an illustration of three women singing
Women from a variety of genres have long-awaited music releases slated for 2021. (Illustration by Emmalia Godshall, Columbia University)
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an illustration of three women singing

With plenty of highly anticipated releases and online concerts slated for this year, here are the female artists to keep an ear out for.

We will all remember 2020 as one of the most unexpected, tumultuous years the whole world collectively endured — a year of isolation, anxiety and looming fear that has informed how we cautiously approach plans for 2021. Despite the lonely nature of social distancing guidelines, technology has ensured there are still things to virtually enjoy together while staying home. Music is a powerful tool that isn’t confined to physical boundaries, and the convenient availability of music streaming has helped unify us all in quarantine.

Due to social distancing guidelines, exciting shared experiences for both musicians and fans such as concerts and festivals were canceled or postponed indefinitely. Despite the isolation of last year, music and its limitless reach can still give us much to look forward to and celebrate.

The year 2021 is also set to be big for women in the music industry. With major artists such as Adele and Lorde returning from hiatuses, and virtual concert experiences from BLACKPINK and Halsey, this year is going to be one for the books for women from all genres.  From full albums to virtual concert experiences, here are some releases from women to anticipate and adore in 2021.

SZA

Known for her soothing R&B sound and beautiful, melancholic lyrics, SZA has cemented herself as one of the biggest names in R&B right now. Since the 2017 release of her first studio album, “Ctrl,” SZA fans have been patiently yearning for her next full-length album. After the surprise release of her hit song “Good Days” on Christmas, SZA has confirmed her second studio album will come in 2021.

In an insightful interview with Cosmopolitan, SZA earnestly spoke about her creative process, the heart that goes into her writing, and her thoughts on the upcoming album. She closed the interview with a powerful sentiment: “Right now, more than ever, I’m just figuring it out—who I am and what I want that to be,” she says. “Before, it was more about letting people know that I was a good writer and that I shouldn’t be counted out. And now it’s more, You have power; you can shape the world based on the things you genuinely care about.” It is clear that months of intense focus and pouring out her innermost emotions have gone into this album, and fans can’t wait to once again connect to the singer through her poignant work.

Adele

Though it has been a long five years since Adele’s “25,” fans can finally rejoice in anticipation for 2021. The reigning ballad anthem legend has kept the details of her upcoming album under tight wraps, but members of her production team are speaking very highly of the work slated to come from the singer in 2021. In an interview on “The Eddie Trunk Podcast,” former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain spoke about working with Adele on new music.

Though he didn’t reveal much, the drummer said, “I just got to work on some new music for Adele, and to hear that voice in my headphones was getting me chills. It was just so powerful and emotive.

“You know her voice, but to be across the room from somebody doing that, it’s just insane. You hear it on the radio and whatever and you go, ‘Yeah, it’s really good,’ but to be in the room with these people and feel that energy, it’s just so heavy. She’s writing some new material with her songwriter Rick Nowels, she wanted to do it with some drums and so we just put our masks on, she was in the room – yeah, holy s–t.” Needless to say, fans are eager to hear the awesome work coming soon from Adele.

BLACKPINK Virtual Concert and Solo Music

Three years since Jennie Kim of BLACKPINK released her smash hit debut, “SOLO,” remaining members Rosé, Lisa and Jisoo will finally release their debut solo projects in 2021. Though details of Lisa’s and Jisoo’s releases are scant, here is what we know so far about the group’s 2021 ventures. Main vocalist Rosé made her solo debut at the group’s virtual concert experience titled “THE SHOW” on Jan. 31. Lisa’s solo debut will follow Rosé’s, and Jisoo’s is anticipated to come later in the year following completion of filming for her debut acting performance in “Snowdrop.” Whether attending the innovative virtual concert, or celebrating the new solo music, BLACKPINK fans have much to look forward to in 2021.

Lana Del Rey: “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”

After a rocky 2020 full of controversies, scandals and more, Lana Del Rey is preparing to return with her seventh studio album, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club.” The new album is scheduled to be released in mid-March with a unique combination of her early-era signature old Hollywood style and trippy visuals from her more recent works. Though there is already dissension brewing about the album due to the artwork, many are still hopeful the music itself will bring the same dreamy California sound Del Rey is best known for.

Phoebe Bridgers Virtual Concert

Indie singer Phoebe Bridgers is set to perform virtually at the 34th Tibet House Benefit Concert that will stream Feb. 17. The prestigious event, heralded as one of New York’s most renowned cultural events, will be completely virtual, featuring both live and pre-recorded segments from its impressive lineup. Bridgers was also featured in The Wall Street Journal’s12 for 21,” a series highlighting 12 artists poised to break out in 2021. Known for her unique voice and incredible songwriting from her debut album, “Punisher,” fans are hoping for another year of strong releases from Bridgers in 2021.

Lorde

Last but not least, Lorde fans are holding out hope that 2021 will be the year she makes her highly anticipated return after her three-year hiatus. Since the 2018 release of her sophomore album, “Melodrama,” Lorde has been busy traveling and writing her debut novel, “Going South,” which will chronicle her 2019 venture into Antarctica. The singer has been fiercely tight-lipped about her next album, but she is slowly dishing out details about the project that has been in the works since December 2019. In a newsletter to fans, Lorde revealed, “The work is so good, my friend. I am truly jazzed for you to hear it.” For years many longtime fans have eagerly awaited her next album, and without a doubt they’re definitely jazzed to hear what the singer has been working on.

Despite the uncertainty of beginning a new year during such an unpredictable time, there is still much to look forward to from women of all musical genres. Though online concerts aren’t the ideal situation, they are still a great opportunity to watch and support your favorite women in music during a time where support means the most. So sit back, relax and enjoy the domestic peace of attending a concert in your pajamas and not having to pay $5 for a bottle of water.

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