As a genre, country music certainly has its legacy artists that remain relevant no matter their age. Many of today’s legacy artists made their break as young individuals, and today’s generation is no different.
Grouped from youngest to oldest, the following male country singers are some of the youngest in the industry. Despite their age, many of these singers are considered to be country music’s most popular singers at the time of this writing.
Have you ever seen that GIF of a young, lanky kid in a cowboy hat doing a funny little spin dance with some finger guns? Would you believe that the person in that GIF was young singer, Mason Ramsey?
Born in 2006, Ramsey gained a record deal after he had a video go viral on the internet. Since then, Ramsey has released 2 albums, performed at the Grammy Awards, and was even in a Burger King commercial, accomplishments he’s achieved before he could even legally drive a car.
Throughout 2020, Sam Barber began uploading cover versions of country songs by artists like Tyler Childers and Zach Bryan on YouTube. Many of these covers gained decent traction, but it wasn’t until 2023 that Barber’s career really started to take off.
Between the audio and video performance versions, his track, Straight And Narrow would be played over 9 million times on YouTube. Barber is currently embarking on an international tour with dates slated through 2024.
If you watch The Voice, you might remember a teenage singer named Jonathan Hutcherson, who ended up on Pharrell Williams’s team. While he didn’t win, the experience Justin gained gave him enough confidence to move to Nashville right after graduating high school.
This move has proved fruitful as his song 2021 song, Love Takes Time, has racked up nearly 2 million plays on Spotify since its release.
Football is serious business in certain US states, as can be evidenced in the culture surrounding certain schools in college football. Conner Smith uses college football as a backdrop to his heartbreak love song, I Hate Alabama, mentioning how the team beats his every time they meet.
I Hate Alabama would eventually become a viral sensation on TikTok and found its way into discussion on an ESPN network. Smith has also seen the song’s plays increase after Alabama wins important games, showing that fans of other teams are using the song as an emotional outlet.
Bailey Zimmerman quickly became a household name in 2022 with his songs Rock And A Hard Place, and Fall In Love. Both of these songs percolated with plays across streaming platforms before eventually reaching Billboard’s #1 spot on its Country Airplay metric.
Now, the 23-year-old is embarking on an international tour throughout 2024. He also has a song coming out in November 2023 featuring a collaboration with the Jonas Brothers.
Jackson Dean is a young singer who left his home in Maryland to pursue a musical career once he turned 18. In just 3 short years, Dean eventually began opening for major label acts such as Kane Brown before signing to a major label himself.
Since he’s signed with Big Machine Records, Dean has opened for country legends, Brooks & Dunn and has been featured in the show, Yellowstone.
Dee White takes more of a traditional approach to his brand of country music, infusing his sound with hints of classic country. His debut 2019 album features some surprises, including duets with Ashley McBryde and Allison Kraus, and production credits to Dan Auerbach (of Black Keys fame).
White’s most recent releases continue to build on the classic sounds of country’s past eras. For instance, his song, Wagon Girl, sounds as if it came right out of the 1990s, ensuring that multiple generations of country music fans will find something to appreciate.
Those who watch television might already be familiar with Drake Milligan. Not only was he on multiple singing talent shows, but he even held a role as Elvis in a show called Sun Records.
Milligan’s various television appearances have undoubtedly helped his career soar in popularity. Apple iTunes ranked Milligan’s album, Dallas/Fort Worth, its most-played country album on its platform throughout 2022.
One name that is truly at the height of popularity at the time of this writing is Zach Bryan. As an artist, Bryan comes from honest roots, recording his first 2 albums on his own as opposed to a recording studio.
Many of Zach Bryan’s songs have become known outside of the genre, especially Something In The Orange. The industry has definitely taken notice of Zach Bryan considering that he has 16 award nominations in 2023, with a win for Best New Male Artist.
Many of country music’s biggest names will never have lived the cowboy lifestyle that is so often mentioned. Colter Wall is not one of those people as he literally turned down an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast because he was tied up working at a ranch.
Wall’s career got off to a fantastic start in 2015 when he was just 20 years old as some of his songs found film placements. His authentic ranch-inspired music seemed a perfect match for being included throughout multiple episodes of the show, Yellowstone.
If you’re looking for that stereotypical country voice, you won’t necessarily find it in Daniel Donato. What you will find is a unique voice with an upper range that most male country singers would kill to have.
Plus, let’s not forget that Daniel Donato is one of the fiercest Telecaster guitar slingers in country music. This is the definition of a Nashville kid who learned the industry’s required skills at an early age.
Country music and pop music have been blending more and more as each year goes on. However, it’s artists like BRELAND that have built a career on the seamless blending of rap and country, essentially creating a new genre in itself.
While many people have their opinions on what country music should and shouldn’t be, BRELAND is a breath of fresh air. He is one of the few to break the racial barrier in a genre that has historically been predominantly white.
One of the newest rising country music stars to come from Canada is Jade Eagleson, who was born in 1994. Since his debut in 2018, he’s been at the forefront of public attention with regard to Canadian country music.
