Music is always changing.
It literally takes one song to propel an artist into the limelight.
I mean, just look at Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road.”
While today’s radio is filled with artists like Khalid, Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, and more, there is still room at the top for more Black female and male singers.
In 2021, we’re anticipating a lot more new, Black singers to be flowing out of radios.
For a look into our forecast of this year’s singers to keep an eye out for, keep on reading.
New Black Female Singers
Born Kirby Lauryen Dockery, 20 year old singer KIRBY hails from South Derbyshire in the UK.
With influences that include Jessie J, Ariana Grande, RAYE, and Anne-Marie, she dabbles into a variety of musical genres including pop, R&B, soul, and more.
While KIRBY might not be a household name yet, she has been putting in work.
Not only has she performed alongside X Factor alums, but she was later on the 2018 UK season where she joined Olly Murs’ team.
Since then, the singer has released her second self-written EP Real Talk.
Another singer coming out of the UK, up next we have Londoner, Arlo Parks.
Born Anais Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho, Parks is both a poet and singer-songwriter with influences like Sylvia Plath and Joni Mitchell.
Making music in genres like indie pop and neo soul, Arlo Parks’s career began in 2018.
She first got the attention of BBC Radio after she began uploading demos to the station’s platform for unsigned, undiscovered, and under-the-radar UK talent.
She would then go on to release her solo debut “Cola” in November 2018.
Continuing to make music in the meantime, her biggest musical project was her first headline tour of Europe which was unfortunately put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early in 2021, Parks also released her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, at the end of January.
As of now, the Londoners are taking over this list.
Emmavie, another singer-songwriter from London, describes herself as a “beat making Black babe.”
Growing up, Emmavie’s African home was filled with sounds of Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, and Fela – all artists that would help inspire her and cause her love of music to grow.
While she loved music, she discovered that the best way to express herself was through writing songs and making beats.
In 2019, she released her debut self-produced album Honeymoon and has since dropped a number of EPs.
You might not be totally familiar with Emmavie’s name, but there’s a chance you’ve already heard her music on shows like I May Destroy You, Queen Sugar, and Teen Mom US 2.
Definitely one of the more popular names on this list, Victoria Monet got her start over 10 years ago.
When she was younger, she began working with the popular producer Rodney Jerkins and was signed to Atlantic records where she released a number of EPs.
While the name Victoria Monet might not be a household name, her work surely is.
As a songwriter, she’s written songs for Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Fifth Harmony, Nas, and more.
She even received Grammy nominations for her work on Ariana Grande’s album Thank U, Next.
More recently, the singer released her debut album Jaguar in August 2020.
While born in California, Celeste is another Brit we’d add to this list.
Moving to the UK when she was three, her sound could be described as British soul as well as neo soul and alternative R&B.
With her career starting in 2014, she provided vocals to electronic producers like Avicii.
In 2019, Celeste won the Rising Star Award at the Brit Awards.
In 2021, she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Hear My Voice” from the film The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Within the same year, the singer also released her debut album Not Your Muse.
If you’ve seen the movie Queen & Slim, you’ve heard the voice of Tiana Major9.
Another Londoner on this list, she dabbles in alternative R&B, neo soul, jazz, and reggae with influences that include Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, and Jazmine Sullivan.
In 2019, the singer released her debut EP which would eventually lead to her performance for the Queen & Slim movie soundtrack which earned a Grammy Award nomination.
Currently signed to Motown records, she released her second EP in 2020 titled At Sixes And Sevens.
For those wondering how you might pronounce this artist’s name, it’s pronounced “Liv.”
With a wide variety of influences, the Dallas-born artist’s inspiration comes from genres like classical music, bossa nova, and jazz.
The singer is no stranger to the spotlight though.
She has toured with Earl Sweatshirt and has gotten the attention of other performers like Solange and Erykah Badu.
In 2020, the singer released a 20-track album Couldn’t Wait to Tell You.
If you’re looking for more R&B voices to dabble into, check out Peyton.
The Houston-based singer-songwriter is a classically trained vocalist and violinist and was inspired by her late grandmother, Theola Booker, a talent who composed and arranged music that would lead to a Grammy nomination.
With a transformative sound, Peyton was also influenced by Erykah Badu, The Neptunes, Prince, and Kanye West.
For fans of Insecure, you might’ve heard her voice back in 2018 on two of hers songs, Sweet Honey and Lifeline.
While a lot of the talent on this list lean more towards singing, Bri Steves is a powerhouse who sings and raps.
Born in Philadelphia, not only does she sing and rap, but Steves plays multiple instruments and even produces.
She solidified a recording contract with Atlantic Records and released her debut album in 2018.
Her inspiration stems from her mom’s favorite artists to Steves’ discovery of her own.
It’s a mix of Marvin Gaye and Faith Evans with Foxy Brown and Missy Elliott.
With roots in both Sudan and the Netherlands, Gaidaa is a new voice in neo soul and R&B music.
Not only does she perform in English, but you’ll find that the hip hop artists oftens blend the Arabic language into the mix.
While Gaidaa is definitely still coming into her career, her music and personality make her a breath of fresh air.
Her down-to-earth nature and refreshing sound make her someone to watch out for in 2021.
Mayra Andrade has been all over the world.
