When we put together this same feature about artists to watch in 2020, we had no idea what kind of hellride was in store. The year was largely without concerts and shared experiences around music, which made forming a connection with new artists difficult, but not impossible. Many turned to social media and livestreams, others let the music do the talking, and in some ways 2020 was a promising year for more rising artists than usual.
It's impossible to look back on a moment in history and not conjure up a soundtrack in your head. Some of those moments are tied to ubiquitous hits or culture-shifting disrupters, and others are paired with more intimate memories like hearing an unfamiliar voice for the first time or falling in love with a song that feels like it was made for you. In 2020, as we all probably spent more time alone than we'd have liked, those personal memories may end up being the most significant. As time goes by, years start to blend together and we forget the first time we heard our go-to songs or got introduced to our favorite new artists. That doesn't apply to 2020. We'll never forget the music that kept us company in 2020, and (hopefully, please) this year will never blend in with the rest.
These 21 artists provided those moments for us during the worst year ever and are poised for breakthroughs in 2021. Whether it's a brand new artist just getting started or an act who leveled up and hit their stride, all 21 of these artists are worth keeping an eye on this year. It's time to look forward again, and these are some of the artists you have to be watching out for, in no particular order.