Music is one form of art that cannot be done without, and every day, new artistes infiltrate the music industry with their unique styles and voices. Because of this, Billboard decided to make an annual release list that highlights 21 under 21 artistes who are revolutionising the music industry. This began in 2010 and has since introduced the world to various young artists who have changed what music is all about.
21 under 21 is an annually released list by the American Magazine, Billboard, that honours musicians under the age of 21 for their impact on the musical industry in the space of 12 months and their potential to rule the musical industry over the next 12 months. Think of it like Forbes’ 30 under 30 or a list that talks about amazing people under a given age, just Billboard’s 21 under 21 is a list meant for musicians.
For this year Billboard’s 21 Under 21 List, we have 21 artistes from around the world. Artistes like Olivia Rodrigo (20), Ivan Cornejo (18), Ángela Aguilar (19), Ayra Starr (20), Lauren Spencer-Smith (19), Tate McRae (19), Chloe Moriondo (20), D4vd (18), Danny Lux (19), FLO (Stella Quaresma, 21; Renée Downer, 20; Jorja Douglas, 21), Gayle (18), Kidd G (20), The Kid LAROI (19), Lil Tecca (20), The Linda Lindas (Bela Salazar, 18; Lucia de la Garza, 16; Eloise Wong, 15; Mila de la Garza, 12), Luh Tyler (17), Nessa Barrett (20), NLE Choppa (20), Riovaz (19), Stephen Sanchez (20), and Yunè Pinku (20).
In this article, we will look at six of these artistes with the highest streams and the strongest fanbase. If you would like to read the full list, see here: Billboard 21 Under 21.
20-year-old Nigerian musician, Ayra Starr, whose real name is Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe is an artist signed under one of Nigeria’s most influential record labels, Mavin Record. This Afropop artiste came into the limelight in 2021 when she posted covers of some songs on Instagram and caught the attention of Don Jazzy, founder of Mavin Records.
As a happy-go-lucky girl, she believes that success is dependent on how much effort you put into something and how you show a “creative and entrepreneurial spirit.” Also, she has had 138.2 million streams worldwide and is at 3.4 million followers on Instagram.
Olivia Rodrigo, also 20, is an American singer and songwriter who has been in the spotlight since 2010 when she took on lead roles in some Disney movies, High School Musical: The Musical, and Bizaardvark. Her single, Drivers License in 2020 was a hit and led her to release other singles like “Deja Vu” and “Good 4 U” which were all part of her debut album, Sour. Not only is she an internationally acclaimed Queen of Pop, but she is also currently signed with Interscope Geffen A&M record label.
Olivia Isabel Rodrigo is looking forward to her next world tour and said in an Instagram story in January that she is “working on so many new songs” and can’t wait to show the world. She has a total of 6.1 billion streams as of when Billboard released the list for 21 under 21.
Taylor Gayle Rutherford, an American-born songwriter and singer is popularly known as Gayle. At 18 years of age, she is one of the musicians who were featured on Billboard’s 21 Under 21. In 2021, she released her debut album, ABCDEFU, and was charted worldwide rising to United Kingdom’s number one. Currently, she is signed with two record labels: Atlantic Recordsand Arthouse Records, and she has a total stream of 633.5 million.
Image Credit: Gayle, Instagram (Alt text: gayle-in-a-studio-billboard-21-under-21-2023-list)
She is a longtime admirer of Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift who she admires for their mode of music and their lifestyles. Also, she sees Social Media as a double-edged sword, because in her experience “it gives people the opportunity to tear others down and makes people think they have a power they don’t have.”
The Kid LAROI
Although he was signed to a record label, Columbia Records, at the age of 15, Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard officially came into the limelight after he collaborated with Justin Bieber on Stay, a song that became a hit in 2021. Professionally known as The Kid LAROI, Jeffrey is an Australian rapper, singer, and songwriter. He was also popular for his affiliation with Juice Wrld, especially when he went on world tours with him.
The Kid LAROI has 3.1 billion streams according to Luminate and he thinks that making music is a cool thing to do. According to him, "The cool thing about music is that it's like a time capsule. I can look back and cringe at what I've sung before and also be proud of what I'm about to put out."
Tate Rosner McRae is a 19-year-old Canadian singer, songwriter, and dancer. She was only 13 when she gained prominence on the American reality TV show, So You Think You Can Dance for her dancing skills. In 2019, her record label RCA Records took an interest in her singing style when she put out her original song, "One Day (2017)" and it went viral on YouTube and TikTok.
For her, the most fascinating thing about being a young artist is also the most challenging thing: "You can be whatever you want, and everything all depends on you. That is scary." Her total streams are at 2.3 billion.
Bryson Lashun Potts is an American rapper, songwriter, and musician. He is professionally known as NLE Choppa, with the suffix obtained from his current record label, NLE Entertainment/Warner Records. Bryson came into the limelight in 2019 after releasing his single, Shotta Flow which peaked in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.
For him, he feels music brings out the best in him and that he only hopes to get better from here onwards. "I was 16 when I started, now I'm 20. I tell myself every time that I've got 20 more years to go, and that it only gets better from here."
Some of these artists are popular, some are not, but they all made it to Billboard's 21 Under 21. Which of the. is your favourite, and why? Also, do you expect to see them next year in Billboard's 21 Under 21?