Who’s RISING Now? 5 Artists to Watch in June 2019
Though each month features a diverse range of new artists carving their lane in country music, the tie that binds these five acts together is the art of storytelling. Read on to discover five rising country artists to watch in June of 2019.
This month, you'll find that country-rap trendsetter Lil Nas X and his undeniable presence in music are included on this list, along with two powerful singer-songwriters who channel emotion and insight into their work, one who's written a pop hit and another who will be opening for Maren Morris later this year. Alongside them are a promising sister duo from England who've already made history in the UK and an up-and-coming artist that George Strait fans will appreciate.
Observing their growing catalogs, each artist is carrying the torch for country music in their own distinct way. Here are five new country acts to watch in June of 2019.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X has been a force to be reckoned with since he established his place in music with "Old Town Road." Equipped with an intuition for blending genres, he catapulted country trap into mainstream music, engaging vast audiences and dominating the top of the Billboard charts with a remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus for weeks, in addition to amassing the highest weekly streaming numbers in digital music history. This success isn't the only factor that makes Lil Nas X unique. When hearing his insight into each lyric, it’s clear he knows how to tell an intriguing story, as many beloved country music storytellers do. A theme in “Old Town Road” is perseverance, a quality that the dynamic artist possesses. Couple that with an irresistible hook and Lil Nas X becomes undeniable.
All it takes is seeing one performance to know that Ingrid Andress is pure talent. Studying under hit songwriter and former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi and scoring cuts by the likes of Charli XCX, Andress’ pen is as sharp as her mind. An equally captivating vocalist and songwriter, she has a distinct talent for blending humor and emotion. She’ll gently break your heart with “More Hearts Than Mine” while inspiring you to laugh as she cleverly rejects gender norms on “Lady Like.” Each time she performs live, it'll blow you away - watch for her bold breakthrough in 2019.
Robb found a north star in George Strait while driving in his car one day, when he heard “Troubadour” pouring through the speakers. He felt an instant connection to the lyrics, inspiring him to change career paths from business to country music artistry. What makes this noteworthy is the way Robb carries the poignancy of Strait’s music into his own modern songs like the raw “Tell Me How,” which emotionally ponders how a past love moved on, and calling on clever wordplay with “Lead Me On." Both tracks prove that though he's new to the scene, Robb has the voice and songwriting skills to make a statement in 2019.
Between co-writing Little Big Town's "Happy People," earning a cut by Martina McBride and an opening slot on Maren Morris’ tour, these facts alone are enough to pique one’s interest in Hailey Whitters. But what makes this determined singer-songwriter truly compelling is embedded in the vulnerability of “One More Hell,” inspired by her brother Drake who was killed in a car accident at the age of 19, the understanding and introspection of “Late Bloomer” and the liberating feeling of being different that she channels into the anthemic “Black Sheep.” With a voice that captures such a range of emotion, Whitters is a powerful storyteller that country music needs. Experience her glowing talent when she opens for Morris on select dates of the Girl: World Tour in the fall of 2019.
The work of Ward Thomas can be summarized in one word: engaging. Since debuting in 2014, the England-based twin sister duo of Lizzy and Catherine Ward Thomas established themselves as the first British country act to reach No. 1 on the multi-genre UK Albums Chart. While they’ve proven themselves to their native country, their music demonstrates stamina that translates to American audiences. The gripping “No Filter” encourages us all to abandon false perceptions and walk in our truth (the accompanying video is the rare type that holds your attention from beginning to end), while the stirring “One More Goodbye” takes the listener inside the intense passion of a relationship before it ends. With their eclectic harmonies and compelling storytelling, Ward Thomas deserves the attention of country audiences around the world.
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