Earlier this week SXSW announced its full list of performers for 2021. Clocking in at 280 artists, the lineup is significantly smaller than previous years’ (for comparison, the planned 2020 lineup contained over 1500 names.)
This is entirely understandable, as the event will be hosted wholly online this year. Organizing the massive festival is a logistical feat every year, but given this season’s necessary pivot to online, the SXSW team has a whole new kind of logistical challenge this year.
As the adage goes, quantity doesn’t always indicate quality. After carefully listening to each and every artist, we can confirm that SXSW Online 2021 is stacked with a great deal of quality. Given the smaller line up size and concentration of excellence, this year’s lineup is much more accessible to those looking to do some pre-festival music research.
Here is Part One of the 50 artists, in alphabetical order, who we think you should check out at SXSW Online 2021.
You can find all of these artists, and a few other showcase artists we love, on our SXSW Online 2021 LIL Mix.
Check out Part Two of our list!
Folk | Dublin, Ireland | Listen To: Relentless
With a rich alto voice and soaring, yearning tunes, Ailbhe Reddy straddles the lines between folk, indie, and pop with magnetic force. We especially love the anthemic Distrust and Relent.
Hip-Hop / Rap | Okinawa Japan | Listen To: SENNO
Transitioning effortlessly between Japanese, Okinawan, and English rhymes, Awich (short for “Asia Wish Child”) caught the attention of the 88 Rising collective, who featured her in their “How the Next-Gen of Asian Hip Hop Is Taking Over The Music World” documentary.
Pop | London, England | Listen To: Human Nature
Vocalist Nancy Andersen and keyboardist Jamie Travis channeled their shared love for trip-hop, electronic, and soul into the dreamy indie pop of Babeheaven. Their debut album, Home for Now, was released late last year.
Pop | London, England | Listen To: These Drugs
If Taylor Swift were a South-African born, London-raised Gen Z-er creating glitchy alternative pop, she might sound something like this. Baby Queen a.k.a Bella Latham is creating infectious, fascinatingly clever music.
Hip-Hop / Rap | Melbourne, Australia | Listen To: Cool As Hell
An Aboriginal Australian rapper, dancer, artist, and actor, Baker Boy crafts hip-hop tunes in both English and Yolngu Matha. The feel-good “Cool As Hell” was nominated for Best Hip Hop Release at the 2019 ARIA awards.