10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: April 2018

From the power-country of Rachel Wammack to the dusty vibes of Kyle Daniel

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Rachel Wammack

Rachel Wammack

Sounds Like: Country's answer to the inspirational pop of Rachel Platten, with a dose of soul and monster choruses

For Fans of: Adele, Sara Bareilles, Faith Hill

Why You Should Pay Attention: Growing up in the land of the singing river – i.e. Muscle Shoals, Alabama – music was a way of life for Rachel Wammack, whose house was often filled with Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and whatever had been recorded down the road at the legendary local studios. Equally inspired by Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride, a middle-school-age Wammack would stay up late writing songs secretly in her bedroom after curfew, playing them on the piano before her parents got home from work and eventually gigging regularly around town. One day senior year, Wammack was performing at a local hotel, and an executive from Sony Music happened to be in the audience. Taken by Wammack's introspective songwriting and powerful vocals, he gave her his card. Wammack wasn't ready to move to Nashville – she wanted a degree and to study poetry – but after graduation, at the urging of that same executive, she made the move. Nine months later, she had an official record deal, a publishing contract and, eventually, a four-song Dan Huff-produced EP that's a unique combination of soul, gospel and power pop.

She Says: "I feel like it's in my DNA," Wammack says of Muscle Shoals. "My music now has a lot of soul in it, so I feel like Muscle Shoals has really impacted me for the long run in my career, which I didn't even realize was going to happen. My parents and my grandparents all sang in the choir at church, and I just loved music that I felt moved me, and that has a lot to do with Muscle Shoals: soul music, gospel and blues. [Those genres] just have a lot of moving tones and qualities to them."

Hear for Yourself: Centered on an emotive piano riff, "My Boyfriend Doesn't Speak for Me Anymore" is a bold, brazen and goose bump-inducing reminder to women everywhere who are sick of being told to stay quiet. M.M.

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