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. Here is our third and last volume for the class of 2022.
Well why not kick the last volume off with one of the most electric and entertaining artists in the Country Music industry? Hannah Dasher has a voice that was handed down from God. It is full of confidence and flare and will have you dancing around the honky tonk in no time. Hannah has quickly become a force and is laying the bricks of a solid foundation for a career in Country Music. Her songs are filled with passion and have a witty way about them that not only hooks the listener, but showcases the tremendous superstar potential that Dasher possesses. Hannah's EP "The Half Record", released in 2021, top to bottom is easily one of the best set of songs this year and is just a sneak peak of what this young lady is going to accomplish in the years to come. As if her ability to sing wasn't enough, Hannah can cook a hell of a southern meal full of flavor too. Head over to her Instagram to get a better idea of what I'm talking about...golly!
Tik Tok has played an important role for so many up and comers in the last two years and Ashley Cooke is a prime example of how that platform can change your life and showcase your talent. Cooke has as much momentum heading into 2022 as any rising artist in the genre. From a duet with Jimmie Allen to being added to Hot Country on Spotify, played on The Highway and gearing up to go on tour with Cole Swindell and Travis Denning... life comes at you fast and it sure as hell did for Ashley. A stunning voice suited for the radio, Ashley has been releasing songs fit for mainstream Country and has shown incredible consistency top to bottom. If Ashley can sustain this exploding success over the next few years, she has the chance to become one of the future faces for all the women in the genre and the genre as a whole. Ashley Cooke is definitely a name you want on your radar this coming year.
Hey Country Music? Do you need someone to take the forefront for the next 10 years of Country Music? Well, Conner Smith is as good as any rising artist. His ability to preserve the Country feel while intertwining a dash of Pop will certainly help bring new faces to the genre. It is already happening with his songs like "Take It Slow" and "Learn From It". In October, Conner released "I Hate Alabama" which is easily one of my favorite songs that came out in 2021. It’s a great representation of his ability and potential. Conner Smith is establishing himself as a credible player in the industry already, by going out for some dates with Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell on "The Center Point Road Tour", opening for Sam Hunt in Florida and getting ready for dates on Ryan Hurd's "Tour De Pelago" as well as opening for Sam Hunt in Mexico for Spring Break. I'm telling you... Conner Smith is like NFT's right now. You hear a little buzz about it, certain people won't jump on the train, but in two years everyone is going to want a piece of the pie.
If you are looking for an artist to make you run through a brick wall, Kenton Bryant is your guy. The energy he brings - which is showcased in his songs "Black Leather Jackets" and "Closer To Over You" - are just two examples on how he brings the energy and passion. Kenton is an up and comer and it baffles me that he doesn't get way more attention. Personally, I see Kenton as not only underrated for a rising artist, but also as an artist in the entire genre. It can be hard for an artist to truly get you to connect and relate what they are singing about, but this seems to be one of Kenton's strengths. Every time he comes through your radio speakers, you stop and listen and you feel like it's just you and those lyrics being sung. As 2022 may not be the breakout year for Kenton Bryant (I think it should be), it will definitely inch him closer to blowing up and taking over the genre.
Nate Smith is honestly just what Country Music needs. His music is one of a kind and will help get new faces into the genre. Nate can sing his heart out with his incredible vocals, but his natural ability to paint a picture with imagery and bring lyrics to life is nothing short of top tier songwriting and artistry. Nate has quickly placed his footprint on Country Music and brought in this cool church-like choir sound that me and so many others dig. That sound will help set him apart from so many artists on the rise. I had the chance to sit down and talk to Nate over Instagram Live a while back and his genuine and caring personality are other reasons why he is going to find success in Nashville and beyond. Nate Smith is a few years away from playing the biggest stages across the country and I couldn't be more excited to see where his future will take him.
Dylan Marlowe is a man on a mission! A common theme with the "Artists to Watch" is not only their impressive vocals, but also their ability to write a damn good song as well. On top of writing songs for himself, Dylan has already had cuts with up and comers such as Reid Haughton, Drew Baldridge, Tyler Chambers, Josh Bagwell and Jon Wood, with many more coming. The man can flat out write a heater. As an artist, Dylan is quickly becoming a fan favorite and putting out top quality songs that showcase lyrics enriched with relatable lyrics which listeners can feel in their bones. This Georgia boy is just getting things rolling and is kicking off his 2022 on tour for 20+ dates with Dylan Scott. The future looks very bright for Dylan Marlowe. He's starting to catch the attention of the Country Music industry and listeners across the country.
If you didn't get to know the name Trey Lewis in 2021, you were probably living under a rock. Lewis released his viral hit "Dicked Down in Dallas" at the tail end of 2020 and set the pace for just about every artist in the country for 2021. After releasing this raunchy, parody-like song, Lewis quickly proved doubters wrong when he released his "Shut the Door" EP in August. He put out a collection of songs that shared substance and authenticity. Trey Lewis has been full steam ahead throughout 2021 as he sold out shows all across the South and is keeping the buzz rolling into 2022. After years of grinding it out trying to make it in Country Music, Trey has finally found much deserved success. He has the genre watching. What's he got up his sleeve next?
And last, but not least, there is no better way to close out our "26 Artists to Watch for 2022" than with the talented ladies out of New Orleans, Chapel Hart. Listening to Chapel Hart you get hit with heartfelt, wholesome and genuine Country Music that the genre has been missing. You know you’ve got a Chapel Hart song blasting through your speaker when your heart is lifted to the sky and your mood instantly changes. Got to try it out for yourself, but they bring some Country Music magic if you ask me. Without a doubt, not getting the attention they deserve. It sets up a perfect timeline for this trio to absolutely blow the roof off of Country Music in 2022. Real instruments, no beats and autotune. Just some ladies passionate about music and sharing it with listeners and golly, do they have it going on! Don't get me wrong, I love all the different outlets of the genre, from Pop Country to Traditional and Red Dirt. There are good tunes scattered throughout, but there is a big chunk of artists just going through the motions and chasing fame. Not this trio. I truly believe they have the sound and passion to revive what Country Music is all about. Chapel Hart are off to a hell of a start with their 12 song album "The Girls Are Back in Town" released in August. They may not be at the top of everyone else's radar, but they sure as hell are the top of mine. Give them a listen.