Meet the Talented Emerging Artists Making Their Mark on the Musical Landscape
Need some new music to add to your playlist? PEOPLE's got you covered.
ABIR is bringing the "Heat."
The Moroccan-American star showcases her roots — and her incomparable vocals — in her new music, which features North African instruments laced with modern pop sounds.
“I’m a lot of what a Muslim-Arab woman isn’t expected to be," she said in a teaser video for her new music earlier this year. "The current narrative is uninformed. And honestly, it’s f—ing boring. I'm comfortable with who I am, where I come from, what I practice and I'm not afraid to get loud about it."
And she sure isn't.
Her August EP Heat — with tracks like "Pray For Me" and "Inferno" — perfectly encapsulates her intersectional identities in an expressive and beautiful way.
Listen to her anthemic track "Yallah."
Ready for reinvention.
mike. (formerly known as Mike Stud) is making his mark on the industry in a new way. The star completely reimagined his music two years ago when he changed his stage name.
Last year, his song "These Days" went platinum before even signing to a major label. Oh, and he's a good friend of Post Malone.
"Me and Post are so similar and it’s funny because looks-wise and if you put us on paper you would be like these guys are polar opposites but we’re just like normal guys," he told Cal Times in 2018, foreshadowing his artistic change. "He will be a bigger part of the story."
mike. also hosts a podcast called Ya Neva Know: You Know What I Mean.
Play his track "been thinking."
Sam DeRosa's candid and relatable lyricism separates her pop tracks from a crowded field of music makers.
A natural songwriter, DeRosa's catchy track "Sad Faces" touches on mental health, while "321" encapsulates the feeling of wanting your ex back after a breakup.
DeRosa got her start on NBC's Songland where she wowed judges with her song "Pill For This."
“I hope nobody ever relates to the heartbreak that I went through, but if they have, I’m happy to know that I emotionally hugged them through song,” she told PEOPLE last year. “It’s an emotional conversation or confrontation, described over a happy beat. So if we’re in the club and we’re crying, at least we tried it, at least we got really pretty and we went out. We might cry a little on the dance floor, but we’re dancing through it.”
DeRosa's debut EP "The Medicine" is expected later this month.
Play her track "Sad Faces!"
Maeta is just "Too Good!"
With sexy songs like "Babygirl" and honest tracks such as "Debbie Downer," Maeta has tracks perfect for any vibe.
“I’ve always used music to help work through my emotions,” she said in a press release. “And though I’m a mostly happy and grateful person, it’s always the sad and bittersweet songs that really get me. That’s what makes music so special to me at this point in my life."
The Indianapolis-born singer dropped EP "Do Not Disturb" last year and got her start releasing music on SoundCloud.
Her recent collab "Teen Scene" with Buddy and KAYTRANADA is to die for.
Polo G might be a newcomer, but he's already The GOAT.
His 2020 LP The GOAT is certified platinum and features the likes of Lil Baby on "Be Something" and the late Juice WRLD on "Flex."
“You can be as young as 14, living life like a grown man,” he told Rolling Stone about his tough Chicago upbringing. “I had to mature quickly growing up in the trenches.”
Polo G's rap lyrics are honest and his beats are catchy. He truly doesn't hold back.
Listen to his latest track "Epidemic."
Gen Z'ers probably know his song "IDK You Yet," Alexander 23's tender track that went viral on TikTok.
The young star's new music features his soft vocals backed by sweet and melancholic melodies.
The video for his last song "Brainstorm" features some of his fans talking about their mental health.
"'Brainstorm' is about how difficult it can be to communicate how you feel when you’re in a really dark place," Alexander told Variance Magazine. "Sometimes the words to describe how we feel simply don’t exist and this song is meant to keep you company in those moments."
Alexander 23 dropped 9-track album I'm Sorry I Love You last year.
Listen to "Brainstorm" and watch its touching video.
"Hearts Ain't Gonna Lie" and neither are we: Arlissa is one of our favorites.
The German-born singer got her start early on, even featuring a collab with Nas. After being dropped from her label at a young age and making her mark as an independent artist, she's on the rise.
