Here Are 17 New Country Artists to Watch in 2021
Here is some incredible new talent to keep your eyes on!
2020 was certainly a crazy year for veteran and new artists alike. With no ability to tour, recording artists had to come up with new and unique ways to get their music out to fans. Though we were confined to our homes, creativity was at an all time high as several of these artists are now poised to have a breakout year in 2021.
Here are 17 rising country artists to watch in 2021 (in alphabetical order).
After her father passed away when she was 12 years old, music became a safe space for Ashlie Amber, one she’s turned into a blossoming career. As a burgeoning country star backed by glossy pop-country production and dreamy vocals, Amber sings of all kinds of love, ranging from the young and heart-fluttering to finding “Revenge” in being happy again, all while harboring the gift of presenting heartache in her own gentle way. 2020 saw the release of the Colorado native’s debut single “Almost Love,” building on that momentum with “My Revenge” and current single “Fight With You,” setting the stage for an even brighter 2021. - Cillea Houghton
Imagine an apartment house where Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers all live under the same roof, and you’ll understand what Bexar sounds like. Fronted and founded by Chris Ryan and Logan Turner, the band’s name is pronounced “Bear” and it’s named after the Texas county where Ryan grew up, but this is an only-in-Nashville kind of partnership. They met after a random co-writing matchup and quickly discovered something greater than the sum of its parts, fusing Turner’s progressive-roots musicianship and Ryan’s charismatic storytelling. Check out the propulsive “Again” for a preview of their organic country pop. - Chris Parton
2020 was a blockbuster year for Priscilla Block, the breakout star whose Tik Tok stardom led her to a record deal with one of the most prestigious record labels in Music City. Block is like country music’s Meghan Trainor, sharing unflinching honesty with with such relatable lyrics as “I can’t be the only one who likes/Extra fries over exercise” on “Thick Thighs,” with a radio-friendly voice to match. But when “Just About Over You” shot to the top of the iTunes country chart based on the sheer number of social media fans who rallied behind her, it became clear that Block wasn’t just an overnight sensation pivoting the success into the next phase of her career, singing to UMG Nashville. Block’s undeniable voice, self-made status and loyal following prime her to be one of the most attention-worthy country acts in 2021. - CH
The Kentucky native and Sony Nashville/Villa 40 artist is country as it gets. At just 23, Tyler Booth’s artistry is rooted deep in traditional country. With a signature baritone comparable to the likes of Randy Travis, Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton and Josh Turner, Booth truly stands out in the crop of rising newcomers. His reverence for classic country and the authentic hillbilly lifestyle is evident in his catalog of songs. “87 Octane” is a foot-stomping anthem, “Long Comes a Girl” is a good old ode to romance, and a new holiday original, “Mary’s Arms,” highlights the singer’s gift of songwriting and Christian faith. In 2019, Booth also collaborated with Brooks & Dunn on a remake of “Lost and Found,” off the duo’s critically-acclaimed Reboot album. - Jeremy Chua
With the country genre expanding in almost every direction, Shy Carter knows where he’s headed — straight “up.” Already a hit songwriter in pop and hip hop (Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Nelly), his country philosophy is all about feel-good positivity, and he’s used it to help create standouts for Kane Brown (“Worldwide Beautiful”) and Keith Urban (“When God Whispered Your Name”), among others. Now it’s his turn at the mic. Check out “Good Love” and “All Night” for some of the best mood-boosting vocals in the game, and a transcendent sound best described as modern country soul. - CP
With influences ranging from Eminem to Florida Georgia Line, you can bet that Curt Chambers’ sound can’t be confined to a genre box. While the Grammy nominated artist has co-written tracks for a range of artists including Eminem, Lenny Kravitz and Jamie Foxx, it’s his guitar skills that make him especially noteworthy which establish a comforting and familiar feeling to his wide-ranging songs. With a smooth voice and feel-good vibe that often runs through his songs, the catchy “Good Thing” proves that Chamber is just that on the modern country landscape, while the sobering “Different Views” proves the power he holds in sharing the truth of the world we live in. Watch for Chambers’ star to continue rising in 2021. - CH
Everette is named after a character in the classic movie, O’ Brother Where Art Thou? But the duo of Brent Rupard and Anthony Olympia very much unique to themselves. With red hot dueling guitars and a “hanging-with-the-boys” vibe, their country rock is filled with clever lyrics, descriptive stories and a sense of humor that missing in most of today’s super-serious scene. The first half of their debut album, Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot, established their nothing-fancy territory, filled with tunes that will leave listeners rolling on the floor, dancing and feeling grateful for life’s big little blessings. - CP
Like Block, Andrew Jannakos has experienced firsthand the power of social media in catapulting one’s career. After charming audiences with his rendition of Luke Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy” when auditioning for season 16 of The Voice, Jannakos maneuvered that success over to TikTok, where a video of him singing his debut single “Gone Too Soon” has been viewed more than 10 million times. Equipped with a voice like Sam Hunt’s that tailor made for country radio and production to match, his slick style got the attention of Sony Music Nashville where he’s signed a record deal, poised to become one of 2021’s breakout stars. - CH
