10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: August 2017

From a singer-songwriter who mixes girl-group harmonies with Countrypolitan strings to a disciple of Keith Urban who loves the loop pedal

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 Makayla Lynn

Makayla Lynn

Sounds Like: Relaxed pop-country that's heavier on the twang than the synths; think Colbie Caillat singing Sara Evans

For Fans of: Maddie & Tae, RaeLynn, the more innocent side of Kacey Musgraves

Why You Should Pay Attention: Still juggling high-school classes and frequent commutes to Nashville from her home in Nova Scotia, 16-year-old Makayla Lynn has been writing and performing since the ripe old age of eight, opening for artists like Carrie Underwood and Alabama and playing over 100 shows a year. As much informed by Alison Krauss as Maren Morris, Lynn – who co-wrote all but one of the songs on her sophomore LP, On a Dare and Prayer – straddles a refreshing line between modern pop-country and a style that evokes the nineties one-name queens (Faith, Shania, Trisha). Balancing the innocence of youth with snappy bursts of lyrical wit ("a good man is so hard to train" she quips on "That's Why I Love You"), Lynn isn’t old school, but she's not new wave either – leave it to a teenager to find a sweet spot in the middle.

She Says: "I always say that my age is my best friend and my worst enemy. Sometimes it's a great thing, and I'm really lucky that I am 16 and I'm able to go around town and do this, and other times it can be difficult for people to take you seriously at a young age. People always ask, 'Do you have to make time to be a kid?' And I say, 'This is me being a kid. I get to stay in resorts with huge pools and do something I love, while growing up.'"

Hear for Yourself: On "Joyride," Lynn uses some infectious syncopation and versatile vocal inflections to surrender to the freedom of youth, while always remembering that every joyride has to end somewhere. M.M.

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