"I was so meek and mild and so afraid of everything and everyone," she said about her start in the industry. "Now I'm just like, 'You can't hurt me anymore because I've heard everything' ... Now it feels like nothing can really hurt me."
Arlissa even made an appearance on "Eyes Off You" alongside Kiana Ledé on the Charlie's Angels soundtrack.
Listen to her single "Little Girl."
We've been "Cravin" a star like DaniLeigh.
The Dominican-American star, who is set to drop an album called Movie later this month, showcases her vocals and rap verses in both English and Spanish.
DaniLeigh got her start after being chosen by none other than the late Prince to direct one of his music videos.
"Prince taught me to remain authentic in this business. I have carried that sentiment with me ever since he told me," she told Wonderland in August.
Listen to her sultry collab with Tainy, "Falta."
SEVENTEEN — comprising 13 members S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon and Dino — originally debuted in South Korea back in 2013, but have recently made their transition into stardom all over the world.
The group, which is divided in the 3 subunits: hip-hop, vocal and performance, released their six-track mini-album ; [Semicolon] on Oct. 19.
"Using the punctuation ‘Semicolon,’ we want this album to deliver a message of taking a moment for a brief breath to the young generation who run restlessly," Jeonghan said in a press release about the project.
Listen to the group's upbeat track "HOME;RUN."
Faouzia's vibrato is just so beautiful.
The young Moroccan-Canadian singer is a rising star — and her tracks "This Mountain" and "Born Without a Heart" are definite standouts.
"I hope people feel good when listening to this song and feel like they can tackle whatever the next step of their journey may be," she told PopCrave earlier this year.
Faouzia released her "Stripped" EP over the summer and has an exciting collab on the way — on Friday, she'll drop "Minefields" alongside none other than John Legend.
Check out her song "Tears of Gold."
Conan Gray is “The King” of new music.
Earlier this year, he blessed our quarantines with his debut album Kid Krow, an album inspired by his troubled childhood, but filled with angsty bops.
“When I’m writing a song, I’m like, ‘Oh no, no one is going to relate to this. This is just such a niche thing that happened to me,’” he told PEOPLE in January. “But the reality of the human experience is that we’re all way more similar than we think we are. A lot of us have really similar problems and really similar challenges that we face.”
Check out his TikTok hit: “Heather.”
She’s “Sweet but Psycho." She’s Ava Max!
The anthem pop queen is gearing up for the release of her debut album Heaven & Hell on Sept. 18. (Spoiler Alert: it’s filled with songs you’ll sing at the top of your lungs.)
“I think instantly when you hear it, it's an earworm,” she told Forbes about hit “Sweet but Psycho.” “It just makes you feel excited and happy and instantly lifts you up, so that's number one I think. Number two is probably the relatability of the lyrics. Everybody has felt a little sweet but psycho.”
Play “OMG What's Happening,” the album’s latest single.
The Driver Era
Feel the brotherly love!
The Driver Era — comprising brothers Rocky and Ross Lynch — are serving alt-rock hits straight from their garage studio. You might recognize them, they were formerly known as R5 and Ross stars in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
“The process of releasing music also messes up your timeline and the way you work through things in your life emotionally,” Rocky, 25, told GQ UK earlier this year. “By the time you get a song together and put it out for an album, you find the emotion behind it may no longer be relevant but instead leaves you stuck in an emotion you felt a year before.”
Check out their quirky “Places” music video, directed by Ross!
Alaina Castillo’s powerful R&B — often bilingual — tracks will have you simpin’ on a regular day with songs like “i don’t think i love you anymore” but have you bopping with ones like “papacito.”
“Dark, spacey and a mix of a bunch of different sounds that fit whatever mood I’m in,” Castillo, 18, told MTV UK about her music. “I like to take music personally, so the emotions in the music have to be able to transcend to what I’m thinking and create a universal sound that can speak to different people.”
(Oh, and she covered the iconic "bésame mucho" in such a beautiful way.)
Tonight, listen to “tonight.”
Ready for a good cry? JP Saxe has you covered.
