As 2021 comes to a close, we jump ahead to artists we think are going to make big moves in 2022. A big part of what we focus on at UPstar. Music is artist development and the growth for artists over the course of a few years. That is one thing I think makes UPstar. Music's "Artists to Watch" both unique and special. Of the 26 artists featured, everyone is at different stages of their career; some are cashing in on record deals and will be breakout stars in 2022. Others have released their first songs in 2021 and have great potential to make a name for themselves this coming year and reach great heights in the near future. All of these individuals are at different stages in their career and there is one thing they all have in common - these are stars in the making who have undeniable talent and at some point all will be at the top of Country Music. Give it a few years... these are the stars of tomorrow.
If you were ever questioning what female acts would represent Country Music after Miranda, Carrie and Kelsea, Jenna Paulette is a name to become familiar with, as she is becoming a powerhouse in the industry. An impressive voice, a bad ass mentality and a country girl at heart, her songs have been turning heads in the last few years. Her momentum is only building. As many artists are leaning toward more Pop Country, Jenna is putting her boot down and is full throttle with her authentic traditional sound. I believe this will take her far in 2022 and beyond. Back in 2017 when UPstar. Music was sputtering to get started, Jenna Paulette was one of the artists on our radar. She was a star then and has gone up from there. Her hard work is paying off and I'm excited to see what is coming next for Jenna Paulette.
If you want to talk about an artist who shot out of a cannon, Triston Marez would be at the top of that list. Triston has been building an impressive resumé. Even before this past year, he had been making a name for himself in both the Nashville and Texas music scene - which is not easy to do. His Traditional Country sound and one of a kind voice is turning heads around the country, bringing that much loved sound back to a genre that has ventured into the Pop world. After releasing his self-titled debut album in April, the entire Country Music community has taken notice and it is the beginning of a long and successful career. Not only has Triston found his stride and settled into his style and sound, if he can continue to put out elite music consistently, the sky's the limit. A big asset to Marez's repertoire is his ability to come out with a fun, upbeat drinking song, though he can turn around, slow it down and give you an exceptional slow song. All signs point to a huge year in 2022 for Triston Marez.
Hunter Jordan is a name that will be around for a long time. With his unique raspy voice intertwined with witty, poetic songwriting, Hunter has the keys to the Ferrari and it's only a matter of time before the world of Country Music catches on. Another crucial tool Hunter has in his belt is an outstanding work ethic and business mentality. Hunter isn't here to just write a few songs and soak in the fame of being an artist. With every move he makes, Hunter has his career and future in mind. He's looking 10 steps ahead, whether it's finding and booking shows all across the country or pushing merchandise. Hunter may not be a guy who jumps to stardom in Country Music next year, but without a doubt, over the course of the next few years this man will scratch, claw and find himself in prime position to play a large role in the Country Music landscape. One thing that jumps out at me is Mr. Jordan's diversity. He knows his sound, but can push boundaries with different styles of writing, being able to put out deep sad songs like "Shoulda Coulda Woulda" featuring Carly Rogers, songs made for radio like "Throwin' Shade", and even pushing a Pop Country song "Perfect" with AC Isbell. If you like rooting for the underdog, Hunter Jordan is the perfect guy to get behind. Pleasing voice, undeniable work ethic and songwriting that will hit you in the heart. One of the most complete collections from any artist on the come up.
If you are looking for an artist that is going to take over Country Music, you found one. Lauren Weintraub is a queen and (sooner than later) will be headlining Red Rocks and Madison Square Garden. Lauren first made some boss moves after her song "She's Mine" went viral on Tik Tok and was later released as her debut single with over 4 million streams on Spotify. Not bad for a debut single, huh? Her vibe is unique and vibrant and shows in her music. In Nashville it's easy to find good songwriters, but it's pretty rare to find a songwriter who paves their own path and drops a bomb of ideas and hooks that nobody has heard of. Prime examples of Lauren's clever songwriting can be found woven into her smash hits "Like A Boy" and "Makeup Is Expensive". You know a songwriter is doing their job when as a listener you have to step back and listen to the song like 5 times because you are so blown away. Weintraub may be young and fairly new to Music City, but there is no doubt she is ready to become the next face of the genre...absolutely incredible.
