In the past two years, a lot of new artists have exploded onto the music scene, harnessing the free time that the quarantine provided to hone their musical talents and the power of social media to build a fanbase and gain recognition. Here at Music Matters Media, we rounded up 10 of our favorite artists of the year so far.
#10. Olivia Rodrigo
Photo Credit: Stefan Kohli
It’s hard to believe that Olivia Rodrigo released her debut single “driver’s license” this January. Since then she has broken numerous records and her debut album, SOUR, had one of the biggest opening weeks of 2021 and also broke the Spotify global record for the largest opening week of any album by a female artist. Rodrigo has become a household name and has built a dedicated fanbase that are looking forward to whatever she puts out next.
#9. The Kid LAROI
Photo Credit: Steve Cannon
While Australian rapper/singer-songwriter The Kid LAROI began his professional career back in 2018, his career began to skyrocket at the end of 2020 with the release of his hit song “Without You.” After blowing up on TikTok, Laroi has since worked with A-listers like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and has achieved two Top 10 singles on the Billboard charts.
Photo Credit: Michael Becker / Fox
Jackie Miskanic (JAX) is not new to the music scene. She started her career performing on American Idol’s fourteenth season in 2015, finishing in 3rd place. The Jersey native released a few singles, but became well-known for her quirky covers on TikTok. This led to her getting signed by Atlantic Records and releasing 3 singles in 2021 – “Ring Pop”, “Like My Father”, and “90s Kids” which have received 3 million, 5 million, and 7 million Spotify streams respectively.
Even though Bleachers released their third studio album this year, it has been a breakout year for the Jersey band. Producer and frontman Jack Antonoff has become even more high profile after working with artists like Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and The Chicks. The band even collaborated with Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen for the lead single off of their latest release.
#6. Madison Beer
Photo Credit: Louisa Meng
Madison Beer started receiving attention for her covers on Youtube in 2012 when Justin Bieber reposted one of them. She released her first EP in 2018 and debut album Life Support in February of this year. Beer received favorable reviews from critics and the single “Selfish” was certified RIAA Gold. She plans to release her second album later this year.
#5. Lil Nas X
Photo Credit: Filip Custic
Lil Nas X was by no means an underground artist in 2021. But he was on the verge of becoming a one hit wonder after the massive success of “Old Town Road.” None of his follow up singles had the same reception up until his 2021 release “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The song reached #1 on the Billboard charts and became one of the most talked about music videos of the year, showing Lil Nas X falling from grace and giving a lap dance to Satan. His second single of the year, “Industry Baby” debuted at #2 on the charts and is drumming up a lot of hype for Lil Nas X’s debut studio album to be released later this year.
#4. Arlo Parks
Photo Credit: Alex Kurunis
Arlo Parks is a British singer-songwriter. Her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams received widespread success among critics and earned nominations at the 2021 Brit Awards for Album of the Year, Best New Artist and Best British Female Solo Artist. Also a poet, Parks is known for her melodic tunes and her seamless integration of poetry into her lyrics.
#3. The Band CAMINO
Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
The Band CAMINO was established in 2015 by four friends at the University of Memphis. Since then, the foursome has morphed into a trio and the band has released three EPs. The Band CAMINO’s debut, self-titled album is set to release this year under Elektra Records. Receiving nods from Billboard as “rock’s next big thing,” this trio is setting themselves up for a breakout year.
#2. Gracie Abrams
Photo Credit: Vince Aung
Gracie Abrams is the 21-year-old daughter of film director J.J. Abrams, but she has found success of her own within the music industry. Her debut EP Minor landed her performances on Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon’s late night TV shows. She also has no shortage of successful supporters including Phoebe Bridgers, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Lorde, and Olivia Rodrigo. Abrams is also cited to be an inspiration behind Rodrigo’s breakout hit “driver’s license.”
#1. Mia Giovina
Photo Credit: Tori Sokalski
Mia Giovina is another Jersey artist who got her breakthrough on TikTok with her song “Sirens”, a moving ballad about outgrowing your hometown. It has amassed over 200k streams and her second single, “Time Machine” was covered in Rolling Stone. Giovina currently has 178k followers on TikTok and is continuing to make a name for herself.