Who were the Top Musicians of 2021?

The music industry is dynamic, always making space for established talents and emerging newcomers. The enduring success of veteran artists is often due to their ability to reinvent themselves and adapt to new trends. Meanwhile, watch the stars of 2021, whose tracks are poised to climb the charts.

Guitarist on stage for background, soft and blurred concept

Rhys Lewis

Rhys Lewis is originally from Oxford. He has established his base in London as a talented singer and songwriter. He first captured public attention in 2016 with the release of his song “Waking Up Without You,” marking the beginning of his ascent in the music industry. His popularity surged even further in 2019, thanks to his hit singles “Hold On To Happiness” and “Better Than Today,” which amassed over a million streams on Spotify.

This impressive achievement underscores his potential to dominate the music scene in 2021, positioning him as a standout artist for the year.

Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor is a multifaceted talent, excelling both as a singer and a songwriter. Between 2009 and 2011, she launched three independent albums that garnered attention for their nostalgic musical style reminiscent of earlier eras. 

These early works laid the foundation for her rise to fame. Trainor’s unique sound and engaging lyrics propelled her to the forefront of the music industry, earning her a Grammy Award for chart-topping hits like “Lips Are Moving” and “All About That Bass.” Her continued success and evolving musical prowess suggest that her prominence in the music world will only increase. With her track record of hits and a growing fan base, Meghan Trainor is poised to be among the top artists making significant impacts in 2021 and beyond.

Cole Swindell

Cole Swindell, a distinguished American country music artist, has made significant contributions as a singer and a songwriter. He has penned hit singles for other prominent country artists, including Craig Campbell, Thomas Rhett, Scotty McCreery, and Luke Bryan, showcasing his versatile songwriting skills. 

The setlist Cole Swindell arranges for his tours features standout tracks like “Sounded Good Last Night,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” and “Break Up in the End,” among others, highlighting his ability to connect with audiences through relatable lyrics and melodies. Since rising to prominence in 2010, Swindell has continuously evolved as an artist within the country music genre. 

This ongoing reinvention and dedication to his craft signal that he is on a trajectory to be one of the leading figures in the music industry for 2021, further cementing his status as a critical player in the country music scene.

Maddie & Tae

Maddie and Tae, renowned for their traditional country sound, first burst onto the scene in 2014 with their hit single “Girl In A Country Song.” This track showcased their vocal harmonies and songwriting abilities and paved the way for the release of their highly acclaimed debut album, “Start Here.” Their initial success marked them as a duo to watch in the country music industry, resonating with fans for their fresh yet classic country style.

The turning point in their career came in 2019 when they inked a deal with Mercury Nashville, which promised to elevate their career to new heights. This was further solidified by announcing their tour with Lady Antebellum in 2020, setting the stage for them to achieve even greater success. With these significant developments, Maddie and Tae are well-positioned to have a standout year, signaling their continued ascent in the country music world.

Yungblud

Yungblud reinvented himself as a hip-hop artist who integrated rock music. He first became known in 2017 because of his hit single King Charles. He is deemed one of the fastest-rising stars in 2021 as his singles become hit in numerous countries around the globe.

Entering 2021, Yungblud has rapidly ascended to become one of the music industry’s most swiftly rising stars, thanks to his ability to produce hit singles that resonate globally. His music’s widespread appeal and his knack for blending hip-hop with rock elements have broadened his fan base and established him as a significant force in the music world, indicating his continued success and influence in various countries worldwide.

Olivia Rodrigo

Rodrigo in 2021

Olivia Rodrigo rapidly became a music sensation with her debut single, “Drivers License,” released in January 2021. With its deeply emotional lyrics and captivating melody, the song resonated globally, setting streaming records and topping charts worldwide. 

Its success on platforms like Spotify and the Billboard Hot 100 made Rodrigo one of the year’s most prominent and discussed new artists. This track laid the foundation for her debut album, “SOUR,” further cementing her status in the music industry. Olivia Rodrigo’s instant rise to fame with “Drivers License” highlighted her powerful storytelling and vocal talent, marking a significant debut in pop music.

BTS

BTS at the White House in 2022 (left to right): V, Jungkook, Jimin, RM, Jin, J-Hope, and Suga

BTS, a South Korean K-pop group, maintained its position as a global music icon throughout 2021 by releasing chart-topping singles such as “Butter” and “Permission to Dance.” These tracks exemplify the group’s ability to produce catchy, upbeat songs that resonate with a vast international audience, further cementing their reputation as a powerhouse in the music industry.

