NPR Music

Slingshot's 2021 Artists To Watch

Jan 6, 2021

It's a new year, which means new opportunities for fresh faces to rise above the noise. NPR music partner stations spent the last three months listening to emerging musicians and selected 17 for our annual Slingshot list of artists to watch. Some have been honing their crafts for years and are finally primed for impact. Some released their first project in the past year. Packed with discoveries, our 2021 Slingshot list is a celebration of innovative artists, many of whom had a big 2020 and don't have any plans to slow down now.

Brandy Clark is known for her vivid character sketches. The Nashville artist put out an album in March 2020, right when the pandemic was starting to shut everything down. After her tour got canceled, Clark started seeing people less — a real problem for someone who likes to write about other people.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

The 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony has been postponed, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The Recording Academy announced on Tuesday that the ceremony will not take place on Jan. 31, as previously scheduled, but is instead being pushed off until March 14.

A little boy decked out in a pink rhinestone cowboy outfit travels around a farm and points out things that bring him joy. "A is for adventure. Every day is a brand new start. B is for boots — whether they're big or small, short or tall. C is for country," the story goes.

Right from the start of Kendall Morgan's "Rescue Me," the first thing you notice is her confident, powerful voice. It welcomes you in with a warm embrace. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter draws on a soulful blend of Americana and R&B with flourishes of gospel. Her EP, produced by J. LBS and due out early this year, includes "Rescue Me" and "Okay," two songs you'll see her perform in this exclusive mini concert for World Cafe.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

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Three of the five acts nominated for the 2021 best children's album Grammy Award are saying "no thanks." They're upset that the contenders in their category are all white.

One of them is Alastair Moock, whose nominated album, Be a Pain, is about American heroes who stood up for their principles: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harvey Milk, Rosa Parks, the Parkland, Fla., shooting student protesters and others.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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