The Courier's Class Of 2021

Our music writers each highlight their top act to keep an eye on - these artists are sure to blow up in popularity within the next 12 months.

multiple writers
16th December 2020
Image credit: Shutterstock
There have been a great number of musicians that have been able to find success over the last year, despite the harsh global industry conditions. However, now it is time to look forward and predict which rising stars are destined to become household names in 2021.
Alfie Templeman

If you are looking for breezy feel-good tunes which will eject a glimpse of summer in your life, Alfie Templeman is the artist for you; an artist we all arguably need after the crazy year of 2020 to get the nation grooving again.

Aged just 17, the Bedfordshire-born teen has already made an immense impact on the UK’s indie pop and increasingly popular “Bedroom pop” scene, and it is inevitable that 2021 will only bring Alife bigger and brighter prospects.

With his 2020 EP, Happiness in Liquid Form, described by NME as, “a bolt of infectious escapism, powered by shuffling beats and squelchy synth,” Alfie's title track has taken a firm stance as one of my all-time summer anthems. Its good vibes are just infectious and impossible to not have a boogie to!

Alfie’s lyrics also evoke a kind of sass which we should all take into the new year, with his more R &B oriented single 'Stop Thinking (About Me)' savagely shutting down a previous lover, with this power-anthem giving any listener a fresh feeling of care-free confidence and a burst of serotonin - what is not to love?

Easy to listen to, any of Alfie’s songs will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, and it is clear that that young artist is only just beginning. Already performing alongside artists such as Sundara Karma and Foals and having sold-out shows for 2021, this will certainly be his year and I am excited to see what direction his music will take next - even when he is one of those artist whom you want to keep to yourself!

Lyndsey Sleator

Dreamer Boy

Indie artist Dreamer Boy is a growing and glowing example of what an upcoming artist is all about. His glittery, haze-fuelled aesthetic are symptomatic of soft lyrics and beats that helplessly roll off his tongue.  

The Nashville musician has around 600 thousand monthly Spotify listeners and 24 thousand Instagram followers at the moment, with his top song 'Falling for the Wrong One' achieving near 10 million Spotify streams. This dreamy hit is just the start to his discography of varying mellow and nostalgic shades that transport you to whatever place feels right. A poppy-filled meadow, a nighttime drive, even a coral shore. 

Rising hit Dreamer Boy will no doubt make an impact on the Anglophone scene in 2021 - taking all the best parts of success stories like Clairo, Dayglow and Boy Pablo with his own personal touch. Dreamer Boy delivers on exactly what his title claims: a living day-dream. 

His newest December release 'Don’t Be A Fool' doesn’t disappoint with its melodious aestheticism, musing over how you should go after whatever thing or person you want.

I can’t wait to see where he’ll go in 2021, hopefully a new album and tour is on the cards. 

Sophie McNally

Pa Salieu

British-Gambian artist Pa Salieu has been one of UK rap's greatest rising stars of 2020. Blending multiple genres and influences, Salieu has established himself as a unique and memorable figure within a hip-hop landscape that can often be oversaturated with imitation. To make his story even more impressive, his success follows an "awakening" experience last October when he was hit by 20 bullets in a drive-by shooting.

Send Them to Conventry was one of the most noteworthy debut projects of the year, packed with quality indicative of a promising career. Pa Salieu, however, was keen to label the offering a "mixtape not an album", meaning an official studio debut album is still yet to come. Despite songs like 'Frontline' and 'Hit The Block' already shaking up the scene, Salieu has shown no signs of slowing down.

"These tunes are nothing in terms of an amount, again this is just the start for me. I’m always thinking it’s not good enough, to keep pushing," Salieu told The Courier following the release of his mixtape. "Straight on with making more tunes. I’ve already started, I’m in the studio everyday… I love it. I’m addicted."

At just 22 years-old, Pa Salieu has scarcely put a foot wrong in his music career so far. If he can capture the same energy that he found this year, 2021 is his for the taking.

Oren Brown

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