10 on the verge artists you MUST hear in 2016

10 on the verge artists you MUST hear in 2016

Every year there are new artists rising through the ranks, moving from independent to mainstream, impressing the masses with their sudden rise to fame. While there’s probably a definitive way to narrow down those artists, I choose to look for the ones who have a little something unique to offer while writing songs that have the potential to make a substantial impact on the listening public. That doesn’t always mean mainstream success, though for the sake of the artists, I hope it does a little.

My Artists on the Verge in 2016 are a list of musicians that I know have been working hard, that have something cooking, or just overall have insanely great music to share with the masses this year. Some of them have probably been featured here before in one way or another, or some of them might be brand new names, but they all have one thing in common: I believe 2016 is going to bring them amazing things.

Check out the list below, in no particular order, and make sure you take a listen.


Brett Young

It’s been a while since I mentioned Young in a post, and it’s all for a good reason, the incredible talent who recently signed with Taylor Swift’s Big Machine Records. With the independent success of his incredible California Country EP, he caught the attention of hit-makers throughout Nashville, after years of pounding the pavement in search of his dream. One thing is certain, while I have no details on his eventual debut record, I can tell you that with Young writing songs it can only be a skyrocketing success. This is one California boy you’re going to want to follow over the next few months. Don’t say I didn’t tell ya so!



This Texas born group of sisters with amazing voices and incredible harmonies have been on my radar for years. It’s been a road of creative ups-and-downs, soul searching, and a whole lot of talent that has culminated in what I’m sure is going to be the best year ever for them. I’ve only heard snippets of a new song (which you can stalk on their instagram), but have faith by their pure excitement that it’s exactly what they want to show to the world. The only other thing I can offer to you is to keep your eyes (and ears) on them throughout 2016. Because it’s gonna get good.



I’ve already raved about their self-titled debut EP, but if you get a chance to catch a glimpse of Smithfield when they take the stage in your town, I’d suggest it. The Texas duo came to Nashville in pursuit of a dream and have developed a unique and addictive sound that’s impossible not to fall in love with. They’ve spent the past few years on tour, opening for established artists including Eric Paslay, Scotty McCreery, Jana Kramer, Dustin Lynch and Craig Campbell. But it’s in their dedication to crafting spot on harmonies, earth shattering emotion, and energetic hooks that they truly come into their own. Country Music definitely needs a new duo on the scene, and if I could only make on suggestion, it would be Smithfield.


Chris Lane

You probably already know all about Mr. Lane. His newest single, Fix, accumulated the most first week single adds from a debut male artist in Country Aircheck history. Pretty big talk for someone who has been working to perfect his sound over the past two years with acclaimed producer Joey Moi who helped to shape the infectious title track and Lane‘s sonic direction for his debut EP FIX. Fans of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Dustin Lynch (who is taking Lane on tour with him this year) are going to fall in love with his dancable mix of pop and country, a sound that will surly go shooting up the radio charts and hearts of fans all across the country. Be sure to tune into CMT to catch a glimpse of the hot new video for Fix, it’s a definite must see!


Fairground Saints

If you’re looking for something really more akin to a folk country, with an authentic sound and toned down production, I’m pretty sure you’re going to fall in love with Fairground Saints. Another trio from the land of Angeles (hello, fellow Californians!), they inject a sense of sunny, carefree attitude that is surely due to the land of sunshine from which they come. Members Mason Van Valin (vocals, guitar), Elijah Edwards (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards, Dobro, accordion), Megan McAllister (vocals, guitar, dulcimer) all take part in the songwriting duties that create their intimate, wildly energetic sound that ranges from funky to soulful with a consistent hint of bluegrass. One listen, and you’ll be hooked.


Steve Moakler

Chances are you’ve already heard a Moakler song somewhere out there, whether or not you’ve taken a listen to any of his two previous albums (which are all on Spotify, by the way). The proflic songwriter is an expert at capturing life experiences with stunning emotional clarity. The proof is in his long list of songs that have been placed with high profile artists, including Dierks Bentley (Riser, anyone?), Jake Owen, and Kellie Picker. He brings all of that talent to the table on his newest single, Suitcase, which hits Sirius XM’s The Highway as of this week. He’s an artist that’s already been on along road, but I have faith this year is going to see some amazing things for him.

Carly Pearce

If you’ve heard the Josh Abbot Band song “I Wasn’t That Drunk” you’re probably going to recognize that sweet female voice singing alongside Abbot. That’s Carly Pearce. She’s one of those women that knows exactly how to inject devastating emotion and undeniable happiness into every hook and turn of a melody. Her bold voice and fearless style have captured the attention of Nashville locals, and her growing success has allowed her the opportunity to open for artists like Hunter Hayes, Florida Georgia Line and Gary Allan and tour as a supporting vocalist for “Pretty Little Liars” Lucy Hale. I can promise you, this is a voice you’re going to be hearing a lot of very soon.


Clark Manson

Manson is already pretty well known, particularly in the college town where he first got his start performing, Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He’s played to sold out crowds at festivals and opened for a wide range of huge stars including Cole Swindell, Dustin Lynch and Chase Rice… just to name a few. Hot off his own independent success in local markets, he moved to Nashville and four months later found himself a publishing deal and management support. With great support systems at the helm, and an amazing track like Track 9, I have no doubt we’re going to be hearing this name a lot more in 2016.


Carissa Leigh

With a voice of gold and a no-nonsense attitude, Leigh has everything she needs to battle it out with her peers for radio time. After attending one of her showcases back in 2015, I fell in love with her humble stage presence and insane vocal chops. Her single, Pack That Bag, did well enough to gain the attention of Country Aircheck and she’ll be releasing a brand new EP in 2016. Just another reason I know this is the year she’s going to hit one out of the park.


Friends of Lola

If you’re looking for a male/female trio to replace the likes of Gloriana, I’ve got it for you. Friends of Lola are a high-energy, harmony group that bring their everything to the table. Their on-stage energy and banter make them a must-see when searching out live bands, but if that isn’t enough for you, every single one of them is insanely talented and their voices sound as if they were born to sing together. I’ve been lucky enough to check them out live a couple of times, and if they don’t release something soon I might show up at their houses begging. Nashville local? Check them out on January 19th at 3rd & Lindsley right alongside Smithfield.


Anyone you want to add to the list? Drop a comment below!

2 Responses

  1. […] In a word, they are magical, and I haven’t been able to get enough of them from the very first listen. Their self-titled debut is out now. […]

  2. […] when I mentioned that Brett Young was one of my on the verge artists for 2016. Well, the verge is near. And Brett will be performing at CMA Fest this year on The Park Stage. A […]

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