Country artists to watch in 2019: Jimmie Allen, Chevel Shepherd, Ryan Hurd and more

2019 is set to be an exciting year for country music.

Though it can be difficult for rising stars to make it in Nashville, where men dominate the airwaves and the same established singers are routinely given the industry's top prizes at awards shows like the CMAs and ACMs, change is in the air as a new crop of promising, diverse -- in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation -- talents gear up to take the country music scene by storm.

Whether they've already had hit singles -- like Jimmie Allen and Jordan Rager -- or they were some of the finalists on "The Voice" this past season -- like winner Chevel Shepherd and third place finisher Kirk Jay -- or simply have voices that we can't stop listening to, AOL has rounded up a group of country artists to watch next year.

Check out 2019's most promising country singers below:

Country artists to watch in 2019
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Country artists to watch in 2019

Chevel Shepherd: The pint-sized country star with a huge voice just won season 15 of NBC's "The Voice," giving Kelly Clarkson rare back-to-back wins in her first two seasons as a coach. Considering that Clarkson is bringing her first winner, Brynn Cartelli, on tour with her, we're thinking Chevel will do just fine.

(Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Jimmie Allen: Undoubtedly one of 2018's breakout country stars, Allen has already made a name for himself on the back of his debut album, "Mercury Lane," and Top 5 single, "Best Shot." With 1.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, it's clear that fans are loving the music Allen's putting out. 
Ryan Hurd: Ryan is married to breakout country star, Maren Morris, and he's sure to join her in the top echelons of country music. Already a successful songwriter, Hurd has his sights set on stardom, and his song "To a T," released in August, is a sultry, mid-tempo hit.
Jenny Tolman: Jenny has reached mass audiences by opening for people like Lee Ann Womack and Cole Swindell, and her catchy, topical single "Something to Complain About" hints at greatness to come.

Kirk Jay: Kirk finished in third place on "The Voice" this year, and coach Blake Shelton seems incredibly invested in his career going forward. With endorsements from other country stars like Rascal Flatts, Kirk already has Nashville power players behind him.

(Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Brandon Stansell: Brandon is one of country music's most prominent LGBTQ singers, and the video for his latest single, "Hometown," released in November, is his first to be granted airplay on CMT. Expect big things from Brandon in 2019.
Jordan Rager: Jordan hit it big with his 2016 Jason Aldean duet, "Southern Boy," and he's set to make another big impact with his 2018 release, "One of the Good Ones," from his upcoming EP.
Rachel Reinert: Rachel first rose to fame as a member of the band, Gloriana, which opened for Taylor Swift on her Fearless Tour. Having since gone solo, Rachel is ready to be back in the spotlight with her latest release, "Dark Star," from her upcoming debut solo album.

Bastian Baker: The Swiss singer opened for Shania Twain on her Now Tour this year, which has given his music an invaluable platform going forward. He dropped his debut album in October.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Caroline Marquard: Caroline released her debut single, "Not A Rolling Stone," in October, and the empowering tune bodes well for the Swiss-born crooner.
Rachel Wammack: Rachel released her impressive debut EP, "Rachel Wammack," this spring, led by single, "My Boyfriend Doesn't Speak for Me Anymore." The RCA-signed artist's soulful voice has been compared to Adele, and we think she's destined for similar success.

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