2020 was certainly a challenging year for everyone, especially touring musicians as they weren’t able to tour but instead find new, unique ways to have their music heard. TikTok, livestreams, holiday music and original music releases is what filled most artists scheduled during their time confined in their homes, forcing them to get as creative as possible to offer unique experiences to showcase their music but there are quite a few artists who didn’t allow the novel pandemic to stop them and those artists are now poised for a star-studded year in 2021.
*The below 21 Artists To Watch In 2021 list is in no particular order.*
Kentucky native Sean Stemaly exploded into the spotlight with his single “Come Back To Bed” in Spring 2020 and his latest single “As Far As I Know” is so good that it will be stuck in your head for days.
The Big Loud Records signee blends modern country with traditional while adding his own signature flair bringing to life a new refreshing R&B country/soul sound that is solely his own. 2021 is a year that Stemaly will truly shine as an artist to watch as he is expected to release his debut effort.
Kameron Marlowe was first discovered by the producers of The Voice during Season 15, and although he didn’t win the popular singing competition show, he really launched into the spotlight after the show when he released his debut single “Giving You Up.” The song quickly amassed millions of streams, which ultimately earned him his first management deal with AMG and songwriting deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
The North Carolina native later signed with Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville in Summer of 2020 and released his debut Self-Titled EP in the fall. The EP includes the fan-favorite tracks “Sober As A Drunk,” “Burn ‘Em All,” “Leavin’ To Me” and of course his debut single “Giving You Up.” Marlowe’s gritty vocals blend perfectly with his rock-infused, classic country sound, and is proving to be a stand out star in country and it seems 2021 is destined to really kick his career into high gear.
Following an impressive amount of success with her infectious empowerment song “Thick Thighs,” Priscilla Block exploded onto the charts with her viral hit “Just About Over You,” which amassed over a million streams in just a day and reached No. 1 on the all-genre iTunes chart upon release. The single, her relatable lyrics and her knack for songwriting allowed her to earn her first-ever major record deal with Universal Music Group Nashville. Block’s radio-friendly, relatable songs and self-made success is destined to make her one of country music’s most sought after artists this coming year.
Block is poised to have an even bigger 2021 with her rapidly growing fan base and the release of her upcoming new song “I Bet You Wanna Know” on January 6.
With their distinctive sound, catchy lyrics and irresistible instrumentals, the duo comprised of Austin Gee and Brooks Hoffman are guaranteed to have a massive year in 2021. The rising pop country duo continue to maintain a fresh new sound with each and every release, keeping their country roots intact while blending in some infectious pop elements that just leave you craving more, further cementing themselves as the next superstar country duo.
Over the course of 2020, the duo released five arena-ready tracks including “Somebody’s Gonna,” “Get Gone,” “Forget Those Heels,” “Four Good Years” and their latest being a duet entitled “You Still Keep Me Up” with emerging country singer Morgan Johnston. Gee and Hoffman are preparing for their biggest year yet in 2021 as they are currently in the studio producing five new tracks to release throughout 2021.
Rising star Carolyn Miller released her single “Ain’t About That” in early June 2020, the song quickly became a fan-favorite and her most streamed song on Spotify, amassing over 138k streams. Miller later released her single “All In” which earned her recognition from Radio Disney Country as “Song Of The Week” and even earned her some radio play on her local station, NY’s Country 94.7 (WNSH) as well as allowed her to be added to some notable Spotify playlists. Driven by passion, Miller didn’t let the 2020 pandemic slow her down, not only did she release two original songs but she even got to release a cover of a classic Christmas track, “Mary, Did You Know?.” The music video for the track earned her a spot on several high profile media outlets including CMT.
The New York native had quite the year in 2020, from hosting and performing on our virtual festival’s to securing her first airplay on the radio in her hometown with her new singles and singing the National Anthem at the New York Mets game. Miller gave us just a glimpse of what’s to come for her in 2021 and she has plans to go “All In” with new music that is destined to have her climbing the charts in no time.
Restless Road is the country trio made up of Zach Beeken, Garret Nichols and Colton Pack, who were first founded on Season 3 of The X Factor in 2013, where they met country superstar Kane Brown, who was also auditioning for the popular competition show. Then in 2020, they reconnected with their famous friend Brown, who took them in and signed them to his new record label. They released their debut single under the label soon after which was a duet called “Take Me Home” that features Brown, which then led to them joining him on his massive Worldwide Beautiful tour. The trio released their debut self-titled EP in late February of this year and quickly grew a fan base that adore their stunning harmonies and impressive songwriting.
