10 New Artists You Need to Know: January 2014Meet the rising stars of rock, hip-hop, EDM, country and more acts shaping your tomorrow
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Sounds Like: The Pretty Little Liars star and perennial Teen Choice Award winner says she grew up listening to both kinds of music: country and Disney princess songs. Those influences coalesce on her new single "You Sound Good to Me," a perkily infatuated breeze set to arena-ready fiddle and mandolin.
For Fans Of: Sugarland, pre-NPR-pandering Dixie Chicks, Nashville's Juliette Barnes
Why You Should Pay Attention: A gal can hardly find a home these days on country radio, which is a stomping ground for lightweight hunks telling big lies about good times in small towns. But Hale, beginning her fourth season as PLL's Aria, brings 3 million weekly ABC Family viewers and even more Twitter followers. "You Sound Good to Me," which rides the recent Nashville trend of likening your crush to a song (see Florida-Georgia Line's "Cruise"), sold 42,000 downloads in its first week, hopping into the Billboard Hot 100 and the country Top 30. A full-length, recorded with producer Mark Bright (Rascal Flatts, Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood) and featuring a Joe Nichols duet, is expected this spring.
She Says: "While recording we would usually start at about 10 a.m. every morning and break at about 1 for lunch. I'm obsessed with ranch dressing and would pretty much have it every day. After we ate, I would come back in to continue recording and sound 50 percent better than before. So we joked that ranch dressing is my secret weapon."
Hear for Yourself: "You Sound Good to Me," the exact sonic opposite of a polar vortex:
by Keith Harris