Where Are They Now? Our 2018 Artists 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 2018, 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 two years and what is coming up for them in 2020.

10. Ryan Griffin- Griffin continues to pave his way as an artist and as a songwriter. If 2018 was his break-out year, 2019 was the year of honing his craft, so that 2020 can be even brighter. This September, the singer finally dropped his major-label debut single, perfectly titled “Right Here Right Now,” which was produced by the late busbee. Griffin paid tribute to his producer with the music video, which speaks volumes about his character. We are sure that the new year is going to be a big year for the rising artist.

9. Brandon Lay- The country newcomer spent his 2019 playing huge festivals across the United States, including Stagecoach and Hunter Mountain’s Taste of Country Music Festival. We caught up with the singer at the latter, where we talked about his incredible rendition of Trisha Yearwood’s iconic song “Walkaway Joe.” Lay also released another original song this fall, an anthemic track called “Still Rock & Roll.”

8. Jordan Davis- Davis grew his fanbase and notoriety this past year. He landed opening gigs on major tours, including Old Dominion and Rascal Flatts headlining tours, as well as, played at every major country music festival. In the last couple of months of 2019, the signer finally treated fans to new music dropping the laid-back “Trouble Town” and “Cool Anymore,” an exuberant duet with Julia Michaels. Davis also announced his 2020 headlining tour. New Yorkers can catch the singer on stage at New York City’s Webster Hall this March!

7. Jillian Jacqueline- The extremely talented songstress had quite the exciting year! She not only opened for Devin Dawson on his ‘Stray Off Course Tour,’ but also made her headlining debut in New York City at Gramercy Theatre back in May! To learn more about her backstory, check out our Swag Spotlight!

6. Adam Doleac- We have believed in Doleac, since day one, but he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Back in October, the singer signed with Sony Music/Arista Nashville, and his major-label debut single “Famous” will impact country radio on December 16th. Besides “Famous,” the singer-songwriter has also independently released “Puzzle of Us,” “SOLO,” and “Wake Up Beautiful.” Check out what he has to say about those songs and his journey so far in our interview from the Taste of Country Music Festival below.

5. Ryan Kinder- Kinder remains one of the most talented vocalists in country music right now. This year the singer-songwriter played gigs across the United States, partnering with organizations such as Iron Man, and playing shows with artists like Jennifer Nettles. He also gave Opry Entertainment and his fans a deeper look into the songwriting behind his song “Stay,” making it impossible not to root for his success going into 2020.

4. Jimmie Allen- After featuring Allen in one of our Swag Spotlights and during a live swag session, we immediately knew that he was primed for success. 2019 was a big year for the blossoming singer-songwriter both personally and professionally. Allen proposed to his girlfriend in Disney World back in July, and the happy couple are expected their first child together coming 2020! As far as his career goes, the rising artist shows no signs of slowing down. He made his Good Morning America debut, released a cover of “Shallow,” with Abby Anderson, dropped an EP of remixes of his number 1 hit “Best Shot,” and will be performing with Michael Ray at Gramercy Theatre in NYC on December 5th.

3. Danielle Bradbery- Bradbery spent most of 2019 touring and being creative. Like Allen, she released her own stunning version of A Star is Born’s “Shallow,” featuring fellow country singer Parker McCollum. The singer also toured with Allen, opening for Kane Brown on his widely successful ‘Live Forever Tour.’ We hope 2020 will bring more music from Bradbery!

2. Cale Dodds- The Swag Session alum continues to make a name for himself in the industry. In 2019, the rising artist released an endearing new song entitled “I Like Where This Is Going” featuring big-name co-writers like the extraordinary Nicolle Galyon and the late busbee. Looking ahead to 2020, fans are hoping for a full-length album from the Warner Nashville recording artist.

1. Morgan Evans- We thought 2018 was a big year for Evans, but 2019 was an even bigger year for the rising artist. It seemed like every other month the singer-songwriter gave fans something new to be excited about this past year. He released Highway 1 Sessions, mashed up his number one single “Day Drunk” with tour mates, Dan + Shay’s “Tequila,” and even performed at major festivals across the states and Australia. This past November, Evans released his new single “Diamonds,” just in time for him to head back to NYC for a headlining show at the Bowery Ballroom featuring Madison Kozak on December 7th. Grab your tickets here!

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for an update on all the artists we named to watch in 2019, and don’t forget to look back at what our 2017 artists to watch have been up to. Our carefully-cultivated 2020 Artist to Watch list will be here soon!



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