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UPstar. Music's 26 Artists To Watch in 2024 Vol. I

As we kickoff the beginning of 2024 with snow and chilly temperatures (yes, even here in Nashville), I thought there's no better time to heat you up and get you amped about UPstar. Music's 26 Artists To Watch. Of the 26 artists featured, each artist is at a different stage of their career. Some are cashing in on record deals and will be breakout stars in 2024. Others have released their first few songs in the past few years, have great potential to make a name for themselves this coming year and will reach great heights in the near future. But there is one thing they all have in common - they are stars in the making, who have undeniable talent, at some point will be at the top of Country Music and will be blasting through your radio waves and coming to a city near you.

There is so much incredible Country Music talent here in Nashville as well as in Texas, the rest of the United States/Canada and around the entire world. In the last few years, Country Music has made leaps and bounds, becoming more relevant than ever. There are global icons like Morgan Wallen smashing records not only in Country Music, but in all-genres. There are unique and extraordinary crossovers between genres such as Luke Combs and Ed Sheeran, Morgan Wallen and Lil Durk, Kane Brown featured on songs with Khalid and Sam Fischer, and Diplo diving into Country Music projects with a variety of artists. Country Music is in a cool innovative era that is shaping the next decade and beyond. With the genre-bending and subgenres and the unlimited access to new artists and music through streaming platforms, Country Music is expanding and there's no better time to be a fan. Here is the next generation of talent you need to dive into and keep an eye out for.

As you read through the write ups on all 26 artists, you will see common themes with the artistic "recipe" and makeup of these incredible talents. Authenticity. Consistency. Tenacity. Vocal talent. Songwriting. Presence. The "IT" factor. Connection with fans. Paving their own path. These different ingredients have propelled these new coming artists in a variety of ways to be the "buzz" around the Country Music industry and beyond. 

Colby Acuff

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Western White Pines"

Colby Acuff has quickly become a hot commodity in Country Music for his originality and raw talent. While most artists are busy trying to color inside the lines and pleasing others, Colby has made a living being unapologetically true to his roots, his sound, and by capturing listeners with his authentic songwriting which will make you wish you were living out in the mountains taking in the view. With over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Acuff has created the perfect recipe of staying true to his sound with his genuine approach, while still finding mainstream success. Colby captured success in 2021 with his massive hit "If I Were The Devil" which surpassed 45 million streams on Spotify and he hasn’t looked back. His honest and relatable music isn't overproduced or filled with gimmicks. It is raw, deep with emotion and has a feel of freedom that doesn't have to check boxes, which is a big reason he's gained so much traction with his western mountain Country Music. It's different. It's real. And it's authentic to his core. This past June, Acuff released his first major label project, a 10 song album "Western White Pines" that has kept his success story rolling without any signs of slowing down. The Idaho native has big touring plans coming up in 2024 as Acuff will be joining Luke Combs on his 2024 Stadium Tour, as well as joining Flatland Cavalry, 49 Winchester and Turnpike Troubadours on tour this spring. It has been incredible to see Colby Acuff's growth as an artist over the last few years. With each song and record he releases, Colby seems to continue to mold his craft and thrive to be the best version he can be musically and continue to show listeners his raw authenticity that makes him so special as an artist. He may never be the mainstream golden boy, but Acuff has established himself as a force to be reckoned with. A rising artist that will have a sustainable and fulfilling career.

Colby Acuff is signed to Sony Music Nashville (label), Warner Chappell (publishing), WME (booking), Make Wake Artists (management)

Also Check Out: "If I Were the Devil", "Boy and a Bird Dog" and "Honky Tonk Heaven"

Ashley Anne

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Never Learned How To Sew"

