Country Artists to Watch in 2023: Ashley Cooke, Bailey Zimmerman, Nathan Wilson, & More
Over the past year, we saw an influx of artist break into the scene like never before.
There has been a huge rise in the genre due to increased performance opportunities in recent years. There are many rising stars who have started out as TikTok viral singers and have evolved into bonafide rising stars in their own right.
The next-generation talent has shown that they are more than ready to play to make history with their careers.
We’re proud to present our country class of Artists to Watch for 2023.
As she’s been an artist for several years, Alexandra has genuinely seen the forefront of her hard work paying off in 2022. With “scream-in-your-car” songs like “Skip This Part” and “Backroad Therapy,” the singer-songwriter has built a fan base across TikTok and while out on the road that continues to make to her a blazing woman within the genre.
With TikTok, Wilson has quickly proved that with the correct spotlight in front of him that he has superstar potential. In July, Nathan released his single “Better Than You,” which has received nearly 3 million streams collectively since release. Along with his management signing announcement, Nathan released his latest single “Meant For You,” which has been streamed nearly 200k times since its release in November.
The Canadian-based artist, Parker Graye has had an absolute year for the books. In October, the singer-songwriter released “Good At Gettin’ Gone,” a track that truly has changed the playing field for her as an artist. Previously, Parker released an iconic “sad girl” version of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” and another heart-wrenching track “Last Rodeo.”
If Sam Hunt had a twin, you’d be looking for Chase McDaniel. With a twang and storytelling approach to his music, McDaniel has been quickly taking up the internet by storm. His most viral song to date “Project,” moved a needle for him as it debuted at #1 on iTunes All-Country charts along with landing Billboard’s Top Emerging Artists, No.1 on Country Digital Song sales, and No. 3 on All-Genre Digital Song sales the week of June 11th.
A standout on the Big Loud roster, Ben Burgess, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Debuting into the scene with his debut album, “Tears the Size of Texas,” the twang-filled vocals give similarities to Cody Johnson and country legend Randy Travis. Along with releasing his debut record, Burgess shared stages with Koe Wetzel and Jelly Roll and will be direct support for Larry Fleet’s ’23 tour.
As he’s transitioned to the LA lifestyle while settling into the Nashville scene, Tayler Holder has made quite the mark within the country genre. During CMA Fest, Tayler joined fellow country artist Rayana Roberts on stage. From that moment, Holder’s career has continued to flourish. “It’s You” shined throughout his catalog as he continues to flourish in the genre with notable attention from CMT, Taste of Country, and several other notable publications.
With closing the year with a new single, “It’s Been A Year” the Big Loud newly is following the steps of many great women within the country genre. This year, Cooke had the opportunity to open for Cole Swindell and Brett Young on select dates throughout the states. Among our favorite newcomers is her undeniable talent and easygoing personality.
Earlier this year, Bailey Zimmerman released his debut full-length album, “Leave The Light On“. As soon as it was released, the nine-song project became the most streamed all-genre debut of the year. On Billboard’s all-genre Billboard 200 chart, “Leave The Light On” ranked No. 9 and No. 2 on the Top Country Albums chart.
It’s been an electric year for Avery Anna in 2022, and things are only looking up from here! As a result of going viral on TikTok this past summer, the singer-songwriter signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville. She has more than a million followers and more than 30 million likes on the platform. With over 16 million streams on Spotify alone, her single “Narcissist” is already certified Gold and has made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Among the artists, she has toured with are Spencer Crandall and Jessie James Decker, and next year, she is scheduled to appear at Stagecoach.
You may remember his TikTok hit “I Hate Alabama,” however, Conner Smith is truly just getting started. From that, he built success with his debut EP “Didn’t Go Too Far,” along with opening for Thomas Rhett on his recent “Bring Back the Bar” tour. As he’s heading into the near year with a rapid far, Smith’s debut EP has amassed nearly 60 million global streams to date.
With a deep “tropical country” vibe, the singer-songwriter Brady Lee finished a breakout year which proves his status within the country genre. Lee released his debut EP “Backyard Vacation” which featured the song that created a viral moment, “On The Line,” featuring co-writer Gracie Carol. Throughout the year, Lee performed on several stages including the major festival Summerfest. Wrapping up the year with his collaboration with Jake Banfield on “I Can Do This All Day,” Lee is heading into the new year strong with new music slated in early 2023.
In addition to a CMT New Women of Country alumna, SACHA recently released a new song “Call It Country” that features fellow Canadian and multi-platinum artist Jade Eagleson. She won her first-ever CCMA Award for Top Selling Canadian Single this fall with The Reklaws collaboration “What The Truck.” This was only the beginning of SACHA’s meteoric rise since 2021, as it became the fastest country song in Canada in history to go PLATINUM.
This year alone has put Nate Smith on a path to quickly take over 2023! With the viral success of “Whiskey On You,” Smith rolled throughout 2022 with his own headlining tour along with the song hitting Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart and reaching No. 1 on the radio in Canada. His upcoming project will be released in early 2023 alongside his dates with Thomas Rhett on the “Home Team Tour.”
