2021 has been a fantastic year for the indie genre. Whether that be indie rock or indie pop, there have been so many wonderful albums and music. We have heard from some old favourites as well as some new kids on the block. Here are five of our favourite indie musicians this year.
Starting with Celeste, the U.K-based British, Jamaican solo artist. She has stormed through the charts in 2020 with her timeless and unique voice. Her music translates to everyone from different generations with her big and classical vocals. Even before the release of her first album, Celeste enjoyed various successes. This included working with FINNEAS, being named one of the ’10 Trailblazing Women Changing The Future You Need To Know’, and winning the BRITs Rising Star award in 2020.
Her first studio album, Not Your Muse, which came out at the beginning of this year is still receiving praise from critics and fans alike. Not Your Muse peaked at number 1 in the charts in the U.K as well as several other countries. Her authentic sound and her consistent, quality music links her to some of the greats. This includes Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Billie Holiday.
One of THE songs of the summer, Heat Waves by Glass Animals could be heard literally anywhere. But is it any wonder? The indie-pop band, which formed back in 2010, has over time become more popular especially with their unique and clever sound. Their latest album, Dreamland, which was released in 2020 soared into the Top 2 in the U.K and earned them a place as one of the best indie bands from the U.K. In addition to this, Dreamland was released during the pandemic, meaning no one really knew what to expect. However, the band will soon be back to touring. Back to the single, this surprise hit, which was inspired by 80s legends A-Ha, was something that blew singer Dave Bayley’s mind.
Known as one of the most influential indie artists of this decade, Lorde’s highly anticipated album was one so many wanted. Solar Power seems to have a completely different sound to any previous album of Lorde’s. When looking back at her debut album, Pure Heroine, the stark difference is all too clear. However, that is what made Lorde so popular with her fans in the first place. Using unconventional styles and introspective songwriting.
Lorde is like no other artist. She was praised for her social commentary and literary references in previous albums. This still young star has been seen as ‘the voice of her generation‘, someone who isn’t afraid to write about real issues. All three of Lorde’s albums have reached the top spot in both Australia and New Zealand, as well as reaching the Top 5 in the U.K. Lorde has also received many awards, most notably the International Female Solo Artist award at the BRITs in both 2014 and 2018.
Since winning this year’s Eurovision, Maneskin have taken the world by storm. This Italian indie-rock band, who started out in their country’s X Factor, have become one of the most significant bands this year. In addition to this, Maneskin has also shown that you don’t have to ‘fit the box’ to be successful. Their single, I Wanna Be Your Slave, reached the top 10 in countless countries, allowing them to become a world-known name. After their win at the song contest, they had several messages from fellow indie legends such as Royal Blood and Frans Ferdinand, one of their inspirations. Their Eurovision famous song, Ziti E Buoni, reached number 17 in the U.K charts. This is also the first Italian song to get into the UK Top 20 in nearly 30 years. Both Ziti E Buoni and I Wanna Be Your Slave topped Spotify’s UK Viral Top 50.
Starting out as a Youtube star, this 22-year-old is one of the rising stars in the indie music scene. Originally from Texas, Conan started out posting covers of original songs until he signed a record deal in 2018. Conan has cited Taylor Swift and Lorde as some of his inspirations. And been called ‘the pop prince for sad internet teens.’ He has been nominated for many music awards and won Best YouTube Musician in 2019 at the Shorty Awards. His hit single Heather reached the U.K Top 10, whilst his debut album reached Number 5 in the U.S charts.
The latest single, People Watching has proved that you can long for something or someone without feeling lonely. Many fans have stated how much they resonate with this song and its message. In addition, it has been praised for its self-reflection. This is something Conan does so well and will continue to do.