“That session was one of the most magical in my life,” Saxe told PEOPLE last year. “We sat down at the piano, and that song just poured out of us. We wrote it and recorded it, essentially, the day we met.”
Saxe’s heart wrenching, acoustic-driven ballads set him apart as a songwriter and singer. He released his EP Hold It Together with a handful of them earlier this year.
Check out his touching “A Little Bit Yours.”
She’ll have you “Dancing in the Dark!”
You can count on Canadian indie-pop artist LØLØ to be one of the next big stars. She dropped her EP Sweater Collection last year and recently caught the attention of Swifties with her reimagined lyrics from the perspective of Betty in Taylor Swift’s folklore track “Betty.”
On TikTok, the artist shares covers of recognizable songs from reimagined perspectives.
“It’s definitely intimidating, but luckily I think everyone who creates music feels the same about it because it’s putting out your deepest darkest personal thoughts and I guess we’re just used to it by now,” she told Substream Magazine about making music.
Play her angsty bop “Hate U.”
Add jxdn to your list of “rockstars on the rise!”
After attending a show of the late Juice WRLD, jxdn was inspired to start his career in music. The singer actually got his start on TikTok where he garnered more than 8 million followers.
“The beginning of the song was my mindset for a long period of time,” jxdn told PEOPLE of his song "Pray." “By the grace of God I found hope. Prayers don’t have to be pretty, I simply changed my prayer from death to life. I thought I had nothing and no one but little did I know I had millions of people who were counting on me making it through."
Love him to the MAX!
The pop singer, who recently collabed with BTS’ Suga on “Burn It,” is gearing up to drop his second album Colour Vision. The new album follows his success with track “Lights Down Low,” which went double-platinum in the U.S.
Oh, and he’s expecting a baby girl!
“We've been trying, and this little soul came into the world right when quarantine started,” he told PEOPLE last month. “So she knew that this was the time when Dad wouldn't be touring, and I could just sing to her every night. We have this little, cute heartbeat monitor, and we check out her heartbeat every night. She knew this was the right time."
Remember the girl who “tattooed” Harry Styles on her cheek? Yep, that’s Kelsy Karter.
Her songs will have you dancing in your room with her glam rock-infused anthems and Amy Winehouse-reminiscent vocals.
“I’m Kelsy Karter and I believe in never growing up,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’m Kelsy Karter and I choose to live by my own rules, not the ones encouraged to live by from society, the media, friends or parents.”
The singer is expected to drop her debut album Missing Person on Oct. 2, featuring songs of love, rebellion heartbreak “and the anxiety of the times we live in.”
Listen to “Love Me or Hate Me,” which dropped last Friday.
Yes, we stan this king!
Meet Gavin Haley, the former competitive cyclist turned musician, whose bops — and he has plenty — has even drawn in Blink-182's Travis Barker.
"A lot of times, the music I make is because I don’t know what the hell I’m even feeling," he told altpress. "It can all just combine into this blind heaviness. Music helps me through my everyday life. I just wanna put out some energy that meets someone where they need it to."
Haley is set to drop his EP Unfolding this fall to follow his debut album Long Game.
Listen to "Be There For You"!
She's "Living the Dream," for sure.
With her chill, guitar-driven sound and powerful vocals, Hailey Whitters stands out as an up-and-coming country star.
“It’s the antithesis of what we know is the label machine,” Whitters told Rolling Stone about dropping her music in unconventional halves. “It felt true to my Nashville experience. But the way of releasing music and the way of making music is changing. I hope other artists are seeing this happen and realizing this is how it can be done.”
Listen to Whitters perform "Dream, Girl."
Dominic Fike's debut album What Could Possibly Go Wrong? can be described with one emoji: 🔥.
Fike — who's featured on his own interlude on Halsey's album Manic — blends rock, hip-hop and more with perfection on his debut. Featuring songs shorter than three minutes, the star's music is an easy listen.
"What I’m making right now is crazy: it blends, it’s weird and it’s all different types of s—," he told NME. "But it works — I love it.”
Okay, now go listen to "Cancel Me"
What’s her favorite word? Icy.