The Virginia Beach native is quickly becoming one of the brightest young stars in Country Music, filled with unlimited potential. Ashley released her debut single "Dear Dolly" in February of 2023 and in less than a year racked up over a million streams on Spotify alone with her first masterpiece. From going viral on social media, to releasing her debut single and continuing her success on streaming platforms, this shows how her talent already is resonating with Country Music fans everywhere. A notable trend I've seen over the past few years with the rise of Tik Tok and other social media platforms is artists being a quick "flash in the pan" and have unimaginable success in a short period of time, but not having the foundation to live up to the unrealistic expectations casted on these artists. Ashley, on the other hand, early in her career has a foundation that is as solid as a rock. She knows who she is as an artist and her authenticity is captured in every one of her songs... which is often rare for a young artist. After her "viral" debut single "Dear Dolly" she showcased her consistency with impressive singles "She Ain't Texas", "Never Learned How To Sew" and others. As her discography grew, I started to see her witty and unapologetic songwriting, a voice that grabs your attention and her "IT factor" is undeniable. When you mix those "ingredients" with her tenacity and authenticity, Ashley Anne is on track to be mentioned in the same breath as notable rising female acts in Country Music like Lainey Wilson, Megan Moroney, Hailey Whitters and Ella Langley who are shaping up to be the Carrie's and Miranda's, the faces of the next decade. Ashley just released her debut EP "Dear Dolly" in honor of Dolly Parton's birthday on January 19th. The "Coastal Grandma" has been gaining traction on both Apple Music and Spotify, landing playlist placements such as "New Music Friday Country" and "Fresh Finds" as well as other notable playlists. The future is very bright for Ashley Anne and I can't wait for her to explode into mainstream Country Music... don't say I didn't warn ya. Ashley Anne = future face of Country Music... and I will bet my entire life savings on it.

Ashley is signed to WME (booking) and Dillon Goldberg (management)

Also Check Out: "Dear Dolly, "She Ain't Texas" and "Mary Jane's Been Talkin'"

Graham Barham

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "PREACHERS NEED PEOPLE"

If there is one artist who is BUZZING right now in Nashville it would have to be Graham Barham. This rising star has all the tools in his toolbox- Authenticity. Tenacity. Songwriting. Consistency. "IT" factor. And I could go on and on... This guy has it all and carries himself with an immense amount of swagger and confidence. A young, rising artist that knows who he is through his songwriting, songs he’s releasing, presence on stage and through social media is a very dangerous combination that can explode like a powder keg at any moment. And that's exactly what happened for the Louisiana native in 2023. After releasing his debut single "PREACHERS NEED PEOPLE" at the tail end of 2022, he showed a glimpse of his potential and Graham didn't stop there. In 2023, Barham added to his rising success with singles like "BEER BY MY BED", "TWO BROKE HEARTS" and gifted listeners with his 6-song EP "NORTH OF HELL". Not only did Graham find success through his releases but also spent time on the road playing shows with Dylan Scott, Chase Matthew and Kidd G. One of  the most pivotal aspects of Graham Barham's early career is how versatile he can be, while also showing his authentic self. He can hit you with catchy anthems filled with witty songwriting and melodies you can't get out of your head like "BREAK IT IN A BAR" and “LIGHTS ON NOBODY'S HOME” then can quickly show his raw, real and emotional side with tracks like "PREACHERS NEED PEOPLE" and "BREAKIN' DOWN". Graham's songwriting is elite not just for rising stars, but in Country Music entirety. He molds incredible well-written songs then paints a picasso that resonates with millions of music listeners wanting to hear more. Barham has surpassed over a million monthly listeners on Spotify which is a huge milestone for any star on the rise. His numbers on Spotify are just one example that shows his tenacity and dedication to putting out music that's authentic and relatable. Graham's connection with his fans and his social media presence intertwined with his "toolbox" of ingredients are why he will be a star in Country Music for a long time. If you want to find a new favorite rising artist who showcases the full arsenal of talent, Graham Barham is your guy.

