21 Up-and-Coming Music Artists You Want on Your Playlist Immediately
We love mainstream music artists as much as anyone, but we're also all about supporting up-and-coming talent. Over the past few years, we've seen stars like Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and Khalid make their way from an underground fan base to worldwide recognition. This year, there are plenty of other emerging virtuosos that we have on our 2020 radar. Look ahead to see some of the blossoming artists who deserve a slot in your streaming queue!
Tiana Major9, 24
You might be familiar with this British soul and R&B singer's collaboration with Earthgang on the song "Collide." The melody was featured on the soundtrack for Queen & Slim, but there are many more songs from Major9 that you should have on a loop. Her debut EP Rehearsal @ Nine is a six-track assembly of soothing refrains, starting with the jazzy "Altitude" and ending with the engrossing "Levee (Let It Break)."
Lauren Sanderson, 24
Weaving between pop, hip-hop, and alternative styles, this Indiana star is ready to show out with her debut album, Midwest Kids Can Make It Big, which is set for a Jan. 13 release. To get a better idea of her melodious repertoire, we recommend blasting her hits "To the People I Hurt," "The Only One," and "Shut Em Up."
Victoria Monét, 27
Monét is definitely on her way to making it big. Her production and songwriting credits on Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next contributed to the LP's Grammy nominations for album of the year and best pop album. The two also collaborated on the 2019 jam "Monopoly." Currently, Monét is gearing up for the release of her upcoming single "Moment" and a new EP. Her forthcoming collection of tunes will focus on her identity as a queer Black woman in the R&B and pop spheres, as well as love, femininity, and sexuality.
Jordan Mackampa, 25
Mackampa — a British-Congolese singer, songwriter, and musician — provides all the soul-nourishing indie tunes you need to feel at ease. Taking inspiration from his cultural background, he delivers soothing melodies with textured sounds and vocals. His latest release "Magic" will be featured on his debut album Foreigner, which drops March 13. Shortly after, Mackampa will embark on his first headline North American tour, starting with a performance at the SXSW music festival.
Tayla Parx, 26
It's more than likely that Parx has written some of your favorite songs. The Texas-born star is one of the masterminds behind Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next," Panic! at the Disco's "High Hopes," Janelle Monáe's "I Like That," and so many more bops. In 2019, she stepped out from working behind the scenes with her album We Need to Talk, and her smooth vocals prove that she has all the potential to take over the music scene.
Claud, a Brooklyn-based nonbinary indie artist, creates jams that fuse '80s beats with modern transcendental elements for a time-warped experience.
If you're into dreamy vocals, you'll want to give this Barbadian singer a listen. Her debut album, Iridescent, is a gorgeous journey through life, love, and finding inner peace. Standout tunes such as "Divine" and "Wife You Up" emphasize self-confidence with resounding hooks that will keep you entranced through and through.
Arlo Parks, 19
The next time you're looking out a window on a chilly day, we suggest playing any song from this artist and LGBTQ+ advocate. Her music will warm you right up and send you into a trance as she croons about lost love and growing pains.
Kiana Ledé, 23
The first thing I did after hearing Ledé's jam "Easy Breezy" was tell my editor, "That 'Easy Breezy' song by Kiana Ledé BUMPS." The same can be said about the LA-based singer's hits "Can I" and "Bouncin" as she sings about romantic longings. But Ledé — who starred in MTV's Scream — also knows how to slow the tempo, as evinced by "Ex." That's range.
Jess Connelly, 28
Using her Filipino roots and Australia ties, this R&B singer explores love and relationships through her craft. Her songs — which are usually imbued with dulcet sounds — often challenge gender norms while providing a look into Connelly's journey of self-exploration.
Kailee Morgue, 21
Morgue's sultry sound is undoubtedly impressive. Best of all, she doesn't shy away from showing her wild side. One of her popular jams, "Siren," alludes to a woman luring in a love interest who can't seem to resist her wild seductions. And in her single "Headcase" with Hayley Kiyoko, she proudly declares, "I'm a headcase / F*ckin' crazy / I'm a heartbreak / I warned you." We love a woman who embraces her wild side but still cautions people about it. Don't be surprised if you start to hear more about this Arizona-born songstress.
With over three million monthly Spotify listeners and 500,000 YouTube subscribers, it's only a matter of time before this California-based singer makes her way to the top of your playlist. Tapping into themes of love and self-confidence, Mxmtoon (pronounced "em-ex-em-toon") uses music to show a vulnerable side of herself that many can relate to. One of her most popular songs is "Feelings Are Fatal," but her latest album, The Masquerade, is certainly worth a listen.
If this alt-pop artist's hypnotizing vocals aren't enough to reel you in, her captivating music videos should be. Whether she's embracing a woman's choice to have a casual hookup in "F*ckboy" or opening up about loss and grief in "Bad Kid," the native New Yorker fluoresces confidence through her craft.
Thirty seconds into Dodie's tune "Monster" and you'll know the English singer-songwriter is destined to make it big. Her faint croons have a captivating touch of fantasy and uppity beats, yet heavy undertones that address darker themes such as loss and failed love. Check out her latest single "Guiltless" after breezing through her recent album Human.
With airy sounds and delicate notes, Clairo's music sounds like a Pinterest board coming to life. "Pretty Girl," "Bags," and "4Ever" are among some of her best hits, each of them vacillating between topics such as friendship, romance, and beauty standards.
Sabrina Carpenter, 21
You probably know Carpenter from Disney Channel's series Girl Meets World and the film The Hate U Give, but her music career seems like it's only beginning. Carpenter — who's originally from Pennsylvania — already has some serious jams (i.e., "Sue Me" and "Paris"), and we're anxiously waiting for her to really break out in the music industry.
Melii started gaining traction after her remix of Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" went viral. Rihanna also used her song "Icy" during a Fenty Beauty product preview on Instagram in May 2018, giving her even more attention. The Harlem singer and rapper now has her own music out, and her distinctive sound — inspired by her Dominican, Cuban, and French roots — is sure to catapult her into a successful career.
With vocals that ring in your ears like a melodious battle cry, this queer, Sydney-based Latin pop artist is bound to sing her way to the top. In 2016, she won the best breakthrough artist award at Australia's ARIA Music Awards for her debut album Glorious Heights, and she's continued to captivate listeners with her extraordinary sound. Not only is her voice powerful, but the messages behind her music — such as embracing your identity and addressing climate change — are equally as impactful.