Coming at you today with a random but hard-hitting subject: musicians and bands you may not have heard of that I’m obsessed with and think you should be adding to your next playlist ASAP. I’m not trying to pretend I *discovered* these artists, some of them I’m sure you’ve heard of, but they’re ones that I think are still wildly underrated. Ones that will get looks when I mention them to someone because they haven’t heard of them – and that’s such a shame to me! Because they’ve got talent! A unique sound! Great lyrics!
So turn off the radio, and instead play some of these. Then report back and tell me if you’ve found anyone new you love! And also share with me any of your favorites I may not know.
For the past two years, Jake Scott has released one new single each month rather than waiting to release them all as an album. Release day was always such a fun morning getting to hear what he had created and teased! This year however, he is changing it up and holding off for an album release in June but from the singles and other bits he’s shared so far, it’s going to be good! He’s an incredibly talented singer-songwriter who manages to nail everything from lyrical ballads to upbeat jams. During quarantine he was doing concerts every Wednesday on Instagram Live and I am happy to report he sounds incredible live and better yet, is super cool and down-to-earth.
Start here: Favorite T-Shirt – I Don’t Want to be Friends – 2014
While you may not have heard of him by name, you have likely heard some of the songs he’s written, as he’s had songs sung by Tim McGraw, Logan Mize and Lady Antebellum. However, I love the songs he sings himself because he has this incredibly and unique deep, raspy voice that is unlike anything I’ve heard before. His songs are soulful, emotional, and a cross between country and folk.
Start here: Grew Apart – Clean Slate – Portland, Maine
They’ve got a uniquely eerie sound that draws you in while also kinda making you want to cry – in the best way of course.
Start here: Reckless Lover – Better Off – We Won’t Sleep
My answer to the question “Who is your favorite musician?” I’ve loved him for years and years and seen him through a handful of sound changes and yet every single one is incredible. From his more pop-y days to his electro days, AB can do no wrong in my book.
Start here: Wants What it Wants – All Those Pretty Lights – The Daylight
This guy is finally starting to get some air time on the radio and it’s much deserved. He’s had songs sung by the likes of Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Lady Antebellum but his solo career has taken off a bit as he’s gotten more exposure from his wife Maren Morris. As a songwriter-turned-singer, his lyrics are always incredible and he’s got a voice that’s super easy on the ears.
Don’t ask me about how we were supposed to see him in concert last March but it got cancelled due to COVID, I’m still bitter.
Start here: City Girl – Every Other Memory – Mississippi to Me
Another singer more known for his songwriting… I clearly have a type. I’ve always said “Hesitate” is my favorite song of all time – how do you even choose a favorite between lyrics like “I’ve never been a gambling man, but if you want to see my hand, ask me now and I won’t hesitate” and “what came with you was a view to admire”? It’s impossible, the whole song is so good. While that song is a slower ballad, most of his songs are more country.
Start here: Just Long Enough – Hesitate – Every Girl
You probably remember the song “Kings of Summer” that was the Summer anthem a couple years ago. Well, he’s got other great stuff, he’s not a one hit wonder, people!
Start here: The Shine – Half Past You – Sleeping Next to You
With a kind of dark sound, Nightly is super creative and introspective. Their music always feels like it’s meant to be played super loud, windows down, driving around back roads.
Start here: Twenty Something – This Time Last Year – Talk to Me
An indie band with a distinctive sound, I used to listen to them on my walks to work so now their music always sounds like warm early mornings strolling through Uptown Dallas. And I certainly don’t hate that.
Start here: Warm Blood – Hold On – Slow Motion
EXES has a sound that makes you want to weep it’s so beautiful. Seriously, listen to “Taxi” and then come back here and tell me it doesn’t make you feel something.
Start here: Taxi – It’s Not You, It’s Me – Promises
Full disclosure, he hasn’t really put out anything in a few years, but he had a few great albums and I saw him live at Hot Country Nights and can attest that he’s incredible so he’s still one of my faves.
Start here: Countin’ Cars – Got Me Gone – Red Light
The Band CAMINO
I’m running out of things to say about these artists other than they’re just really good – ha! Another band with a unique indie sound and intriguing lyrics.
Start here: Who Says We’re Through – My Thoughts on You – See Through
She’s unapologetic and I love that about her music. Some of her songs are explicit or at least a little taboo which honestly I find refreshing. Paired with a super unique voice, she’s one you can’t stop listening to once you start.
Start here: Undrunk – Bitter – Strangers
As my sister described “He’s the country version of Jake Scott!” Honestly a very fair comparison and it makes sense: they write together frequently, have done a duet together, and produce music together often.
His lyrical style is very similar and he has an amazing voice, but the instrumentals lean more country.
For years he hid behind his music as a songwriter – he’s written for TONS of people, including the Grammy-winning “God Only Knows” for For King and Country – but last year during quarantine decided to finally record his own stuff and has been pulling a Jake Scott by releasing one song a month.
Start here: Arizona – Fall in Love – I Go Back to You
With the voice of an angel, Emilee is still relatively new but the Surf Mesa version of her “I Love You Baby” caught on like wildfire. If you listen to the radio, it’s impossible that you didn’t hear it. Her other songs are just as beautiful and well worth a listen.
Start here: Feels Like a Dream – Falling – Heaven
BONUS: A few you likely already know but still, so underrated
I’ll admit that putting Mat Kearney on here is a bit of a stretch as I think most people have heard of him. But in my defense, this isn’t a list of undiscovered artists but simply those I consider underrated. And he certainly is. Mat Kearney is another one who has gone through some sound evolution and yet never fails. If you ever get a chance to see him in concert DO IT. Not only is he incredibly talented, but he’s got a stage energy that’s so upbeat it’s contagious.
Start here: Money – What She Wants – I Can’t Wait For You To Get Here
Alright, alright, alright, this might be another one that’s more well-known by now but I’ve noticed that while most everyone I follow on Instagram seems to be on the LANY train, when I mention them to people in my real life, most look at me with question marks in their eyes. So, I’ve added them to the list because truly, it’s a travesty that everyone hasn’t heard of them.
Their whole most recent album “Mama’s Boy” is incredible. One of the top 5 albums I’ve ever heard. Do yourself a favor and watch/listen to all the behind the scenes on Spotify – it shows the creative process and is so interesting!
Start here: ILYSB – You! – Pink Skies
It feels like he is starting to get some attention and I am pumped about it because all of his songs make you wanna dance – he’s got a funky voice and the sound is always upbeat and super catchy.
Start here: Wild – Cool – You
Below is a playlist compiling all the songs listed above, what I’d consider the 3 by each artist – the ones to try out to get a taste of to see if you like them.