With over 1 billion active monthly users, TikTok is undeniably one of the biggest social media platforms of this generation. Not only did it become a source of a whole new collection of entertaining and creative content, but it also gave birth to a lot of new sounds, especially during the pandemic. It became home to many budding country music artists who found the app as a new avenue where they can share their craft and reach more audiences in the process. And some of them were even lucky enough to turn their viral videos into record deals of a lifetime.
RELATED: Top 100 Country Songs Chart 2021
Here at Country Thang Daily, we compiled all of the TikTok sensations turned rising country stars (from A to Z) that you should definitely check out before 2021 ends in a few months. Bear with us though; it’s going to be a long list.
Andrew Jannakos (@ajannakos)
You might have probably heard Andrew Jannakos’ name before he even became popular on TikTok. The Georgia native first appeared on The Voice Season 16 as part of Adam Levine’s team. He had a great run on the show before getting eliminated in the battle rounds. A year later, his now-wife uploaded a video of him on TikTok cooking dinner while singing his song “Gone Too Soon.” The song quickly became viral, and the next second, everyone knew his name.
His power on TikTok with now 850,000 followers led him to score a major record deal with Sony Music Nashville. And his song “Gone Too Soon” later debuted at number one on Billboard’s Emerging Artist chart. He also released his same-titled debut EP with five other songs.
Alexandra Kay (@alexandrakaymusic)
Alexandra Kay turned down a full-ride college scholarship playing competitive softball to pursue a music career. And that was probably one of the best decisions in her life, although success didn’t manifest until 2013 when she scored an independent record deal with Network Entertainment and her first single, “No More,” became a radio hit.
But her breakthrough moment arrived after she posted her version of Dolly Parton’s iconic song “Jolene.” Her cover captivated new audiences, and since then, her TikTok following saw an exponential boost starting only at 200,000 to 2.4 million in just a short time. Last year, Alexandra Kay dropped two independent releases – “I Kinda Don’t” and “All The Cowboys,” which both peaked at number one on the iTunes country chart. Her 2021 singles “We Wouldn’t Be Us” and “How Do We Go” debuted at #3 and #2 respectively, on the charts.
Ashley Cooke (@theashleycooke)
Raised between the beautiful coasts of California and Florida, Ashley Cooke followed her dreams of being a country musician straight to Belmont University right in Music City. But the pandemic happened, and she was left with nothing but delayed plans. That was when she discovered TikTok, and the next thing she knew, her life and career turned a full 180 degrees.
Ashley now boasts a strong 734,000 following on TikTok, releasing songs like “Through This” and “Jealous Sky,” a tribute song for her late best friend, Adam, who died from cancer. And more recently, the up-and-coming country artist released her album Already Drank That Beer, including three songs produced by GRAMMY-nominated producer Jimmy Robbins. First was “Sunday Morning Kinda Saturday Night,” which debuted at the top of the iTunes Country Chart. And just last September 1, she also dropped “Good Goodbye” featuring Jimmie Allen.
Aside from her personal career, Ashley also co-founded The 615 House with a friend and fellow country artist Chris Ruediger. The 615 House is the countrified version of The Hype House and provides a platform for Nashville-based artists to grow their fan base.
Brandon Davis (@brandondavis_music)
A 28-year-old father of four, the Texas native, started doing music at an early age, but he never really went for his dream of being a musician because it always seemed so out of reach for him. But after being hit head-on by a distracted driver in 2019, he started to re-evaluate his life and thought about finally chasing his dream. And with the help of his very determined wife, who never waits for opportunities and instead just makes things happen, Davis found himself in the midst of outpouring attention.
Now, the Brandon Davis brigade on TikTok has reached over 1.5 million followers. A lot of his content on the platform are crooning covers of songs by Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton. Sometimes, his wife and kids cameo and joined in the fun, especially during his on-the-fly concert challenges. He also dropped three tracks since 2020 titled “God Made Angels,” “Step by Step,” and “What Cowboys Are For.”
