It’s been almost three years since our last Ones To Watch in 2018, in which we made to different categories for English speakers artists and the ones that spoke Spanish. But this time, we decided to mix both worlds and more artists from other parts of the world into one single category.
This time we have another ten artists from all over the world who are ready to take the step of their careers and grow exponentially in the upcoming months and years.
Let’s meet our Ones To Watch 2021 and remember, if you like their music, please don’t forget to support them buying their merch and music. And remember to share these artists with your friends.
EVAYA’s debut EP Intenção was one of those releases that blow our mind since the very first listen. A total of 6-tracks with the capacity to transport you to a different universe of emotions and sounds.
This young Portuguese singer, songwriter and producer is a little lusophone Björk in the making. The way she uses everyday sounds to create along with elements of electronic and pop music her own vision of the world while trapping the listeners so quickly into her musical project, is a quality that not everyone has.
mema. is another fierce force of nature from Portugal who is also a singer, songwriter and a producer.
With a mix of folk, pop and electronic elements along with traditional Portuguese instruments, mema. is presenting one of the most interesting, eye-popping and unique musical projects of Portugal right now.
Last October 9 (2020) she released her 6-track EP Cidade de Sal. An extraordinary representation of the confluence between the new and the old, always accompanied by detailed and elegant visuals.
From France, we have one of the biggest rising stars of synth-pop and PC-music, Oklou.
She also released music under two other different aliases like Avril23 (Avril EP, 2014) and Loumar.
With her debut mixtape Galore released in July 2020, she definitely becomes one of the most exciting singers that like Caroline Polachek, are creating their own worlds with the help of synth-pop, ambient music and pc-music while are redefining what pop music is gonna be in the upcoming years. Pushing the boundaries between the real and unreal sounds.
From Hammersmith (London, England) we have one of the selected for the BBC Sound of 2020. A deserved titled for the young singer and songwriter Arlo Parks.
With only two EPs in the market (Super Sad Generation and Sophie), her melodically poetical perfect style (bedroom-pop and R&B) and her soulful voice have positioned her as clearly one to watch for almost everyone.
Her highly awaited debut Collapsed in Sunbeams, will be released on January 29, 2021. (Transgressive & Beatnik)
With a growing fan-base, Isaac Dunbar is ready to make himself known in 2021 with the release of his third EP Evil Twin (February, 2021).
He slowly started as an Independent artist until he signed with RCA Records before the release of his second EP Isaac’s Insects (2019).
He was supposed to tour this April 2020, but the pandemic (as it happens to almost every artists) destroy the original plans. But his latest releases with singles like “Intimate Moments”, “Love, or the lack thereof” or “Miss America” keep his profile high as a rising pop star.
If he keeps serving up excellent pop tracks and visuals like this. 2021 will probably be the best year of his career.
I don’t have a problem saying that I put LGTBIQA+ artists on a priority spot when it comes to promoting new music and performers. As you are finding out in this list (not a ranking).
From Malaysia, queer singer Alextbh doesn’t have any issues to speak and sing openly about his sexuality in a conservative country like Malaysia.
From a young age (14) he started to experiment with garage band and music production, to later start writing about relationships, heartbreak and modern-day LGTBIQA+ dating world.
This June 12, he released her most open and honest record so far The Chase (EP). A statement made of 6-tracks that shows that Alextbh is not going anywhere and that his success in Malaysia is entirely deserved.
Maybe this 2021 will be the year that he will make the jump internationally to a bigger league. I hope so.
Non-binary singer and songwriter Dua Saleh, is one of the most genuine and exciting performers out there.
Dua’s versatile music work is an instrument to fight for social rights and made people more conscious about the world (the single “body cast” for example, that addressed police brutality).
Part of Dua’s life history is also on her work, as Saleh’s family became refugees of the Second Sudanese Civil War in the 90s.
One of Dua’s reasons to make music was that “In Sudan, there’s a lot of queer, trans and non-binary people who are closeted, so I try to put out as much content that’s like, the gay and trans agenda, as possible!” (i-D Magazine, 2020)
I’m sure that Saleh’s future appearance on the highly successful Netflix’s comedy-drama show Sex Education in 2021, will show the world the incredible talent of Dua.
