music projects credited to him.
He is signed to Real Life Music, a record label that represents everything he stands for, which is to embrace artists’ creativity, unique sounds, and realities. At Real Life Music, SCY amplifies messages that speak about crime, drug addiction, prostitution, and other social vices that many other artists glorify. He is currently working on an album from which he released his latest single, “The Sky Is Falling,” available on YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming platforms. You can reach 408-669-3053 to get information about his upcoming album.
Beyond music, SCY works a 9 to 5 job, which he claims has given him a closer look at the things that many people go through daily and inspires the bulk of his music.
- Que Rasheed
Quran Rasheed Salaam, professionally known as Que Rasheed, is a musician to watch out for this year. The Gainesville, Georgia native was born on October 16, 1997, and started getting into music when he was still 8 years old. Que grew up with his brothers in a musical family. Their parents were singers in a traveling choir, and they would always be with them at their shows. The deep history with music made him want to pursue music. Later on, he played the trombone in middle school.
Listening to artists like Andre 3000, Big Boi, Eminem, Nas, and B.o.B is really what made him start rapping, and these artists shaped his sound to this day. Recently, Que Rasheed dropped two singles, “Under Pressure” and “Footsteps.” The songs were produced by a platinum producer and are based on his experiences in life and love. Que will drop a new album soon and fans could not wait.
- The Gore Boyz (TGB)
The new generation is already gearing up to replace today’s pop stars. Part of the new generation is the group, The Gore Boyz (TGB). Every few years, a new boy band emerges that captures our hearts. The three brothers (Herman III, Edwin and Sean Michael) who make up The Gore Boyz (TGB) are poised to become the next boy band to grace the covers of young teen magazines while thrilling listeners with their unique and catchy sound.
The Gore Boyz have a sound that blends Motown, newschool, pop, hip-hop and R&B to create a sound all their own. Having been mentored by the likes of Usher and Jackson Five, The Gore Boyz are making big moves. Groomed in true Motown style since 2009, TGB is a blend of new and old school in the vein of Boyz II Men and The Jackson 5, with a bit of Justin Bieber mixed in. Their latest single “Spend A Bag” has gained 600,000 streams on Spotify and over a million views on YouTube during the month since its release. It was produced in Los Angeles by a team headed by Grammy Award winning artist, Theron ‘Neff-u’ Feemaster (Men In Black). TGB makes R&B music that appeal to pop audiences of all ages. The Gore Boyz does not only manifest excellence in music, but also in their personal lives. Each of the Boyz is a National honor roll student.
- Jonathan King
Seen in publications from Source Magazine to Market Watch, Thousand Times is an American music producer who blends hip-hop and pop elements in new and refreshing ways. Based in Charlotte, NC, and working exclusively out of Soule JukeBox recording studio, the veteran music producer has worked with Grammy-winning and Billboard-charting artists. In addition to music, the serial entrepreneur has written 12 books and is the CEO of Lift Off Credit Services/Lift Off Ventures LLC, a multi-faceted small business development firm. In his free time, he likes to relax with friends and family, play basketball, and walk his dog, Major.
- Ray Guell
Ray Guell is an artist, singer, and music executive from Miami, Florida. He’s the owner of Groovy Tunes, a record label he started back in 1996 and has worked with many influential producers, including Grammy award-winning executives Chris Barbosa and Carlos Sarli.
The artist’s music career started after joining a new wave band as their lead vocalist and started passing demos to independent labels. While the band would not work out, Ray would land a deal with a music label and work with Tolga Katas, an up-and-coming Turkish producer. He is also the founder and owner of Sir Ray Music, a new label he started in collaboration with dance music producer Giuseppe D.
Today, Ray Guell writes, publishes, and distributes his own music alongside his production work. He released the single “Don’t Wanna Cry,” which has exceeded one million streams on Spotify. His other hit, “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul,” would enter the iTunes top pop music charts in France and Germany within a week after its release.