In fact, of the 9 singles he’s released between 2018 and 2023, 5 of the songs have been certified Gold by Music Canada. His debut song, Got Your Name On It, has a Platinum certification.
Very few artists can say they spent a portion of their childhood playing and traveling in a Western Swing band. Corey Kent, on the other hand, had enough experience to grapple with the question of whether to quit music before he even graduated high school.
Despite having such experience on the road, it wasn’t until a chance encounter with Willie Nelson at one of his concerts that Kent decided to pursue music. Since then, Kent has gained quite a bit of recognition, especially with his 2022 track, Wild As Her.
William Michael Morgan
William Michael Morgan was dominating the airwaves in 2016 with his song, I Met A Girl. Morgan may have left his major label, but he’s certainly not fallen off the map.
Fans who enjoy 90s country will enjoy In Walked You, penned by the legendary songwriter Shane McAnally. The song sounds as if it could have been sung by Alan Jackson at the height of his career.
Morgan Wallen is another country singer who found their way to success after appearing on the show, The Voice. Since then, Wallen (and his signature mullet) has become one of the biggest stars in country music today.
Since 2016, all but 2 of Wallen’s singles have topped the US charts in some capacity. With unique collaborations featuring Diplo and Lil Durk, Wallen has found ways to increase his notoriety beyond the country music genre.
Kane Brown is the definition of someone who uses the internet to their advantage. After being disillusioned with the televised talent show route, Brown took it upon himself to build a following by releasing cover songs on YouTube.
Brown quickly raised eyebrows and within a short period of time, signed with one of country music’s biggest record labels. Now, Brown is a headlining act that some of the younger names in this article (including Sam Barber) have opened for.
Many singers in this article have appeared on a televised singing/talent show, but Scotty McCreery is one of the few who has actually won. Since winning American Idol in 2011, McCreery has been releasing music since he was 18 years old.
Now at the age of 30, McCreery seems to be hitting the prime of his career with full stride. Aside from a slew of #1 hits over the last decade, McCreery has even experimented with the big screen, lending his talents as a writer for a film produced for Hallmark Television.
If there’s been 1 constant in country music throughout the decades, it’s beer. Travis Denning has shown that there are still plenty of songs to be written that feature this historic beverage of choice.
His song, After A Few, invokes that lonesome feeling one can often get basking in the neon glow at closing time. The track was apparently pretty relatable, pushing it to the top of the US Country charts throughout 2019.
Parker McCollum made a small splash with his song, Highway, as a 21-year-old in 2013. Since then, Parker’s momentum has only been percolating, eventually signing to a major label following the success of his EP, Probably Wrong.
His album, Gold Chain Cowboy, helped him to win an award as 2022’s Best New Male Artist.
Oliver Anthony was relatively unheard of before 2023 until Rich Men North Of Richmond was released to the world. For those unaware, Oliver has become the most recent example of a country singer’s career getting kickstarted by a YouTube video going viral on the internet.
Rich Men North Of Richmond continues to get played over and over again, racking up over 89 million plays to date, making it one of the most popular songs of 2023 by far. Many of his other songs, such as I Want To Go Home have become hits in their own right.
Tyler Childers went from being an underground buzz to a full-on household name in the span of about 5 years. During his come-up, it was Tyler’s stripped-down solo performances that won over audiences with his potent messages and lyrics that hit to the bone.
Childers has battled and conquered demons such as alcoholism and has cleaned up his music along the way. Despite his change in sound, the heartfelt delivery that was established in songs like Nose On The Grindstone remains prevalent.
Upchurch is an example of an artist who has used the entire range of their influences in creating their own brand of country music. It’s this open-mindedness that put Upchurch on the map as a country rapper, simultaneously helping to forge a new subgenre of modern country.
In recent years, Upchurch has pivoted to show that his music isn’t limited to just one sound or style. For instance, his album Creeker seems to be steeped more in rock music than rap, illustrating his willingness to switch things up and keep things interesting.
Jon Langston might be in his young 30s, but he’s done something that few (if any) other country singers have accomplished. Within the span of 4 years, Langston appeared on a metalcore album and played at the Grand Ole Opry.
If not for appearing on the Opry in 2022, one might make the assumption that Langston’s career has been a little quiet. Considering that he only has a few EPs from 8-10 years ago, it’s safe to say Langston is overdue for releasing a full-length album.
Another singer helping to pioneer the subgenre of songwriters approaching country music with an air of authenticity is Benjamin Tod. As an artist, Tod strives to portray realism by opting to record his music live in the studio rather than building a song through layered overdubs, which can be heard in songs like Long Gone.
Tod also has the benefit of having lived a lifestyle that has become somewhat of a lost art in the American life. When he was just 14 years old, he began to ride freight trains across the continental US, opening his eyes to experiences and a certain way of life at an impressionable age.
Top Young Male Country Singers, Final Thoughts
The music industry is a tough landscape to endure, with country music being notorious for its difficult terrain. Singers come and go, with a select few maintaining prominence while the rest are long forgotten to the passage of time.
It will be interesting to see where the names on this list end up in the next decade. With many of them already having such an established career at a young age, there is a good chance that some will be selling records for quite a while.