Since the debut of his first album in 2007, Luke Bryan has placed 15 singles at No. 1 and sold nearly seven million albums with 27 million digital tracks from his four studio albums. He has been named Entertainer of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music (twice) and the Country Music Association. In 2014, Luke achieved the best touring year of his career with 1.7 million fans attending his concerts. In early 2015, Luke played his first-ever shows in Europe and that May, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum launched a summer exhibit, “Luke Bryan: Dirt Road Diary” which sought to examine the singer-songwriter’s roots and rise to stardom.
On August 7, Luke released KILL THE LIGHTS, his fifth studio album and the follow up to his most successful project to date, CRASH MY PARTY, which contains six consecutive No. 1 singles, is certified Double Platinum and has currently sold over two million copies with eight million digital downloads.
Country up-and-comer Brett Eldredge has always been attracted to singers, a fact that should come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard the Illinois native’s soulful, distinctive baritone. “I always gravitated towards big voices, because as a kid I had this big voice coming out of me,” says Eldredge. “I was hooked on the story that somebody would be telling through their voice.” With his debut album slated to be released in 2013 on Atlantic Records and new single “Don’t Ya” at radio now, Eldredge is finally getting the chance to share a story of his own.
As he continues to work hard at the craft of songwriting, there’s no question his talent will grow along with his audience. “You can create something from nothing, and that’s the coolest thing in the world to me,” Eldredge says. “This new music is me, and it’s taken every song I’ve written up to this point to get to where I am. I feel better about my music now than I ever have felt, and I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
A native of Asheville, North Carolina, country singer/songwriter Luke Combs has been singing since he could walk, but did not start playing guitar until the summer after his junior year at Appalachian State University. He began playing shows shortly thereafter in January of 2012 and has been playing consistently ever since. He released a pair of EPs in 2014, and in 2015, his debut single, “Hurricane,” reached the Top 10 on the iTunes Country Songs Chart. His third EP, This One’s for You, was released later that year and peaked at No. 5 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart. Luke recently formed his own full band and has had the opportunity to open for artists such as Travis Tritt, Tracy Lawrence, Eli Young Band, Old Dominion, Corey Smith, Chase Rice, Cadillac Three and Kelsea Ballerini.
Kane Brown was born and raised in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area by a single mother, moving from Rossville to Fort Oglethorpe and LaFayette in Georgia, finally settling in Red Bank, Tennessee.He attended Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School where he sang in the choir with Lauren Alaina, the runner-up on season 10 of American Idol. He also attended Red Bank, Ridgeland, and Soddy Daisy High Schools, at all of which he was a stand out athlete at football, basketball and track.The singer was exposed to country music from a young age and was encouraged to enter his 11th-grade talent show singing “Gettin’ You Home Tonight” by his favorite singer Chris Young. Kane won the talent show and he began his dream of pursuing a country music career.Using social media as his platform, Kane posts both cover songs and original material on Facebook and Instagram. The videos have spread virally and Kane’s Facebook following has grown to over 1.5 million loyal and engaged followers.In 2014, Kane crowdfunded his debut EP Closer. The EP was released on iTunes on June 2, 2015 where it charted at #11. As his online popularity surged, the EP re-charted in October, 2015 at #1 on the iTunes country chart.On Kane’s 22nd birthday, October 21, 2015, he released the single “Used to Love You Sober” on iTunes where it quickly went to #1 on the country singles chart and #2 overall. Two more singles followed, “Last Minute Late Night” and “Love That I Hate You,” both of which were #1’s on the iTunes Country Chart.In November, 2015, Kane embarked on his first headline tour and has sold out every show he has played across the country.Kane is currently in the process of signing a major label record deal, and “Used to Love You Sober” will be a single at country radio in early-spring 2016.Says Kane of his fans and success, “I am down to earth but I always try to stay positive for my fans because throughout everything they have lifted me up so much.”
Country singer/songwriter, guitarist, and pianist Sam Hunt was born and raised in rural Cedartown, Georgia, where he was a gifted athlete and had a fine career as a college quarterback at both Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Although he was good enough to be signed as a free agent for a time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Hunt was drawn increasingly to music. He had grown up on, and loved, 1990s country, and after hearing all manner of rap, R&B, and other urban pop styles in college locker rooms, he developed a singing and songwriting style that gently blended all of this, and he headed off to Nashville, ground zero for hopeful country songwriters, to begin his career.
