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Top 5 Country Women to Watch

Leah Turner, Lucy Hale, Danielle Bradbery
Imeh Akpanudosen / Rick Diamond / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

To qualify as a ‘Woman to Watch’ in country music, an artist must not only be new to the scene, but also show a heaping lot of talent and potential for greatness. Though not all young divas will make the cut, there will always be a few who stand out as stars. These five women may represent the next generation of country greatness.

The Taste of Country staff did its homework to determine which five hopefuls could be the Next Big Thing. Strength of music to this point, as well as the size of their fan base and command of the big stage was considered. More than anything, each of these five women has that extra, indescribably quality … something we call “star sizzle.”

Check out our picks and share your favorite in the comments section below.


Angeleena Presley
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
5

Angeleena Presley

 
 

Angeleena Presley has made a name for herself in country music with her skillful songwriting and as one-third of the female supergroup Pistol Annies, alongside Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. The group’s sassy lyrics and bad-girl attitude left a memorable impression on the country scene and filled the female-group void left empty by the Dixie Chicks years ago. Though Pistol Annies are not finished, Presley has recently been signed as a solo act with Slate Creek records, her debut full-length album to release later this year. If her track record is a preview of what's to come, her strong vocals and songwriting abilities are sure to shine on the record. Keep an eye out for this country songstress -- you won’t want to miss her.

 
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
Jason Merritt, Getty Images
4

Jamie Lynn Spears

 
 

Though she shares a last name with a pop icon, Jamie Lynn Spears has planted roots in country and continues to grow her own career in the biz. The recently-wed Spears released her debut EP ‘The Journey’ in May 2014. It's packed with personal songs that provide a glimpse into her life -- both past and present. ‘How Could I Want More’ speaks of the sweet relationship with her new husband Jamie Watson, while ‘Shotgun Wedding’ takes a brave step, alluding to the birth of her daughter Maddie when Spears was just a teenager. The five-song record shows Spears’ depth and range both as a songwriter and a performer -- a promising start to the 23-year-old’s budding career.

 
Danielle Bradbery
Bryan Steffy, Getty Images
3

Danielle Bradbery

 
 

By now you have probably heard of Danielle Bradbery, country music’s resident girl-next-door and winner of season four of NBC’s The Voice. The adorable and unassuming Texan is proof that dynamite comes in small packages, boasting a near-flawless voice that would give a young Carrie Underwood a run for her money. Her self-titled debut album, produced by country music vet Dann Huff, released in November 2013 with her first single ‘Heart of Dixie.’ Her second single, ‘Young in America,’ is a youthful country-pop tune with a catchy hook. Bradbery’s charm and pure talent resonate with fans and make her a clear rising star in country music.

 
Lucy Hale
Monarch Publicity
2

Lucy Hale

 
 

Brunette beauty Lucy Hale may have stepped into the spotlight by starring in the hit show Pretty Little Liars, but she’s well on her way to adding ‘country star’ to her resume. Hale has been generating buzz around her debut single ‘You Sound Good to Me,’ a carefree love song with a signature country vibe -- perfect for summer drives and road trips. Her album, she says, will allow people to truly get to know ‘Lucy the Person’ as opposed to ‘Lucy the Actor.’ ‘Road Between’ released June 3, 2014 and continues to pick up steam, boasting an upbeat, empowered breakup song co-written by Kacey Musgraves, ‘That’s What I Call Crazy,’ and even a track co-written by Hale, ‘Just Another Song.’ If these tunes are any indication, Hale is the female up-and-comer to watch.

 
Leah Turner
Sony Music Nashville
1

Leah Turner

 
 

Every so often a voice comes along that feels like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Leah Turner’s refreshing sound puts a modern twist on the classic country flavor profile. Her raspy yet powerful voice soars in her debut single, ‘Take the Keys,’ a pop-infused, infectious song of freedom on the open road. Turner shows an uncommon maturity in both her songwriting and vocal style, and the choir of background vocals on the chorus of ‘Take the Keys’ and ‘Pull Me Back’ bring an almost gospel-like quality to the tunes, further enhancing her unique character. Turner is without a doubt a rookie you will want to keep on your radar.

 

Next: More Artists to Watch in 2014

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