Apple® announces its Third Annual Apple Music® Award Winners for 2021
Apple® is a global music giant. Not too long ago, they announced the winners of their third annual Apple Music® Awards for 2021. Top winners include The Weeknd, Olivia Rodrigo, and H.E.R. Also, Apple® gives five new Regional Artist of the Year awards to Aya Nakamura (France), OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM (Japan), RIN (Germany), Scriptonite (Russia), and Wizkid (Africa). The winners were chosen through a process that reflects both Apple Music’s editorial perspective and what customers around the world are loving most.
Apple Music® Awards 2021
“The past 12 months have proved to be a remarkable year for music. Also, we are thrilled to honor the artists who are shaping culture and connecting with fans around the world on Apple Music. This year, we’re also recognizing more regional artists. Showing the world the impact of extraordinarily talented musicians who are making waves globally.” — stated Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats
The Apple Music® Awards celebration kicks off Tuesday, December 7, 2021. The event will be streamed worldwide on Apple Music and the Apple TV® app. Music fans who are not already subscribed to Apple Music can sign up for a three-month free trial via apple.com.
Apple Music® Awards – Global Artist of the Year: The Weeknd
“I’m so grateful for this huge honor and want to thank Apple for all its support. Not only for my work but also for great music by newer artists. Where it matters so much for creators to be found and supported.” — The Weeknd stated
The Weeknd took over popular music and culture on his own terms this year. So far, the global superstar’s 2020 album, “After Hours,” has quickly surpassed one million pre-adds on Apple Music. The project has become the most pre-added album of all time by a male artist on the platform. Also, “After Hours” holds the record for the most-streamed R&B/Soul album in its first week in 73 countries. The smash single, “Blinding Lights,” peaked at No. 1 on Apple Music’s Daily Top 100: Global chart. The song ranks as one of the 20 most Shazamed® songs of all time.
The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” music video
The Weeknd hosts the massively popular taste-making Apple Music Radio show, MEMENTO MORI. Not too long ago, he graced the recent covers of TIME, Forbes, Variety, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and GQ. Also, not too long ago, he blew fans away with his 2021 Super Bowl LV Halftime Show. His performance was one of the most-Shazamed moments of the year.
Apple Music® Awards – Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year: Olivia Rodrigo
“I did my first interview for ‘drivers license’ with Apple Music, and so much has happened since then. It’s truly surreal. Thank you to Apple Music for these amazing awards.” — Olivia Rodrigo stated
For Olivia Rodrigo, 2021 will go down as the year of epic firsts. The 18-year-old singer-songwriter released her tear-soaked debut single, “drivers license,” in January, which quickly topped the charts and became one of the most-streamed new releases of the year. “drivers license” registered the highest first-week streams ever for a debut single by an artist on Apple Music globally, reaching No. 1 on the Daily Top 100: Global chart, where it remained for over a month and was the fastest-ever debut solo track by a US artist to accumulate five million Shazams.
Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license” music video
Olivia Rodrigo’s highly anticipated debut album, “SOUR,” followed in May. The project was celebrated with an Apple Music First Listen virtual event with fans and an accompanying interview with Zane Lowe. “SOUR” carries the highest first-week streams for an album released by a female artist in 2021 on Apple Music globally. All 11 songs on the album ranked on the Daily Top 100: Global chart. As well as the Daily Top 100 chart in 66 additional countries.
So far, Rodrigo has been on the cover of Apple Music playlists Today’s Hits, A-List Pop, and New Music Daily. She closes her life-changing year as the deserving recipient of her first three Apple Music Awards. Also, she took home Breakthrough Artist, Album of the Year (“SOUR”), and Song of the Year (“drivers license”).
Apple Music® Awards – Songwriter of the Year: H.E.R.
“I am very honored and blessed to receive this recognition. As a young Black and Filipino artist, and a woman who is on the stage giving my all, there’s no doubt that representation is important. Thank you so much, Apple Music.” — H.E.R. stated
Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist H.E.R.’s work within the R&B genre grew even more expansive in 2021 with the release of her acclaimed 21-track album, “Back of My Mind.” The project captures the artist at her most brilliant, confident, and freewheeling. Also, the chart-topping album was the third-most-streamed R&B/Soul album on Apple Music in its first week of release by a female artist this year.
