Nashville Music Guide’s Artists to Watch 2024

Artists to Watch #13

Lauren Watkins stands as a shining beacon of the new generation of country music storytellers. With the raw, reminiscent twang of Tennessee’s rolling hills echoed in her voice, she’s not merely an artist; she’s a contemporary scribe of the heartland’s trials and jubilations.

Born and raised within earshot of Nashville’s vibrant melodies, Lauren found her soul’s cadence in the well-worn grooves of a jukebox loaded with the greats. Her musical pantheon extends from the gritty narratives of Willie Nelson to the powerhouse songs of Sheryl Crow. Yet, Lauren’s artistry is not confined to the echoes of these outlaws and legends.

The spectrum of her influences paints a broader stroke across the canvas of her creativity. Modern maestros like Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, and Chris Stapleton help to thread the contemporary with tradition in her sound. This rich tapestry of musical upbringing has been crucial in shaping her unique voice; each note she sings is a homage to the genre’s evolution.

Lauren’s father imbued her with a love for the genre’s golden oldies, instilling an appreciation for icons such as Alan Jackson and George Jones. These sounds formed the bedrock of her musical identity. Meanwhile, her mother introduced a different beat to dance to, with artists like Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson influencing the more nuanced, softer shades of Lauren’s songwriting—a nod to the piano-driven pop of the turn of the millennium.

This blend of old-school country flavor with a splash of early 2000s pop sensibilities found a perfect harmony within her compositions. It seems fate played a hand when Songs & Daughters / Big Loud Records’ Nicolle Galyon, a GRAMMY-nominated powerhouse of the industry, discovered Lauren. Sensing her potential, Galyon did not hesitate to offer her opportunities that would propel her into the heart of Nashville’s music scene.

Lauren’s music embodies the tradition of country music while pioneering its future. The back-to-back releases of Introducing: Lauren Watkins and Introducing: The Heartbreak serve as twin testimonials to her ability to captivate listeners. Her craft is not only in the weaving of melodies and lyrics but in capturing the essence of lived experiences, turning them into anthems of the American spirit.

Her live performances conjure the atmosphere of the grand country festivals, from the jubilant revelries at the Carolina Country Fest to the historic stages of Nashville’s CMA Fest. Like the troubadours of old, her songs traverse the landscape of human emotion, bringing her audience along on a journey both personal and universal.

Being named to CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2024 signifies just the beginning of Lauren’s ascent. She follows this recognition by joining forces with Hailey Whitters on the Can’t Tie’r Down 2024 Tour and gracing the illustrious Stagecoach Festival, further solidifying her place in country music’s narrative.

As Lauren steps onto the stage later this year alongside her label-mate, the acclaimed Morgan Wallen, her career stands as a testament to her relentless passion and the resonant authenticity that only true dedication to one’s art can bring about. Lauren Watkins isn’t just playing country music; she’s living it, breathing it, and redefining it for the listening hearts of a new era.

Label: Big Loud Records / Songs & Daughters
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Current City: Nashville, Tennessee
Hot Release (s): “Fly On The Wall”; “AnyBody But You”; “Shirley Temple”
Musical Influences: Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Kenny Rogers, George Jones, Eric Church, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Chicks, Colbie Caillat
If You Like: Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde
KEEP UP WITH LAUREN WATKINS: Instagram: Lauren.Watkins | TikTok: Laur.Watkins | X: Laur_Watkins

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