Graham Barham is signed to Disruptor Records x Sony Music Nashville (label), Cornman Music x Warner Chapell (publishing), UTA (booking) and Dillon Goldberg (management)


Mackenzie Carpenter

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Can't Nobody"

In a short amount of time, Mackenzie Carpenter is already making a lasting impact on Country Music both as an artist and a songwriter. Vocally, the Georgia native is as pure as they come with a hint of rasp that demands your attention. As her talent as a vocalist draws you in, her raw and emotional songwriting, filled with so much substance, keeps you hooked -  taking in every word, every line and every verse. What's even more impressive, is her consistency. As it's still very early in her career, Carpenter has such a clear vision of who she is as an artist and the music she wants to put out in the world. That can be very rare as an up and coming artist. After releasing her debut single "Can't Nobody" in the spring of 2022 it caught momentum as it was featured on SiriusXM The Highway as a "highway find". It also found viral success on social media and today has over 1.5 million streams on Spotify alone. It can be hard to follow up that kind of success on a debut single, but Carpenter wasted no time as she followed with hits like "Jesus, I'm Jealous" and "Huntin' Season". She's got the vocal talent, she's got the songwriting, she has the presence on streaming platforms and social media. To top it all off Mackenzie has gotten valuable experience on the road and has opened for Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen and Parker McCollum. She’s also played notable events like Country Thunder, Stagecoach, CMA Fest and Tortuga Music Festival. Carpenter made appearances on tour with Megan Moroney, Conner Smith and Danielle Bradbery. The accolades haven't stopped coming, from being named one of CMT's 2023 Next Women of Country to making her Grand Ole Opry debut on June 20th, 2023, Mackenzie is catching much deserved recognition as her career is starting to bloom. As Carpenter is making strides as an artist, she has established herself as top tier rising songwriter. In 2020 she put herself on the map by helping pen the viral hit "Villain" by Lily Rose and followed by helping pen another massive viral hit "Hair Salon" by Megan Moroney. The Georgia native has other cuts with Megan Moroney, even featuring on a song she co-wrote with Megan "Nothin' Crazy" on Megan's massive successful record Lucky. Not stopping there, Carpenter also has cuts with other striving rising artists such as SJ McDonald, Peytan Porter and Rachel Wiggins. Mackenzie Carpenter has created a relatable and admirable voice as both an artist, and as a songwriter making an impact on others careers. A true star in making here in Music City.

Mackenzie Carpenter is signed to The Valory Music Co. (label) and WME (booking)

Also Check Out: "Jesus, I'm Jealous", "Don't Mess With Exes" and "Huntin' Season"

Karley Scott Collins

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Brain On Love"

Karley Scott Collins may be one of my favorite vocalists in Country Music. With her booming, soulful voice the rising star is able to command your attention with not only her voice, but her creativity and imagery as a songwriter which is up there with the best young talent in Country Music. The Florida native may only have a handful of songs out but she has quickly found her lane and is consistently releasing breathtaking tracks that have listeners asking for more. Her debut single "Heavenly", released in February of 2022, gave everyone an early glance at the success on the horizon and showcases Collins' rare "IT factor". Karley's debut track is also closing in on 4 million streams on Spotify alone, which is impressive in itself. The emotion poured into every song really brings each track to life and gives listeners an out of body experience. Karley Scott Collins has gained valuable touring experience as she has hit the road with Larry Fleet and has opened for acts such as Caitlyn Smith, Nate Smith and Little Big Town. Collins is starting off 2024 hot as she hits the road for some dates with Willie Nelson in February. Collins has worked with some of the industry's best such as Brock Berryhill, Nathan Chapman, Natalie Hemby, Brett James, Josh Miller, Summer Overstreet, Liz Rose amongst others, helping her fine tune and mold her craft for an even bigger and brighter future in Music City and beyond. Karley Scott Collins may not have a long track record yet, but she has some of the most potential in this Artists to Watch class. Stay patient, because her success is going to take a big leap in 2024.

Karley Scott Collins is signed to Sony Music Nashville (label), Warner Chappell (publishing) and CAA (booking)

Also Check Out: "Heavenly", "Tattoos" and "Petty in the 80s"

Logan Crosby

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "23 Days in L.A."

