It's been a long road for Danielle Bradbery. In 2013 (has it really been four years?) she became the youngest person to win The Voice, and went on to release her debut record that same year. But since then? Bradbery has been a question mark. She released "Friend Zone" in 2015, which was panned by critics and fans alike. That brings us to now, as Danielle Bradbery has FINALLY released the first single off of her new project, a song she wrote titled "Sway," indicating the direction of her sophomore record.
Country music is in.
Whether we like it or not, country music has reemerged as one of the most popular genres of music all over the world. Teenage girls flock to Luke Bryan concerts like they do to Justin Bieber concerts. Sales of certain country artists are higher than many major pop acts. But with that, comes the bleeding of popular culture into country music, resulting in very pop and hip-hop-influenced tracks being marketed as country.
The anticipation has been killing us all, but it's finally here: Kelsea Ballerini's new single off of her sophomore record. Ballerini has been talking this record up since late 2015, explaining how the record shows a change in her writing style and a move away from the fun, flirty, poppy songs that led her to have No. 1 three times in a row. "Legends" is the first taste of that project, and although this is different than her first record, this isn't quite the masterpiece that Ballerini said it would be.
For Memorial Day, Nashville-based artist Carissa Leigh is honoring our veterans and fallen soldiers with her new song, "At Night."
For something a little different and out of the line of the music I usually cover on Queens of Country, I'm introducing you to Naomi Wachira this week. Born in Kenya, but now based in Seattle, Wachira creates intricate world and reggae-influenced folk music with incredibly important messages. "Beautifully Human" is the first song off of her upcoming sophomore album, Songs of Lament, and it's really worth a listen for anyone a bit concerned about the state of our world currently and looking for hope in the darkness.
If you ask any artist or country fan why they listen to country music, usually they'll say because of the lyrics. They love country music because it tells real-life stories. On country radio, it's often difficult to find stories of real life. It's easy to hear stories of flirtations and of trucks, but story songs haven't necessarily been radio-friendly in recent years. But country music still is and always will be about real life. Kelleigh Bannen's new single "Church Clothes" is a country song at its best.
All-female vocal groups have had a bit of trouble succeeding in recent years, just like female solo acts, but that doesn't mean that these groups aren't putting out stellar music. And this year, their popularity has been increasing, especially with Runaway June breaking the Top 30. Maybe April is one of the more under-the-radar country bands, but they've been working hard to craft their own version of the traditional female girl group sound, and it's a killer sound that they've crafted.
Music is constantly evolving. It's difficult to keep up, as in country music especially, there is a new wave of artists coming in and taking over every couple of years. One of those new groups is the artists taking older music sounds and incorporating these sounds into contemporary country. And it's not just older country sounds, it's vintage pop, or in Jo Smith's case, old Motown vibes. Her EP Introducing JoSMITH has an unmistakable sound that is becoming her trademark.
It's no secret that even though Haley Georgia has 'Georgia' in her name, she has a track record of making music that's way more southern pop than country. And in the past, as she's been developing her sound, she's put out some definite misses. Don't remind me about "Ridiculous": it's a song we all try to forget ever existed. But with this new single, "Never Mine Nevermind," it seems as though Haley Georgia has developed into an artist to keep an eye on.
With her new single "Every Little Thing," Carly Pearce has found the sweet spot between modern production and more classic country sounds. She's played with both before, with the more acoustic old-school sounding "Black Sheep" on her EP, and then her most recent release, the firmly pop-country "Dare Ya." This new song is a mixture of the two, and is a song to be named when talking about how country music should and could be evolving into.