After that, her career has grown exponentially with an increasing fan-base and a nomination for the Rising Star Award at the 2020 Brit Awards. With publications and articles by BBC, MTV, NME and Vevo among others.
Her neo-soul sound has no limits as well as her career, that will undoubtedly explode when her highly anticipated debut album drops in 2021.
Since the releases of tracks like “Alone” or “BFF” with Ayesha Erotica, the iconic Slayyyter has been of the most exciting and promising pop acts out there.
The way she mixes pop perfection with a bit of playfulness and a considerable amount of hyper-pop and pc-music inspiration made her one of those acts that need to be followed.
Her self-titled debut album Slayyyter (2019), wasn’t only a collection of pop-perfection and experimentation with bangers like “Touch My Body”, “Motorcycle” or “Daddy AF” but also the introduction for what it could be an explosive career.
Still waiting for the second album which probably will drop in 2021, but in the meantime she’s has continued to explore her sound with both bangers “Self Destruct” with Wuki and “Throatzillaaa”.
The Angolan singer based in Lisbon (Portugal) was one of the names that started to sound strong and loud at the beginning of 2020.
She’s was having a perfect start of the year not only because of her multiples performances in Europe, with a concert in Lisbon that I sadly missed but also because of the release of her powerful EP UWA.
The 5-track EP is an explosive collection of sounds that embodies her African roots along with EDM, bass music and dancehall was without any doubt a statement of the talent and possibilities of Pongo as an artist that uses her music to makes us dance but also to send social messages to trough her lyrics and visuals.
I discovered her thanks to the MIL (Lisbon International Music Network) that sadly wasn’t able to take place last March in Lisbon because of the pandemic. Still, it helps me discover fabulous artists like Rakky Ripper.
The Andalusian artist forms part of a necessary revolution of the Spanish scene focused on hyper-pop aesthetics and PC-music along with rap with a bit of English all over it.
On 2019, she released her debut album Neptune Diamond (with the production of Eurosanto along with others) which felt like a blow of fresh air of emotions and experimentation that finally give us some over the top fun moments, that is something that I miss a lot in the current Spanish music scene.
Last October, she released one of her most explosive tracks ever, the Spanglish “Coyote”. Serving visuals and a thriving racing sound that fits her so good, and that will position her on a higher international level with the proper push.
Is one of those acts that should be celebrated worldwide since the very first moment.
Channel Tres has been redefining on his own way what house music is. A self-titled “weird kif from Compton” that is using his music not only for making us dance but to also bring politics and social issues to club music.
Celebrating the black community and their diversity is also an essential part of his work as an artist. Without scaping from issues like the socio-economic struggle of the black community along with the continues discrimination and violence that they suffer.
Apart from all the singles that he has released this year, he decided to surprise us with a final bang. Releasing an EP titled I Can’t Go Outside with appearances by Tyler, The Creator or Tinashe.
The 7-track EP is obviously one of the best releases of the year, with an incredible warm vibe on it, essential these lonely days but without forgetting Channel Tres purpose.
The gender-fluid artist Dorian Electra has been pushing and destroying boundaries with their career for a while. Both Flamboyant (debut album 2019) and the most recent one My Agenda (October, 2020) have been a total explosion of experimentation and eccentrics, as the central part of the identity of Dorian Electra.
Precisely the industrial and hyper-pop style is the central part of Dorian’s identity. All this, together with thoughtful lyrics that perfectly complements their representation of toxic male behaviours in our society.
Dorian Electra was about to tour Europe this 2020, with both concerts in Lisbon and Málaga, where I was supposed to see her live. But the pandemic destroyed all the plans. An opportunity that I hope returns in the future, as most parts of the world need to know Dorian’s music, visuals and ideas. But it seems that with the recent New York Times feature, Electra’s career is going in the right direction.
For those who like crazy musical rides, you must check My Agenda. You wouldn’t be disappointed.