With 2017 coming to a close, we’re looking back at the year that was and some of the success stories that came from it. In country music, we saw some new names and faces come to the front of the stage to show off their talent, music, and charm as they enjoyed breakout years.
The six artists on this list are all deserving, and we are aware that there are other artists that may be as well, so leave a comment if you think there’s someone else in country music that had their first big year in 2017 and should be recognized.
Congratulations to the artists on this list, as well as all of the others who made their names more well known in 2017. We can’t wait to see your success grow next year, and to see who presents themselves as the breakout artists of 2018!
Carly Pearce became one of the biggest stories in country music with the success she found with her debut single, Every Little Thing.
The soul and emotion that drip from the lyrics caught the attention of listeners and turned many into fans of the breakthrough female artist of the year. And when Pearce released her debut full-length album later in the year, folks took notice and latched onto the rest of the music that the former Dollywood performer had to offer.
We talked to Carly Pearce this fall, and saw her perform in an intimate Toronto setting just after the album’s release. What we can tell you is that she was genuinely touched by the response to her music from country music fans.
We can also tell you that we firmly believe that this won’t be the last any of us hear from Carly Pearce.
North of the border, Alee turned heads in 2017 with the release of her full-length label debut, Bad Habit. As she played stages across Canada, Alee showed off her new music, watched as Canadian country music fans, and the industry took notice, and was rewarded with a Female Artist of the Year nomination at the Canadian Country Music Association awards.
We had the chance to see Alee in Toronto during Canadian Music Week (opening for Drake White) and on the main stage at Boots & Hearts 2017. Both sets were opportunities for the Alberta native to prove that she belongs in the conversation with artists like Jess Moskaluke, Madeline Merlo, Meghan Patrick, and Lindsay Ell when anyone is talking about the talented Canadian women making country music.
Brett Young burst onto the scene in 2016 with his #2 single, Sleep Without You – and then he doubled up on his success and boosted his profile this year with the release of his debut full-length album, and two more hit singles, In Case You Didn’t Know and Like I Loved You. Both singles hit #1 on the US Country Airplay and Canadian Country charts, putting Brett Young in rarified air in 2017.
The tall, handsome, talented singer has shown his ability to captivate listeners acoustically, and with a full instrumental background… and his connection to fans through his voice and songs is a gift, and he’s using it well.
We saw Young open for Lady Antebellum in Toronto this summer, and in the bright sunlight with the early crowd paying attention, we saw first hand just what he has to offer!
In Canada, Andrew Hyatt took 2017 and ran with it. The Sudbury, ON native released his first full-length album, Iron & Ashes (which landed on my 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2017 list) and played shows all over the country.
We saw Hyatt on stage, back stage, and in the crowd at shows throughout the year, and the constant from start to finish was his drive and desire to play music.
The second half of the year got especially busy as Andrew Hyatt entered the top 10 on the Canadian Country charts in 2017 with On Me – and then hit the road with Dallas Smith as a guest performer on the Side Effects Tour. That exposure and success combined to put Hyatt’s name and music in front of a lot of people, and we’re looking forward to what comes next.
Midland have found themselves on nearly every country music year end list you’ll find. From fan support, to critical acclaim, Mark, Jess, and Cameron have earned the praise of many in 2017.
With their debut full-length album, On The Rocks, Midland shared their music with the masses. And through live shows on as many stages as they could get on, the Texas boys showed off their harmonies, charm, and talent.
2017 was a breakout year for Midland… 2018 could be even bigger!
Canadian country music duo Leaving Thomas introduced themselves to fans at the very end of 2016 when they released Waiting Kind Of Girl… and as 2017 progressed, they made even more introductions with the release of two more singles, Best Adventure and Blame It On The Neon.
Annika and Bryton have shared a talent, charm, and connection with country music fans through their live shows, interviews, and social media channels – making themselves accessible as more than just two voices that listeners hear on the radio or online.
With new music coming early in the new year, Leaving Thomas is looking to turn a breakout 2017 into a booming 2018.