“Butter,” a vibrant and smooth disco-pop track, showcased BTS’s versatility and ability to create music that crosses cultural and musical boundaries, becoming a summer anthem and topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Following “Butter,” BTS released “Permission to Dance,” another feel-good track that encourages listeners to find joy and freedom in dancing, regardless of the world’s challenges. Both songs not only solidified BTS’s status as global superstars but also demonstrated their ongoing commitment to spreading positivity and connecting with fans across the globe through their music. Their continued success and ability to dominate music charts worldwide reflect BTS’s unparalleled influence and the global appeal of K-pop.

Drake

In 2021, Drake reaffirmed his status as a heavyweight in hip-hop with the release of “Certified Lover Boy,” which achieved significant commercial success. The album, blending hip-hop, R&B, and pop, topped the Billboard 200 and broke streaming records, showcasing Drake’s lyrical skill and knack for hit-making. Through themes of love, fame, and resilience, Drake connected deeply with listeners, further cementing his influence in the music industry and popular culture.

“Certified Lover Boy” highlighted Drake’s artistic versatility and reinforced his position as one of the most impactful figures in hip-hop.

Justin Bieber

In 2021, Justin Bieber sustained his global music success with the album “Justice” and its hit single “Peaches.” This project marked another milestone in Bieber’s career, showcasing his evolution as an artist with tracks that blend pop with elements of R&B and soul. “Justice” received widespread acclaim, charting internationally and reinforcing Bieber’s status as a pop icon. 

The single “Peaches” particularly stood out, dominating top charts worldwide with its catchy melody and smooth vocals. Bieber’s work on “Justice” and its successful singles like “Peaches” highlighted his enduring appeal and ability to stay at the forefront of the music industry.

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa maintained prominence in the music scene in 2021, capitalizing on the momentum of her critically acclaimed 2020 album “Future Nostalgia.” This album, celebrated for its fresh take on disco and pop, produced hit singles that remained popular throughout the year, securing Lipa’s position in the charts. Her high-profile performances, including award shows and televised events, showcased her as a formidable performer, further elevating her status as a leading figure in contemporary pop music. 

Lipa’s continued success with “Future Nostalgia” in 2021 underscored her ability to create music that resonates widely, affirming her influence and staying power in the industry.

The Weeknd

Despite a notable Grammy Awards snub, The Weeknd demonstrated his musical excellence in 2021 with chart-topping hits like “Save Your Tears” and a memorable performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. These achievements underscored his talent and resilience, showcasing his ability to captivate audiences worldwide and remain a significant force in the music industry. The success of “Save Your Tears” and his Super Bowl appearance not only highlighted The Weeknd’s artistic versatility but also solidified his status as one of the top performers of his generation.

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish built on her debut success by releasing her sophomore album, “Happier Than Ever,” in 2021. This album, eagerly awaited by fans and critics alike, delivered on its promise with a mix of introspective lyrics and innovative soundscapes, earning widespread critical acclaim and commercial success. Eilish’s ability to explore deep emotional themes with authenticity and maturity confirmed her status as one of the most influential young voices in music, further establishing her as a critical and commercial powerhouse in the industry.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift made significant strides in 2021 by embarking on a project to re-record her earlier albums, starting with “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version).” This move, aimed at reclaiming control over her musical catalog, was met with enthusiastic support from fans and resulted in record-breaking success. 

Swift’s initiative demonstrated her determination to maintain artistic integrity and reinvigorated her discography, introducing her classic hits to a new generation and reaffirming her status as a music industry innovator.

Doja Cat

Doja Cat in 2021

Doja Cat cemented her status in the music industry by releasing her album “Planet Her” in 2021. This project highlighted her artistic versatility, blending various genres and delivering hit singles that dominated charts. “Planet Her” showcased Doja Cat’s ability to create catchy, innovative music and established her as a multifaceted artist with a unique voice in the contemporary music scene.

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X captured the public’s attention in 2021 with his provocative single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” which soared to the top of the charts despite—or perhaps because of—its controversy. He further solidified his place in the music industry by releasing his debut album, “Montero,” to both critical acclaim and commercial success. 

This project showcased his knack for blending genres and pushing boundaries, marking a significant milestone in his career and establishing him as a bold and influential figure in modern music.

Conclusion

In the diverse landscape of the music industry, a select group of artists stands out for their vocal talents and songwriting prowess. These individuals, hailing from various musical genres, have garnered appreciation from a broad spectrum of listeners, highlighting their versatility and creative depth. Their ability to craft lyrics that resonate on a personal level, coupled with melodies that span across genres, positions them as unique talents within the music world. This multifaceted approach to music-making has captured the attention of audiences worldwide, setting them on a path that could lead to top-tier status in 2021. Their success is a testament to the power of combining lyrical storytelling with compelling musical composition, making them artists to watch in the coming year.