Country's Rising Sound
Opry NextStage brings up-and-coming artists — ones with stories to tell and music that needs to be heard — into the spotlight in a way that only the Grand Ole Opry can. Discover your favorite new artists through live performances, digital, radio, and television broadcasts. Years from now, you’ll be able to tell your friends that you’ve been a fan since the beginning.
THE CLASS OF 2022
Opry NextStage spotlights exceptional artists who are on the brink of the next chapter of their music career. Discover a new artist every month while we explore how they're making their mark in country music.
This is the place to find country's rising sound.
From losing everything he owned in California’s most deadly wildfire to grappling with heartbreak in Nashville, Nate Smith has seen some things. And he has a way of writing about them that will break your heart, make you fall in love, and leave you wanting more. It’s the soul. It’s the story. It’s the growl. He’s not here for the fame or the fortune, he’s here for the song – that’s why Sony Music Nashville signed the rising singer-songwriter. Nate Smith is the real deal, and he’s the true country artist that you’re looking for.
Finding My True Self
Healing Through Music
A Home Away From Home
My Opry Journey
Whiskey On You
Conner Smith has been writing songs since he was 6 years old. By the time he was 9, he was a professional songwriter. Twelve years later, he’s writing his own country radio hits like “Learn From It” and “Take It Slow.” He’s taken his Nashville roots, relatable songwriting, and undeniable charisma on the road with Ryan Hurd and Thomas Rhett, and on stage alongside artists like Kane Brown and Sam Hunt.
Callista Clark is the multitalented singer, songwriter, musician, and trendsetter taking country radio, social media, and Nashville by storm. She has racked up over 130 million views on social platforms and at only 18 years old, has dominated country stations with hits like “Cause I Am” and “Gave it Back Broken.” Two years in a row, she was recognized on Billboard’s “21 Under 21” list and was the youngest member ever named to CMT’s “Next Women of Country” in 2022. She’s now an Opry NextStage artist and, according to Kelly & Ryan, the “next big thing in country music.”
With their relatable and poignant songs, gripping harmonies, and genuine friendship, Restless Road is redefining everything we know about country bands. It’s easy to see why country superstar Kane Brown chose Restless Road as his opener in 2021. It may be their dashing good looks, but it’s more likely their incredible talent and the indescribable way they connect with their fans. NBC’s Today host Hoda Kotb put it best when she said, “That harmony…you feel it in your soul.”
BRELAND’s genre-fluid sound, rich vocals, and contagious positivity has brought him Cross Country, literally and figuratively. From singing gospel music growing up in New Jersey, to recording hip-hop and R&B in D.C., and songwriting in Atlanta, to singing his country hit “My Truck” on the Grand Ole Opry stage, BRELAND is bringing us along on his boundary-breaking musical evolution. And praise the Lord for that.
Morgan Wade didn’t start writing music to become part of the NextStage Class of 2022. She started writing music to reach kids like her — misfits, rebels, Elvis Presley fans. Her raw and painstaking lyrics paired with her gritty vocals and unapologetic attitude have taken her from performing with a band built on Craigslist to playing center-stage at the Opry. The wide-eyed singer has had what The Boot and Taste of Country called a “once-in-a-decade debut.”
According to Billboard, Elvie Shane is “making the case for a new mainstay in country music.” The small-town Kentucky native’s picture-based lyrics, electric personality, and groovy southern-rock sound has landed him the opening slot for top country artists like Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn and Lady A. And he’s just getting started.
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