Quickly signed to a publishing deal, he applied the self-discipline he learned as an athlete, and began writing better and better songs, finally breaking through when songs he wrote or co-wrote were recorded by country stars Kenny Chesney ("Come Over," which went on to become a number one single), Keith Urban ("Cop Car"), Billy Currington ("We Are Tonight"), and others. Hunt made his commercial recording debut when he independently released a single, "Raised on It," in 2013, followed by a 15-song demo mixtape called Between the Pines that same year, also independently released. Hunt signed a recording deal with MCA Nashville early in 2014, and the label released a single, "Leave the Night On," that same year in advance of an album. "Leave the Light On" became anumber one country hit later that year, setting the stage for the October release of Hunt's debut, Montevallo. It debuted at number one on the country chart and number three on the pop chart and generated three additional hits: "Take Your Time" and "House Party," which both reached number one, and "Break Up in a Small Town." As the latter rode the charts, his 2013 "acoustic mixtape" Between the Pines was re-released in October 2015. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
Sheer talent, honest lyrics and a completely magnetic presence.“
Can I get a hallelujah, can I get an amen?” sings Texas-born, Nashville-dwelling Maren Morris on “My Church,” the lead single from her debut full-length, HERO. Though “sing,” however, might not be the most appropriate verbiage – she belts, more like it, in her dynamic range that can growl soulfully one moment and twangily howl the next. It’s an honest performance from an artist and writer who stands out for the singular point of view, sheer creativity and fearless approach to music she’s developed since she began performing and writing as a young child. Using the boldest colors from across many genres as her palate and country as her canvas, Morris’ stories are vivid paintings that can be gleefully fun, tearfully heartbreaking and a perfect balance of modern and timeless.
Country singer and songwriter Chris Janson was born and raised in Missouri but moved to Nashville to pursue music the summer after finishing high school. A guitarist as well as a stellar harmonica player, Janson first made his mark as a songwriter, penning Tim McGraw's 2012 hit "Truck Yeah," and he's co-written with former Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin, among others. He released his first single, "'Til a Woman Comes Along," for BNA Records in the spring of 2010, but left the label when it was restructured. After signing with McGraw's Bigger Picture Music Group, he released a second single, "Better I Don't," produced by the legendary Keith Stegall, early in 2013. He released a self-titled EP later that year, which cracked the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Another EP, Take It to the Bank, followed in early in 2014, and in early 2015, he released the single "Buy Me a Boat" without any label support. After receiving play on the nationally syndicated country radio program The Bobby Bones Show, the song climbed into the Top Ten of the country charts and earned Janson a deal with Warner Bros. in the spring, as well as a performance spot on the CMT Music Awards telecast that June. That summer, "Buy Me a Boat" made its way into the Top Ten and was quickly followed by "Outlaw Ways," a single that failed to make any waves and ultimately wasn't included on Buy Me a Boat, the full-length debut that appeared in October. Alongside "Buy Me a Boat" came a pair of new singles, the rowdy "Power of Positive Drinkin'" and the heartfelt "Holdin' Her." ~ Steve Leggett & Marcy Donelson, Rovi
Ryan Follese (Pronounced "fall-uh-ZAY") co-wrote all six tracks on his Country debut, including “Put A Label On It,” which impacts Country radio October 10 as his first official single. Selling over 40,000 downloads to date and amassing over 1.8 million streams, the RYAN FOLLESE EP (BMLG Records) was recorded in Nashville with producers Dann Huff and Cameron Montgomery. SiriusXM kickstarted the launch in June, selecting Ryan as their “Highway Find” and spinning his summer anthem “Float Your Boat.” During his successful run fronting American Music Award-winning band Hot Chelle Rae, Ryan co-wrote their 3X Platinum #1 worldwide smash “Tonight, Tonight” and toured in 16 countries, featuring arena dates with Taylor Swift. Ryan performed on the 2012 CMT Music Awards with Lady Antebellum and penned “Thug Story” with Taylor Swift and T-Pain; the 2009 show opener has since become one of the most played video clips in CMT history. The multiple-octave vocalist has since re-focused his songwriting to incorporate the storytelling lyrics and Nashville influences he was raised on, growing up surrounded with the Country music of his chart-topping songwriter parents Keith and Adrienne. Collectively, their catalogue includes smashes for Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum and Martina McBride. Currently previewing the new music at Country radio nationwide, Ryan has been tapped for Live Nation's 'Ones To Watch' Tour with headliner LOCASH beginning this fall.
Blake Shelton may have been an unlikely candidate for superstardom but that's hardly due to a lack of charisma. Shelton possessed a warm, masculine ease that lent his rowdier numbers a sense of sly humor but this relaxed touch also made him an effective crooner of ballads, the ace in the hole that helped him cross over from country to the mainstream in the 2010s. His transition to being a household name certainly was assisted by his starring role as a judge on NBC's hit musical competition The Voice, but by that point Shelton had racked up plenty of number one country hits, beginning with his 2001 debut "Austin" and running through "Some Beach," "Home," "Doin' What She Likes," "She Wouldn't Be Gone," "Hillbilly Bone," "All About Tonight," and "Honey Bee," the 2011 single that went triple platinum around the time The Voice hit the airwaves. Over the next few years, Shelton was at the apex of his stardom, appearing regularly on The Voice, earning headlines through his marriage to fellow country singer Miranda Lambert, and staying in the Top Ten with the singles "Sure Be Cool If You Did," "Boys Round Here," and "Neon Light," hits that proved he was one of the biggest country stars of the 21st century.
Dustin Lynch occupies a unique place in today’s country music. Thanks to his classic sensibilities, he’s been heralded as the heir to George Strait’s throne. Yet with one listen to his newest hit, “Where It’s At,” it’s obvious the young Tennessean knows how to combine his traditional influences with an edgy intensity that places him at the vanguard of today’s contemporary country scene.
