The Young Female Musicians Shaping Times Next 100

To celebrate Time’s 100 Next of 2021, we look at how young female stars are paving the music industry’s new wave. 

Time released their 2021 list of emerging leaders shaping the future, and among the list included up-and-coming female musicians. The list separates stars into five categories: artists, phenoms, leaders, advocates, and innovators. Ranging from Dua Lipa to Doja Cat, we look at the women who are impacting the music industry.

The Artist Category:

Dua Lipa

The English singer-songwriter has been around since her empowering 2017 single “New Rules.” Now the pop starlet has six Grammy nominations for her most recent album Future Nostalgia. Mixing ‘70s and ‘80s disco with contemporary pop, Dua Lipa experimented with creating fun dance music from heartbreak.

While people couldn’t go to clubs to experience Future Nostalgia’s magic due to the pandemic, Lipa strived to put out content for her fans. She embraced her album’s success with a remix edition and a star-studded live stream concert inspired by nightclub Studio 54, calling it Studio 2054. Dua Lipa shows us there’s no stopping her from music-making in a pandemic, and she lets us live our dance club fantasy from the safety of our homes.

Thank you @TIME and @kylieminogue for your kind words. A true honor being on the cover #Time100Next, shot by Micaiah Carter, styling by Lorenzo Posocco, hair by Jen Atkin Hair makeup Samantha Lau, nails by Kimmie Kyees ✨


The Brazilian singer-songwriter rose to fame after her 2013 single “Show das Poderosas” (“Powerful Girls Performance’). The Grammy-nominated artist has made her break out globally, with her musical roots in Brazilian funk and her popular dance-heavy music videos. She’s collaborated with various big artists like Cardi B, Ryan Tedder, Madonna, J Balvin, Snoop Dogg, Diplo, and Puerto Rican rapper Myke Towers.

With her almost 52 million Instagram followers, Anitta continues to stand up for herself and her culture. The self-made singer continues to embrace her power as a woman as she continues to influence the music industry for the better.

.@JBALVIN on @anitta: “She took the sound of Brazil—funk music, which is like our reggaeton—and took it to another level so the sounds are for everyone. She represents mi gente, el pueblo, las masas, the dreamers, the hustlers” #TIME100Next

Phoebe Bridgers

The indie/folk-rock singer-songwriter and producer made headlines with her critically acclaimed 2020 album Punisher. With four Grammy nominations, including best new artist, Phoebe brings honesty and vulnerability to her lyrics with themes of death, trauma, therapy, depression, and lost connections. The “Motion Sickness” singer is also a part of the musical groups boy genius and Better Oblivion Community Center.

Not only is Punisher the work of a musical mastermind, but her debut album Stranger in the Alps (2017) follows the beauty and pain of relationships. Bridgers seems to capture a young person’s feelings entering the long cycle of adulthood with only the tools of a pen, instruments, and voice. Bridgers will soar even higher, allowing listeners to accompany her on her musical journey.

I barely graduated high school and today my favorite author wrote about me for the time 100 next list

Chloe X Halle

The R&B sister duo was discovered by Beyoncé from their Youtube music covers and signed to her label Parkwood Entertainment in 2015. Since then, they’ve released two EPs, Sugar Symphony (2016) and The Two of Us (2017), and two Grammy-nominated albums, The Kids Are Alright (2018) and Ungodly Hour (2020).

As self-taught musicians, Chloe and Halle Bailey arrange and write all their songs. The sister duo relishes in carefully crafted harmonies that transcend above the listener. Their stage presence gives a balance between complete confidence and sensitivity. Their hit “Do It” has made waves on the charts, trending on TikTok with its own dance and becoming their first song to trend on the Billboard Hot 100.

The singers also extend their talents to acting, as both play twins on the Freeform TV show Grown-ish. Halle is currently in production as Ariel for Disney’s The Little Mermaid live-action remake.

This duo conveys the energy of a sisterly bond filled with so much love and so many talents.

The Phenom Category: 

Olivia Rodrigo

At just 18 years old, Olivia Rodrigo has made a name for herself in the music world with her chart-topping hit “Driver’s License.” While playing all over TikTok, the song has broken numerous records, including debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and having the most daily Spotify streams for a non-holiday song.

In “Driver’s License,” Rodrigo sings about the pain of losing your love to someone else, something many young people can relate to. Using Taylor Swift and Lorde as musical inspirations, the singer creates universal lyrics that cut deeper than a knife.

If this is the kind of material Rodrigo can write at 17, then we can’t imagine the power she’ll have on the industry as she grows up. She turns her sadness into strength which is something we all can learn from.

.@gwenstefani: “At just 17, @Olivia_Rodrigo is a master at turning her heartbreak into something glorious” #TIME100Next

Doja Cat

Doja Cat is an artist who is unapologetically herself. The singer/rapper gained popularity with her breakthrough single “Say So” on her 2019 album Hot Pink. The Grammy-nominated Doja Cat has had a large influence on internet culture as her songs have trended over social media platforms like TikTok.

Collaborating with artists like Ariana Grande, Chloe X Halle, Bebe Rhexa, and Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat has established herself as a strong force in the pop sphere.

She dances between humor and sensuality with songs like “Mooo!,” “Tia Tamera,” “Boss Bitch,” and “Cyber Sex.” She’s described as a living meme by certain fans, as she posts absurd but hilarious videos on TikTok. Through Doja Cat’s rebellious and dedicated artistry, she continues to change the narrative of what it means to be a female rapper/singer.

These six artists are reshaping what it means to be a young woman in the music industry. Through these women and many others in the industry, we are reminded every day of their power and force. As we continue listening, they will keep changing the world.

About the Author

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Natalie Daniels

Natalie Daniels is a Journalism major at Emerson College in Boston and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. With her love of entertainment news and positive storytelling, she is passionate about all things music, TV/ movies, and pop culture.