After a big year for discovering new music in 2020, we’re looking to 2021 to discover yet more incredible artists. Here, we break down the 20 country artists we’re excited to see explode in 2021 in alphabetical order.
Ashland Craft’s music delivers a straight up no bullshit approach to songwriting and country music. Having made her debut in the spotlight in 2017 on The Voice, she was signed to Big Loud Records (and is featured on label mate HARDY’s debut record). Her latest track ‘Two Wildflowers and a Box of Wine’ is the best exemplification of her rock/country sound and stunning, unique vocal.
For Fans of: Miranda Lambert
We dare you not to be moved by the majesty of Spencer’s voice that contains more emotion in one breath than most can put into an entire speech. Her voice and songwriting have an almost unearthly capacity to move, ignore her at your peril.
For Fans Of: Carly Pearce / Mickey Guyton
Chase Martin’s in good hands, now managed by Ash Bowers (Jimmie Allen, Matt Stell). Her explosive new single ‘Levi, Denim’ has earned her a name already – a sassy, empowering track that establishes her sound and brand from the off.
For Fans Of: Kelsea Ballerini
Church of Roswell
Candi Carpenter’s new band formed this year offers a folk-y, whimsical take on country music. The sound is as magical and alternative as the band’s branding (genius) and Church of Roswell are sure to be your next indie ‘I knew them before they were famous’ band.
For Fans Of: Jason Isbell
Emma & Jolie
Emma & Jolie exploded into the UK country consciousness with their debut single ‘I Don’t Need A Man’ and since then the duo have gone from strength to strength in their songwriting – just listen to their stunning sophomore single ‘Cry For You.’
For Fans Of: Maren Morris
Gabrielle Mooney – sister of Shay Mooney – offers a stunning rock-punk-edged twist on country music, complete with layers of traditional production. Above all, her vocal rises sublime and is deeply engaging.
For Fans Of: Shania Twain
Toward the tail end of 2020, Kearns released her EP ‘Finally’ that was rammed with heart-felt range. Her vocal is effortless and songwriting insightful, suffice to say we can’t wait to see what’s next for Kearns.
For Fans Of: Carrie Underwood / Lee Ann Womack
Although he has only released one track so far, it is clear that Sony artist Joey Hendricks is set for an immensely bright 2021 with his brand of indie-infused country music that seems to be right on trend for the current moment.
For Fans Of: Michael Ray / Josh Kerr
Shorr has already earned a huge amount of critical acclaim with her debut record Open Book, but now with the backing of a label, the sky seems to be the limit for Song Suffragette Kalie Shorr.
For Fans Of: Tenille Arts / Kassi Ashton
Since earning his name on The Voice, Marlowe was quickly snapped up by Sony, releasing his self-titled EP at the later end of this year that shows just how deep and broad his range is, with a sound that is universally appealing. Marlowe is one whose success will doubtless explode with the rebirth of live music.
For Fans Of: Ryan Hurd / Matt Stell
Kären McCormick has an unusual background for country music – born in Congo and raised in Washington state – and it is this kind of fresh take on the genre that is needed to give it life. McCormick’s vocal is warm and instantly likeable coupled with tender, thoughtful lyrics. In 2020, her debut EP showcased her stunning vocals in whimsical tracks that hit the right note for the year. A follow-up release is expected in 2021 and we’re counting the days.
For Fans Of: Kree Harrison / Madison Kozak
Whenever we hear a track from Morgan we instantly want more, this year has seen her release a handful of singles, each better than the last. Having been taken under the wing of Shane MacAnally at SMACK, her songwriting career is in good hands. Coupled with a stunning and unique vocal, her path to success seems clear.
For Fans Of: Tenille Townes
Lainey Wilson has been grafting for years and the work is all paying off throughout 2019-20 and so, 2021 seems to be the year her career explodes with the hopeful promise of an album. Lainey’s signature and thick Southern vocal alone makes her likeable, but couple that with empowering, witty and clever lyrics and rip-roaring production and something magic happens.
For Fans Of: Ashley McBryde
Since his time on Idol, Laine Hardy has earned a legion of fans to his cause and with a host more promised releases in his future, he is set to lead out in 2021.
For Fans Of: Scotty McCreery
Manny Blu’s sound has definitely changed in 2020, he has moved toward a more authentic sound that shines through. With the release of a new EP under his belt, all we have to do is wait for live music to return and Manny Blu to make his mark.
For Fans Of: Jason Aldean
Earning his first #1 with single ‘Pretty Heart,’ it is clear that McCollum has captured something pretty special already. With a 90s rock-esque vocal, coupled with humble and authentic country songwriting, McCollum is nothing if not likeable and it is perhaps this that has caused the spotlight to turn in his direction already.
For Fans Of: Dustin Lynch / Ryan Hurd
Having shot to fame on TikTok with her single ‘Thick Thighs,’ Block has pivoted to more heartfelt lyrics with every release she has put out. With her easy charisma and sunshine-y personality, 2021 may be her year.
For Fans Of: Rae Lynn
Restless Road have excelled in a challenging year – recently featured in Billboard, Music Row, Country Now and in CMT’s “Off The Road” digital docu-series with Kane Brown. Having released their debut EP earlier this year, the trio’s tight harmonies and modern sound combine to provide a much-needed fresh take on the country genre, whilst staying true to their roots.
For Fans Of: Kane Brown
Having already earned a legion of hits in pop and hip hop (Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Nelly), Carter brings positivity to the country genre – penning hits already for Brown and Urban. Now, taking his turn in the spotlight, Carter brings a joyous take on the genre with his modern country soul sound combined with hints of RnB.
For Fans Of: Kane Brown
Tiera is one of country’s most promising emerging talents – her songwriting range is enormous from odes to her fiancee to more upbeat new single ‘Shut It Down’ – Tiera really can do it all.
For Fans Of: Hailey Whitters / Mickey Guyton