Last year was a complete dumpster fire for live music, yet audiophiles were still on board to discover new artists and albums to get excited about, from the super Black-is-beautiful vibes of Sault to the intimate melodies of Nubya Garcia. Musical festivals, like Coachella for instance, may still be on hold, but with COVID-19 vaccines rolling out across the nation — and, let’s be honest, Kamala Harris in the White House– there is a glimmer of hope about 2021, musical artists included.

To mark the occasion, ESSENCE is presenting its list of 2021 artists to watch: singers, songwriters, and musicians who are poised to have breakout moments in the very near future. Some of these acts may already be seeping into your timelines on social media, but you’ll want to follow the names on this list very closely, as many will become new favorites. Keep this link bookmarked and share it with your friends so you can brag that you knew about them first.

Listed in no ranking order, scroll below to meet 21 artists to watch in 2021.

Kevin L. Clark is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and curates ESSENCE’s The Playlist. Follow him @KevitoClark.