FLEX ONES TO WATCH 2021
2021 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years in music to date. With thousands of budding artists emerging to the fold, it can be hard to keep track of all the incredible talent slowly worming its way into the musical zeitgeist. So in an attempt to cut through all the noise, we have handpicked ten young and emerging acts that look set to make 2021 their year.
Despite only just turning 18 years old, Alfie Templeman has been on the radar for many over the last few years. Having already released seven EPs over the last four years, both self-released and through Chess Club Records, the young artist has been capturing the ear of many tastemakers in recent times. With his distinct RnB-infused indie direction, it feels like 2021 is finally going to be the year he moves from the cult status he has occupied and become one of the UK’s most prized young artists.
After making a huge impression with his 2020 debut release ‘I Don’t Want To Make It Alone, I Want To Make It With You’, 21-year-old newcomer beaux recently penned a deal with the iconic indie label Dirty Hit (The 1975, Pale Waves, Rina Sawayama, beabadoobee), which looks set to be the catalyst to springboard him into the new year with gusto. Many have already began to take note of his fresh and captivating sound, and it feels like things will look very different for him by the end of 2021.
2020 was an incredible year for the young Biig Piig. With the single ‘Don’t Turn Around’ becoming her first playlisted song on BBC Radio 1 and ‘Switch’ landing her a performance on Later… With Jools Holland, it feels like there is no stopping her now. She is currently working on her debut album, which is set to arrive later this year, and it feels as though we are only just beginning to experience what she is truly capable of right now.
Last year, rising name Dayglow came out of nowhere with his now smash-hit single ‘Can I Call You Tonight?’ The release ended up going viral for the 21-year-old, landing him the #2 spot on the US Alternative Radio chart and gathering more than 170 million streams worldwide. Since then, his output has been even more exciting as fans wake up to hear that he is more than just a one-hit-wonder right now. Dayglow is also set to release his debut album later in the year.
With a string of low-key festival shows in 2019, indie outfit Friedberg unwittingly set the stage for what was to become an incredible year ahead. Their breakthrough single ‘Go Ahead’ became listed on 4000 European radio stations, including BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music, and Radio X, as well as landing a sync deal that placed them on Fifa, Normal People, Netflix’s Biohackers, Fox Sports, BBC and many more. Now signed to Marathon Artists (Courtney Barnett, Jamie Isaac, Honeyblood), the band are set for another incredible year of world domination ahead.
girl in red
We have seen countless Norwegians dominating the new music arena over the years, and it looks like Marie Ulven aka girl in red is next to join the illustrious string of Scandinavian entrants. Since the release of her breakthrough single ‘I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend’ in 2018, the young singer-songwriter has moved from strength to strength, commanding more than seven million Spotify listeners every month. She is set to release her long-awaited debut album ‘World In Red’ later this year.
After first getting her break as a regular support artist for Lewis Capaldi during his astronomical rise to fame, 21-year-old newcomer Holly Humberstone has since looked to take on the new music world on her own terms. With her first EP ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’ turning thousands of heads upon its release, she has quickly become one of the UK’s biggest talking points, thanks to inclusions on BBC Sound Of 2021 and VEVO’s Artists To Watch list.
Although still relatively unknown in most circles, things are beginning to align for the emerging artist Issy Wood. Having spent the last two years working alongside producer Mark Ronson, her debut EP ‘Cries Real Tears!’ saw her as a visionary name emerging on the scene. With a distinct and instantly recognisable sound under her belt, as well as Ronson as an ally, it feels like she is only just gearing up to be one of the world’s biggest alt-pop acts.
After first breaking through with his debut mixtape ‘Send Them To Coventry’ near the end of last year, things have really begun to take off for the British-Gambian rapper Pa Salieu. After winning the illustrious BBC Sound Of 2021 poll, he has been on a meteoric rise ever since, racking up even more praise than before and even landing a live performance on US chat show Jimmy Fallon.
World’s First Cinema
After initially making themselves known as a founding member of Neck Deep and a regular collaborator of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Fil Thorpe and John Sinclair aka World’s First Cinema are looking to put their roots behind them on this new and exciting project. With their recently unveiled singles ‘Can’t Feel Anything’, ‘Red Run Cold’ and ‘Cold Sets In’ all racking up hundreds of thousands of streams each, it seems like the duo are on course to become an incredibly engaging name on the scene very soon. World’s First Cinema will be releasing their debut EP later this year.