As 2022 comes to a close, it is time to jump ahead to artists we think are going to make big moves in 2023. A large part of what we focus on at UPstar. Music is artist development and growth for artists over the course of a few years. This is one thing I believe makes UPstar. Music's "Artists to Watch" unique and special. Of the 25 artists featured, each is at different stages of their career; some are cashing in on record deals and will be breakout stars in 2023. Others have released their first songs in 2022, have great potential to make a name for themselves this coming year and will reach great heights in the near future. All of these individuals are at different stages in their career but there is one thing they all have in common - these are stars in the making, who have undeniable talent and at some point will be at the top of Country Music. There are common themes in this article and characteristics the artists share. They include the ability to be authentic with their music, pave their own path to success by finding their own sound and the ability to write genuine, outside the box songs which separate them from the rest of the genre. Give it a few years... these are the stars of tomorrow. From the heart of Nashville, to the Red Dirt scene we got a wide variety of artists for you.
Nobody in Country Music has been on more of a roll than Megan Moroney. A few short years ago she was a student at UGA, and now she is becoming one of the hottest artists in the game. Moroney went viral with her single"Hair Salon" which showcased her as an outside-the-box, witty songwriter as well as her unique way of telling a story. Megan Moroney is the perfect combination of Miranda Lambert's edgy attitude, with her majestic rasp and Carrie Underwood's powerful vocals and swag. "Hair Salon" put Megan Moroney on the map in a big way, but her song "Tennessee Orange" won over the hearts of Country Music fans. It is one of the best songs of the year and is playing on radio stations across the country. "Tennessee Orange" has been streamed over 31 million times on Spotify alone. Moroney sprung into the Billboard Hot 100, which made her the first independent female to appear on this chart. Her highly anticipated debut album is due spring of 2023. In her young career, Megan has already toured with Jamey Johnson and Blackberry Smoke, Larry Fleet, Chase Matthew and Warren Zeiders. She has gained valuable experience on the road. In 2023, Megan will be going out on her debut headlining tour, "Pistol Made of Roses”. Megan is signed to Sony Music Nashville/ Columbia Records, ETA and Punch Bowl Entertainment. In less than 5 years Moroney could be the go-to female artist in the genre. She has one of the highest ceilings of any of this year's "Artists to Watch" class.
I have been a big fan of Callie Prince since her first release "Right Back Home" back in May of 2020. Though Callie may not be on your radar yet, she definitely should be. She is as talented as any rising artist in Nashville and has all the tools to become a star in Music City. Callie has one of the most mesmerizing voices in the genre and does an incredible job of making listeners drop everything to listen to every word and every line in her authentic songs. Not only does Prince have an elite voice, but she adds to her skill set with precise and relatable songwriting. Over the last few years, Callie has discovered her talent for songwriting, fine-tuned her craft and shown she can hang with the best young songwriters in Nashville. With her songs "Broke-In Heart", "On A Beach" and others, Prince is able to immerse you in each verse and give you a full listening experience; not just gimmicky beats to pull you in. This young star reminds you what Country Music is all about: majestic vocals, colorful songwriting and songs with substance that showcase authenticity. As Callie may not have all the buzz yet, she is definitely worthy of it. She will, for sure, be getting the hype in the next few years.
I first discovered Gray Robinson when I heard her single "Happy" that was released in 2021. Gray moved to Nashville in 2017 to pursue her career as a songwriter and earn her degree in Songwriting and Music Business from Belmont University. In 2020, Gray began posting original songs on Tik Tok and instantly gained traction. Robinson also gained the attention of iHeart radio host Bobby Bones and appeared on his morning show. Following her appearance, Gray was added to the "Women of iHeart Radio" playlist. In 2022, Gray is picking up steam as she has released 5 new songs and is showcasing her one-of-a-kind Pop Country vocals and her witty and unique songwriting. Robinson infuses the influences of Dan + Shay, Maroon 5 and Lady A into her own music. Gray intertwines her original sound which sets her apart from many up and comers from this town. She has laid the foundation for a very successful career in Music City. I am excited to see what she does next. Gray Robinson has a publishing deal with 50 Egg Music.
Jordan Rowe easily could have been an UPstar. Music Artist to Watch in either '21 or '22, but in my gut I just knew that 2023 would be a breakout for Jordan. As mainstream Country Music moves back toward the traditional sound, this is Jordan's sweet spot. Magnificent storytelling, twangy original vocals and an authentic sound is helping him pave his own path in the genre. Rowe draws on his personal experiences and country roots to bring listeners real life experiences which are relatable and bring fans back for more. Jordan Rowe is versatile as he can bring you a real heartfelt song like "Mama Ain't Jesus", a song about good ole country folk in "Bad Case of the Good Ole Boy" or one of the catchiest tunes I've heard in a while "5:00 in the Country". Jordan's entire discography from top to bottom is the highest quality of Country Music. There are no gimmicks or songs made for Tik Tok, just real Country Music with real instruments that make listeners feel something. Jordan Rowe has been one of the top rising artists the last few years, but I firmly believe 2023 could be a breakout year for the Georgia native.