Noah Hicks is a man on the mission. 2021 was a nice introduction to Noah Hicks as he dropped a handful of singles, went on tour dates with Chase Rice, Jon Langston and others, and showed a glimpse of what his 2022 campaign will look like. Country Music is saturated with talent all across the country, which can make it hard to really predict who will have a breakout year, but Noah Hicks is a safe bet for someone who's going to be selling out shows within the next few years. A man who has been shown to have the recipe for success: a solid songwriter, powerful vocals that bring flair and a country boy that can get the crowd wild and show them a good time. After listening to Noah's 2020 hit "Drinkin' Alone", it was no surprise he was going to be a star. Honest lyrics in songs that are made for the radio. That's a hard combination to beat. Noah Hicks will quickly become a household name and a name to have on your radar right now. His collection of songs, top to bottom, is as consistent as they come.
Out of any up and comer in Country Music, no artist has more electric music. I'm not saying she is pumping out EDM tracks that make you want to rage, but the way Regan captures a scene and pulls different emotions out of you so vividly is incredible. There is a thick southern accent that makes you feel at home and adds texture to her vibrant sound. Not only does Regan capture that Traditional Country sound, but does so in a fresh and exciting way. I bet you five dollars you can't listen to "The Last One" and "Dancin' Around It" and not want to get up, throw those cowboy boots on and go dance the night away at a honky tonk. When Country Music comes around and discovers Regan Stewart, she is going to burn down Nashville, take over and pump out electric tunes that will make a whole lot of babies. As Regan has found her sound in Traditional Country, I truly believe mainstream listeners can open up their hearts for Regan's fun and hypnotizing sound. I think that's the perfect word to use...mesmerizing. "Drop Dead Gorgeous" is a prime example of how Regan's vibe pulls you in and grabs your attention, where you are hooked for each line and verse. Regan Stewart is a name that should be at the top of your list for artists who are going to make a major splash in the next two years.
Big things I look for when discovering new artists are authenticity, a special voice - whether that is super powerful or unique, and their ability to tell a story and get every ounce of emotion out of the listener. Well, Colton Venner does all three. Country Music is a melting pot of all different genres and sounds. Colton has a cool vibe to him, a little Country, a little Americana and throws in a nice -songwriter vibe. There is nothing I enjoy more than damn good songwriting and someone who is singing about true experiences. You won't find a song from Colton that isn't raw and real to the bone. If you want to cry like a baby, take a listen to "Game Ball"... just a remarkable story. Colton's sound may not fit with mainstream Pop Country, but I'll be damned if he doesn't have his hand in writing a massive hit or taking over the independent world following the likes of Muscadine Bloodline and others. Such a genuine guy who puts both heart and soul into his music. Go give this guy a listen, you will not be disappointed.
A name that may have flown under your radar, Kaylin Roberson is on her way to becoming a big time name in Music City. She can sing her ass off, but her pen is just as impressive. With a combination of the two, Kaylin is setting herself up to be a star. The talent from rising female artists in the genre is absolutely phenomenal and Roberson finds her name right in the middle. Her music has a flair and passion shines through her work. When Kaylin sings, it comes from a real place. With each line she pulls you in even further and tells her story from the heart. Top to bottom of the music she has put out, each song solidifies how much success is coming. Not only has she lit it up as an artist, but Kaylin has had cuts with Alison Elena, Matt Gorman, Leah Marie Mason, Halle Kearns, BayTay, Bri Fletcher and others. Whether it's her promising songwriting or her presence as an artist, Music City has found a major star.
Last but not least, Devon Beck has star power. With an Adele-like voice that draws your attention, a songwriting ability to put down raw and honest thoughts and being able to translate them into relatable songs is a true talent. Finally in Nashville, Devon is planting her roots for a long and consistent career in Music City. It’s a name you might not know yet, but one who is going to find success sooner rather than later. A young woman who is wise beyond her years, I'm excited to see what kind of career she builds for herself. As this is just my opinion, Devon has one of the most powerful and once in a lifetime kind of voices that will propel her to great success in the next few years.