With each passing year, the music continues to change and discover new sounds. 2021 has been no different, and artists continue to leverage popular social media platforms to their advantage, including the trendy app TikTok.
A long list of artists has made waves over the 12 months, but these 10 artists have had the most significant impact on 2021.
10. Ariana Grande
Although she hasn’t released any new personal music, Ariana Grande has made her presence known in 2021 through various features.
Grande appeared on a remix of “Save Your Tears” by The Weekend. Her extra vocals boosted the song for Billboardis the second song of the year.
On top of that, Grande received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year for her feature on Doja Cat’s “I Don’t Do Drugs.”
While it was a light year in terms of individual music for Grande, she also put her talents to various platforms, including as a coach on the singing show. The voice and a role in the new Netflix movie Don’t look up.
9. Kid Laroi
The Kid Laroi gained traction in 2020 with their debut album, but saw a significant jump in 2021.
Born in Australia, The Kid Laroi began working with several major artists around the turn of the calendar year, including Miley Cyrus, who backed the rapper on a remix of his famous song “Without You.”
On July 9, The Kid Laroi took it to another level with the release of “Stay,” featuring Justin Bieber. The song was shared on all social networks, quickly becoming a hit. “Stay” reached number one on the Hot 100, spending seven weeks at its peak.
“Stay” was then performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in September. Laroi was also named the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Top Artist and won Best Pop Release of 2021.
In late November, The Kid Laroi was nominated for his first Grammy, earning a nod in the Best New Artist category.
8. Lil Nas X
While 2019 was a successful year for the hip young pop-rap musician, 2021 saw Lil Nas X reveal his true artistry.
Throughout 2021, Lil Nas X gained more recognition by announcing that he would be releasing his debut album later that year. Several singles from the album were released, including “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”, on March 26, 2021. The song was completed with a music video which garnered mixed reactions for the outrageous visuals and worshipful nature of the Devil.
Lil Nas X continued to make his mark on the 2021 landscape by releasing another single, “Industry Baby”, in late July which featured Jack Harlow. The single became an instant hit and topped the Billboard Hot 100 songs, leading to her third number-one song.
The first project called Montero eventually dropped on September 17, 2021. Although his music grew in popularity in 2021, he also created a constant buzz; from vibrant performances at the VMAs and social media must-haves to a controversial satan-related shoe release.
7. Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen hinted at her late 2020 potential with the release of her popular single “7 Summers.”
In January 2021, he released his second album, named Dangerous: the double album. The record stood at the top of the Billboard 200 for six consecutive weeks, making it the first new country album to do so since 1992. The album achieved mass popularity with 19 songs reaching the Hot 100.
While Wallen enjoyed success with his new album, it also encountered some controversy as it was filmed using racial slurs. Despite the controversy, Wallen’s numbers continued to soar.
His album ended 2021 at number one on the Billboard 200. The growing country star also received countless award nominations.
It was yet another year with Justin Bieber showing off his talents to the world. Ahead of 2021, Bieber previewed his upcoming album with multiple singles.
On New Years Day 2021, the pop sensation released her third single, “Anyone,” for her project titled Justice. The album was then released on March 29 and accompanied by another single “Peaches”.
The record and track “Peaches” quickly rose to fame, the first appearing at number one on the Billboard 200 and the latter at number one on the Billboard 100. He became the first male artist to have his first six studio albums at number one on the Billboard 200.
A few weeks later, Bieber delved into the gospel genre with the surprise release of a six-song EP titled Freedom.
As 2021 continued, Bieber racked up several accolades, including a major achievement due to his appearance on the aforementioned “Stay” with The Kid Laroi. With the song, it became his 100th entry on the Hot 100 chart, making him the youngest artist to reach that milestone.
Bieber’s 2021 ended with a string of Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.
5. Doja Cat
Artists are looking to capitalize on their music through social media these days and Doja Cat used that same strategy in 2021.
The Los Angeles, Calif.-born artist backed Saweetie on her single “Best Friend.” The song shot up the charts and has since received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Song.
On April 10, Doja Cat released the song “Kiss Me More” featuring SZA, which went viral on TikTok. The track spent 19 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Before the release of his album planet she, Doja Cat released “Need to Know,” which again received critical acclaim.
planet she became wildly popular, earning multiple VMA nominations and a Grammy nod for Album of the Year.
After a hugely successful 2020, Taylor Swift earned herself another solid year on the charts in 2021 without releasing a new album.
His 2020 project Always continued to sit near the top of the Billboard 200 to start the new year.
While the country-pop start-up didn’t drop any new music, it surprised the industry with two re-recorded album releases: Fearless (Taylor version) and Red (Taylor’s version).
Both projects have been widely accepted and have risen through the ranks Billboard 200 cards. With these releases, Swift finished fourth on Billboardthe list of the best artists.
3. The weekend
Another artist who felt the vestiges of his 2020 success in 2021 was The Weeknd. his album after hours received critical acclaim in 2020, however, it did not receive a Grammy nomination.
The R&B artist went on to find success with his songs “Blinding Lights” and “Save Your Tears”, among others.
Buoyed by this success, The Weeknd showcased his talents at the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show in Tampa, Florida.
Despite after hours not being nominated for any Grammys, The Weeknd still won numerous accolades, including 10 Billboard Music Awards.
With his next album in the works, The Weeknd released the project’s first single on August 6 titled “Take My Breath”. The Scrapbook Dawn FM was finally released in early 2022 but was teased throughout 2021.
2. Olivia Rodrigo
Every year new artists make strides in the music industry and last year Olivia Rodrigo had the biggest impact as a new artist.
Rodrigo released his debut single, “Drivers License”, on January 8, 2021. The song immediately caught on, receiving a record 17 million streams on Spotify on January 12. It then hit 80 million streams after seven days, breaking another record for most. flow in this interval.
The singles “Deja Vu” and “Good 4 U” followed her original release. Both tracks also received huge success, reaching the top 10 on the Hot 100 respectively.
His album, Sour, dropped on May 21 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It received critical acclaim and has been praised by countless publications.
In December 2021, Rodrigo was named artist of the year by Time. She also earned numerous Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year and Album of the Year.
For the second time in his career, Drake was named Billboardis the best artist of the year.
The Canadian rapper released several projects during the calendar year. He started 2021 with the release of the EP Scary Hours 2, which featured the popular tracks “What’s Next” and “Wants and Needs” featuring Lil Baby. The songs entered at numbers one and two, respectively, in the charts.
During the year, Drake appeared on several projects and tracks, including “Solid” by Gunna and Young Thug.
Drake’s sixth studio album, Certified lover, dropped on September 3, appearing at number one on the Billboard 200, making it her tenth number one album. The single “Way 2 Sexy” has become a social media classic and has been heard in videos across the internet.
Despite being nominated for multiple Grammys, Drake withdrew his music from consideration due to his disputed relationship with the Academy.
Nonetheless, Drake continued to flex his muscles in the music industry with several wildly popular projects and countless hit singles.