Chris Ruediger (@chris.ruediger)
Growing up just outside of Boston in New England, Chris Ruediger first started music by playing the piano. But when he got a hold of an acoustic guitar, that was when he fell hard in love with the sounds of country music. He then went on to play small shows and earned himself a devoted local following. And soon, he was packing his bags and heading for Nashville, where he attended Vanderbilt University.
Chris, with his modern pop-country style, started making his name in the industry by releasing his emotional breakup song “Kissing Me Back.” But just like everyone else, his career went to a halt after the pandemic struck.
Not long after, fellow artist Ashley Cooke approached him, and together they created The 615 house. Since its inception, several of the artists have already charted number one on iTunes. As for his personal career, Chris just recently released his four-track debut EP Kid Anymore. He is also waiting to hit 500,000 followers on TikTok before 2021 ends.
Cooper Alan (@cooperalan1)
Hailing from North Carolina, Cooper Alan got his start in country music, performing in a band. They played in every bar, college campus, and honky-tonk they could, and soon enough, they were the go-to band for all-night throw-down performances. After graduating, he decided to take the big move to Nashville, where he had the incredible luck of meeting renowned producer and songwriter Victoria Shaw.
Shaw got him a publishing deal, and he released his songs “Tough Ones” and “New Normal,” which both debuted at number one on the iTunes Country chart. And with the help of The 615 House on TikTok, Cooper Alan is working on growing his 5.2 million strong fan base even more. You can catch his newest single, “Colt 45 (Country Remix),” on all streaming platforms.
Drew Baldridge (@drewbaldridgemusic)
Drew Baldridge is country in every sense. Back home in Illinois, Drew literally moved cows with his brother on their family farm. He grew up listening to country songs by Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, and John Anderson with his grandpa. And he thought that his place was in Nashville, so he explored, but after a few years, he realized that all he needed to be was right there in his home.
Earlier this year, Drew dropped his single “That’s You,” which he wrote for his fiancée, Katie. This was the song that exploded him into the country music scene and boosted his TikTok following from 300 to 60,000. And now, he’s gone viral on the app and boasts over 900,000 followers!
Jack Singleton (@jacksingletonmusic)
Jack Singleton first started posting his country covers on Instagram, where he quickly gained over 15,000 followers at just 15 years old. But aside from fan appreciation and attention, he also caught the attention of his new management team. And then, with the popularity of TikTok, the 20-year-old moved platforms and has now over 800,000 followers.
His success on TikTok proved to be a helpful tool in reaching more audiences. He just recently released his five-song Ep called the NASHVILLE SESSIONS, where he took on a countrified back porch take on Lauv’s hit “I Like Me Better.”
Kaleb Austin (@kalebaustinmusic)
Kaleb Austin grew up in Utah with his large music-loving family. And at a very young age, he already cultivated a deep love and connection with performing country music. He started his guitar lessons at 14, and soon enough, he was writing his own songs. Aside from being a creative outlet, the pen and paper also became a so-called escape from the whirlwind of emotions of being a young father.
He released his first-ever hit single, “Sound of the South,” which debuted earlier this year at number one on the iTunes country chart. Not just that, the song was also the third most downloaded song in country music the week of its release. According to Kaleb, he owed this success largely to the massive following he had on Instagram and TikTok (over 180,000 followers who even gifted the singer with a brand new Gibson guitar!).
Lily Rose (@lilyrosemusicofficial)
Lily Rose is breaking ground in country music. The emerging country singer-songwriter first got her breakout moment after she posted her song “Villain” on TikTok. In just a matter of hours, the song went viral. But while Lily Rose is an overnight sensation, she said that it took her so many years to be where she is right now. She started her career in Nashville in 2017, but it wasn’t until she exploded in TikTok that people knew her name.
And now she has over 840,000 followers on TikTok and her song “Villain,” which just officially dropped this month, debuted at number one on iTunes all genre and country charts. It also earned over 7 million streams across all digital platforms shortly after its release.
