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As crazy as it may seem, we have finally escaped the year 2020. Last year was a year like no other; the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on everyone, especially the music industry. The closure of nonessential businesses and travel bans left artists with limited recording spaces and an inability to perform in person.

But if quarantine left us with anything, it’s the inspiration to create. The music industry is booming yet again and leaving us with hits like we’ve never imagined. So, here’s a list of artists, new and old, that I believe will control the industry in 2021.



SZA’s career took off with the release of her debut studio album CTRL in 2017. Since then, the singer has only exceeded expectations with her talent for both singing and songwriting. Her latest single, “Good Days,” was released in late December 2020, earning her the ninth spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks. 

SZA’s ability to create music for various audiences will take her career to the next level. Her commitment to her music style will only benefit her, and her relatability and honesty in her lyrics will be all the better. With songs like “Broken Clocks” and “The Weekend,” SZA proves her talent’s strength and how far it will take her. 

You can listen to “Good Days” here.

Olivia Rodrigo

I don’t know about you, but I have been listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “Driver’s License” for weeks. At just 17 years old, Rodrigo has dominated the charts, earning the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks. 

“Driver’s License” is a heartbreaking powerhouse of a song; it reveals Rodrigo’s inner turmoil after reaching a goal in her life (getting her license) without the person she loved. The song showcases her incredible range and songwriting abilities, and people of every age are taking to the internet to profess their admiration for the new artist’s music. 

“Driver’s License” is out on every platform; listen here.

Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion has taken the rap world by storm. Songs like “Girls in the Hood” and “Captain Hook” launched Megan Thee Stallion’s career in 2020, leading her to collaborate with artists such as Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and Doja Cat. The 25-year-old rapper is making her presence known in the industry, and I don’t foresee that ending any time soon.

Her presence is an inspiration to girls everywhere; Megan Thee Stallion has encouraged girls of all ages to live for themselves and be confident in who they are. Though explicit, her songs help create a new narrative surrounding young females and erase harmful stereotypes. Her single “Body,” released in November 2020, is a perfect example of her dedication to promoting self-confidence.

You can listen to Megan’s single “Body” here.

Yung Gravy

Yung Gravy is a newer artist, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t gained as much traction as others. After his music went viral on social media after being released on Soundcloud in 2017, Yung Gravy put one foot in front of the other and started running. In three years, the rapper/singer has released three albums, a mixtape, and has produced four EPs. 

Yung Gravy recently released “Oops!”, an upbeat and lively song. After its release, the song went viral on Tik Tok, promoting Yung Gravy’s piece as a great end to 2020. His fun and exciting personality will take him far in the music world, and I am excited to see how he and his music grow.

Listen to “Oops!” here.

Mac Miller

The late and great Mac Miller has resided on Billboard’s Hot 100 Artists for 27 consecutive weeks. New music from Mac Miller continued to be released after his passing in 2018, with his album Circles immediately dominating the charts. Since then, he has held his presence in the music world, continuing to hold onto and grow his fan base. 

A few of Mac Miller’s songs have recently trended on apps such as Tik Tok, reviving songs such as the single “Good News.” As his songs trend yet again, I think Mac Miller might just make it back up to top spots on the charts.

Listen to one of my favorites by Mac, “Come Back to Earth,” here

These artists cover a range of music genres, and from what we have seen from them over the past couple of months, they have no intention of slowing down. I believe that these singers and producers’ presence will only grow as we head further into the year. These are names that we will be hearing about for years to come.

Ally is a sophomore communication major at SUNY Geneseo. When not writing articles, Ally enjoys hanging out with friends, playing volleyball, and being, as her name implies, an "ally."
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