Yesterday (Sept. 28), Billboard unveiled our list of this year’s 21 Under 21 — the 21 biggest and best performers right now who’d still have trouble getting on the floor at a Vegas casino. Despite their youth, those artists are already impressively established in the pop world, with hit singles, successful tours and even a handful of major award statues between them.
But who’s coming up behind them? Who are the promising under-21 artists starting to generate the kind of buzz that might land them on this list in the future? Here’s a list of 10 such teen acts who might be edging in on Shawn Mendes and Lorde’s cafeteria table before long.
Bailey Bryan, 18
Hard for any up-and-coming, high-school age country singer-songwriter not to draw comparisons to the early days of You Know Who. Bailey Bryan earns ’em, though, with some of the most sparkling, pop-friendly country tunes of recent memory — songs with a distinctive energy and personality that can be all too rare in the genre. She only has an EP (2017’s So Far) to her name thusfar, but with 300 Entertainment behind her and nearly two million Spotify plays already racked up for debut single “Own It,” it wouldn’t be surprising to be hearing far more of Bryan’s love stories and guitar teardrops in the not-too-distant future. — Andrew Unterberger
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Bhad Bhabie, 14
Danielle Bregoli’s notoriety is the entry point for her rap career, but that output has decent ground on its own. Bhad Bhabie flaunts a rascally flow that’s unexpectedly sharp and just as witty (and petty) as rappers nearly twice her age. She’s still definitely untested — her total material with Atlantic thusfar clocks in under six minutes — and that output can sound like deja vu (just put on “No Flex Zone” after “These Heaux”). But with the right musical and personal guidance, her unreined charisma could be compelling enough to make her claim to fame irrelevant. — Zane Warman
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Billie Eilish, 15
Billie Eilish isn’t your typical 15-year-old girl. She gets upset about boys and always airs out her feelings; the difference is, she does it in the unusually sophisticated music she writes. Eilish’s style of dreamy pop — think Lorde meets Purity Ring — made her a natural fit to write a song for the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack, titled “Bored.” She released her debut EP don’t smile at me last month (produced by and co-written with her brother Finneas), and told him in a recent interview for Fuse that she hopes to collaborate with Tyler, the Creator sometime soon. On her current career trajectory, that dream may not be too far off. — Chris Malone
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Declan McKenna, 18
Declan McKenna first gained notoriety in 2014 with “Brazil,” a jangly indie-pop track that landed at No. 16 on the Alternative Songs chart. Forty labels vied for him after that, until he signed with Columbia Records in 2016. Tapping into the zeitgeist of politically engaged music with his topical, worldly alt-rock, he has potential as a “voice of a generation” that isn’t completely acquainted with him yet. The Brit’s songs address issues like FIFA overlooking poverty, police brutality and trans misrepresentation. — Caitlin Kelley
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Finn Wolfhard, 14
Finn Wolfhard has catapulted to stardom with his role as Mike Wheeler in the Netflix sci-fi sensation Stranger Things, but besides being on the hit ’80s-themed series, he’s also a budding rock musician. Wolfhard has shared numerous impressive covers on social media, tackling Twin Peaks’ “Wanted You” and New Order’s “Age of Consent” with his band Calpurnia. He’s also joined Mac DeMarco onstage playing guitar and shouted out contemporary bands like Modern Baseball, Jeff Rosenstock, and FIDLAR as some of his favorites. — Tatiana Tenreyro
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Kodie Shane, 18
The lone female member of Lil Yachty’s Sailing Team collective, Kodie Shane seems poised to follow her crew leader’s rapid ascension to stardom. The 18-year-old Atlanta MC sounds fierce and focused on August’s Back from the Future EP, building sensational pop hooks around staccato bars that take cues from Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert. Shane hasn’t yet gained substantial mainstream traction, but she’s racked up more than 3 million Spotify streams on last year’s sublime Lil Boat collab, “Sad,” hinting at big things to come. — Bryan Rolli
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After debuting in March, Pristin is part of a swath of rookie girl groups in K-pop whose built-in fan base is carried over from sensational survival show, Produce 101. Two members, Nayoung and Kyulkyung, earned coveted spots in the reality show-produced group I.O.I, which disbanded in January. But what sets Pristin apart is that their self-composed songs are conspicuously catchy, positioning them as a fan favorite. The 10-piece already hit No. 5 on the World Albums chart earlier this month with Schxxl Out. — C.K.
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The Regrettes, 16-20
The Regrettes are the young riot grrrls this generation needs. The four-piece garage-pop act is fresh off releasing their debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool! on Warner Bros. Records this past January. Lead singer Lydia Night makes the personal political with hard-hitting lyrics about growing up as a young woman in the Trump era. Tracks like “Seashore” and “Hey Now” make the band stand out as a future go-to for head bangers. — Allison Stubblebine
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Snail Mail, 18
Baltimore’s Snail Mail have quickly gone from the city’s small DIY scene playing small venues to becoming one of the most-talked about indie bands of 2017 after the release of debut EP Habit, signing to Matador earlier this year. Eighteen-year-old singer and guitarist Lindsey Jordan’s (the outfit’s only official member) relatable lyrics about anxiety, relationships, and growing pains resonate with fans who are living through those struggles, as well as older listeners who admire her talents. Her powerful voice and guitar skills emulate those of mentor and guitar teacher Mary Timony, a legend in Washington, D.C.’s own neighboring music scene neighboring Jordan’s. — T.T.
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Steve Lacy, 19
Steve Lacy has a lot to be proud of: he produced a song for Kendrick Lamar, is the guitarist for alt-R&B group The Internet, and released his own EP all before his 19th birthday. Lacy joined The Internet in 2015, and was instrumental (no pun intended) in their Grammy-nominated album Ego Death ’s success. His production skills caught the attention of Kendrick Lamar, who tapped him to produce “Pride” on his album DAMN. With a demo EP now under his belt and another Internet album reportedly in the works, Lacy may be the producer on everyone’s lips next year. — C.M.
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