Priscilla Block (@priscillablock)
Straight out of high school, Priscilla Block decided to move out of Raleigh, North Carolina, and pursue her dream of making music in Nashville, Tennessee. Sadly, things didn’t go smoothly, and she had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. But one chance encounter with Taylor Swift, her idol, gave her the little nudge she needed to take the risk and dive all the way in for her music.
And so, during quarantine, Priscilla took her experimental songs to TikTok, where she earned a quickly-growing fan base. Her songs, seasoned with a little sass, little trash, and a little sad, proved to be an addictive combination. One of her first viral songs was the unapologetic anthem “Thick Thighs,” which promotes body empowerment. The second one, a song about an ex-boyfriend titled “Just About Over You,” also became a fan favorite that her followers rallied together to independently fund the song’s recording and release. Now, Priscilla is part of The 615 House, with over 1.1 million followers. Her viral success on the platform also led her to sign a major label deal with Universal Music Group. And earlier this year, she finally released her three-track self-titled debut EP.
The Georgia-born talent named Clint Rashad Johnson was exposed early into music. And while he sang in the church choir, he listened to hip-hop songs by Lil Wayne and Tupac. Soon after, he got into country music with songs of Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Florida Georgia Line. But what caught the attention of many towards him was not the usual singing. It was his ability to freestyle country melodies over already existing beats that led him to his unexpected breakthrough.
In one of his now-viral TikTok videos, Johnson rapped Roddy Rich’s Ballin’ over a country-sounding beat that was filled with harmonies and acoustic guitar. Then track started to take off, and his followers soon blew up with just a little less than a million now. After the success of his cover, he released his song “Raises Up,” which shot up on the iTunes Country chart.
Taylor Austin Dye (@tayloraustindye)
Born and raised in Kentucky, Taylor Austin Dye started playing music professionally when she was just five. And she would actually get paid for performing in a place called Renfro Valley. According to Taylor, that early exposure of being on stage really helped boost her comfort level and confidence as she grew up. Now, she is one of the rising stars in country music.
Taylor first got her viral moment on TikTok last year when she posted her original song “Good Time Girl,” which quickly earned over 600,000 views. She did not actually intend to release it as a single, but with the amount of attention that the song got, she felt like she had to. Though the single did not top the music charts, it definitely made people a lot more interested in her and her music. And with her upcoming track “Water Me Down,” her 220,000 and growing followers are definitely hyped up.
The sister-duo Kendra and Krista started their country music journey back in 2013 when they were just 16 and 13. They left North Dakota and ventured their way out to the Midwest to showcase their talent. And then, after three years, they finally found their home in Nashville, Tennessee.
During their early years on the road, the two utilized different social media platforms to further expand their fan base. And with the popularity of TikTok, they also took the opportunity to introduce their music on the platform. And with their undeniably amazing harmony and inspirational songs (and the help of The 615 House), they immediately amassed over 500,000 followers.
Thanks to their massive following on TikTok, their track “Somebody Does” debuted at number one on the iTunes Country chart. They also recently got signed with Monument Records.
Will Dempsey (@willdempseymusic)
Here’s another case of the wife making it happen.
After Will’s wife, Tiffany uploaded a casual video of him and his son Weston casually singing Luke Combs’ hit song “Beautiful Crazy,” the singer caught the attention of many – well over 5 million people on TikTok, to be specific. Ever since then, he has been making fans completely swoon over his vocals and heartfelt songs for his family. In fact, Will got another viral moment (over 9.1 million views) after he released a video of his daughter Isabella reacting to “Best Parts Of Me” her dad Will penned for her.
Now, he is going strong with almost 500,000 followers on the platform. And just last February, he shared his latest single, “Mississippi Mud.”
Alexandra Kay, Andrew Jannakos, Ashley Cooke, Brandon Davis, Chris Ruediger, Cooper Alan, Drew Baldridge, Jack Singleton, Kaleb Austin, Lily Rose, Priscilla Block, RVSHVD, Taylor Austin Dye, Tigirlily, Will Dempsey