Saweetie has made her mark as one of the emerging female rappers with viral hits “My Type” and “ICY GRL.” The musician, who’s dating Migos’ Quavo, is finalizing her debut album Pretty B— Music, expected later this year.
“We're starting from scratch, and I feel like through trial and error and through just recording a lot, I'm able to feel like what kind of direction I really want to go in for my sound,” the rapper told Grammy.com about the LP. “Because I'm still a developing artist, but for this time around, I really want to focus on the artistry and the instruments and really creating from scratch.”
From viral videos to catchy earworms, Dixie D’Amelio can do it all!
"I felt connected to this song immediately," Dixie said of her song “Be Happy.” "I wanted to share the honesty of this message with others, especially those around my age. I remain so grateful for the people that surround me and the opportunities I've been given, but some days, as we all know, it's not easy to be happy."
Brett Gray’s transition to music has been so “Worth It!”
Gray’s claim to fame came playing Jamal Turner on Netflix’s On My Block. Now, he's making his own mark on the music industry.
"It was my first musical endeavor and I was super terrified," he said of debut single "Old Thing Back." "I’ve never sung before, and because it made me so afraid I was like, ‘I have to do this and it’s possibly something that could lead to more potential for myself.’ That was sort of my journey.”
Play “Baby Blue” from his EP Blue.
If Elton John loves her, then you should too!
BENEE — the Kiwi artist John loves — is a self-described “ball of energy” with hits gone viral on TikTok and on the radio, including her track “Supalonely.”
“There’s always space for me to grow and I think that experimenting and making mistakes is gonna get me to this position,” she told PEOPLE earlier this year. “Where I’m trying to be is always changing.”
"Glitter" and "Soaked" from her first EP FIRE ON MARZZ are standouts.
Play her newest song, “Snail!”
She's definitely "Something Special."
Aubrie Sellers is the queen of “garage country.” Her hits are perfect for getting through long days in quarantine — and her recent “Somebody Was Watching” is a standout.
“I felt like I had so many different influences from rock to traditional country to blues music to bluegrass, and one thing they all have in common to me was this raw soul,” Sellers told Sounds Like Nashville. “I thought to call it country or rock or Americana would not be describing what it is because it’s all of those things, so I felt like “garage country” was a great description for it.”
Earlier this year, she released album Far From Home featuring single "Drag You Down."
Play her “Wicked Game.” (Get it?)
Ashe and her new music are definitely “Good Together.”
Ashe is the queen of dropping tracks that are deeply emotional, yet so fun to listen to. You’ve probably heard her hit “Moral of the Story” (or the remix featuring Niall Horan).
“When I went into the session to write a song about my divorce, I didn’t plan on that song being on the radio,” she told Billboard about “Moral of the Story.” “You hope good things happen to your music, but we weren’t going into that session writing to make a hit.”
Save her latest bop “Save Myself.”
It all started to “Sail Away” on TikTok!
At the start of 2020, duo Surfaces’ “Sunday Best” garnered nearly 800,000 plays on TikTok with users sharing their favorite memories of the year prior. It even got shared by Charli D’Amelio herself!
Surfaces — comprising Forrest Frank and Colin Padalecki — also gained an endorsement from Elton John himself, who joins the duo on track “Learn To Fly.”
“Collaborating with Elton felt like winning a Grammy,” Padalecki told Billboard. “I don’t even care what happens with this song statistically — just knowing what we made and how special it was will be more than satisfying for the rest of my life. You could easily feel over Zoom how adamant and invested he was in the song.”
Play “Sail Away,” the perfect bop to end the summer.
Talk about girl power!
Ingrid Andress — and her feminist-powered album Lady Like (out on vinyl 10/16) — is country’s newest sweetheart. The singer is even up for two CMAs in the new artist and song of the year categories.
How would she describe her own music? “That has been the toughest question because I really can’t find artists that my music sounds like,” Andress told PEOPLE earlier this year. “I always just tell people, ‘You just have to hear it to understand it,’ which obviously was not a great selling point when I first started because everybody was like, ‘Okay, well, I can’t put you in a box.'”
Listen to "More Hearts Than Mine!"