Are you a teen singer wondering if you can make it in the music industry? Singers under 18 are very popular with labels and many famous artists got their big break well before hitting their 20s. There are many teenage singers to watch in 2021, as seen on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, on streaming sites and at competitions.
In this article, we’ll reveal the names you should check out if you want to be inspired as a younger emergent musician.
Singers under 18
Many of the biggest names in music began in childhood or their teenage years. Singers under 18 who show promise are hot property, particularly for record labels. As many pop singers in particular launch or peak in their early twenties, executives like to start developing talent well before this age.
How do you get to become a successful singer under the age of 18? Well, there are a few common routes.
1. Become an internet sensation via your social media and music streaming accounts (this is becoming more and more, the foremost way to get noticed).
2. Win, or get far along in a major singing competition.
3. Attend a stage or music school that offers commercial opportunities (like the BRIT school or Sylvia Young Theatre School).
Famous teenage singers
Here are some examples of famous artists who scored international recognition for their music, either in childhood or their teenage years.
- Miley Cyrus
- Britney Spears
- Billie Eilish
- Justin Timberlake
- Justin Bieber
- Selena Gomez
- Dua Lipa
- Taylor Swift
- One Direction
- Kylie Minogue
Teenage singers 2021
So let’s take a look at who’s making a splash in the under 18 categories…
Hello Sunday – 16 years old
Here you have not one, but two teenagers as part of the same act. This 16 yr old duo was discovered on 2019’s The Voice USA – the series’ 17th season. Myla Finks and Chelsea Glover is the youngest duo to have appeared on the show. The two met at a performing arts camp and Myla told Young Entertainment Mag:
“Being on NBC’s “The Voice”, was one of the best experiences of my life!! It is an honour to be coined the youngest duo in Voice history because it really shows our level of talent and says that even though we are young, we are just as talented and capable as the adults on the show. The entire experience was surreal, and a dream come true. To have had the opportunity to work one on one with Kelly Clarkson and meet living legends such as Taylor Swift, John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Blake Shelton, was beyond all of our wildest dreams and we are so grateful for the experience!”
Teenage singers female
Girls in particular are rocking the current music scene. Here are some of the most followed and streamed young ladies in the industry arena at the moment…
Tate McRae – 17 years old
It’s not only singers who can make it in their teens, it’s a superb time to flourish as a songwriter too. Tate McRae has certainly taken the world by storm despite her tender years. The Canadian singer-songwriter is best known for her self-penned hit You Broke Me First, which has been streamed over 460 million times on Spotify and made it to the Top 10 in the UK, Canada and Australia.
She is also a professional dancer and was chosen as a backing dancer on Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour, aged just 12. Tate also competed in So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation at the age of 13, taking third place. She signed to RCA Records in 2019. You can follow her on Instagram: @tatemcrae.
Loren Gray – 18 years old
With an excess of 50 million fans, the actress, model and dancer is also a prolific singer. Just before her 16th birthday, she signed with Virgin Records and then released her first single My Story. Loren’s also the host of her own Snapchat show. She, like many other social media stars, is proof that you can diversify from one area of media and entertainment to another.
In fact, you may be more likely to be picked up and offered a deal if you also have experience and a following via acting, presenting, modelling or dancing.
Justine Afante – 13 years old
Winner of the Voice Kids UK 2020, this Welsh schoolgirl from Swansea stole the show with a rendition of Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time, then Beyonce’s Listen at the Grand Final. The show’s coaches Will.i.am, Pixie Lott, Danny Jones and Paloma Faith all turned for her at the blind audition stage. She told Wales Online:
“I’ve been singing since I was about two, but that was just singing along to the TV or around the house. I started singing at parties then – actually the first one I sang at was my birthday when I turned seven. But I haven’t really done any competitions or anything like The Voice Kids before now.”
Charli D’Amelio – 16 years old
A TikTok sensation, Charli has attracted over 100 million followers, making her one of the biggest creators on the platform. Her videos are dance-based, but she also sings. And made a cool £3 million in the year from June 2019 (as reported by Forbes).
Teenage singers male
And what of the boys? Here are a couple of guys raking in the likes and subscribers…
Johnny Orlando – 18 years old
Johnny Orlando is a Canadian singer-songwriter. He began making original music videos when he was 8 years, with Darian his 13-year-old sister. But it was through posting YouTube covers of pop songs by artists including Austin Mahone and Justin Bieber that he made it big. He now has 9.6 million followers on TikTok and his own fan club. Johnny’s new single, I Don’t, lands on the 24th March 2021.
NLE Choppa – 17 years old
Having started freestyling at the age of 14, NLE Choppa’s song Shotta Flow went viral in January of 2019 with more than 115 million views. For several years the rapper turned down offers from record labels, instead choosing a distribution deal that allowed him to keep the rights to his music. But more recently he’s signed with Warner. His TLA stands for No Love Entertainment.