It’s that ability to fuse his country roots with a progressive musical vision that makes Lynch one of today’s most successful young artists. His self-titled Broken Bow Records debut hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and the lead single, “Cowboys and Angels,” exceeded platinum sales status while earning Lynch a legion of devoted fans. His follow up single, the sexy up tempo “She Cranks My Tractor,” became a No. 1 video on GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown and the accolades continued to pour in, among them Rolling Stone heralding Lynch as “The New Hat in Town” in the magazine’s 2013 Best of Rock issue. Lynch’s career momentum continued as he opened for Keith Urban on his recent Light the Fuse Tour and earned critical praise from American Songwriter, Billboard, Country Weekly, Elle, The Los Angeles Times, People and USA Today, to name a few.
William Michael Morgan
As a Grammy nominated producer and Executive Vice President of A&R at Warner Music Nashville, you might say that Scott Hendricks qualifies as an expert on country singers. So when he gets excited about someone, it’s worth paying attention. And right now he’s excited about Warner Bros. Records newcomer William Michael Morgan. The tall, easy-going, unfailingly polite 22-year-old from Vicksburg, Mississippi, has the look you’d hope for in a young entertainer and the stature to wear a black cowboy hat, a symbol that stands for something in the country music world. And he’s certainly got the chops as an award-winning young performer, who earned recording and publishing deals before turning 20. But for Hendricks, it all comes down to that voice. “William Michael Morgan is seriously one of the very best singers I have ever recorded and I have recorded a bunch,” Hendricks said. “Recording a voice typically reveals any and all imperfections. I will never forget the first time we went into the studio and heard William Michael's voice come across the speakers. It was a jaw-dropping experience. I'm anxious for the world to hear what I heard. It truly is a special voice.” Country fans will get their introduction to Morgan with “I Met a Girl,” his sweetly romantic debut single. Old and new, fast and slow, steel and piano, the song will give fans exact GPS coordinates of where Morgan is coming from. “I like to sing about love. I’m a lover, not a fighter,” Morgan says with a Mississippi lilt in his voice. “I like to write about having a good time. I’m a typical 22 year old.” Well, not really. Most folks are still trying to figure themselves out at 22. Morgan knew where he was going from an early age and his parents were always there for him. In the ninth grade, Morgan put together a band of middle-aged musicians who shared his love of Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard and George Jones. “We didn’t really have much of a name for the band, we just loved to get together and play,” Morgan said. “The great thing about finding those guys who were older than me is they all loved the same kind of music I did and we just blended so well. I was lucky enough to have a steel guitar player all those years, and I just fell in love with that sound.” The no-name band played honky tonks on the weekends while Morgan worked odd jobs – he was a roofer, a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly – during the week. He began traveling back and forth to Nashville to write by the time he was 16. Morgan moved to town permanently when he was 18. “Honestly, I didn’t know how to wash my clothes,” Morgan said. He didn’t have any money to plug into the coin slot anyway. But contacts he built with Managers Joe Carter and Mike Taliaferro along with producer Jimmy Ritchey quickly paid off when he signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville and a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell at 19. These developments exposed him to Music Row, where he learned to expand his musical repertoire and education. He still keeps his ear out for those special songs like the ones by his musical heroes, though, and thinks he’s found one in “I Met a Girl,” co-produced by Hendricks and Ritchey and co-written by Shane McAnally, Trevor Rosen and Sam Hunt. It’s the kind of song that goes perfectly with that timeless voice of Morgan’s. “That was the thing about those older songs by Haggard and Jones: they had those lyrics that really, really hit home. Whether it be a fun up-tempo ‘Working Man Blues’ kind of song or ‘The Cold, Hard Truth.’ Each lyric just hits you at home. I think that’s what I try to do. Whether it be happy or sad, I try to put the most heart into I can.”
Born in the bluegrass state of Kentucky, Carly Pearce was destined for country music stardom. She fronted a touring bluegrass band at the tender age of 11, later leaving her high school and moving to Pigeon Forge to perform at "Dollywood" at the age of 16.Since moving to Nashville in 2009, Carly has shared the stage with artists such as Hunter Hayes, Florida Georgia Line and Gary Alan, toured with "Pretty Little Liars" star Lucy Hale as her backup singer, been a regular artist at the legendary "Bluebird Cafe" and made her Grand Ole Opry debut May 30th.Her first single, "Blame the Whiskey," has been a listener favorite on Sirius XM's The Highway over the last year, she signed an endorsement deal with international makeup line "Essence" cosmetics, was named one of Rolling Stones' "10 Artists to Watch This Summer", became one of CMT's "Next Women of Country" for 2016, signed with CAA Nashville for booking and currently opening for artists such as Kelsea Ballerini and the Josh Abbott Band, who she recorded a duet ("Wasn't That Drunk") with that will hit radio in January 2016.Carly recently signed a publishing deal with BMG Nashville and is currently working on new music with hit producer, Busbee.