Sounds Like: A natural country-pop star coming soon to a radio station near you
For Fans of: Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band, Maren Morris
Why You Should Pay Attention: At 24, Lauren Jenkins' life already sounds like a country song. When she was 8, Jenkins told her mother she was ready to chase her dreams, and then did exactly that at 15. The Texas native bought a car and an acoustic guitar and left for Memphis, playing in bars with a fake ID. ("Breaking a lot of laws, but I don’t know if you should print that," she says, laughing.) She gigged solo around New York City for a few years, where she also studied acting, and finally caught a break when Big Machine Label Group signed her in 2013. In May, Jenkins released her debut EP, Lauren Jenkins: The Nashville Sessions, via Spotify. It's a six-song introduction that captures her love of country, Southern rock and Americana. (It also features two unlikely covers: Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and Mötley Crüe's "Looks That Kill.") With a full-length album in the works, Jenkins is opening shows for Lady Antebellum and LeAnn Rimes this summer.
She Says: "I just jump into something and figure it out later. It feels like this has been a long time in the making. But you keep enough hours in the studio, staying up until 6 a.m. with enough whiskey, and things progress a lot quicker. It's pretty rock & roll."
Hear for Yourself: "My Bar," off the Nashville Sessions EP, is a punchy, radio-ready earworm co-written with heavy hitters Liz Rose and Matt Dragstrem. James Reed