In October, Restless Road signed a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV and revealed during CMT’s Off The Road With Restless Road, that they are working with Dan Huff on their forthcoming debut album, which is expected to arrive in 2021. Beeken, Nichols and Pack are “One Step Ahead” with their creative viral videos on TikTok which is allowing their growth to continue to expand rapidly while they prepare for a huge year in 2021.
Braden first introduced himself this summer with his Warner Music Nashville debut of “Brother” which is an ode to his firefighter brethren’s and introduced his lyrical voice with his songwriting debut of “Love Is A Dead End Road.” He later went on to release another single entitled “Pretty Paper” in late November, leaving fans craving the release of his full length album, which is expected in 2021.
It’s no “Secret” that his songwriting expertise is prevalent as his latest single is penned solely by him. The song will appear on his full length effort according to his website, Tylerbraden.com. Keep an eye on Braden as he continues to cement himself as one of country music’s next superstar’s.
Allie Colleen scored her first country hit with her soaring single “Ain’t the Only Hell (My Momma Raised)” this year and there is no sign of slowing down for Colleen as she continues to hone her craft while expanding her already massive audience of “cool kids.” Her COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this year didn’t stop her from creating and releasing new music as she released her double sided original concept project that included her singles “Best Friend” and “Road You Take” following her battle with the illness.
The singer is no stranger to the music industry and her knack for songwriting and passion for singing runs within her veins and with her strong, unique vocals, she is destined to earn a spot at the tops of the charts in 2021.
Batesville, Mississippi native Jameson Rodgers really set the bar high after scoring his first No. 1 with “Some Girls” and then releasing a duet with country superstar Luke Combs entitled “Cold Beer Calling My Name” in 2020.
The “Some Girls” singer proves his knack for songwriting from not only his own songs but also co-penning songs for artists such as Chris Lane, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and more recently writing the title track to Luke Bryan’s No. 1 album, Born Here, Live Here, Die Here. Rodgers is poised for his biggest year yet in 2021 as his single “Cold Beer Calling My Name” continues to climb the charts.
Already a hit songwriter in the pop genre (Charlie Puth, Rob Thomas, Meghan Trainor), Shy Carter broke into the country songwriting community with superstar’s Kane Brown and Keith Urban in 2020. Two artists that allowed him score two hit country songs this year, including Brown’s timely “Worldwide Beautiful” and Urban’s “When God Whispered Your Name.”
With the ability to write hit songs, Carter gave it a shot at releasing some of his own music in 2020 with the release of “All Night” and “Good Love,” two songs that perfectly blend R&B, pop and country into his own signature sound. With several hits songs under his belt as a songwriter and two originals and a Christmas cover released in 2020, he is set to head straight to the top in 2021.
After seeing the massive crowds and a buzz surrounding Tyler Booth on Brantley Gilbert’s 2019 ‘Kick It In The Ship’ cruise and hearing his feature on Brooks & Dunn’s Reboot album, we knew to keep on top of Booth’s rapid rise to stardom and 2020 showed no slowing down for the Kentucky native.
Booth released four tracks in 2020 including “Half A Mind To Go Crazy,” “In God And Trucks We Trust,” a faith-filled holiday original “Mary’s Arms” and his latest boot-stomping anthem, “87 Octane.” With his truly one-of-a-kind baritone vocals, his songwriting expertise and his major label signing (Sony Nashville/Villa 40), 2021 promises new heights of success for traditional country rooted singer.
Following the viral success of his raunchy single “Dicked Down In Dallas (a.k.a. D.D.I.D.)” that trended on TikTok for weeks, Lewis is destined to become country’s next superstar. “D.D.I.D.” is a song that put Lewis on the maps as it quickly amassed millions of streams worldwide upon it’s release. And with over 9.5 million streams in just a few weeks, it allowed him to quickly release the music video for the aforementioned track that went on to gained a ton views and very fast. The video has now been viewed over 1.5 million times upon publishing this article, just days after the release of the video.
Now, Lewis’ single “Whole Lotta Nothing,” a song that he released earlier in 2020, is gaining significant traction to start the new year with a bang.