H.E.R. – “Come Through” video) feat. Chris Brown
Singles “Damage” and “Come Through” (featuring Chris Brown) both spending multiple weeks on the Daily Top 100 chart in over 30 countries. The former Apple Music Up Next artist also penned the anthemic original “Fight for You” for the celebrated motion picture, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Furthermore, she covered Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” for Apple Music’s exclusive “Juneteenth: Freedom Songs” compilation.
H.E.R. is a regular guest on Zane Lowe and Ebro Darden’s shows on Apple Music 1. Also, she has been featured as the cover of popular Apple Music playlists New Music Daily, R&B Now, and more.
Apple Music® Awards – Artist of the Year (Africa): Wizkid
“Thank you to Apple Music for this award. It’s a blessing to get to do what I do, and I’m proud to be representing for Africa.” — Wizkid stated
Singer-songwriter Wizkid is one of Africa’s biggest crossover acts. So far, he has worked with Drake, Skepta, and Chris Brown, among others. The Nigerian musician first found regional success in 2011 with the massively popular single, “Holla at Your Boy,” which appeared on his debut album, “Superstar.” Wizkid went global in 2016 after his collaboration with Drake on “One Dance,” which soared to the top of the charts in 15 countries. Between 2019 and 2020, Wizkid has featured in Beyoncé’s projects “The Lion King: The Gift” and its companion piece, “Black Is King.”
WizKid – “Essence” music video feat. Tems
In October 2020, Wizkid released “Made in Lagos,” his critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album. The project included his hit song, “Essence,” featuring Tems. To date, the song has gained 125 million plays on Apple Music and over 2.8 million Shazams.
This past year, Wizkid has been the most streamed African artist on the continent on Apple Music. Also, he has ranked on the Daily Top 100 charts in 60 countries, in addition to his monthly plays on Apple Music growing by more than 250 percent outside of Africa. Furthermore, Wizkid has been featured on Apple Music’s Today’s Hits and R&B Now playlists. Plus, he’s a frequent guest on Apple Music Radio shows, including “Africa Now Radio,” “The Ebro Show,” “New Music Daily with Zane Lowe,” and “OVO SOUND RADIO.”
Apple Music® Awards – Artist of the Year (France): Aya Nakamura
“I am extremely honored to be the very first Francophone artist to win an Apple Music Award as Artist of the Year (France). Thank you, Apple!” — Aya Nakamura stated
French-Malian pop singer, Aya Nakamura, is the most streamed Francophone artist in the world. She is best known for her hit song, Djadja. So far, she has released three albums featuring countless chart-topping songs including Copines, Pookie, Plus Jamais, and Jolie Nana. Also, she has been on the cover of Apple Music’s Hits Français playlist.
Aya Nakamura – “Plus Jamais” feat. Stormzy
In France, Nakamura is one of the only female artists to consistently appear in the streaming charts in a market dominated by male rappers. Her album, “AYA,” garnered the highest first-week streams for an album released by a female artist on Apple Music. Her songs “Jolie Nana” and “Plus Jamais” hold the top two spots for the highest first-week streams for a song by a female artist on Apple Music in France.
All of the 15 songs on her “AYA” album entered the Daily Top 100 chart in France, Belgium, and Niger. This success enabled Aya Nakamura’s “Jolie Nana” single to peak at No. 1 in those countries. Also, her song, “Bobo,” peaked at No. 1 on the Daily Top 100 chart in France, Niger, Cape Verde, and Micronesia. This marked her fifth single topping France’s Daily Apple charts.
Apple Music® Awards – Artist of the Year (Germany): RIN
“2021 was such a good year for me because it has born a lot of fruit of things that I postponed for a long time. My music has evolved in the same sense. I am much more personal.” — RIN stated
RIN ( born Renato Simunovic in 1994) is a rapper from Bietigheim-Bissingen, near Stuttgart, in the south of Germany. After releasing his first EP, “Genesis,” in 2016, his debut album, “Eros,” followed quickly in 2017. A 25-time gold and three-time platinum artist, RIN has performed countless live shows, done features with legends, and collaborated with some of the world’s most influential brands.