Although born in Cuba, she was raised in Cape Verde before ultimately moving and settling herself in Portugal.
Her style of music is what some would call “world music,” but in Cape Verde, they’d call it “morna,” “batuque,” or “coladeira.”
Andrade’s career began back in 2001 when she was 16 years old.
Since then, the singer has released five albums, the most recent, Manga, released in 2019.
New Black Male Singers
If you want some mystery, you’re going to get it with SAULT.
Try to find a picture of them online.
You’ll soon find that you can’t.
Based out of the United Kingdom, this group has a sound of neo soul, R&B, and funk music.
Active since 2019, their projects are often centered around Black issues.
They have since released four albums: 5, 7, Untitled (Black Is), and Untitled (Rise).
While their music has been met with great reviews, the group continues to remain in obscurity.
The artist Blxst began his solo career in LA in 2015.
Multi-talented, he focused on his sound while also writing and producing much of his music.
His first single, “Who Would’ve Thought” was released in 2016, but most of his recognition came after his 2019 song “Hurt.”
The artist is currently signed to Red Bull Records and released his most recent EP, No Love Lost, in 2020.
Lonr. got his start with R&B artist H.E.R.
Born Elijah Dias, he earned two Grammy Award nominations after working with the female singer which would lead to him focusing on his solo projects.
The California native showed up on the scene with two singles in late 2019 – “A.M.” and “Safe Zone.”
He would once again collaborate with H.E.R. for the song “Make the Most” before releasing his debut EP Land of Nothing Real in April 2020.
For our hip hop fans, tune into Larry June.
Born in San Francisco, June would move to Atlanta where he spent most of his childhood.
The rapper released his first mixtape, Sock It To Me, in 2016.
This would lead to his first two EPs Larry and Orange Season.
He has since released eight studio albums and has collaborated with acts like Asher Roth.
The rapper has even toured with Post Malone and has been featured on the rappers single Never Understand.
While June is still in the music industry, he has also dabbled in fashion.
British singer-songwriter Reuben James has been able to cultivate his own sound.
With a smooth, soulful voice and jazz techniques, the singer is known by an array of well-established musical acts.
While you might not be familiar with James’s voice, you’d probably recognize his work, particularly co-writing songs for Sam Smith’s album The Thrill of It All.
Reuben James has even written and performed for acts that include Joni Mitchell, John Legend, Tori Kelly, and Disclosure.
The singer’s most recent EP Slow Down was released in 2020 and met with critical acclaim.
Devin Morrison’s music is a mix of gospel, hip hop, and funk influences.
The singer-songwriter is a native of Orlando, Florida, and took up music early with piano lessons in his youth.
He went on to study music composition and recording in college before moving to Japan.
Since then, Devin Morrison has released his debut album Bussin’ that features artists Daz Dillinger and Joyce Wrice.
Born Sheldon Young, Channel Tres is a rapper that hails from Compton, California.
His first experiences with music came from being in his church choir where he played the drums.
After leaving home to study music at a private, Christian university, he would eventually go on to make beats for Wale, Kehlani, and other artists.
The rapper has since released three extended plays, the most recent of which debuted in December 2020.
He has since collaborated with artists that include Disclosure, SG Lewis, and Tyler, The Creator.
Kota The Friend
A rapper, singer, and songwriter, Kota the Friend was born Avery Marcel Joshua Jones in Brooklyn, New York.
Instrumentally adept, he would learn the keyboard, guitar, and bass before attending Brooklyn High School of the Arts.
His first musical project came in college where he formed a rap trio, Nappy Hair, and released two mixtapes.
Kota the Friend’s influences range from NYC rappers Jay-Z and Nas to folk and rock acts like Bob Dyland and The Beatles.
He has released six studio albums, his most recent being To Kill a Sunrise which was released in March 2021.
Although born in Italy, Keedron Bryant grew up in Jacksonville, Florida.
From a young age, he wanted to be a singer and performed in his church choir and in school musicals.
Notably, the young singer appeared on season 4 of the NBC show Little Big Shots in May 2020.
It wasn’t until a month later that Bryant would start making waves around the country.
After his mother wrote the protest song “I Just Wanna Live” a day after the death of George Floyd, a video of Bryant singing the song was posted to YouTube and Instagram.
The song was met with praise from Barack Obama, LeBron James, and Lupita Nyong’o.
Since then, Bryant has performed as the 20th BET Awards as well as at the Nascar Cup Series race in 2020.
If you’re into eclectic music, check out Black Haus.
Based out of Greensboro, North Carolina, the group is made up of members Jeffrey Tulliz Jr., Patrick Young, Taylor Williams, Sid Pennix, and Collin Nesbitt.
With a slew of influences, their music is a blend of genres from rap and R&B to punk and electronic music.
Like many bands, they got their start playing small venues in the Greensboro area and have continued to grow from there.
New Black Singers Conclusion
If you create a playlist with these artists, you’ll definitely be entertained for a long time.
This list is a mix of classic and new sounds, and we’re here for it!
Black women and men are always making waves in the music industry, and the artists on this list won’t be the only ones.
If you’re looking to dive into something new, check out our list of Black women in country music or enlighten yourself with 25 powerful Black voices in opera.