Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

New Artists to Look Out For in 2021, from a Music Enthusiast

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSD chapter.

I love music. 


Some of my favorite childhood memories were dancing in the living room with my sister to the Mulan soundtrack for hours. My life changed completely when I got my first iPod and I would blast Hilary Duff’s entire Metamorphosis album on repeat while pretending I was going through some major life crisis at the age of 5. Even at a young age I found comfort in music; getting lost in the rhythms, finding peace alongside the chords and finding strength in the harmonies. For me, music is healing and strength, music is love and pain and music is transformative and powerful. 


Here is a list of up and coming artists to keep your eye out for on their way to the top! Some of them are long time friends I’ve known since I was 5 and others I just met this year. Regardless each and every one of these artists are incredibly talented and I’m excited to see them win!


Image of artist Ebbie Akbar
Original photo by Leigh Fahrion

1. Ebbie Akbar

Ebbie Akbar is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer born in Detroit Michigan. As an adolescent she moved with her family to California where her love for poetry transformed into writing lyrics and recording music. Her four releases include: Beach Meets The Streets (2012), Finish Him (2014), Trials,Tribulations, and Fun (2016) and Golden State EP (2018). 

Ebbie has competed and won 6 rounds of “Mic Drop” a radio freestyle competition sponsored by L.A. Leakers and Power 106 in Los Angeles and has been the opening act for Yg, Chief Keef, Andre Nickatina, Tyga, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, E-40, KRS One, Honey Cocaine, RJ, and Big Sean. 

Her 2019 releases, “No Money” and “Rackeys” featured a more melodic R&B tone, different from her previous “West Coast Rap” albums. In 2020 Ebbie Akbar hit the ground running releasing 5 new singles and 5 new music videos for: “Trappin,”  “Jeep,” “Morning,” “One Time,” “Did This” and performing for Vancouver Pride in Canada and Lexington Pride in Kentucky. Her hard work landed her on Spotify’s “Release Radar” and “Fresh Finds” playlists. 2021 is going to be a big year for Ebbie Akbar as she continues to release a new single every Friday! 


Check out two of my favorite songs by Ebbie Akbar titled, “Babyscarface” and “Been So Long,” available on all platforms and make sure to follow her on instagram @ebbieakbar. 


2. Chandler Henry 

Born in Santa Cruz and based in Nashville, Tennessee, Chandler Henry began writing songs at the age of seven. Henry released her debut single ,”Big Slice”, in the winter of 2019, and has since released six other singles, including a Latin pop collaboration with several other Nashville-based artists. Henry’s early releases take on a live acoustic sound, with punchy choruses and powerful instrumentation. Henry took an unexpected turn with the release of her single “A Little Too Much”, an explosive and empowering dark pop track. Her latest release, “Relapse”, is a palatable blend of her live acoustic and edgy pop sounds. Chandler is set to release several more songs in the summer of 2021, and plans to end the year with the release of an EP.


Be sure to check out my favorite song by Chandler, “Big Slice,”  and keep an eye out for her upcoming singles, “Sheets,” “Harder to Lose,” “Hotel Room” all set to be released this year! 


Image of singer and songwriter Jessica Oh
Photo by Jessica Oh

3. Jessica Oh 

Jessica Oh is a recent college graduate from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in Songwriting. Jessica has acquired lyric writing skills in genres such as pop, hip-hop, and R&B and has a focus in DAWs such as Logic and ProTools. She is constantly working with signed artists on projects from developing top lines to creating catchy melodies and is an enthusiastic and creative thinker with a passion for songwriting. 

Besides her love for writing music, She is also the former captain of a hip-hop dance team, a member of the Berklee K-pop group, and the founder of “International Culture Club.” She has won numerous awards in poetry contests, art competitions, and tennis matches, but her heart has always been in the music she creates. Jessica is classically trained in piano, cello, and guitar, but has been writing pop and Christian music since 2005. Overall, Jessica values kindness, and she shows that through her interactions with others and through her music. 


Check out one of my favorite songs by Jessica titled, “Overused” and keep an eye out for a current co-write she is working on with a friend titled “Bandaid” which will be released this Summer. 


4. Nari 

Nari is a singer-songwriter from the East Bay in California. After they entered college, Nari got into hand poke tattooing which led to their introduction to the indie scene and traveling around and tattooing bands on tour. After getting familiar with the scene, the musician, with no prior knowledge of how to write a song or how to play guitar, threw themselves in. With only two years of music under Nari’s belt they are currently working on their first LP.


Check out one of my favorite songs by Nari titled “Julia” and catch them at their next show in Indianapolis with Okey Dokey on June 25! 


Image of artist Candace Wakefield
Photo by Candace Wakefield

5. Candace (SupaStarC) Wakefield 

Candace (SupaStarC) Wakefield is a 5 X Grammy Award winning vocalist, born and raised in Inglewood, California. In April of 2018, she released her highly anticipated debut R&B/Pop album “1993 Camaro (The Journey)” which she wrote and recorded in her 1993 Camaro. Taking us on her journey through the ups and down/highs and lows of her uphill climb to success. Music Industry executives describe her voice as an “Angelic Voice” with vibrations that you can literally feel in your soul, even after the singing ends. The message is equally as impactful with uplifting lyrics that inspires dreamers to never give up. As an artist, Candace exudes a keen individuality that changes the energy around her, making people smile and feel good. Candace was born into a family of music. Her maternal grandmother, the late, great Margaret Aikens Jenkins, was a gospel singer/composer who sang with gospel group “Ladies of Song”. Jenkins sang and composed “The Only Hope We Have” a song that Gospel Legend Mahalia Jackson loved so much, she recorded and released 3 different arrangements. 

Candace began her professional career singing background for Omarion, and Marques Houston. She has toured internationally as a vocalist for Nicki Minaj, Ciara and Kelly Price. She won 5 Grammy’s for her vocals on Kendrick Lamar’s hit singles “Alright” and “I”. She has also worked as a vocalist for TI, JLo, Keyshia Cole, Babyface, K. Michelle, Chante Moore and many more. Candace co-wrote “Start A Fire,” “American Gold,” “Perfect Girls,” and “No Introduction” on TLC’s self- titled finale album “TLC” released in 2017 – the album was certified #1 by Billboard, independent charts. She also co-wrote “Tryna Get By” and “Body Language” on Faith Evans and Notorious BIG Collaboration Album, “The King and I”, “Afterparty”, “Pretty Girl” and “Gone” by actress/singer Rhyon Brown, Shanice’s come back single “He Won’t” and Top 40 hit single “Just my Type” by Tiana. She has worked with Nickelodeon show Little Ballers Indiana where she wrote 4 songs – including theme song “Teamwork” with legendary rapper MC Lyte. She performed at Angela Basset’s 60th birthday party and continues to perform locally, nationally, and internationally. Most recently, Candace wrote and sang background on History, Believer, Free and Holy Ghost featured on Fantasia’s newly released album, “Sketchbook”. Sketchbook debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B Album Sales chart.

Check out for her new singles, “What are We?” and “ I Want You” now available on all platforms and catch her at The Only Music Society in Los Angeles on Sunday June 6! 


All of these artists are about to make big waves in the music industry so please support them by checking out their music and sharing it with a friend! Let’s support these artists in achieving their dreams!

Leigh Fahrion is a transnational Chinese adoptee who attends University of California, San Diego. She is a fourth-year transfer student who attended University of Oregon before transferring to UCSD where she currently is a Communication major and Ethnic Studies minor in pursuit of her Bachelors Degree. She is passionate about storytelling through creative mediums such as photography, film, art, music and food.