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Hottest Acts Under 25

Lauren Alaina, Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves
Jason Merritt (2) / Erika Goldring, Getty Images

The hottest acts under 25 represent the next generation of country music. All five artists on this list are just realizing their full potential, except for one singer who has been at the top of the country music world for at least three years.

These musicians also have exciting new music on the radio this summer. From easy summer love songs, to rowdy, barefoot and carefree jams, you can’t go wrong following the career of these young stars in the making.


Lauren Alaina



Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Lauren Alaina makes this list of the Hottest Acts Under 25 by way of her sassy new single ‘Barefoot and Buckwild.’ The singer and recent high school grad seems to have found a new level of confidence. She’s certainly found an identity that separates her from the many other talented females in Nashville.


Thomas Rhett



Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Through three singles, Thomas Rhett has shown a sense of humor, a romantic side and a knack for great storytelling. He’s yet to land a bit hit by radio standards — ‘Beer With Jesus‘ was somewhat sabotaged by a misunderstanding of the lyrics — but every song he’s released has been a unique and identifiable effort. Rhett is the son of Rhett Akins, so he knows a thing or two about how to work the industry, and even more about great songwriting. Both skills place him above almost every other Nashville newcomer.


Kacey Musgraves



Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images
Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images

It’s difficult to argue that Kacey Musgraves is still bubbling under after her understated, but sensational performance at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards in May. The ‘Merry Go ‘Round’ singer has a truly unique voice and songwriting style, and while her songs often represent the antithesis of “radio-friendly,” they’re the type that drive single, album and concert ticket sales. Eric Church built a nice career that way.


Hunter Hayes



Christopher Polk, Getty Images
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Many artists are billed as the “Next Big Thing” in country music, but the hype surrounding Hunter Hayes is paying off. The singer, songwriter, coffee addict and multi-instrumentalist has gathered multiple award nominations — including several Grammy nods — after just one studio album. True, he hasn’t won many, but he’ll tell you playing with Stevie Wonder beats taking home a Grammy. Superstars from all genres are excited to play with him, which is very rare for an artist who’s just 21 years old.


Taylor Swift



Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

It’s difficult to imagine Taylor Swift any place other than the top of this Hottest Acts Under 25 list for the next 18 months. She’s the most commercially successful star in country music, and has the largest and most loyal country fanbase. Songs from her pen seem to go Platinum before the ink is dry, and concerts sell out before the ticket window is even cracked. Swift will turn 24 in December. Unless she retires or begins a heavy metal band, she will remain the undisputed hottest act under 25.

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