10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2016

From an unapologetic cowboy singer to a dazzling chanteuse-wordsmith

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Jillian Jacqueline

Jillian Jacqueline

Sounds Like: Shania Twain's confident spin on country reimagined for 2016's urban-dwellers

For Fans of: Maren Morris, early Sheryl Crow, the colorful style of Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry

Why You Should Pay Attention: Jacqueline is part of an emerging class in country music that favors easygoing hooks and sonic experimentation over bluster and the status quo. Her Prime EP — available for listening on Spotify — tackles the ups and downs of relationships and navigating early adulthood, sticking up for her generation on the wistful "Kids These Days," and dealing with self-loathing over not being able to ditch a loser in the bluesy "Slacker." She can't hide her unfailing optimism, which shines through on the set's effortlessly cool title track and the gritty determination of "Finest Hour." 

She Says: "It's my way of having fun with the idea of living it up wherever you are in your life, whether you're 45 and your kids are going off to college, or you're 14," she says of the song "Prime." "I feel like it applies to everyone and I love that we were able to capture something that felt really universal but also feels so unique to me and my perspective. It is a reminder to me every day. When I hear it, I'm like, 'I want to be that girl. I want to be the girl in the song I just wrote about.' It's helpful for me to hear that." 

Hear for Yourself: "Prime," with its rumbling guitar and silky organ, is a nice complement to the quirky visual feast of its video: stylish Jacqueline drinks from a rooftop, swings a bat at a cup full of red slushee and lounges with her two adorable French bulldogs. Jon Freeman

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