In Vol. II of "UPstar. Music's 21 Artists to Watch in 2021" we dive into more of the most on the rise, talented singer-songwriters in Country Music who are set to have a ground breaking year. From artists already making waves to diamonds in the rough, their bright future is just getting set in motion. Discover the future of Country Music.
One of the front runners for our "Artists to Watch" campaign, Ashland Craft is on a mission to take over Country Music, one brilliant song at a time. Ashland first won her way into the hearts of America with her time on "The Voice'' season 10. There she showcased both her electric personality and sound with covers of "Chicken Fried" and "Delta Dawn". Craft was also featured on HARDY’s debut album “A Rock”, getting her even more well deserved exposure. From releasing her first songs in 2018, Ashland has gained steady momentum in Country Music. All eyes were on Craft as she signed the full package with Big Loud Records, 50 Egg Music (Publishing) and Make Wake Artists (Management) in April this year. With a top notch ability and vision for songwriting, this Country queen is "crafting" her way through each verse to catapult her way to not only one of the top female artists in the genre, but into the cream of the crop of the entire genre past and present. Ashland has gone from being on track to becoming a hairdresser to now being in the same breath with some of the biggest names in Music City. The South Carolina native is turning dreams into reality, and her young career is just getting started.
If y'all have not heard of Chris Colston by now, you have got to be living under a rock. While incorporating some influences like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard into his music, Chris is creating his own identity and a sound that will have everyone wanting to wear out their car speakers.This East Texas native already got the Texas/ Dirt Road Country scene hooked when he released his debut EP "Gone" in 2018. Colston is now getting discovered by Music City as Chris has a sound meant for Country Music. You can feel the passion for what he creates and the blood, sweat and tears he pours into each line and verse. In June, Chris Colston released his self-titled album that sent a jolt through my veins, from the sincere songwriting to one of the best voices I've heard in the last 5 years. This Texan knows how to get the party started with songs like "Five Beers''. He also shows versatility with more serious songs like "First Tattoo" and "I Hope It Hurts". Cody Johnson, Parker McCollum, Muscadine Bloodline are just a few names that have major fanbases in both the Texas and Nashville scene. Chris Colston is called up next. Big future ahead for this rising star.
When you hear Johno Clayton for the first time you just know he was meant for Country Music. Promoting independent artists and songwriters, I am constantly hearing new music. And let me tell you, Country Music is filled with a list of endless talent that always has me in awe. Johno Clayton is at the top of the list. The Tennessean released his debut single "Takes A Lot of Love" in August and he is just getting started. Though it isn't officially released yet, what the hell - why not share some good news, "Takes A Lot of Love" comes in at #7 on "UPstar. Music's Top Songs of 2020", filled with the years’ best from your favorite headliners and independent artists. Yes, this song is that good. Johno has a gift and I can't wait for the world to get a taste of his incredible, authentic songwriting. As this young man is just getting his career started, I am going to put my psychic hat on and say that he will have a quick rise to stardom, similar to Luke Combs, Riley Green and Morgan Wallen. Look out for Johno Clayton's next few releases in the coming year, as he will be making major leaps in Country Music.
From the first moment I heard a lyric come from Krystalanne's mouth, I knew she was built for the big stages and bright lights. Every time she posts an original song or cover, I am left speechless. It is a jaw dropping experience you need to experience for yourself. Krystalanne had a quiet 2020 as she only released one single which was her debut jam "Let You Go" which has hit over 15,000 streams on Spotify. That being said, she is going to blow up even more this coming year. Of all the amazing talents on this list, you have names like Kameron Marlowe, Ashland Craft and Jaden Hamilton who have already found early success and scored Record and/ or Publishing deals. Krystalanne is a major diamond in the rough and when she gains some traction her voice will spread like wildfire. She has range and the ability to turn her lyrics into a movie you feel is playing out right in front of you. That is really special. As I have already told her, if Krystalanne ain't a household name that is playing big shows and festivals and on the verge of a record deal by the time I move to Nashville in 2 years, I am either shutting down UPstar. Music or starting my own label. That's how much confidence I have in this electric, young talent.
Tyler Chambers is one of the brightest and most exciting singer-songwriters in Nashville who is on the verge of major success. If you are listening to the rising talent across Nashville you've probably heard a song Tyler had a hand in creating. Tyler has already shown success with the pen, as he is already pushing 20 cuts as a songwriter. He is also putting out his own music which displays his rare songwriting ability along with his “good ol boy” mentality and vocals that have the perfect twang we all want on the radio. On June 19th Chambers released his single "Work Hard Pray Harder". It was what everyone needed during a shitty 2020. This was the year filled with parodies and deep, meaningful songs about appreciating life and those around us. But this song was so wholesome and spoke to all those blue collar workaholics, as well as those who just needed a pick me up. Since hearing Tyler's single "In a Perfect World" I knew he was setting himself up for a successful career in Music City. More and more people are coming around to admiring this future superstar. Not only is Tyler Chambers putting out heater after heater and writing songs built for the top of the charts, he's also writing and creating with some of the best minds in the genre such as Jonathan Singleton, Lainey Wilson, Adam Sanders and Jordan Rager. I’ve got a good feeling the world is going to find out about Tyler Chambers in 2021.
C'mon! Is Madison Rodges going to make it in Country Music? That's a dumb question... she isn't just going to make it, she's about to be a damn superstar! This Texan brings the fire in the early stages of her career, an” up and comer” who isn't getting half the attention she deserves. With three songs to her name, Madison is settling into the genre, but went to another level with her latest single "Don't Waste My Time", released in August. This jam and a half has already surpassed 280,000 streams on Spotify. When I heard the song for the first time I just about fell out of my seat, because no one on Earth is supposed to have a voice this pure and heart warming. With influences like Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline and Kacey Musgraves, Madison not only has great taste but could one day share the same light as these female legends. So excited to see Madison Rodges headlining top venues around the country. Give it a few years... it's gonna happen sooner or later.
I don't think there is anyone I'm more excited to see tear up Country Music then this kid right here. (I say that as if we aren't the same age). Hunter Chastain has the raw talent of Luke Combs combined with the sound and feel of Riley Green. This Georgia boy has a solid fan base at home and is starting to spread like wildfire around the southeast and Country Music. With only 3 songs out, I also put Hunter Chastain into the "diamond in the rough" category. He is starting to have a loyal following, but nowhere close to where it should be. Hunter’s three singles "Blame My Last Name", "Whiskey Dial" and his newest jam "Another Buzz" all have the same things in common: honest songwriting that flows beautifully in a song, ridiculous raw talent and a man behind the songs that sings the hell out of them and has a true passion for Country Music. Right now it's playing those local hometown shows, playing for a little bit of cash and some beers... Tomorrow it's playing shows and festivals with some of the biggest names in Country Music. Just wait on it.