It's still early on in his career, but Logan Crosby already has the moxie and charisma of a seasoned vet running through his veins. In a world full of cringy Tik Tokers and individuals with a major disconnect over social media, Logan on the other hand has cracked the code. With his infectious personality mixed with his incredible music talent, Logan has grown his passionate fan base and has quickly made a career for himself in Country Music. The Georgia boy has had a unique path as he starred on ABC's "Claim to Fame" in the summer of 2022 and became a beloved character on the show. He transitioned quickly into a young and hungry artist on everyone's radar due to his immensely impressive skill set. Logan released his first single "If Jesus Was a Cowboy" in summer of 2022 and has shown no signs of taking his foot off the gas. He has really come into his own as an artist releasing consistently stellar tracks which have cemented him as not only a top notch artist on the rise, but also as a true storyteller. As Crosby has paved his own path led by his unapologetic authenticity, he has shown listeners his ability to be versatile with fun, upbeat tracks like "Everybody's Drunk" and "Run Away With You" and the ability to shift and show his heart on his sleeve with deeper tracks such as "23 Days in L.A." and "Land". His versatility along with his genuine approach, elite songwriting and a soothing voice create a recipe of success that will keep him relevant for years to come. The Georgia native caught momentum in 2023 as he went on the "Pistol Made of Roses" Tour with Megan Moroney-  who is one of the hottest rising stars in Country Music - released an EP in the summer, jumped back on the road to close the year on Megan Moroney's "Lucky" Tour and signed a publishing deal with 50 Egg Music in the winter. Ain't a bad year if you ask me. Logan's 2024 is already off to a hot start as he ventured off on Kameron Marlowe's "I Can Lie" Tour and is working on another EP and a full length record with his producers Jonathan Singleton and Ben Simonetti. Logan Crosby is already one of the best personalities in Country Music, he also has the music to back it up. An exciting year ahead for Logan Crosby.

Logan Crosby is signed to 50 Egg Music (Publishing/Records) and No Rules Management (Tali Canterbury - Management)

Also Check Out: "Everybody's Drunk", "Land" and "Whiskey Smoke"

Shelby Darrall

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Hope He Hears This"

From playing tasting rooms at wineries across Napa Valley in California to turning heads and catching buzz in Music Nashville and Country Music, Shelby Darrall is on the slate of the next generation of Country Music who are going to have a major impact. The California native is making waves for intertwining her sassy confidence with commanding vocals and songwriting which showcase raw, vulnerable emotion listeners can relate to. A winning recipe. Shelby released her debut single "Love Me When I'm Leavin’'' in early 2022 and immediately captured an audience with her mesmerizing charm and way with words. Shelby’s authenticity and vision was quickly established as she followed her debut single with "Lied To Too". Both songs made the radio airwaves demonstrating that her immense talent and passion has translated into consistent songs that listeners could get behind. With the help of industry legend and Grammy award winning producer Ron Fair (Christina Aguilera, The Black Eyed Peas, Vanessa Carlton, Lady Gaga), Shelby teamed up with Fair to produce her debut EP "Entertainment For The Broken Hearted" which quickly helped solidify herself as one of Country Music's hottest rising stars. Darrall's fan base is rapidly growing as she is closing in on 40,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and wouldn't be surprised if this number doubles or even triple by the beginning of next year. Shelby Darrall is already proving herself as a songwriter. She has written with industry vets such as Luke Laird, Brett James, Troy Verges, and Emily Weisband, and has collaborated with artists Jake Owen, Larry Fleet, and Josh Kerr. On top of putting out top tier songs and writing with legends, Darrall has bolstered her touring resume as she's opened and toured with Maddie and Tae, Brett Eldredge, Larry Fleet, Chase Rice and more, as well as played a handful of festivals. 2023 was an impressive year for Shelby Darrall as she released her EP "Melt", made her debut at the Ryman Auditorium and has continued to build on her success, an artist you need to check out.

