Amongst the Stars - R&B Class of 2021 Artists to Watch
Listen to our playlist featuring music from the Class of 2021
Follow the playlist, we'll be updating new music from all featured artists.
We're excited to announce our 2021 R&B artists to watch. These 14 artists each provide a unique artistry that plants roots within the listener. We've been vibing to each of these artists as we endured one of the most complicated years in recent history. These are the artists we see occupying space amongst their peers within the music industry. Each are on their own unique path to stardom, but this is a truly independent list which features multiple indie artists who are generating a worldly buzz.
We encourage you to explore and discover the music created by the artists on our list. They're on the verge of becoming the next wave of R&B talent.
must spin tracks: Waiting For, Save You, Run Away
rum.gold introduced himself to the world with the release of his EP, aiMless in 2020. The 6 track project is carried by rum's vocal mastery and translucent production including a collaboration with Jamila Woods on Waiting For. One of the things we look for in new artists, is if they have the ability to take the listener on a journey, which is exactly what aiMless is.
must spin tracks: Hurt, Overrated, Be Alone
BLXST is embracing the hype as we enter a new year. His No Love Lost LP was one of the most celebrated projects of 2020, including praise from J Cole. The original reception of No Love Lost lead to a deluxe release months following, including features by Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, and Dom Kennedy.
All eyes will be on BLXST after signing with Red Bull Records. It will be interesting to watch an emerging talent who has his fingerprints on all aspects of his art, operate within one of the untraditional labels.
must spin tracks: That's On You, So So Sick, Blurred Lines
Joyce ended 2020 on a high note with UMI jumping on the That's On You (Japanese Remix). We can't think of another collaboration that seems so effortless. While gaining respect throughout the industry as a natural collaborator, Wrice's ascension has been steady as she's been consistently releasing new music since her 2016 release, Stay Around. The influence of 90's R&B radiates throughout her catalog, as her songstress vocals are built upon a subtle confidence that emits a positive light.
must spin tracks: Gushy, Somebody, 4 AM, One Hundred
While the majority of us spent most of 2020 trying to catch our footing, Elijah didn't skip a beat. Simply put: Productivity.
In the past 12 months, Elijah has created a snowball effect which began with the release of the 8-track album Spin, followed by 4 singles that continuously gained Banks more recognition and support. His most recent single, Gushy, best displays Elijah's talent as an artist - exhibiting classic lyricism while leaning into experimental futuristic sounds. A mix that has been supported by playlist placement by Apple Music on their Day One playlist and Spotify's Fresh Finds and Fresh Finds The Wave R&B playlists.
Elijah will be releasing his next single, Hard 2 Forget U on January 15th.
must spin tracks: Velvet, Apple, Loved By You
You probably know KIRBY more than you think you do. With writer credits on songs for Ariana Grande (“Break Your Heart Right Back”), Demi Lovato (“Tell Me You Love Me”), Beyoncé (“Die With You”), and others, KIRBY is now claiming her seat at the table as a solo artist. Her debut album, Sis, is the soulful rain that falls upon us between droughts. The powerful production found throughout the album complements her deliberate pen to create a 7-track project that has propelled KIRBY into orbit.
We're anxious to see what other corners of the industry he graces in 2021.
must spin tracks: All Good, Broke, How Does It Feel?
Right before COVID shut down the world, we sat down with Samm before a performance during the Building Balance tour with Allen Stone. You could feel Samm was on the verge of capturing a fresh fanbase along the 33 city American tour which was immediately canceled just as they were starting their second leg. You'll find yourself mesmerized through your headphones, but Samm's live performance ascends his music to another level.
Samm ended 2020 with a COLORS performance featuring 2 new tracks, (Still Broke, Thoughts and Prayers) and a new single that is currently climbing the charts, All Good.
must spin tracks: Sunset West, Emotions, Call Back, Beautiful Mess
At just 17 years old, Telin is reintroducing a calm and intentional approach to R&B. His smooth vocal range was on full display throughout his debut EP, "Sunset West", which received from Kehlani on Twitter after its release. Title track, Sunset West became a social media motivation to chase sunsets after being featured on Pandora's Indie R&B station/playlist and Apple Music's Day One playlist.
Telin kicked off 2021 with a new single, Call Back -- a subtle anthem for romantic maturity.
must spin tracks: Consistency, Congratulations, Morning Glory
The sultry way Liza's voice carries through the speakers is a musical embrace that reminds you what music can do to your soul. For the past few years we've been keeping our eye on Liza as she has steadily graced her fans with numerous singles like her most recent release, Consistency and a 3-track 2020 project, ID.
must spin tracks: The Heat, Jealous, That Girl
When we first heard Khamari, we were anxious to see how he would follow up the wildly successful debut of Jealous. The song that quickly spread throughout the A&R sphere of R&B, set the type of external expectations that could stunt the growth of an artist. Khamari was able to put any doubt to bed with his second release, The Heat, when it quickly became one of the underdog hits of the genre in 2020.
must spin tracks: RISE, Only Fire, No Love Lately
With one of our favorite COLORS performances of 2020, Parker released his 2020 single, Rise. The performance was an open invitation for soul/r&B fans to dive into Parker's 2018 EP releases, All Good Things Part One and All Good Things Part Two. Louis makes the type of music that vinyl has a tendency to romanticize.
must spin tracks: No Fun, The Hard Way, Love Song
IV Jay reminds us of the excitement we saw surrounding DaniLeigh in 2019. The range she shows as an artist on No Love and Love Song cements her versatility and ability to push the boundaries of R&B. Her peers have taken notice as Don Toliver makes an appearance on her 2020 album, 5th Element.
must spin tracks: In My Soul, Safe,
Formerly known as JSPH, Nevels decided in 2020 it was time to introduce himself to the industry with his full name. He did so by releasing 2 of our favorite singles in 2020, Safe and In My Soul. The indie R&B singer/songwriter allows his melodies to set the pace for his lyricism. At the end of 2020, Nevels started finding himself supported on R&B playlists throughout multiple streaming platforms, setting the stage for a blessed 2021.
must spin tracks: Butter, As Soon As I Can
Adrian has been thrown into the mix of R&B's next top talent after the release of his hit single, Butter. As a relative newcomer, JJ is building off the success of Butter with his recent release, As Soon As I Can which was released at the end of November. The buzz around his name is well warranted as we head into 2021.
must spin tracks: Stay, With You, I Wanna Know
An 11th hour addition, we recently came across NNAVY's November 30th release of Blue. Upon first listen of Stay, our decision was made. The smooth intro track is enough to melt you into submission as the entire project will take you on a different musical journey each time you press play. We're still finding ourselves exploring new sounds within the 7 track LP.