Top 5 rising young stars of pop to look out for in 2021 from Finneas O'Connell to Conan Gray and Ashnikko
heir music may be just as good, or dare we say it, better, but haven't been given the recognition they deserve, or the public just haven't stumbled across them yet
The love of pop music and the artistes behind it is a never-ending affair, affecting popular culture across the world and with fans who would just as easily burst into tears to catch a glimpse of their favorite artiste as they would with the release of every new track. You could quickly name five famous pop stars just off the top of your head and most likely anyone you ask would know who they are or heard one of their songs.
But with such artistes who are continuously deemed as "king" or "queen" of pop music by fans, where does that leave other pop artists who would seek to earn such a renowned title? Their music may be just as good, or dare we say it, better, but haven't been given the recognition they deserve, or the public just haven't stumbled across them yet.
Here, we want to share five young pop artistes who are exploding in the industry and increasingly rising in fame. Check out our list of the top five pop acts to look out for in 2021.
Genre: pop, indie pop
Dipping into more indie sounds of pop, this creative singer-songwriter has been catching the attention of listeners since his debut in 2018 with the release of his EP 'Sunset Season'. With a lot of pop music that centers around a catchy hook or line to become popular, Conan Gray takes care in shining the spotlight on the deeper meanings of his music.
Take his 2020 single 'Heather', where Gray sings of not being in love with the subject of the song, but with the person who is interested in the titular 'Heather'. An honest account of being rejected from a literal third-person standpoint and one of the examples that Gray's music beckons non-linear thinking.
Recommended song: 'Maniac'
Conan Gray's music is not without a catchy groove and we have to point you to the infectious 'Maniac'. Another successful hit, 'Maniac' released in October 2019 and has since been certified Platinum in Australia and Canada, and Gold in the US, becoming his first certifications in all three countries.
Genre: pop, pop-rock, indie pop, funk-pop
As you may have noticed, this list doesn't include only the mainstream of mainstream pop, but we also want to showcase other artists who blend other genres into their rendition of pop music. Another artist to step into the musical arena during the year of 2018, King Princess rose to fame with her singles '1950' and 'Talia', before her debut studio album 'Cheap Queen' arrived last year.
She produces much of her work herself, including the programming of the instruments, and has been recognized by a wide audience, including Harry Styles who has tweeted a lyric from the song '1950'.
Recommended song: '1950'
This song is a tribute to the 1952 novel 'The Price of Salt' by Patricia Highsmith and its music video carries a certain raw and rustic charm in its representation of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Genre: Art pop, bubblegum, industrial
If you're into all things weird and wonderful, then it's time to get acquainted with Poppy. With a cult following of her own, Poppy's music can never be pinned as pure pop as, between verse/chorus changes, things can turn dark fast. Some of her music incorporates heavily distorted guitars and metal-charged grooves while others can range from the sounds of mainstream pop to bubblegum to industrial and more.
If pop music was a girl, then Poppy's art would be her evil twin, twisting, contorting and flaring the conventional style of music to extremes we thought we'd never hear coming out of the pop genre.
Recommended song: Fill The Crown
A good example of the above description for the artist would be 'Fill The Crown'. In an interview with Apple Music, Poppy said, "'Fill the Crown' is empowering as well, but it’s more of a tongue-in-cheek kind of empowerment. It’s a nod to artists who say 'You can be anyone you want to be' in interviews, which is true and sometimes the message is as simple as that and you can take it at face value."
Genre: Electropop, hip-hop
Another artist who relishes in bizarre-ities, Ashnikko rose to prominence in 2019 with her single 'Stupid' with Yung Baby Tate, and her music has been described by critics as a mix of genres including pop, indie pop, hip-hop, and rock. 'Stupid' initially went viral on Tiktok and then reached No. 1 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart, the Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop chart and the Spotify Viral 50 chart.
Recommended song: 'Cry' featuring Grimes
You may want to check out the aforementioned 'Stupid' but before you do, we've included one of our favorite Ashnikko tracks below.
Regarded as a musical maestro by many a critic and brother/producer of famous pop star Billie Eilish, Finneas knows what will make for epic pop listening and has been the co-creative mind behind many of his sister's hits. Finneas' own music fits into alternative/indie genres, but hit play on any Billie Eilish track and you will see why he is a true artist of pop music as well. Here's hoping to a pop album of your own, Finneas.
Recommended song: 'Let's Fall in Love for the Night'
This song was inspired by a brief encounter Finneas had with a girl while touring Japan to Osaka with Eilish. In February, he told Billboard, "I was FaceTiming a girl I’d never met every day and knowing there was nothing I could really do about it. I wrote this song about the day I would fantasize having with her."