Looking ahead, it seems at least possible that major musicians will be able to connect with their fans, live, in person, next year. And with a number of incredible album releases in 2020, there are several artists who are eager to get their latest material across venues nationwide.
Assuming that the concert industry is able to formulate safe models for shows in 2021, we’re going forward with wishful thinking. Here are 11 Artists We Want to Tour in 2021, the musicians we most want to see onstage next year. For those of you interested in which musicians have already made plans to perform next year, here’s a regularly updated list of Rescheduled Concert Tours.
2019 was a huge year for Ariana Grande, who went on tour for her album Sweetener in addition to releasing thank u, next. Though we know Ariana Grande to be highly productive, allowing little time between albums and touring, we were still delightfully shocked when, just last week, Ariana Grande released the forthcoming release of her next album, Positions.
Positions, featuring guest appearances from The Weekend, Doja Cat, Ty Dolla $ign, and more, is officially out October 30th. Last week Grande shared the album’s lead single and title track, a playful and seductive mantra for monogamy, indicating Grande’s updated relationship status. In or out of love, we could care less. Ariana Grande never fails her fans when it comes to delivering vocally, artistically, stylistically. Whatever she’s going through, we’re hooked.
Which is why she is at the top of our list when it comes to musicians we hope to see tour in 2021. With three new albums in just two years, Ariana Grande fans have a lot of recent material they want to hear live.
On Nov. 23rd, Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes will release the documentary In Wonder. The film will be a behind-the-scenes look at Mendes’ rapid and starlit journey to fame, being on tour, and developing into the artist Mendes is today. The documentary will precede his upcoming fourth studio album Wonder, which has been led by the album’s title track.
With Wonder set to drop on December 4, and a small “Wonder” Residency already lined up for small theaters and late night TV stages benefiting independent music venues, we think Shawn Mendes is likely to tour in 2021. In the mean time, look out for more venue announcements and performances for Mendes’ limited “Wonder” Residency.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Fall 2019, Bruce Springsteen beckoned his longtime E Street accompanists to stay a snowy week in his New Jersey home. The reason? To record a whole, new album. A year later, just last week, that album was received by fans. In a world without COVID-19, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band would be getting ready to tour Letter to You. Which means we think, if it’s in any way safe, that the Boss and his band will be performing at least a few shows in 2021.
We hope we’re right, even though the band has cautioned us against this wishful thinking. Check out our speculation on if Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will tour in 2021, here.
It hasn’t been long since Anderson .Paak dropped Ventura, his last solo album which was famously produced by Dr. Dre. Since, .Paak has dropped two new singles: the protest anthem “Lockdown” and the Timbaland-produced “Jewelz.” Though we’re not entirely sure if these singles are meant to signal a new solo album from .Paak, or if he’s gearing up for another NxWorries release, but we do know that we’re aching for the funk-soul artist to join the 2021 touring circuit.
Singer, dancer, percussionist, and multi-instrument entertainer, Anderson .Paak is one of the most entertaining rap and R&B musicians you can see live.
From the online “Save Our Stages” festival, to a virtual celebration of Tom Petty’s 70th birthday, to a recent stripped-down performance of “Times Like These” for the Biden campaign, the Foo Fighters have been all but silent in these concert-less days. In true form, a lack of audience has not kept this iconic and beloved rock band from taking the stage.
For those rock fans out there having a hard time without live music, don’t worry, we are nearly certain that Dave Grohl and co. will be hitting the road in 2021. We’re all fearing our own mortality these days, but the Foo Fighters are far from being done.
Though the sightings have been low and often perplexing, Kendrick Lamar hasn’t been entirely off the radar in the time since 2017’s DAMN. In March 2020, Kendrick, along with Dave Free, revealed the website for pgLang, a creative service company. Just last month, Kendrick Lamar was seen in Los Angeles, apparently filming a music video. And most recently, Kendrick was seen on the cover of i-D magazine with Baby Keem, his protege.
Though we know next to nothing about Kendrick Lamar’s new album, we know that’s not a reason to doubt that it’s happening. When there is new Kendrick, hopefully sometime this year, the rapper will rank extremely high on our list of who we want to see live in 2021. Check out our ongoing speculation as to when Kendrick Lamar will release a new album, here.
Though it hasn’t been for the NIN moniker, the band’s lead minds, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, have been busy making music. Fans will have to hit up the latest seasons of HBO originals to hear them, that is, until Reznor and the rest of Nine Inch Nails announce a return to the road.
But we’re really, really hoping for it. NIN have released two more albums in the Ghosts series, both in 2020. It’s been two years since NIN went on tour, in 2018 for Bad Witch. Aside from Reznor, fans have witnessed new reincarnations of the band over the years as they’ve toured. We think a return to the stage for NIN, in whichever Trent Reznor-led form they may be in, would be delightfully explosive. In the mean time, don’t miss Trent Reznor break down the making of “Hurt” in an upcoming episode of Netflix’s Song Exploder.
English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa is set to release her first post-Future Nostalgia and Club Future Nostalgia single. On October 30th, fans will receive “Fever,” featuring Belgian singer Angèle. How it must feel for Dua Lipa, who dropped two incredible albums this year without the ability to present them live, on stage, to fans? Hopefully next year will bring an end to that feeling, a lack of resolve, absence.
We are certain that Dua Lipa will hit the road in 2021, for the “Future Nostalgia” World Tour. The tour will be her fourth headlining stint of her career, having previously toured as an opener for Coldplay and Bruno Mars. Now being a certified pop star in her own right, we anticipate a tone of celebration when Dua Lipa is finally in concert.
Early last month, SZA dropped her first single since 2017’s CTRL. “Hit Different,” feat. Ty Dolla $ign, was also released with a music video SZA directed herself. At the end of the video was a snippet of what sounded like another new single by SZA. Finally, after being pestered by a fan, SZA confirmed that in fact another single has been cleared for release.
Now that we know more SZA is on the way, we are getting our hopes up for the R&B songstress to hit the road in 2021. Back in 2018, SZA was set to hit the road for the first ever record label tour with her TDE compadres. Instead, due to swollen vocal chords, SZA had to sit out most dates on the tour and forgo the opportunity to connect with millions of fans who swooned over her arrival, the dazzling honesty of CTRL. So if at all possible, we think it’s highly likely that SZA performs in 2021.
Back in July 2019, Chance the Rapper released his “first studio album,” as Coloring Book and Acid Rap are technically seen as mixtapes. The Big Day, a concept album revolving around Chance the Rapper’s wedding, family, and evolving marriage, was a definitive turn away from the themes and mood of his former work. And, unlike his previous gestures, Chance did not follow-up the release of The Big Day with a tour.
Will Chance the Rapper tour in 2021? We think it’s highly likely, as the rapper owes his fans a stint after cancelling. Though his recent absence from the stage is due to COVID-19, by now, a lot of time has passed since Chance the Rapper last threw one of his energetic and enlivening concerts. And we’re more than curious as to how Chance brings The Big Day to life.
On October 30th, Sam Smith will release their third studio album Love Goes. It’s been three years since Sam Smith released an album, 2017’s The Thrill of It All. From disillusioning relationships to recovering their identity with genderqueer language, Sam Smith had a range of experiences to draw from for this forthcoming LP. From the lead single “Forgive Me,” we are bracing ourselves for Smith’s most personal album to date.
Sam Smith went on tour in 2018 to promote The Thrill of It All, spanning 7 continents and 95 shows. We are hopeful that, considering their forthcoming album release, after long delaying and renaming the record, Sam Smith will find a way to connect with fans in 2021. In the mean time, we can’t wait to devour what comes next from the British, pop troubadour.