Now They're Somebody: Country Stars Who Emerged in the 2010s
No matter who you are, where you are or what you were listening to when the New Year of 2010 arrived, chances are that you'd not yet heard of any of the country acts who are now filling arenas and selling millions of records. People like Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini and Florida Georgia Line. Now their songs are woven into your memory.
Just for fun, and with a nod toward the imminent advent of the year 2020, we take a backward glance to remind you of some of the stars who emerged during the last decade and the songs that first introduced them to you. The chart numbers refer to Billboard's Hot Country Songs or Country Airplay rankings, citing the highest number.
2010: Brett Eldredge bows with “Raymond,” which peaks at No. 23. It would take him two more years before reaching No. 1 with "Don't Ya." Thompson Square scrape by at No. 58 with "Let's Fight," just before the double-platinum "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."
2011: Brantley Gilbert takes “Country Must Be Country Wide” to No. 1. Later that year he'd release the future No. 1, "You Don't Know Her Like I Do." Kip Moore slips in with "Mary Was the Marrying Kind," at No. 45, before the career-defining "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck." Lauren Alaina lands at No. 36 with "Like My Mother Does."
2012: Florida Georgia Line arrives with “Cruise,” a No. 1 hit and ultimately a RIAA Diamond-certified single. Thomas Rhett enters modestly with “Something to Do With My Hands," rising to No. 15. Dustin Lynch takes a traditionalist “Cowboys and Angels” to No. 2, while Kacey Musgraves notches her first and only Top 10 country radio hit, “Merry Go Round,” reaching No. 10. Jon Pardi gets things started with "Missin' You Crazy" at No. 25.
2013: Sam Hunt dents the chart with “Raised on It,” at No. 41, setting the stage for "Leave the Night On" and "Take Your Time" the following year. Dan + Shay introduce themselves with the No. 5 single, “19 You + Me,” while Cole Swindell carries “Chillin' It” to No. 1. Brothers Osborne bow at No. 36 with "Let's Go There," as Lindsay Ell's "Trippin' on Us" and Chris Stapleton's "What Are You Listening To" both stall at No. 46 at radio.
2014: Kelsea Ballerini arrives with “Love Me Like You Mean It” at No. 1. Old Dominion independently take “Shut Me Up” to No. 58 before signing a major label deal. Maddie & Tae make a statement with the No. 1, “Girl in a Country Song.” After securing a record deal (and releasing a single that radio didn't play), Kane Brown charts for the first time with “Used to Love You Sober,” hitting No.15.
2015: Chris Janson's “Buy Me a Boat” sails No. 4. Meanwhile, Michael Ray reaches No. 1 with "Kiss You in the Morning."
2016: Luke Combs whips up his first No. 1 with “Hurricane.” Brett Young stands tall at No. 2 with "Sleep Without You." Maren Morris rises to No. 5 with “My Church” and Morgan Wallen sets the foundation at country radio with “The Way I Talk,” peaking No. 30. (Don't worry, his "Whiskey Glasses" was the most-played song of 2019.)
2017: Jordan Davis' “Singles You Up,” Russell Dickerson's “Yours,” and Carly Pearce's "Every Little Thing" shoot to No. 1, while Midland makes it to No. 4 with "Drinkin' Problem." Ashley McBryde appears with “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” at No. 30.
2018: Radio embraced Jimmie Allen's "Best Shot" at No. 1, Riley Green's “There Was This Girl” at No. 3, and Bebe Rexha's "Meant to Be," a No. 1 shared with Florida Georgia Line.
2019: Matt Stell takes “Prayed for You” to No. 2.
On Jan. 1, we can all boast of having 2020 vision.