Lukas James – 19 years old
Almost out of his teens (he turns 20 in September 2021) Lukas James first found fame through his poppy YouTube covers. But he began releasing his own tunes for the first time in 2019. The Floridian singer-songwriter has also appeared on the US TV series Boy Band. He as over 75,000 Instagram followers, over 8000 YouTube subscribers and even his own line of wearable merch.
Glaive – 16 years old
Hailing from North Carolina, Glaive belongs to a new genre called Hyperpop and has been influenced by Midwestern emo, punk, and EDM. His real name is Ash Gutierrez and he only started making music once the pandemic hit – DIY style from his bedroom. With hundreds of thousands of monthly listeners on Spotify and occupying a pioneering place in the industry, he’s certainly one to watch. Glaive said to Fader:
“I’ve told all my teachers that I kinda have other things to do. I understand school is my top priority but I’ve been… busy.”
Teenage upcoming artists 2021
Competitions like Open Mic UK and TeenStar are fertile ground for exciting upcoming new singers. Here are some of the ones to watch.
Saffron Rococo – 17 years old
The winner of TeenStar 2020 writes and performs her own music including, Priority, the number that saw her crowned overall champion at the online Grand Final last year. Saffron gigs around London and is currently studying at the BRIT School, where artists like Adele, Leona Lewis and Jessie J studied.
Liam Price – 14 years old
Liam Price has amassed over four million views across social media platforms. The singer and guitarist was the under 16 winner of Open Mic UK 2016 and made it to the semi-finals of The Voice Kids UK in 2019. He creates his own original tracks, as well as recording covers.
Rosie Hollins – 12 years old
On the cusp of her teenage years, the young singer from Portsmouth was a finalist at Open Mic UK and TeenStar 2020. She was also the winner of The Concorde Factor 2020.
Teenage artists to watch 2021
If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of who’s likely to be the next big thing, these are the teens we recommend you follow…
Kali – 16 years old
A singer, multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and violin) and music producer, Kali Flanagan is based in Santa Monica, USA. The indie musician began playing and singing aged four and writes what she calls ‘bouncy’ songs. She’s consistently featured in music mags as an exciting new talent and described her journey to Ones to Watch:
“I tried writing music when I was ten or eleven, I would say, and it didn’t go so well. I guess I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but a year later when I was twelve it really clicked for me. I wrote on the acoustic guitar originally, taught myself how to use GarageBand, and made really horrible sounding demos. But what really created the spark for me was the combination of writing, production, and crafting songs. I think it’s so interesting. It’s like putting ingredients together.”
Annika Rose – 19 years old
Annika Rose set up a YouTube account in 2012 and since then has gained nearly 16,000 subscribers. Her cover of Katy Perry’s Roar, released in August 2013 was a huge hit on the platform, with additional covers of artists like Paramore, Demi Lovato and OneRepublic proving very popular. Annika also has over 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and likes to write alone – as she describes on her platform.
“When I’m writing it has to be past midnight, and everyone has to be asleep,” she says. “I turn off all the lights and turn on my lava lamp, light some incense and just sit there until I’m literally asleep at the piano.”
Isal Croll – 15 years old
“My music is a bowl of mixed salad, served with a dash of soul,” says Isla Croll on her Twitter account. She appeared on ITV’s The Voice Kids UK last year (2020) performing her own jazz meets R&B style of vocals. In addition to some classic covers, the Hampshire based schoolgirl writes her own tunes. She recently released Thanks to You, as a mark of gratitude to family, friends and key-workers during the pandemic. You can listen to this song and others, on Isla’s Spotify account.
We hope that this list has encouraged you to believe in your own possibilities. Age is no barrier to success and being young may well go in your favour. Don’t be tempted to procrastinate if you have an idea you’d like to record, a music video you want to make, or a gig you want to arrange live or online). It may take some time and groundwork, so get started today.
- Who is the most famous teenage singer?
Billie Eilish is one of the biggest names around at the moment and she is still a teenager at 19 years old. She’ll hit her twenties in December 2021 though. But she has enjoyed extraordinary success winning awards and amassing millions of streams. Billie Eilish became famous at a very young age.
- Can I become a singer at 13?
You can become a singer at almost any age. In fact, the younger you get started the better, as the pop industry is very youthful. Birdy, for example, released her debut single aged 14. This was a huge hit and made her internationally famous. She was still at school at the time and said it felt ‘surreal’.
- How do singers get noticed?
These days, platforms like TikTok and YouTube have become the most prolific source of talent scouting, along with streaming sites. Having lots of views, followers or downloads will increase the likelihood of record label A&R taking notice. Great branding and a strong online presence are very important.
Have we missed any of your favourite teenage singers? Or perhaps you are a singer who’s under 18 and want to hit the big time, just as some of the artists we’ve named here have? Let us know who you are and what you’re doing, in the comments below.