Be in-the-know about the best Scandinavian musicians and bands to listen to through 2021, no matter what genres you’re into. From Danish neo-soul music to Icelandic boy bands (yes, really), there’s something for everyone. If you love being the first one of your friends to find new music for the year, you’ll want to bookmark this list!
Though this year was a tough one for performers, being tucked away at home during the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop these artists from making their marks on the music industry. And lucky for us! Some of these artists are totally new to the music scene, while others are back with breakthrough-level work.
Check out our list of the best Scandinavian music that will get us grooving through the year:
Best Bands and Singers in Denmark
Flowing over the Danish airwaves with a mixture of spoken word, rap, and singing, AGGi DiX’s style brings R&B and Neo-Soul together. This is the music that provides you some time to chill. AGGi DiX’s awaited debut album is set for release in early 2021, so get your ears ready.
The first single of Julius Moon’s latest works is called “Drive” and is from the duo’s upcoming album due in 2021. “Drive” is a hopeful love song that invites you to escape your sorrows and climb into their car to experience adventure.
Just rock from side to side if you don’t understand the lyrics in Tessa’s latest song, “Ben.” If you do understand them, then you know that this newcomer to the Danish music scene plans to bring it with her upcoming release.
Felix De Luca & Shatter Hands
In the spirit of all things 90s hip-hop, Felix De Luca & Shatter Hands’s new EP “Some Wear” is a feather in the cap for the Danish hip-hop/rap scene.
The 20-year-old Danish-Japanese musician’s first single, released in October of 2020, is called, “I’m Done.” The song captures the warmth of her soothing voice. Mina Okabe’s guitar playing supports her voice with a pop feel that hints at full and melodic jazz chords.
Astrid’s latest album Tulpa is classified as Contemporary R&B. Yet, her music expands further than a single category. Instead, she smoothly combines electronic, jazz, soul, and Copenhagen roots into her music. Check out “Daylight.” It’s a groove destined for your chill-out playlist.
Where Did Nora Go
There’s a reflective yet a calming sense of hope in the latest song “Undivided” by Where Did Nora Go. The lead singer of Where Did Nora Go, Astrid Nora, softly delivers a feeling of rebirth in her words, which a welcome change from these troubling days.
Based just outside of Aarhus, Denmark, Drumkoon (a.k.a. Tendai Frank Tagarira) is an expert in handpan and steel tongue drum music. His single “Racism in Denmark,” from the album Hygge Racism, makes it clear through audio clips that racism is still very much present in the country. His blend of soothing, rhythmic drums with jarring spoken-word clips underscores his point.
Best Bands and Singers in Sweden
Creating spaced-out melodies with calm vocals is the foundation of his latest single, “Dreams.” Kull is influced by artists like Bon Iver, and it shows in his musical style. If you like this single tuned, Johan Kull builds up an album set to release in 2021!
Miriam Bryant, Yasin
Two Swedish rising stars bringing together rap and pop combined with a retro sound on their latest single “Ge upp igen (Give Up Again).” The video is about extravagance creating distance in love.
After releasing his album MOUNT JHUN earlier in 2020, this rising Swedish pop star is at it again with two singles, “Du måske finnas,” a Swedish classic, and “Starkare,” foreshadowing an album release in 2021.
Even Swedes sing of heartbreak, and it’s apparent in Victor Leksell’s song, “Svag” (Weak), that heartbreak has at least hit him once. The song is from his debut album released earlier in 2020, “Fånga Mig När Jag Faller” (Catch Me When I Fall).
This Swedish singer-songwriter and producer infuses her Persian roots into her music mixed with an electro-soul package of dreamy sensation. First making her musical debut back in 2016, Shadi G is back with her latest three singles, “Goddess Pt. 1” from her upcoming album release set for March 2021.
Best Bands and Singers in Norway
Eva Weel Skram
A translation of this song isn’t needed. It’s the angelic sounds of Eva Weel Skram’s voice that make her single, “Selmas Sang” a refreshing and straightforward delight to listen to when you need
Julie Bergan’s latest song, “We’re Coming Up,” will be waiting for you in the pop clubs once they’re open again. In the meantime, this Norwegian singer-songwriter’s album Hard Feelings is available for your at-home dancing pleasure.
Matilda’s September 2020 album release, Retrospect takes you on a journey through love. Her song “Anyone Else” featuring fellow Norwegian singer Dagny, is the top song from her latest of her six-album discography.
This northern Norwegian alternative R&B singer-songwriter is on the verge of releasing her third album since 2018. Leading up to her next release, she taunts us with her recent single, “Friends,” but her preceding single, “Glue” is still at the forefront of showcasing what she can attain musically.
Neo-soul made it to Norway, and Fieh is claiming a plot on its little-appreciated landscape. The band has one album in the bag, their 2019 Cold Water Burning Skin. One can only speculate with the recent release of “Armageddon,” their first single of 2020, to be an appetizer to what’s to come in 2021.
Best Bands and Singers in Iceland
Iceland’s got a boyband called Boncyan, and they’re going global with their electro-pop sound in their recent single, “It’s On Me.” If you miss the care-free love-sick boybands from yester-year, then Boncyan’s got your cure!
The Berlin-based Icelandic band Volcano Victims keeps it quirky and carefree on their recent single, “Canicular Years.” If you like this song and want to hear more from Volcano Victims, they’ve unleashed a string of singles in 2020, hopefully leading up to a full album debut!
Bríet’s music will give you pop feel-goods all over that will make you forget that you don’t understand Icelandic as she flows over her R&B-influenced pop sound.
Best Bands and Singers in Finland
Louie Blue’s 2020 album Notes is laced with R&B rhythms and electro-pop synths, but he’s got a new single, “Noisy,” which holds in place his signature style of mixing the soulful with pop. The 19-year-old Finnish musician is considered by the Finnish music scene as “one to watch”- no pressure, Louie Blue.
Perhaps being born on the tail-end of the 70s inspired Tuomo to create his jazzy, retro-funk sound. Whatever it is, his 2020 single “Don’t Hide Your Heart” grooves.
Jannika B is well known for her pop sounds in Finland and has been building her presence since 2012. From label owner to musician and her latest song “Viimeinen päivä,” she has become a mainstay in the Nordic region.
Behm dropped her Draaman kaari viehaättaäaä album in 2020. Her music is a classy pop that allows her gentle voice to flow over; just listen to her track “Hei rakas” to get a really good sense of her sound.
Nublu X Mikael Gabriel
Nublu x Mikael Gabriel’s song “Universum” has a perpetual hip-hop beat that will most likely get you hyped for your next party (when it’s safe to go out again, of course). Just add it to your party playlist and get ready for a night of dancing.
Ellinoora brings us classic pop with a modern feel. Her single “Dinosauruksii” has all of the dramatic transitions that one would want in a pop song.
Herra Ylppö & Yeboyah
When rock and soul come together, they bring out the best in each other. The collaboration between Herra Ylppö & Yeboyah on “Minä liityin sinuun | Vain elämää” is a comfortable compromise between the respective genres.
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