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Country music breakthrough artists and ones to watch in 2023

The end of every year is the perfect time to have a look around the Country music world and speculate on which artists will emerge from the year ahead with record deals, debut number one hits and (these days) social media buzz and backing. Here are the artists we feel could have a great big grin on their faces this time next year after having a brilliant 2023.

Nate Smith

Nate made great strides in his career this year with songs like ‘Whiskey on You’ and ‘Wreckage’ but we’ve got a copy of his debut album that comes out on 17th February. It’s a whopping 20 tracks long and is promising to be one of the year’s stand out releases. Tracks like ‘Better Boy’ (a number one in waiting if we’ve ever heard one), One Good Girl’ and the raucous ‘LFG’ should only advance what is threatening to be a very promising career.

Madeline Edwards

Madeline released her excellent ‘Crashlanded’ album in the final quarter of this year and we were blown away. We can’t wait to see her play some of these songs at this year’s C2C festival in March were she is one of the Spotlight Stage artists. Tracks like The Wolves’ and future radio number one ‘Mama, Dolly, Jesus’ should be strong enough to give Country music fans with an open mind enough to hang their hats on as we watch this talented artist go from strength to strength.

Brandon Ratcliff

With a strong musical heritage in his family, rising artist Brandon Ratcliff is going to start 2023 strongly with the release of his new project ‘Tale of Two Towns’ on January 6th. Signed to Monument Records, Ratcliff’s album is a melodic journey that explores the consequences of staying or leaving the town you were born in. It’s a fascinating listen that we can’t wait for you all to hear and it should push some well deserving eyes his way as this young songwriting builds what should be a stellar career.

Alana Springsteen

Another artist scheduled to appear in London at the C2C Festival in March. Picking up the guitar at seven and writing her first song by age nine, Alana Springsteen relocated to Nashville at 14 and landed a publishing deal almost immediately. People Magazine deemed her ‘HISTORY OF BREAKING UP (PART ONE)’ “a magical mixture of deep thoughts on love and heartbreak, all delivered by a voice that seems to represent the future of country music.” Partly on the strength of new songs from (PART TWO) like ‘Trust Issues’, ‘New Number’ and ‘Me Myself and Why’, Pandora’s 2021 ‘Country Artist to Watch’ has reached 71.5 million career streams and 8,000 playlist adds.

Tainted Lyric & Thomas Mac

TikTok is a real thing now, like it or not, record company A&R jobs are a dying breed as the labels just let social media platforms develop and find the next generation of stars. Tainted Lyric has over half a million followers on TikTok whilst fellow emerging artist Thomas Mac has nearly four million. Music Row is letting independent artists build up a loyal following these days so that there is a ready made market instead of having to build up their artists from nothing. It’s the future (for now, until something else comes along) so you’d better get used to it.

Shane Profitt

Being a new artist on Big Machine records can be a little like Russian roulette if you’re not careful. Just ask Drake White, Lauren Jenkins and Laci Kaye Booth. However in this current post-Luke Combs world Profitt, with his heavy-duty vocals and 90’s guitar leaning sound, stands in pole position to inherit a ready made crowd with his swagger-filled tunes and sucker-punch melodies. Expect to hear a lot from this guy next year.

Ashley Cooke

Emerging out of the 615 House in Nashville, Ashley Cooke is another rising artist who has harnessed the power of social media. Having signed a record deal with Big Loud in Spring of 2022 you can expect to hear a lot from Ashley in the coming year, building upon things like a duet with Brett Young on ‘Never Til Now’ and the release of excellent songs like ‘Back in the Saddle’. Cooke is also scheduled for an international visit to Europe in March at the C2C festival and she will be a popular artist amongst the English crowds.

Matt Roy

Matt Roy began playing guitar at the age of 8 and was already performing on stage by age 12. Inspired by artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Jackson Brown, Roy made the move to Nashville in 2014 to attend Belmont University. Before graduation, Roy inked a publishing deal with BMG and has since had songwriting success from the likes Kane Brown, Chris Young, Chris Janson, Colt Ford, Ashley Cooke and more.

In 2021, Roy landed his first multi-week No.1 single with Chris Janson’s “Done.” Named one of MusicRow’s Top 100 Songwriters and  a member of the 2021 Class of BMI Country Award Winners, Roy has established himself as one of Nashville’s top up-and-coming songwriters. Debut EP ‘Wildflower’ yielded one of our favourite songs of the year in ‘Morning in New Orleans’ so we can’t wait to see what this talented songwriter has up his sleeve for 2023.

 Chapel Hart

Hailing from Mississippi, Chapel Hart consists of sisters Danica & Devynn Hart, and their cousin, Trea Swindle. They have been releasing independent music since 2016 and banging on Nashville’s doors but it took a fifth placed finish on this year’s America’s Got Talent to really make people sit up and listen. A recent duet with Darius Rucker and media praise from Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, before she passed away, should be enough to propel this talented harmony group forward to bigger and better things in 2023.

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