My man is coming out swinging. Austin Snell has been on some fans' radar, but for the majority, he is a brand new face to Country Music. People are beginning to see his ceiling after his debut single "Excuse the Mess" racked up over 5 million on Spotify in just a few months. The Georgia native is a rising star in Country Music. Snell is bringing Rock influences to his songs which are giving listeners a fresh new feel. Austin Snell has been in Nashville less than a year and has already struck a much deserved deal with River House Artists. From posting songs on Tik Tok to taking on a career as an artist, he has laid the foundation for a successful career. With his natural songwriting ability, electric voice and the "IT” factor, Austin shows no signs of being a fluke, rather a talent that is going to be representing Music City and Country Music for a long while. Snell followed his massive hit "Excuse the Mess" with another smash "Wasting All These Tears" in November. Though two songs is a small sample size, Snell has released two songs that show his high level of consistency. If he continues to release hits that resonate with fans, his rise to the top will come quickly. Hungry and humble in Music City go a long way. These two characteristics are keys to finding success in Nashville. As Austin Snell may be a new name too many and is the new kid on the block in Nashville, he has potential to really make moves and become a star who comes through your hometown sooner than later.
Two words you can use to define Kasey Tyndall and her music? BAD. ASS. Kasey has quickly become one of my favorite artists in Country Music. Her raw and relatable songwriting takes on real life experiences that many face on the daily. It could be about the experience of growing up with divorced parents in "Middle Man" or growing up and figuring out life while everyone around you is successful and getting married and having kids in "Babies". There are two things in the coming years I believe are true... that mainstream Country Music is going to shift from a heavy Pop influence to a heavy Rock and Traditional influence, and that women will continue taking over the genre and making a big impact. Kasey fits into both these areas very well. Kasey Tyndall belongs in the conversation of rising female artists like Lainey Wilson, Ashland Craft and Hailey Whitters. Along with those ladies who are about to take over the genre, Kasey demonstrates a gritty, fierce attitude mixed with her ear catching vocals. In addition, Tyndall pulls from Traditional and Rock influences which fans are absolutely loving right now. Within the next few years, Kasey Tyndall has the opportunity to be a big time star in Country Music. Kasey has been on the road and played shows with Bailey Zimmerman, Drake White, Jamey Johnson and many other touring acts. Come back in a few years and I'm going to hit ya with an "I told you so...". Kasey is a superstar; it's just a matter of time before everyone else catches on
Graycie York has taken the Texas Country scene by storm and is becoming one of the top rising female artists in the genre. The Texas native has a voice that commands attention from listeners and is bringing a fresh, authentic sound to Country Music. Graycie released her EP "Sad Bird" in March of 2022. It showcases her free flowing sound that gives the listener an experience they will never forget. Lyrically, York puts her own spin on things which provide songs with substance and meaning that has fans coming back for more. Graycie York is definitely a diamond in the rough and may be the most underrated artist on this year's UPstar. Music's "Artists to Watch". She continues to gain traction and will be a force for years to come. York's songs show so much talent and they have top tier quality across the board.
At the beginning of 2022, many fans were getting familiar with the name Bailey Zimmerman. At the end of this year, Bailey is the hottest rising artist in Country Music. Bailey took a crack at pursuing a music career and posting videos on Tik Tok. Very quickly music fans took notice and saw a star in the making. That's exactly what he has become. After releasing "Fall in Love" in February, the song struck a chord with country listeners and went viral. It has racked up over 89 million streams on Spotify alone, was the #1 song at Country radio in the beginning of December and had the fastest climb to #1 since 2015. After gaining significant traction with "Fall in Love", Bailey followed with "Rock and a Hard Place", another heavy hitter that took Music City by storm. Bailey Zimmerman is bringing a fresh, energetic vibe to Country Music. He is intertwining head banging rock with traditional Country Music storytelling. Zimmerman has a gritty raspy voice that grabs your attention and the passion he puts into each song is second to none. Bailey's biggest strength thus far is his consistency in his releases. Each song is catchy and the substance keeps fans coming back for more; it's raw, real and authentic. Bailey Zimmerman is making the most of his rising success as he will be joining Morgan Wallen's "One Night At A Time" Tour which is also featuring HARDY, Parker McCollum and Ernest. Zimmerman has the potential to reach the heights of Morgan Wallen in the next few years and become one of the biggest names in the genre. This young man may be the new kid on the block, but is already breaking records left and right. An exciting career is in the works for Bailey Zimmerman.