As soon as “Tennessee Orange” was released, Megan Moroney’s song went viral on TikTok. She first released “Pistol Made Of Roses,” her debut EP, before that. Anyone who listens to her music is captivated by her thought-provoking lyrics and effortless vocals. She just signed her first major record deal with Sony Music, and her songs “Keep The Flowers” and “Hair Salon” have been on several playlists. She will make her headlining tour debut in 2023 and with “Tennessee Orange” being placed on country radio, it won’t be long before she hits the charts.
A more exciting 2023 is in store for Wright, a singer-songwriter with a lot of potentials. Within the past year, he has released several songs that have gone viral as well as gained success on streaming platforms. A few of his most outstanding songs include “Wish You’d Miss Me,” “Why Should We,” and “Lying With You.” Alongside this success throughout the year, Sirius XM The Highway selected Chase to be a part of their Highway Find program.
With powerhouse vocals, Tanner Adell isn’t going anywhere soon. In June, Adell released her career-changing single “Love You a Little Bit,” which put her on the map immediately. Alongside that release, Tanner joined Spotify during CMA Fest at “Spotify House” at Ole Red for a special performance. Tanner’s releases throughout 2022 have been featured in several editorials including Cross Roads (Apple Music), Young Nashville (Spotify), New Music Friday (Spotify), and several others.
Just because he’s very new to the music scene as an artist, we predict 2023 to be a major breakout year for Graham Barham. In August, Barham debuted as an artist with his single “Preachers Need People,” which was a powerful and chilling selection for a debut release. As the song continued to get thousands of streams and momentum on TikTok, Kasey Tyndall joined for a special version of the release. Most recently, Grham released his sophomore single “Break It In A Bar,” which certainly didn’t disappoint from the TikTok teasers that have been shared.
Following Chapel Hart’s America’s Got Talent audition that became mega-viral on social media, the trio only gained even more momentum in 2022. It is the infectious harmonies of Devynn Hart, Danica Hart, and Trea Swindle that immediately catch the ear. Their vocals are impeccable, and they have an entrancing stage presence as well. Prior to this, CMT spotlighted these talented women by inviting them to be a part of the Next Women of Country program.
With the help of The Voice in 2016, Kent made his debut on the entertainment scene. The song “Wild As Her” was released earlier this year with huge success. Throughout Kent’s music, you can hear the kind of country that you would hear throughout Morgan Wallen and ERNEST’s catalog. As a tour supporter, he has toured with Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson, and Chase Rice. The performances and music of this singer present a picture of a musician who shows no signs of slowing down.
Dean has burst onto the music scene in the same thundering way he approaches his songs. He is currently riding on the high of his first No. 1 song, “Don’t Come Lookin.'” The track was featured on the hit TV show Yellowstone and has launched his career to new heights. His debut project “Greenbroke” is critically acclaimed for its distinct sound. His music has elements of country-western, rock, and folk that project his sense of style. Dean is set to tour with Blake Shelton and Carly Pearce in the spring, so there is certainly more to come from this singer-songwriter.
A year for the books has put “Country Barbie” Becca Bowen on the maps. In November, Becca released her debut album “Like You’ve Never Been Loved,” which was featured on several publications including E! News and Entertainment Tonight. Throughout the album, Becca cut several songs by well-known songwriters including Lee Brice, Rachel Bradshaw, Rebecca Lynn Howard, and several others. As Becca continues to climb to Music Row radio charts with her duet “How It All Went Down” with Issac Cole, the singer-songwriter heads into 2023 with a gold path.
Nashville newcomer, Lauren Weintraub, released her debut EP, This Is Your Brain On Love.” “Missing You,” which has already gathered nearly 8M streams since it was released earlier this year, highlights Weintraub’s unmatched lyricism while redefining how to let go. Weintraub is making waves in Music City and beyond as the songwriter for All BC Music, owned by Brandy Clark. At this year’s iHeartRadio Awards, she was nominated for “TikTok Songwriter of the Year” with over 700k followers across social media.
Releasing her debut single this year, Carpenter is making a name for herself. Among her songs are “Can’t Nobody” and “Huntin’ Season,” both of which distinguish her from the rest of the pack. As an opening act, Carpenter has shared the stage with Miranda Lambert and Jake Owen. A debut EP is planned for 2023, followed by performances at festivals such as Stagecoach.
Worth the Wait
After taking a the world by storm by debuting their talent on NBC’s The Voice, the mother-daughter trio hasn’t slown down this year. In June, the trio released their debut album titled “Vinyl Revival,” which quickly claimed the iTunes Country Album charts. Over the past year, they’ve performed at the Opry’s Plaza Party and other festival dates. Last night (12/11), the trio got a special message from Blake Shelton during their performance at Ole Red inviting them to make their Grand Ole Opry debut in 2023.