Formed in Pittsburgh and still steeped in Steel Town grit, Lakeview is the emerging duo of Jesse Denaro and Luke Healy – and they’ve quickly carved out a niche in Music City. With Denaro on vocals and Healy on guitars and harmony, they work with a sleek Nashville-rock sound, expertly crafted country hooks and a splash of pop-punk attitude, fusing each song with a distinctive Rust Belt edge. Five 2020 tracks show both workingman toughness and tender hearts, as the brothers in arms tap flat-broke fun with “Poor Me,” claim their territory with “In Case You Forgot (My Hometown)” and more. - CP
When Kameron Marlowe turned his heartbreak into song, the country music world listened. While fans were initially introduced to Marlowe as a contestant on season 15 of The Voice, his debut single “Giving You Up” — inspired by the real-life heartbreak he experienced when his ex dumped him days before he was planning to propose — is what captured their attention. His growing catalogue proves he can cater to all audiences, whether solidifying a spot as a modern country star with “Giving You Up” to calling back to a classic era of country music, layered with his gritty voice like on “Leavin’ to Me.” Watch for this sharp songwriter and vocalist to continue cultivating his talent in the new year. - CH
Kären McCormick doesn’t have your typical country music backstory, which is part of what makes her so unique. Born in Congo and raised in Washington state, McCormick is leaving her mark on country music with a warm, inviting voice married with the kind of tender-hearted lyrics that made Taylor Swift a superstar. McCormick’s talent has already won over her peers, opening a pair of shows on Kelsea Ballerini’s Unapologetically Tour in 2018, followed by an opening slot on Walker Hayes’ 2019 tour. Her 2020 debut EP Retro showcases her gorgeous vocals and sunny melodies that whisk the listener off to a whimsical place, making one feel young-at-heart. With a follow-up release expected to land in early 2021, McCormick is clearly just getting started on her bright future in the genre. - CH
As the son of John Michael Montgomery and nephew to Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery, this young artist is bound to score attention just because of his country-star bloodline. But like his famous family, Walker Montgomery is worthy of his own consideration. With a dynamic vocal that features just the right amount of Kentucky rumble, his sound strikes a balance between the ‘90s and today. “Like My Daddy Done It,” “Saving for a Rainy Night” and “Bad Day to Be a Beer” have already been released, and with hit maker Dallas Davidson as his mentor, the sky could be the limit. - CP
There’s a charming air that surrounds Kylie Morgan, something that the country music industry picked up on years ago. Morgan exudes a demure, yet confident stage presence in her videos that she supports with a distinct voice, whether as a self-professed “Boys Girl,” a heartbreaker in “Break Things” or self-aware hypocrite on “Cuss a Little.” The Oklahoma native has long received support from the CMA from being named a “Who New to Watch” at the mere age of 12 to being inaugurated into the 2020 CMA KixStart program, and a pair of Nashville’s best songwriters also recognize Morgan’s gifts, as she’s earned a publishing deal under Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne’s SMACKSongs. With her debut album on the horizon, expect Morgan to make a sound impression in the new year. - CH
There’s always been a certain aura to the idea of the American West, and Ian Munsick seems to embody that mystic charm. A Wyoming-born true son of the Rockies, he stands out in both style and substance, with a playful dress code and an anything-goes sense of melody – but Munsick is no novelty act. He’s tamed a soaring falsetto to fly higher than the mountains, and matches pop power to anthemic tracks rooted in the rugged landscape of his home. Check out “Long Haul” and “Mountain Time” to hear how he’s repping a rich culture and region that is usually overlooked. - CP
You may be familiar with Restless Road from their early beginnings on The X Factor in 2013. The group won over fans with seamless harmonies after being combined together by the show’s judges. After the show, the trio went through a member change and brief hiatus, before deciding to give their musical dreams another go. Zach Beeken, Colton Pack and Garrett Nichols were taken under the wing of superstar Kane Brown (whom they met during The X Factor) and with his help, they released a self-titled EP, featuring the songs “Take Me Home” and “One Step Ahead,” in 2020. The buzz and fan excitement from the EP has the trio fired up for a big year in 2021! - Lauren Laffer
As a Black woman trying to break through in mainstream country, Brittney Spencer has had her work cut out for her – but her talent is thankfully too obvious to ignore. She was recently called out as an inspiration by Maren Morris at the 2020 CMA Awards, and before that scored impressed shout-outs from Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby and others. With a breathy vocal presence and lyrics that demand repeated listening, she’s definitely got some sharp tools to work with. Spencer taps into sassy fun on “Damn Right, You’re Wrong,” and plays the bad guy in the brilliant, soul-searching “Sorrys Don’t Work No More.” - CP
Tiera is one of country music’s most promising emerging stars for more reasons than one. Press play on any one of Tiera’s songs and you’ll instantly be met with a sweet, yet enduring voice that has a way of pulling the listener in to what she has to say. The Birmingham native demonstrates this on the romantic ode to her now-fiancé Kamren Kennedy, “Found it in You,” while her bubbly new single “Shut it Down” delivers all the feel-good vibes. These are just two examples of why Tiera became the flagship songwriter on Songs & Daughters’ newly launched publishing division in 2020. With an EP in the works, it’s safe to say that Tiera has an illustrious future in store. - CH