“Break Things” is the single by Kylie Morgan that exploded her into the country music spotlight with over 11.4 million streams on Spotify, it’s clear that the song quickly became a fan-favorite track from the singer. Her latest single “Cuss A Little” featuring Walker Hayes is super relatable, like most of the her lyrics are which is why so many fans gravitate towards her anthemic sound.
The SMACKSongs songwriter earned her publishing deal after being recognized for her ability to write hit songs by some of Nashville’s best including Shane McAnally and Josh Osbourne, who own the publishing company.
Morgan’s fierce, infectious sound is destined to have her breaking more then just things in 2021, but maybe some records with her debut effort that is expected to come in 2021.
Travis Denning had a great year to say the least and to say that he set for an even more impressive year in 2021 is almost unbelievable as this year he earned his first No. 1 with his rockin’ hit single “After A Few” from his debut EP, Beer’s Better Cold. With his impressive guitar riffs and unique vocals, Denning sets himself apart from the rest and it truly shines within his music.
The chart-topping singer was set to open for Sam Hunt on his Southside Tour throughout 2020 but those plans came to a halt when the novel pandemic took over the world, but that didn’t stop Denning from connecting with his fans with a livestream concert celebrating the release of his debut EP to sharing photos from quarantine with his longtime girlfriend Madison or photos of his hunting/fishing trips with his friends. He also shared a work tape of an unreleased new song entitled “Dirt Road Down,” and from the sound of that track, Denning is poised to have some irresistible new tunes in 2021.
Country duo Walker County, made up of two sisters Ivy Dene and Sophie Dawn Walker, are digging up gold with their latest single “Shovel” and it’s without a doubt that they will continue sparkle throughout 2021 with their flawless harmonies and catchy lyrics. Recently, the duo even got recognized by superstar Kelly Clarkson for their infectious sound and their “beautiful voices.”
Parker McCollum earned his first-ever No. 1 single in 2020 with his breakthrough debut single “Pretty Heart,” the track that charted on Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before it even impacted Country radio. The Texas native’s debut EP, Hollywood Gold, was named the highest-selling debut EP of 2020 and it comes at no surprise as he wrote five of the six songs on the EP, the other being co-written by country superstar Chris Stapleton.
2021 will certainly create a country superstar out of the fast rising artist.
Average Joe’s Sam Grow released his five-song EP, Me & Mine, produced by Colt Ford and Noah Gordon in late October. Grow wrote four out of the five tracks on the EP. The title track of the EP follows Grow’s fan-favorite hit “Song About You,” which has amassed over 20 million streams across all streaming platforms.
Grow’s music is unique to himself and has quickly resonated with fans across the globe, proving he is one of the next big things in Country music.
Ashland Craft made her first stint into the spotlight during her 2017 trek on The Voice, before allowing her gritty vocals to shine with her debut single “Trainwreck” upon being signed by Big Loud Records. Her latest release “Two Wildflowers And A Box Of Wine” showcases her rock/country sound while also portraying a story of love without being too sappy, which was her main goal when writing the song.
Craft also made an appearance on HARDY’s album, A Rock, on their duet of “So Close” and she is getting so close to becoming a superstar of her own with her truly one-of-a-kind vocals that fans adore. 2021 is going to be a momentous year for Craft.
Ryan Griffin is a Platinum-certified songwriter, who co-penned Kelsea Ballerini’s No. 1 hit “Dibs” in 2015 and since then he has created a path of his own in country music with his unique style of pop country. In 2020, the singer made his major label debut with his EP, Name On It, which feature the popular tracks “Going Going Gone,” “Right Here Right Now” and “One Prayer Left.”
2021 is set to be a big year for Griffin and he’s guaranteed to leave his Name On It.
Temecula Road is the up-and-coming trio comprised of Dawson Anderson, Emma Salute and Maddie Salute that recently signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville and Buena Vista Records. From their three-part harmonies to their signature mandolin, the group has created a sound that is unique to them and has quickly become a sought after group, following some viral TikTok videos.
Laine Hardy certainly put his “Tiny Town” on the maps in 2020 with the release of several singles that are an ode to his hometown of Livingston, LA including “Ground I Grew Up On,” “Other LA,” “Let There Be Country” and “Tiny Town.” Hardy made the most of his downtime during the pandemic from releasing original singles inspired by his hometown to releasing a cover of a holiday classic “Please Come Home For Christmas” and giving his fans a virtual live concert tour throughout the year.
The Louisiana native may have been the champion of Season 17 of American Idol in 2019 but we think he is going to be the champion of country music in 2021.