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Up and Coming Artists: Winter 2021

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Up and Coming Artists: Winter 2021

By Sorcha CollisterTMA’s Manager for Music Partnerships, UK

TMA Music has compiled the following recommendations of artists to watch based on data, dialogue with music industry partners, and signals from social media. Our goal is to provide you with a sneak peek of who is on the rise to spark new ideas and celebrate the joy of new music.

Here are some of the artists on our radar right now.


Bakar (UK)

GENRE: Indie, Alternative

AGE: 27

KNOWN FOR: London-based Bakar’s music channels indie, punk, and hip-hop. His sound has garnered him endorsements from artists like Skepta, Elton John, and the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh, for whom he also modeled as part of Abloh’s debut runway show for Louis Vuitton. Bakar is currently recording his second album which promises to catapult him to the top of many “Ones To Watch” lists.

LYRICAL THEMES: Comments on society

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Australia, US, UK

LISTEN TO: “The Mission”

Emotional Oranges (US)

GENRE: Pop, R&B, Neo-Soul

KNOWN FOR: Members “A” (an audio engineer for Drake) and “V” (a vocal coach for Adele) met at a bat mitzvah in LA in 2017. Why the anonymity? They want their identity to be based not on what they look like, but their lyrics, production, art, the music, and the way they engage with the fans. At shows, they wear headgear and are often shrouded in fog onstage. Now signed to Island Records, they’ve been gaining buzz and momentum over the past few years and are poised to break soon. Their latest release, The Juicebox, includes features from Vince Staples, THEY., Yendry, and Kiana Ledé, and they count Michelle Obama among their fans.

LYRICAL THEMES: Relationships

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Australia, UK

LISTEN TO: “All That” (feat. Channel Tres)

Farruko (Puerto Rico)

GENRE: Reggaeton, Spanish Dancehall

AGE: 30

KNOWN FOR: Farruko is recognized as one of the most important musical phenomena within the Latin music industry. Due to his exceptional versatility and performance expertise, the multi-platinum artist and two-time Latin GRAMMY winner, has managed to conquer massive audiences around the world and has become one of the most innovative exponents of the reggaeton genre.

LYRICAL THEMES: His life, his principles, relationships, partying

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Peru

LISTEN TO: “El Incomprendido”

Fontaines DC (Ireland)

GENRE: Indie, Rock

AGE: Mid 20s

KNOWN FOR: Fontaines DC are proper authentic rock! Their live show has drawn comparisons to The Smiths, The Pogues, and Oasis at its peaks. On record, their first album Dogrel was nominated for a Mercury Award and they have since been nominated in categories for both the Brits and the Grammys.

LYRICAL THEMES: Confrontational poetic thoughts of Dublin and daily life

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, Ireland

LISTEN TO: “A Hero’s Death”

Gabriels (US)

GENRE: Classic Soul, R&B

AGE: Mid 30s

KNOWN FOR: Imagine a band formed with an acclaimed gospel singer and choir director, an established film director, and a classically trained musician and soundtrack artist. That’s Gabriels, an LA-based trio that are true masters of storytelling, vintage soul, new R&B and just a hint of ultra-contemporary alt-pop that even Elton John loves.

LYRICAL THEMES: Love, social topics

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, US, France

LISTEN TO: “Love And Hate In A Different Time”

Jamie Miller (UK / US)

GENRE: Pop, R&B

AGE: 22

KNOWN FOR: Miller migrated to Los Angeles to craft his own R&B-inspired original music and has amassed an explosive online following thanks to ongoing displays of his jaw-dropping vocal talent. His fans include Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Sam Smith, Jennifer Hudson, Khloe Kardashian, and more.

LYRICAL THEMES: Love, relationships

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, Indonesia

LISTEN TO: “Here’s Your Perfect”

Keedron Bryant (US)

GENRE: Soul

AGE: 14

KNOWN FOR: Born in Italy and raised in the US, 14-year-old singer Keedron Bryant made headlines when he posted his emotional song “I Just Wanna Live” in response to the killing of George Floyd by the police. He may be young, but his broad and powerful voice gave the world a song that showcases the emotions of being young and Black in today’s America. Now signed to Warner Records, Billboard included Bryant on their “21 Under 21” list in November 2020. Later that month, he was chosen as a finalist for Time Magazine’s “Kid of the Year.” “I Just Wanna Live” was selected as the top song of 2020 by Associated Press, while Esquire named it one of the greatest protest songs of all time.

LYRICAL THEMES: Activism, equality

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US

LISTEN TO: “I Just Wanna Live”

Lolo Zouai (US)

GENRE: Pop, R&B

AGE: 21

KNOWN FOR: Hailed as “refreshingly original” by Pitchfork and “one to watch” by The Guardian, French-born American Zouai blends R&B and Pop into confident, assured tracks with an element of fun. She was a co-writer on H.E.R.’s Grammy winning self-titled album and will soon be hitting the road with Dua Lipa on the Future Nostalgia tour.

LYRICAL THEMES: Flirtatious independence

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US, UK, Australia

LISTEN TO: “Galipette”

PinkPantheress (UK)

GENRE: Pop

AGE: 20

KNOWN FOR: PinkPantheress posted a TikTok video that quickly racked up 1 million views, with hundreds of thousands of other TikTok users adopting the song in their own videos. Following this viral success, she recorded a longer version of the track as well as a full-length album currently receiving huge streaming numbers. Not your average TikTok artist, PinkPantheress is introducing a UK-style sound influenced by DnB, Jungle, Garage to a lot of American fans.

LYRICAL THEMES: Personal confessions

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US, UK

LISTEN TO: “Pain”

Sega Bodega (Ireland / Scotland)

GENRE: Electronic/Experimental

AGE: 29

KNOWN FOR: Sega Bodega is both a producer and recording artist who releases powerfully creative and innovative music. His just-released new album is a compelling experimentation of sounds. He also releases tracks under his label NUXXE and counts Rihanna as a fan, who used tracks for her Fenty Beauty commercials and fashion shows.

LYRICAL THEMES: A whirlwind of emotions

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US, UK

LISTEN TO: “I Need Nothing From You”

Self Esteem (UK)

GENRE: Pop

AGE: 34

KNOWN FOR: Self Esteem AKA Rebecca Taylor (previously of Slow Club) is championed by The Guardian, Drowned In Sound and The NY Times amongst other publications. Nominated for Q Awards’ “Best Breakthrough Act 2019” and in 2021 won BBC Music’s “Introducing Artist of the Year.” Self Esteem maxes out pop and empowers women, leaving behind her quiet Indie Girl persona with Slow Club.

LYRICAL THEMES: Female attitude, self-deprecation, strength

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: UK, Ireland

LISTEN TO: “I Do This All The Time”

Thomas Headon (UK)

GENRE: Pop

AGE: 21

KNOWN FOR: Headon was born in London, grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and moved back to London just before the pandemic hit. He sometimes goes by the name of Disco Tony and is best known for his song “Grace” in 2019. Impressively he’s had over 50 million streams of his first two EP’s and has a new one due in early 2022.

LYRICAL THEMES: Love, relationships

COUNTRIES WITH MOST SPOTIFY LISTENS: US, UK, Australia

LISTEN TO: “Strawberry Kisses”


Here’s a Spotify playlist with all of these up-and-coming artists and their songs to listen to. Check it out here. Enjoy!

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