RIN – “1976” music video
With his third album, “Kleinstadt,” RIN freed himself from the idea of what German rap should sound like. Fans and critics alike cite this album as hugely influential in shaping the current sound of rap in the south of Germany. Also, RIN was the first German artist to host his own show on Apple Music, “KLEINSTADTRADIO.” Plus, he has graced the cover of Apple Music’s HYPED and Deutschrap 100 playlists.
Apple Music® Awards – Artist of the Year (Japan): OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM
“We didn’t know Japanese artists could win this award and we were shocked when we were told. Also, we’re super happy to be the winners of the first Apple Music Award for Artist of the Year (Japan).” — OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM
OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM (aka HIGEDAN) was formed in Shimane, Japan, in 2012. The group consists of (lead vocalist and keyboardist) Satoshi Fujihara, (guitarist) Daisuke Ozasa, (bassist and saxophonist) Makoto Narazaki, and (drummer) Masaki Matsuura. In 2014, they released their debut mini-album, Love to Peace wa Kimi no Naka. Their first full-length album, “Escaparade,” includes their popular song, No Doubt. But their second single, “Pretender,” rocketed to the top of the Apple Music charts in Japan.
OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM – “Pretender” music video
HIGEDAN entered Shazam’s emerging artists lists in Japan and Australia for the first time in June 2019, ahead of the release of the band’s follow-up album, “Traveler,” which became their first No. 1 album in Japan. The band has been featured in three different Apple Music Japan commercials. With their hit songs, “Stand by You” and “I Love…,” along with the 2021 song, “Apoptosis,” taken from their third album, “Editorial,” which carries the third-highest first-week streams for an album released in 2021 in Japan. Also, the project was recently featured in an Apple Music Japan spatial audio with Dolby Atmos commercial. Furthermore, the band made several guest appearances on “J-Pop Now Radio” on Apple Music 1.
Apple Music® Awards – Artist of the Year (Russia): Scriptonite
“This award is the culmination of an incredible few years. And Apple Music has been with me for so much of it along the way. Thank you for the recognition.” — Scriptonite stated
Scriptonite (aka Adil Zhalelov) is a rapper. Basta discovered him. Scriptonite signed to Basta’s label, Gazgolder, in 2015. Later, Scriptonite released his debut album, entitled, House with Normal Activity. Instantly, the project became a classic. Also, the album has been deemed one of the biggest records of the new Russian hip-hop revolution. In 2017, Scriptonite followed up with two more LPs on Gazgolder. Since then, he has risen to become a top-ranked producer and performer of the current hip-hop era. Also, fans and critics credit him as the most important voice and sound of the new generation.
Scriptonite – “Style” music video
Scriptonite started his own label, Musica36, in 2019. Then he released his “2004” album exclusively on Apple Music to critical acclaim – becoming the No. 1 streamed record of the year. Also, Scriptonite holds the record for the two most-streamed albums for its first week on Apple Music in five countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova).
His single, “Baby Mama,” landed him in the Top 20 of worldwide Shazam charts. In 2020, Apple Music exclusively released the short film, Behind Scriptonite’s ‘2004’. Along with a “36 Jam” live concert of all Musica36 artists.
This year saw the release of Scriptonite’s album, “Svistki Y Bumazhki,” as well as a COVID-postponed show in Moscow, both released exclusively on Apple Music. Also, Scriptonite has graced the covers of Apple Music’s Kirillitsa, Russian Hits, and New Music Daily playlists. Plus, he is currently working on his first English-language record. The project is in collaboration with Gee Baller, a young Nigerian rising star signed to Musica36.
About the Apple Music® Awards
Apple designed a series of physical awards that represent the extraordinary craftsmanship integral to creating music. Each award features Apple’s custom silicon wafer – suspended between a polished sheet of glass and a machined and anodized aluminum body. The result of this multi-month process is stunning and distinctive. In a symbolic gesture, the same chips that power the devices that put the world’s music at listeners’ fingertips sit at the very heart of the Apple Music Awards.
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