Where Are They Now? Our 2018 Artist to Watch Update

Here at New York Country Swag, we pride ourselves on being tastemakers, finding and championing new and up-and-coming artists and introducing our followers to the best of the best of the rising acts.  Back in January, we named the 10 artists below in our “Artists to Watch in 2018” and we are proud to say, we know rising talent before they make it big.  Check out what each of these artists has done over the past year and what is coming up for them in 2019.

10. Ryan Griffin– Signing a joint publishing and development deal with songwriter/producer busbee and Warner Music Nashville partnering with Altadena, the singer has been in the studio working on new music, slated for release is 2019. He released three songs in 2018 that made waves on streaming services, “Best Cold Beer”, “Good Company”, and “Play It By Heart”, garnering over 2 million streams combined. For more accomplishments click here.

9. Brandon Lay – As the opening act on Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun Tour which hit 40 stadiums this past summer, Lay he gained tons of new fans and honed in on his performing skills. He released two brand new songs, “Yada Yada Yada” and “Let It” and was even named  “Vevo’s 2019 DSCVR Artists to Watch”.  Lay is representing country music as the only country artist chosen of 20 artists from all different genres. For more about Brandon Lay click here.

8. Jordan Davis – 2018 was a huge year for Jordan Davis, the singer released his debut album Home State and his debut single “Singles You Up” hit the top of the charts, an incredible feat for a rising artist. He toured the country, garnering new fans with Jake Owen’s ‘Life Whatcha Make It Tour’ as well as Kip Moore’s ‘Room to Spare Tour’ alongside another one of our Artists to Watch, Jillian Jacqueline. Looking ahead to the new year he’ll hit the road again with Old Dominion on Jan. 18th and fans can check out tour dates here and we can hopefully look forward to his sophomore album. For more about Jordan Davis click here.

7. Jillian Jacqueline – Back in January, Jillian Jacqueline was one of our very first Swag Spotlights, where we learned about her backstory and the process behind releasing her debut EP, Side A. Now after releasing the sequel, Side B, Jacqueline continues to impress fans with her honest storytelling and appealing vocals. Joining Thomas Rhett’s “Life Changes” tour for select dates, she shared the stage with Midland, Brett Young, Carly Pearce, and Russell Dickerson. She also joined Jordan Davis on his White Wine and Whiskey tour and Brett Eldredge’s The Long Way tour with Devin Dawson.  She wrapped up her amazing year on tour with Jordan Davis and Kip Moore. Read more about her accomplishments here.

6. Adam Doleac – We first featured Adam Doleac during our Swag Session at Refinery Rooftop back in 2017 and since then we have watched him pursue his career even further and accomplish big dreams.  In 2018, Doleac stood in the infamous circle at the Grand Ole Opry with his family and friends in the audience. Among this incredible honor, the rising artist has been named one of CMT’s Artist Discovery, Texas Roadhouse Artist of the Month, and had his first CMT video premiere with “Bigger Than Us”. We look forward to hearing new music from the singer-songwriter in 2019. For more about Adam Doleac click here.

5. Ryan Kinder – One of our favorite vocalists in country music, Ryan Kinder released a 3-track project titled The Road featuring his own personal style of bluesy-blend of country music. He performed in 2018 for the UK’s Country Music Week and C2C Road Show Tour. As well as performing all across Europe, including a sold-out performance in July at London’s Hyde Park featuring Eric Clapton, Santana, and Gary Clark Jr. He headlined a 14-city tour across the states and fans were constantly singing back his lyrics to him.  Looking ahead, Kinder is gearing up to release more music and our ears will be anxiously waiting. For more about Ryan Kinder and his 2018, click here.

4. Jimmie Allen – After featuring Jimmie Allen as one of our Swag Spotlights and during a Live Swag Session, we fell in love with his personality and his drive to pursue his dreams. After moving to Nashville and living in his car to save money, the singer-songwriter finally achieved a lifelong achievement of putting out his debut album, Mercury Lane. His debut single, “Best Shot” hit the top spot on the charts, putting him a league of a few artists who had their debut singles go to the number one spot this year. He not only made his television debut on the Today Show but he also had a co-hosting spot, letting his hilarious personality shine. To end a long list of achievements, Country Radio Seminar announced that Allen was in the CRS New Faces of Country Music® Class of 2019.    Allen is an opening act on McCreery’s Seasons Change Tour then he joins Kane Brown, opening for him on the Live Forever Tour through the beginning of March. Head to our full update on Jimmie Allen here.

3. Danielle Bradbery – In 2018, Danielle Bradbery spent the year promoting her album I Don’t Believe We’ve Met, which was a testament to reintroducing yourself to her fans. She released the female empowerment track “Worth It” as well as a reimagined version of her song “Hello Summer” titled, “Goodbye Summer” featuring a duet with Thomas Rhett. The summery video garnering over 1 million views on YouTube. She closed out 2018 by releasing a 3-track project ‘The Vocals’ which highlighting songs from her album but stripped down, really showing off the songstress and her sensational voice. She has also connected with ABLE, a Nashville-based lifestyle brand to create a line of jewelry that incorporates her single, “Worth It.” The proceeds from these sales go to help people in need in Nashville and beyond. The singer-songwriter will also join Jimmie Allen and Kane Brown on the Live Forever Tour. For more info about Danielle Bradbery visit here.

2. Cale Dodds – The singer joined New York Country Swag during his radio tour promoting the single “Take You Back” and he performed for one of our Live Swag Sessions.  Throughout the year he released four singles, and for each single, he stripped it down and released an acoustic version, showing his versatility and true musicianship. He also took his first steps into the circle at the Grand Ole Opry in October, fulfilling a lifelong dream since listening to his grandmother play the Opry on the radio when he was a child. Looking ahead to 2019, fans are hoping for a full-length album from the Warner Nashville recording artist.  To watch his videos and learn more, click here.

1. Morgan Evans – Last but certainly not least, another rising artist to have a huge 2018, Morgan Evans. His debut single in the states, “Kiss Somebody” hit the top of the charts. He also released his first album in America, Things That We Drink To which was the perfect group of songs to introduce the Austrailian singer-songwriter to new fans. Teaming up with Southwest Airlines, he raced across the country doing 10 shows in 10 different cities 10 nights in a row. Evans even made a stop in New York and we got the full experience for our readers!  He joined Chris Young on his Losing Sleep Tour with Dan + Shay, bringing his unique performing style with his pedal loop to thousands across the country. After some downtime for the holidays, Evans jumps on tour with Old Dominion for select shows before heading off with Dan + Shay. Evans is making his way Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom and you can grab your tickets here!

Be on the lookout for our Artists to Watch in 2019 hitting the block in the new year!


Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook: