This year, we’re starting a new section in our Ones to Watch series (See below for links to every list since 2009). In addition to just focusing on ‘new artists,’ we’re going to also focus on some of the Rising Stars who are no longer ‘new artists’ and/or were previously featured in our new artist Ones to Watch list in those previous years. Below is the first 10 in the new "Roughstock's Ones To Watch: The Rising Stars" edition!
Scotty McCreery (19/Interscope/Mercury Nashville)
We never included Scotty on previous lists because he became a star in between early 2011 and 2012 and it just didn’t seem right to call him a ‘new artist.’ Now breaking out with “See You Tonight” and the album of the same name, Scotty’s poised to be known for more than just a successful American Idol alumni. His debut album Clear As Day went Platinum, his 2012 Christmas With Scotty album is Gold and See You Tonight is well on its way to joining them. The album has multiple potential hits within it and Scotty’s growth between albums is perhaps the biggest leap for any artist who released a sophomore album in 2013.
Cassadee Pope (Republic/Republic Nashville)
Pope, like McCreery, won a TV singing contenst (the Voice instead of “American Idol”) in very late 2012 but was ineligible for our list last year. So, like Scotty, we’re adding Cassadee to this list as she feels more ‘established’ than Fellow Voice and 2014 One To Watch Danielle Bradbery. Perhaps that’s Pope’s years of exerpience fronting pop/punk band Hey Monday. The singer’s ability to connect with her material is what helped make her the winner of the program and the powerful voice added to her ability to connect is what makes her the potential next female Country superstar and an easy choice on this list here with hits like “Wasting All These Tears” and of course potential hits like “11” and “Good Times.”
Chase Rice (Dack Janiels/Thirty Tigers)
Some call the music he and his buddies Florida Georgia Line make “Bro Country” others simply call it Country music. We just call it good, entertaining music. A star on the rise thanks to an unmatched work ethic and strong songwriting skill, Chase finally realizes all of his potential on his nationwide debut Ready Set Roll. A graduate from last year’s list, Chase certainly earns his spot here with plenty of radio-ready material on the EP including the title track and a successful club tour which features 2014 One to Watch Sam Hunt.
David Nail (MCA Nashville)
David Nail is a 2009 graduate of our Ones To Watch list and while he’s scored a handful of hits, 2014 looks to be his true breakout year with “Whatever She’s Got” and his upcoming third album for MCA Nashville. He’s a powerful vocalist and an engaging live artist with passion to boot. The potential for stardom may finally be realized by MCA But as our previous list proves, we thought he was one to watch for a long, long time and certainly still is.
Jerrod Niemann (Sea Gayle/Arista)
A graduate of the 2010 Ones to Watch list, Jerrod has scored major hits like Platinum single “Lover, Lover” and “What Do You Want” while also being unafraid to take risks required to have sustained success as an artist in the industry. Some might say that having included horns on second album Free The Music might’ve been too big a risk but it has helped the singer release unique singles in which not one song sounded the same. “Drink To That All Night” (the lead single from his third album) continues this trend but signs are already pointing to it becoming Niemann’s biggest hit since debut “Lover, Lover.” With a potentially smashing album (we’ve heard tracks from it, it’s not gonna be a one hit wonder album), Jerrod Niemann has earned his place on this list as one of the rising stars to watch in 2014.
Thomas Rhett (The Valory Music Co.)
A graduate of the 2012 list, stardom hasn’t come quickly for the son of Artist/writer Rhett Akins. Instead, after a pair of Top 20 hits in “Something To Do With My Hands” and “Beer With Jesus,” Thomas Rhett scored a Gold-selling #1 hit in “It Goes Like This.” It has brought the singer on the brink of stardom with his debut album of the same name and new single “Get Me Some Of That.” If he hasn’t earned a slot on this list, perhaps nobody else does.
Parmalee (Stoney Creek Records)
“Carolina” has brought this family band into the spotlight with a sound that straddles the rock and country fence to the point that some were confused if the band was just taking advantage of a lighter, more open format at radio. After listening to their record Feels Like Carolina, we can confidently say they aren’t such a band and are instead no different sonically than Broken Bow Label Group family member Jason Aldean, they just have a rock ‘edge’ to their music, which is why dudes like the band as much as the ladies do.
Brett Eldredge (Atlantic Nashville)
“Don’t Ya” helped Brett Eldredge debut in a big way with one of 2013’s most-played radio hits. It went Gold (it’s nearly Platinum) and now Eldredge is on his way with “Beat of the Music” and a handful of big hits in waiting including debut album Bring You Back’s highlight, the show-stopping “One Mississippi.” The album also includes Top 30 debut hit “Raymond” (a song which helped us place him on our list in 2011).
Tyler Farr (Columbia Nashville)
Another 2012 Ones To Watch list graduate, Tyler Farr has finally broken out of the pack with “Redneck Crazy,” a tune which allowed the classically trained vocalist to showcase his wares to a wide-ranging audience. The song became a Gold-certified (also nearly Platinum) single and has Farr set up to release multiple hits from the Redneck Crazy album (perhaps he’ll re-issue “Hello Goodbye” once he’s had a couple of hits, it’s a song that certainly deserves to be). With “Whiskey In My Water,” Tyler Farr is ready for that break-out.