10 Groundbreaking Young Musicians Under 21 To Watch

  • 10 Groundbreaking Young Musicians Under 21 To Watch

    daine, Sycco and Carlie Hanson
    daine, Sycco and Carlie Hanson. Photos supplied.

    We're always keeping an eye on the musicians that are up next, so we can keep you across who you should be slotting into your playlist. There are so many young musicians that are changing the way we think about music at the moment, and we wanted to highlight the work they're doing.

    Whether you're a fan of hip-hop, electronic music, pop, rock or anything else, we've put together some musicians that are creating sounds we've never heard before, and we wanted to let you know what makes them so special.


    Filipino-Australian artist daine got into music after being inspired by both the early '00s Midwestern emo movement, as well as her time spent in the Melbourne hardcore scene as an early teen. She wrote Ascension, her first song, at age 15, and she told i-D that she was motivated to make music because of her competitive nature. “My parents enrolled me in group guitar lessons when I was six or seven. It gave me a lot of motivation to be better than boys because I was the only girl in the class and I got made fun of. It was still fun though, and the start of me wanting to make music.”

    Her latest song, Bloody Knees, got the attention unofficially from artists like Charli XCX, who gave daine a shoutout. If you're a fan of PC Music, then daine's music will be right up your alley - and if you don't believe us, then believe Charli.

    Carlie Hanson

    Pop artist Carlie Hanson's 7-track EP DestroyDestroyDestroyDestroy captured the craziness of 2020, and it covered topics like the impacts of drug addiction, as well as self-doubt. She's a musician that isn't a fan of writing songs without a deeper meaning, telling Celebmix that she wants people to associate memories with her music. "I hate listening to a song that doesn’t have any real deep meaning. I mean, I know there are songs that you just want to shake your ass to or whatever, and I mean I have those too, but I really want people to listen and think of a memory or a scenario in their head and just like imagine and feel something."

    DestroyDestroyDestroyDestroy showed the world what Carlie was capable of on a full-length project, after releasing singles for a couple of years. We can't wait to hear what she's got cooking next, and what she's made of the last 12 months!

    Teenage Joans

    Adelaide duo Teenage Joans formed in 2018, and they've been obliterating stages across the country ever since. They were crowned the winners of triple j's 2020 Unearthed High competition, recognition for just how much Australia's fallen in love with their big riffs and lyrics that are perfect for any situation. 

    They've kicked off 2021 with their new single Something About Being Sixteen, and it's a track to soundtrack the period of your life where you're truly discovering yourself, and who you wanna be. It's a breakneck track, and speaking to triple j, the band says, "This is our most favourite song we've ever written." It's not hard to see why!

    IV Jay

    R&B singer IV Jay only discovered that she could sing at age 13, after hearing her uncle producing beats. She asked her mum to buy her a keyboard, and then started posting covers to social media, with covers of Alicia Keys and Wale going viral. Social media's played a big part in her career, and her fanbase is always eager to learn more about IV Jay. Jay's goal for her music is simple. “I want to bring back love. We need more positive vibes.” You'll instantly feel your mood improve when listening to her tracks, so it's fair to say she's bringing back love.

    Her 9-track EP, 5th Element, showed off the range of IV Jay's sound, and her stories of growing up are instantly relatable. Speaking about the EP's name to ThisisRNB, IV Jay says, "The Japanese culture had a heavy impact on naming the album, they have this thing they call the 5th Element, the void and it’s basically things in our everyday life made up of pure energy, and stuff you’re not used to, it’s like magic… and I just thought that was so dope. Cause things made out of pure energy, I feel like every single song is made out of pure energy.

    "I put my all into it. So I was like you know what, that’s the 5th Element right here. And that’s how the idea come together.” It's an apt name, because the project is a burst of pure energy, and that's what we can all use in 2021.


    If you're a fan of bedroom pop, then you'll love Claud. They're a non-binary artist from Chicago, and their music invites you into their world. No matter where you're listening to Claud, they could be singing while standing right in front of you.

    They've just released their debut album, Super Monster, and they're the first artist signed to Phoebe Bridgers' record label Saddest Factory. Speaking about the album, they told Vogue they wanted to "[show] people, “I’m capable of being loved, and you’re capable of being loved.” Sometimes we need a reminder, you know? But we all deserve to feel loved."


    Sydney pop artist MAY-A has only released a few singles so far, but she's been impressing iconic Australian artists for years and years, without knowing it. She tells triple j, “I entered a busking competition in primary school and one of the judges was Angus and Julia Stone, which I found out a lot later because my mum didn’t bother to tell me until like last year!”

    Influenced by Lorde, her music draws from the energy of those around her; both her friends and her collaborators. Her latest single, Time I Love To Waste, is a track about MAY-A falling head over heels for a girl, and it was written at the same as her huge single Apricots. It'll get you grinning from ear to ear, so go ahead and press play.

    Tate McRae

    Canadian singer/dancer Tate McRae started out as a professional dancer, even performing alongside Justin Bieber on his 2016 world tour. Her age has often seen her underestimated - which she says shouldn't be the case.

    Speaking to Women In Pop, Tate explains, “When I first got into [songwriting] sessions at fourteen, it was like, ‘You’re fourteen, you know nothing, let us write the song’,” she says. “And that for me was like ‘Whoa, I have my own opinions too!’ It’s kind of frustrating. I usually don’t like to tell my age until the end of a session so that people can trust my voice and trust what I want to say.”

    Her music straddles the line of pop/electronica, and she recently worked with Billie Eilish and FINNEAS on Tear Myself Apart. She's been balancing her music career and school, telling Harper's Bazaar, "It's been really crazy over this entire experience because I'm still in high school. So, I'll be back and forth from writing an essay to doing an interview to filming an award show."


    Brisbane-born Sycco (pronounced psycho) is mixing psychedelic and pop, and it's getting the attention of Australians across the country. Her latest single, My Ways, captures the feeling of being in lockdown last year better than pretty much any other track we've heard, and 2020 actually saw Sycco connect with some overseas artists.

    Speaking to Honi Solt, Sycco says, "[2020] actually helped me connect with some people overseas to do Zoom songwriting sessions, which have been really fun. Although, it’s also kind of hard because it’s just a tunnel and you have to make a song through a laptop. Well, I guess songwriting is always on a laptop! [Laughs]. But it’s been good and exciting to have more opportunities. And because I was in Brisbane where the lockdown was pretty quick, it allowed me to spend quality time with my friends which was really beneficial." We can't wait to hear more results from those sessions!

    Lili Alaska

    Lili Alaska has lived all over the world. She was born in the French Alps, before growing up in New Zealand/Australia. A move to Colorado in 2014 saw her attend her first open mic, and her love of music blossomed from there. Influenced by artists like Lana Del Rey, Lorde and The Smiths, she's mixing the sounds of today with the swagger of yesteryear.

    Her single Leave The Mind Behind will carry you towards the ocean, because it emulates the feeling of summer days spent at the beach. Lili's vocals are the centrepiece of the track, but don't sleep on the production - the complete package is something to behold.


    South Korean rapper Yuzion (pronounced "you-she-ohn") has only been releasing music for a couple of years now, but she's been busy working with the likes of Superbee, Lil Yu and more. She's already shown that she's not afraid to change up her style and sound, and she'll always leave you wondering what she's got planned next.

    Her latest single, California, will get you bouncing, and if you're a fan of emo-rap, then you'll dig Yuzion's sound. She's got a fanbase that picks over every little nugget of information that Yuzion drops, and they want the world for her. Don't cross them - it won't end well...





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