Shelby Darrall is signed to Reservoir (publishing), CAA (booking) and Autumn Ledgin (management)

Also Check Out: "Melt", "Little Man" and "Three Words"

Taylor Austin Dye

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Lucky Man"

Taylor Austin Dye is a fireball who matches her big infectious personality with music that makes you want to run through a wall. If you opened up a Merriam-Webster dictionary to the word "Bad Ass" you probably would find a picture of Taylor Austin Dye. All around, Taylor is an incredible talent who has paved her own path using her authenticity and knowing who she is as an artist and person inside and out. She has built up her incredible fan base the "Ride or Dyes" through social media, having over 700,000 followers on Tik Tok, 350,000 on Facebook and 153,000 on Facebook. Her dedicated fan base has correlated to massive streaming numbers as "Rest in Peace", "Bible Belt" and "Water Me Down" have all surpassed a million streams on Spotify alone. And to cap off her impressive numbers on streaming platforms and social media, her viral hit "Rest in Peace" has garnered around 25 million streams and views across various platforms. One of Taylor's most underrated skills in her repertoire is her storytelling ability, bringing her songs to life and painting an entire story in just a few minutes. As a listener, with each line and verse, Taylor is able to get you hooked, wanting more with each listen, being able to dive deeper and really appreciate the artist painting her masterpiece. In a world with many songs lacking substance and meaning, Dye is keeping storytelling alive and well and is the true definition of a singer-songwriter. Taylor Austin Dye has been consistent with her body of work for a while, but 2023 really put her on the map with viral hits and her genuine and raw approach on social media. It has taken her to the next level and 2024 is shaping up to be the year where the rising star takes off. As she has already opened for legendary acts such as Wynonna Judd, Collin Raye, Aaron Tippin, Deana Carter, and Sammy Kershaw, the Kentucky native is bringing her Kentucky 'twang’ on the road with Tracy Byrd on the "Your Town Tour" across the Midwest in early 2024 and also with new music on the horizon. Taylor has as solid of a foundation as any rising star in Country Music and her tenacity and consistency is really going to show in 2024. Be ready!

Taylor Austin Dye is signed to UTA (booking) and Acquired Management (management)

Also Check Out: "Rest in Peace", "Bible Belt" and "Damage Control"

Tyler Halverson

Jamie's Must Listen To Track: "Beer Garden Baby"

If you haven't had the opportunity to embrace the Tyler Halverson experience, his words or his self-proclaimed "Western Amerijuana Music" you are missing out. You have Traditional Country, you have Pop Country, Rock Country and a bunch of other subgenres, but very rarely is there an artist who creates his own sound. Tyler is the true definition of a pioneer and is creating his own lane. The South Dakota native has the perfect combination of a calming demeanor, comforting voice and unique songwriting approach that makes you look at storytelling from a whole new lens. With over 290,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, Halverson has a rapidly growing fanbase that has taken a liking to his incredible talents and authentic approach. Busting onto the scene in early 2021 with his massive hit "Beer Garden Baby", which has surpassed 8 million streams on Spotify alone, he shows no sign of slowing down. Tyler continued introducing listeners to the "Western Amerijuana" sound following with tracks "Mac Miller", "Your Bar Now" and others to showcase his consistency and his masterclass in storytelling. As Halverson has shown his craftsmanship writing his own songs, he has also helped penned songs for other artists such as “Forever Gone” by Palmer Anthony and “Dive Bar Darlin’” by Brian Fuller. Tyler will head out on tour with The Panhandlers in January of 2024 to kick off a momentous year for the rising star. In a world of music lacking substance and authenticity, Tyler Halverson is bringing a refreshing vibe and sound to Country Music fans everywhere. If you haven't heard the name yet, I'm sure you will in 2024.

Tyler Halverson is signed to Atlantic Records (Label), Concord Music Publishing (Publishing) and The Erv Woolsey Company (Management)

Also Check Out: "Mac Miller", "Her" and "Your Bar Now" w/ Kylie Frey

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