2021 Country Artists to Watch – Curated by NYCountry Swag

The New York Country Swag team loves to support rising artists and introduce our followers to the best new music in the genre. Since our inception five years ago we have named rising stars like Russell Dickerson, Luke Combs, Brett Young, Jordan Davis, Mitchell Tenpenny, and HARDY, and Gabby Barrett as our Artists to Watch. Check out our picks in 20172018, 2019,and 2o2o, before checking out the 10 artists we picked to have a huge 2021 below.


10. Niko Moon – Already a hit songwriter, Niko Moon has written hits for Zac Brown Band including “Homegrown”, “Keep Me In Mind”, “Loving You Easy”, and many more. He released his first music as an artist in 2019 and in 2020 released feel-good tunes like “GOOD TIME” and “PARADISE TO ME”. We caught his opening set for Ryan Hurd back in March and also featured him during one of our Swag Sessions. Watch below.

For Fans of: Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band
Stay Connected: @NikoMoon



9. Tenille Arts – Just named one of CRS Class of 2021 New Faces, Tenille Arts continues to build up her fanbase by releasing catchy, relatable songs for country fans across the genre. Born in Canada, Arts made the move to Nashville and is proudly writing and recording music that is authentic to her artistry.

For Fans of: Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum
Listen: “Somebody Like That”
Stay Connected: @TenilleArts



8. Drew Parker – Drew Parker has already had huge success as a songwriter in Nashville thus far, a co-writer on “1,2 Many”, “Lonely One”, and “Nothing Like You” with Luke Combs as well as Jake Owen’s “Homemade”. He is slated to open for Luke Combs on his 2021 tour and his current single “While You’re Gone” has racked up over 2 million streams since its release. Learn more about Drew Parker in our Swag Spotlight feature here.

For Fans of: Luke Combs, Cody Johnson
Listen: “While You’re Gone”
Stay Connected: @DrewParkerPlays



7. ERNEST – Nashville native and Big Loud Records signee, ERNEST is a sought after songwriter in town, recently celebrating 3 number one hits, Morgan Wallen’s “More Than My Hometown”, Chris Lane’s “Big Big Plans”, as well as Florida Georgia Line’s “I Love My Country”. He also has 11 cuts on Wallen’s sophomore double album, Dangerous. His laid-back yet vibrant style is unique to the genre and he is poised to showcase his artistry this year.

For Fans of: HARDY, Morgan Wallen
Listen: “CHEERS”
Stay Connected: @ERNEST



6. Priscilla Block – After her song “Just About Over You”, based on a true story, went viral on TikTok and hit the top of the iTunes charts this sassy young singer-songwriter signed a record deal with Universal Music Group and is primed for success in 2021. Block’s body-positive anthem, “Thick Thighs” has garnered millions of views on TikTok as well and is securing her a grassroots grown fanbase.

For Fans of: Miranda Lambert, Lizzo
Listen: “Just About Over You”
Stay Connected: @PriscillaBlock



5. Payton Smith – 20-year-old Louisana native, Payton Smith caught our attention during the Big Machine Label Group showcase back in February of 2020 during CRS.His incredible guitar skills and stage presence so early on in his career is one reason we included him on our list for 2021 but we know that fans will love his pop-country style.

For Fans of: Keith Urban, Hunter Hayes
Listen: “Like I Knew You Would”
Stay Connected: @ThePaytonSmith



4. Hailey Whitters – An artist and songwriter that we’ve had on our radar for the past few years, Hailey Whitters is an artist that stands out with her angelic voice and honest lyrics. Her song “Ten Year Town” about the struggles of the music industry and Nashville is what really put her on the map and her debut record The Dream boasts songs about the heartland, and how proud Whitters is of her roots.

For Fans of; Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town
Listen: “Janice at the Hotel Bar” 
Stay Connected: @HaileyWhitters




3. Kameron Marlowe – Kameron Marlowe made his move to Music City after his stint on NBC’s The Voice and his self-titled EP, which was released last November, has garnered over 80 million streams. We got to know the budding artist back in November in our Swag Spotlight interview where he told us, “Music is what I want to do for the rest of my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else but music now.”

For Fans of: Luke Combs, Chris Stapleton
Listen: “Burn ‘Em All”
Stay Connected: @KameronMarloweMusic



2. Noah Schnacky – Spending 2020 releasing music to his huge fanbase across social media, including his most recent “Every Girl I’ve Ever Loved”, Noah Schnacky utilizes his social channels in the best way. All throughout quarantine, Schnacky can often be found hosting live streaming concerts, connecting with his fans, and showcasing his country crooner voice. We first saw the rising artist during CRS and were captivated by his charm and performance of “Maybe We Will”.

For Fans of: Sam Hunt, Dan + Shay
Listen: “Meet the Man”
Stay Connected: @NoahSchnacky



1. Lily Rose – One of the artists that we are most excited to round out our list is undeniably Lily Rose. Her debut track “Villain” debuted at the top of the iTunes chart last month and her soulful, gritty delivery to a story everyone has felt amassed over 1 million views on TikTok in 24 hours. Her vocal will captivate the listener and “Villain” begs for repeat spins.

For Fans of: Ashley McBryde, Ingrid Andress
Listen: “Villain”
Stay Connected: @LilyRoseMusic


Like what you hear? Give a follow to our 2021 Artists to Watch List here.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about upcoming announcements and releases.

Check out the latest tunes in country music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.





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