Every year, there are a handful of artists that break out of the pack to become the next big thing, with some eventually going on to become one of their genre's defining stars. This year, like always, there are plenty to choose from, and we've picked a few that just might be soon-to-be arena headliners.
From traditional country to pop sounds and everything in between, this group of up-and-comers is poised to become the new voices you'll be hearing in the industry — keep reading for our top 10 artists to watch in 2020.
Abby Anderson first made a splash with her 2018 single "Make Him Wait," her second release with Black River Entertainment. She has since released one EP, 2018's I'm Good, and several singles, the most recent of which, "Flowers," was released in October 2019. This year, Anderson joined Rob Thomas as support on Thomas' Chip Tooth Smile Tour. She has also toured with Russell Dickerson, Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice.
Andress was a songwriter before she became an artist, penning songs for artists including Sam Hunt, Charli XCX, Fletcher and Alicia Keys after being mentored by pop songwriter Kara DioGuardi. In 2019, Andress began releasing music of her own, including her single "More Hearts Than Mine." In 2020, she'll join Dan + Shay on the duo's The (Arena) Tour, which begins in March.
Finishing third place on American Idol's 16th season in 2018, Gabby Barrett quickly made her way to Nashville to begin releasing music of her own, starting with her single "I Hope," which she released independently and attracted her enough attention to earn a deal with Warner Music Nashville. Barrett was selected as one of CMT's Next Women of Country for 2020.
Another member of CMT's Next Women of Country for 2020, Caylee Hammack burst onto the scene early this year with her debut single, "Family Tree." Born and raised in Georgia, Hammack eventually made the move to Nashville where she scored a job at the legendary bar Tootsie's before launching her career. She followed "Family Tree" with two more tracks and earned a spot on Miranda Lambert's Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars Tour this year.
Madison Kozak signed a publishing deal with a large publishing company while still in college, and recently became the flagship artist for the new record label, Songs & Daughters, which is focused on female talent. Kozak is currently in the 2020 class of CMT's Next Women of Country and will head out on an international tour with Chase Rice next year. She has also spent time on the road touring with Morgan Evans and has released one EP, 2019's Heartbreak School.
Kaleb Lee had already given up on music by the time the producers of The Voice came calling. Leaving his family in Florida, where he had retreated to escape music, Lee flew to Los Angeles to audition, ending up a semi-finalist on Kelly Clarkson's team. Clarkson has been instrumental in helping get his career off the ground, even singing with him on his current single, "I Dream in Southern."
Parker McCollum might be still unknown to many, but he's already well known to one country music superstar: Miranda Lambert, who invited McCollum to join her on select dates on her upcoming Wildcard Tour. The Austin-based singer released his first EP in 2013, his first album in 2015 and his second in 2017. In 2019, he signed with Universal Music Group and released his first single under the label, "Pretty Heart."
Dylan Schneider self-released his first EP, Wannabe, back in 2016, and the 20-year-old hasn't stopped working since. In 2019, he released his fourth EP, Whole Town Talk, which was released by Interscope Records through a partnership with Round Here Records, the label started by Florida Georgia Line members Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley. He also spent time on the road with FGL on select dates of their Can't Say I Ain't Country Tour this year.
Childhood best friends Tom Jordan and Mitch Thompson are Seaforth, the pop-country duo that signed to RCA/Sony Nashville in 2018. They released their first EP, Love That, in 2019, and recently wrapped a stint as support for Mitchell Tenpenny on his Anything She Says Tour. The tour was named after Tenpenny's single of the same name that featured Seaforth and was released in July.
Jenny Tolman just released her debut album, There Goes the Neighborhood, but she's no stranger to the music industry. The child of a music industry executive and born and raised in Nashville, Tolman has collaborated with some of the biggest and best songwriters in town and began releasing music of her own in 2016, playing shows alongside artists including Alabama and Cole Swindell.
Photo Credit: Getty / Rich Fury